Paris - Saint Germain Des Prés and the Latin Quarter

JUL 11,2019 - JUL 11,2019 (1 DAYS)

France

1 DAYS

Citywalk

Saint-germain-des-prés and the Latin Quarters:

Start: Metro Odéon (lines 4 and 10). End: Place Saint-Michel.  Distance: 7 km. Weather: Any weather. Duration: 3/4-1 day.

Main sights: Statue of Danton, Maison Sauvage, Place de Furstemberg, Place Laurent-Prache, Église de Saint Germain des Prés, café Les Deux Magots, Brasserie Lipp, Pâtisserie Gérard Mulot, Statue of August Strindberg, Church of Saint-Sulpice, café Les Éditeurs, the Odéon, Place Paul-Painlevé, Saint-Séverin Catholic Parish, Théâtre de la Huchette, Place Saint-Michel.

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Introduction (quoted from Tripadvisor): " In Saint-Germain-des-Prés, life is effortlessly chic and all things are beautiful. The main boulevard is
dotted with famed terraced cafés, haut-couture shops, ivy-covered railings and fine-dining restaurants. Antique dealers and art galleries surround the fine art school and small museums hide in unassuming squares. The neighborhood’s namesake church is the oldest in Paris and is the backdrop for talented musicians every weekend. The Luxembourg Gardens house
the national senate, splendid lawns and flourishing flower beds. Famous faces and bourgeois Parisians frequent Saint Germain accompanied by the students of Rue Saint Guillaume and Rue des Saints-Pères. This is a neighborhood where afternoon people-watching from a café or playing cards in a brasserie are a key part of the daily fabric".

Our Itinerary: We exit the Odéon Metro station from the Place Henri Mondor exit.  Further, on our right,  we connect with rue Danton. In the square stand Statue of Danton. This statue, sculpted by Auguste Paris, depicts Georges Jacques Danton who was a leading figure in the early stages of the French Revolution. The exact address of the statue is 97 boulevard Saint Germain / Place Henri Mondor.  The statue was inaugurated in 1891 and is said to be built on the exact location where Danton’s apartment once stood. The words of Danton are written on the pedestal: "People need enlightenment right after bread." . The representation of this allegory shows Danton, hero of the National Defense, haranguing to defend the country in danger in 1792. Two young volunteers stand at his feet respectively with a drum and a rifle. Place Henri Mondor was dedicated in 1968 and named after a French surgeon who practiced at a nearby medical facility. Mondor's disease, was in fact named after him since it was through his research that the disease was first discovered.  This place also has the advantage of being shaded in summer and has benches. Very mythical area. 

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Head northwest on Boulevard Saint-Germain toward Carrefour de l'Odéon, 35 m. Turn right onto Boulevard Saint-Germain/Carrefour de l'Odéon, 20 m. Continue onto Rue de l'Ancienne Comédie, 130 m.  Slight left onto Rue de Buci for 25 m. and Maison Sauvage, 5 Rue de Buci, is on your left. Saint Germain-des-Prés excels in its charming alleys and beautiful cafes that are simply photogenic. On this corner street stands Maison Sauvage, a famous restaurant, famed for it's flowery facade:

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Another Cafe in rue de Buci:

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Head west on Rue de Buci toward Rue Grégoire de Tours, 120 m. Turn right onto Rue de Bourbon le Château, 45b m. Continue onto Rue de l'Abbaye, 40 m. Turn right onto Rue de Furstemberg, 20 m.  We face Place de Furstemberg. Reputed as being one of the most picturesque squares in Paris, Place de Furstenberg is located in the heart of the affluent 6th arrondissement, tucked in among the web of streets found between Boulevard Saint-Germain and the left bank of the Seine. The square is in reality a road, but the way that the surrounding buildings are placed around the central island, form a kind of courtyard, hence its appearance as a square. The Haussmannian architecture that defines Paris is particularly noticeable both here and in the surrounding roads, adding to the romantic and unequivocally Parisian charm. Place de Furstenberg sits in what used to be the first Saint-Germain-des-Prés Abbey, built in the 6th century by Childebert I.  After its initial construction, the Abbey owned most of the land that we know as the Saint Germain area, up until the very late 17th century. The monastic complex spanned the entire area, but the buildings were being destroyed and re-built. It was only after the Revolution that the Abbey was changed into a gunpowder warehouse, after which most of the monastic buildings were destroyed, with very few remains today.  

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Square Laurent-Prache - a quaint square adjacent to a 12th-century abbey with a small garden & a bronze Picasso sculpture, 1 Place Saint-Germain des Prés.

