June 4, 2017

A step into St. Germain-des-Prés' past

The area around Saint Germain des Prés (and especially Saint Sulpice) is one of Paris' poshest parts. With neighbors that include Catherine Deneuve and Scarlett Johansson, it is the regular haunt of celebrities, writers, and intellectuals, making it the cultural capital of the city.

The area is named for the nearly 400-year-old church and its soaring bell towers, declaring both the geographical and social center of the arrondissement.

The village that swiftly grew around the abbey of St.Germain was fascinating. The site of one of the most famous medieval international fairs, then a permanent market. Its narrow, twisting streets were packed with inns, taverns, brothels, gambling rooms and shops for all purses and tastes.

But this rough and booming neighborhood was also right next door to some of Europe’s most famous centres of erudition the famous abbey itself, as well as the Couvent de Carmes and only a stone's throw from the Latin Quarter, so it was soon colonized by the workshops of talented artists, both French and foreign.

With the village fast becoming yet another neighborhood of the growing city of Paris, philosophers, journalists, politicians, lawyers (Marat, Danton and Demoulins all lived here!) now rubbed shoulders with the Enlightenment aristocrats of the wealthier faubourg with which it shared its name.

This tempestuous market district - when not negotiating, debating, quarreling or literally cutting each other's throats needed a place of worship, one that was spacious and grand enough to accommodate their aspirations as well as their faith. Those aspirations gave us St. Sulpice, one of the most splendid churches of the 18th century.

St. Germain-des-Prés metro station in the heart of the Left Bank named after the Place Saint-Germain and the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, dedicated on December 232rd, 558 by the son of Clovis Childebert I, at the request of St. Germain, Bishop of Paris.

Café de Flore is one of the oldest coffeehouses in Paris celebrated for its famous clientele.

A Parisien on his way to work

Looking down Rue Bonaparte

Rue Férou (looking onto St.Sulpice church) where Ernest Hemingway lived with his newly married wife Pauline in 1927.

The 1871 poem Le Bateau Ivre (the drunken boat) by Arthur Rimbaud adorns the 300-metre long wall. Financed by the Dutch Embassy in Paris, it was painted by the Dutch artist Jan Willem Bruins and unveiled in June 2012.

The street is also famous for Man Ray‘s studio where the photographer worked from 1952 till his death in 1976

Église Saint-Sulpice is the second-largest church in all of Paris (just behind the famous Notre Dame)

The two most popular reasons to visit St. Sulpice are the church’s incredible pipe organ and seeing one of the settings for “The Da Vinci Code.”

A glimpse of Saint Sulpice Church, overshadowing the street sign of Pour l'Unité, a Catholic association founded in 1935.

Gotta love those street signs

Touch of British

Reminders of Baron Haussmann's massive urban renewal program under Emperor Napoleon III and a more modern street sign. 

7 Euros for a long drink is a real good deal for Paris' standards!

These bars served some kind of purpose in the 18th century 
but I cannot remember how the story went exactly!?!

Scrumptious Parisian patisserie

Romantic Paris

Geometrical composition

Old-world charm

Très, très Parisien

Bookworms welcome

La tarte Tropezienne... an invention adopted from the Côte d'Azur

Street Art contemporary style

Street Art 18th century style

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