Head southwest on Rue de Furstemberg toward Rue de l'Abbaye, 35 m. Turn right onto Rue de l'Abbaye, 150 m. Turn left onto Rue de Rennes/Place Saint-Germain des Prés/ Place Laurent-Prache. This quaint square is  served by the Metro line M4 at Saint-Germain-des-Prés station and RATP bus lines: 39 63 86 95. The square is named after the Paris deputy (councilor) and a lawyer at the Court of Appeal Laurent Prache (1856-1919). The square was created after the demolition of 15-17, rue de l'Abbaye as part of the extension of the rue de Rennes to the wharf of Conti. It includes fragments of destroyed buildings from the adjacent Saint-Germain-des-Prés church. The quaint square is adjacent to this 12th-century abbey with a small garden & a bronze Picasso sculpture devoted to Guillame Apollinaire. You will discover in the square small garden the remains, vestiges of Gothic style, which were those of the chapel of the Virgin dating from 1255, a medallion of Laurent Prache (1856-1919) and a bronze sculpture representing Dora Maar, the muse of Picasso, made by this artist. The square is small but charming and far enough away from the hustle and bustle of Boulevard Saint Germain, making it a place of relaxation and rest.

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A Bust of Dora Maar of Pablo Picasso dedicated to Guillaume Apollinaire:

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Plaque in tribute to politician Laurent Prache:

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We enter the adjacent Église de Saint Germain des Prés, 3 Place Saint-Germain des Prés. The Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés was the burial place of Merovingian kings of Neustria (ancient, Roman Paris). At that time, the Left Bank of Paris was prone to flooding from the Seine, so much of the land could not be built upon and the Abbey stood in the middle of meadows, or prés in French. The Abbey was founded in the 6th century. As early as year 558, King Childebert, son of King Clovis, founded the Saint-Germain-des-Pres abbey in the middle of meadows. Under royal patronage the Abbey became one of the richest in France. It was consecrated by the bishop of Paris, Saint Germain, who will be buried there and gave his name to the abbey in the 8th century. The church was destroyed by the Normans in 885. The church was rebuilt in the 11th and 12th centuries and the monastery in the 13th century by Pierre de Montreuil, sheltered by a new enclosure surrounded by a moat. Very richly endowed from its foundation, the abbey owned or controlled several thousand hectares on the left bank. It also held the lucrative right to fish in the Seine downstream of the city.It remained a center of intellectual life in the French Catholic world until it was disbanded during the French Revolution. An explosion, again, destroyed the Abbey and its cloisters, but the church was spared. the statues in the portal were removed and some destroyed, and in a fire in 1794 the library vanished in smoke. The abbey church remains as the Église de Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the oldest church in Paris. Major renovations going on to keep this church as a special jewel of Paris. The church interior is solemn and austere but it is hard to find a church more atmospheric. Opening times: Monday to Saturday : 8.00 - 19.45, Sunday : 9.00 - 20.00. Sunday services : 9.00, 10.00, 11.00, 17.00 (in Spanish), 19.00. Eglise de Saint-Germain-des-Prés is a well known venue for beautiful concerts.

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Opposite the entrance of the church stands the  Prometheus Statue By Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967):

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If you stand in Boulvard saint-Germain and face the Church of Saint-Germain - on your left (west to the church) is the famous café of Les Deux Magots, 6 Place Saint-Germain des Prés. One of the enduring symbols of Paris is the lively café scene. Ever since Le Precope, the world’s first coffeehouse, opened its doors in 1686, countless artists, writers and eminent intellectuals have made the Left Bank cafés their regular haunts. St-Germain-des-Prés, long considered the literary heart and soul Paris, is home to Paris’ most illustrious cafés: Les Deux Magots, Café de Flore, Le Precope, Brasserie Lipp and Café Bonaparte. While you can stop by a café almost anywhere in Paris, it is hard to beat the great people watching and lively scene at Paris’ famous literary cafés.

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Brasserie Lipp is opposite Eglise de Saint-Germain des Prés:

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Cafe de Flore, 172 boulevard St Germain, Saint-Germain des Prés:

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We return to the southern side of Boulvard Saint-Germain and head east  toward Rue de Rennes/Place Saint-Germain des Prés. We see stalls selling 
handicrafts and cheap clothings:

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On your right,  onto Rue de Montfaucon is the Mabillon Metro station. Head south on Rue de Montfaucon toward Rue Clément, 50 m. Turn left onto Rue Clément to see the Marché Saint-Germain Market, 6/8 Rue Clément. Continue walking east on Rue Clément toward Rue Félibien, 75 m. Turn right onto Rue de Seine and 80 metres further you see Pâtisserie Gérard Mulot, 76 Rue de Seine. Maison Mulot is a pastry, bakery, quality caterer since 1975. Divine sweets. Open every 07-20. Everything is excellent quality. Countless variations of macarons and other sweets. Unfortunately you can’t sit down. Just take-away.

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We continue walking south along rue de Seine until it meets rue Saint-Sulpice. We turn west (RIGHT) to rue Saint-Sulpice. In the intersection of rue Saint-Sulpice and Rue Mabillon (further west), in Place Strindberg stands the Statue of August Strindberg. The City of Paris payed tribute to the great Swedish writer August Strindberg, in 2017,  by naming a square after him in an area he visited regularly. On this square, which is adjacent to the North-west façade of the Eglise Saint Sulpice in the 6th arrondissement, a bust of the writer will also be unveiled, made by the Swedish sculptor Carl Eldh (1837-1954) in 1905. Strindberg, who is without doubt one of the best-known Swedish writers in France and worldwide, stayed in Paris during several periods of his life. Two of his most important works, Inferno et A Madman’s Defence, were even written in French.

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Rue Saint_sulpice extends along the NORTH side of the grandiose Church of Saint-Sulpice / Paroisse catholique Saint-Sulpice. To the west of the church is Place Saint-Sulpice, in the Latin Quarter of the 6th arrondissement.

Place Saint-Sulpice and Fontaine Saint-Sulpice west to the church:

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West facade:

In 1732 a competition was held for the design of the west facade, won by Servandoni, who was inspired by the entrance elevation of Christopher Wren's Saint Paul's Cathedral in London.[7] The 1739 Turgot map of Paris shows the church without Oppenord's crossing bell-tower, but with Servandoni's pedimented facade mostly complete, still lacking however its two towers.

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It is only slightly smaller than Notre-Dame and thus the second largest church in the city. It is dedicated to Sulpitius the Pious. Construction of the present building, the second church on the site, began in 1646. During the 18th century. The present church is the second building on the site, erected over a Romanesque church originally constructed during the 13th century. Additions were made over the centuries, up to 1631. The new building was founded in 1646 by parish priest Jean-Jacques Olier (1608–1657) who had established the Society of Saint-Sulpice, a clerical congregation, and a seminary attached to the church. Anne of Austria laid the first stone. Construction began in 1646 to designs which had been created in 1636 by Christophe Gamard, but the Fronde interfered, and only the Lady Chapel had been built by 1660, when Daniel Gittard provided a new general design for most of the church. Gittard completed the sanctuary, ambulatory, apsidal chapels, transept, and north portal (1670–1678), after which construction was halted for lack of funds. Gilles-Marie Oppenord and Giovanni Servandoni, adhering closely to Gittard's designs, supervised further construction (mainly the nave and side-chapels, 1719–1745). The decoration was executed by the brothers Sébastien-Antoine Slodtz (1695–1742) and Paul-Ambroise Slodtz (1702–1758). In 1723–1724 Oppenord created the north and south portals of the transept with an unusual interior design for the ends: concave walls with nearly engaged Corinthian columns instead of the pilasters found in other parts of the church. He also built a bell-tower on top of the transept crossing (c. 1725), which threatened to collapse the structure because of its weight and had to be removed. This miscalculation may account for the fact that Oppenord was then relieved of his duties as an architect and restricted to designing decoration.

South transept:

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The Great Organ:

 In 1862, Aristide Cavaillé-Coll rebuilt the existing organ built by François-Henri Clicquot. The case was designed by Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin and built by Monsieur Joudot. The church has a long-standing tradition of talented organists that dates back to the eighteenth century. Its organists have been renowned, starting with Nicolas Séjan in the 18th century, and continuing with Charles-Marie Widor (organist 1870–1933), Marcel Dupré (organist 1934–1971), and Jean-Jacques Grunenwald (organist 1973–1982), organists and composers of high international reputation. For over a century (1870–1971), Saint-Sulpice employed only two organists, and much credit is due to these musicians for preserving the instrument in its original state. The current organists are Daniel Roth (titular organist, since 1985) and Sophie-Véronique Cauchefer-Choplin (organiste titulaire-adjointe, since 1985). The organ is maintained today almost exactly as Cavaillé-Coll originally completed it in 1862. In Saint-Sulpice, Sunday organ concerts are held on a regular basis ("Auditions des Grandes Orgues à Saint Sulpice", following the 11.00  Mass, starting around 12.00 noon). The Sunday Mass is preceded by a 15-minute Prelude of the Great Organ, starting at 10.45. 

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Lady Chapel:

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Paintings of Eugene Delacroix - Saint Michael fighting the Dragon:

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Paintings of Eugene Delacroix - Jacob fighting the Angel:

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Heliodorus Driven from the Temple:

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Fresco in Saint Paul Chapel:

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View from upstairs:

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From the Église Saint-Sulpice - we head EAST. Walk east on Rue Saint-Sulpice toward Rue Mabillon, 240 m. Turn left onto Rue de Condé, 25 m. Continue onto Carrefour de l'Odéon, 30 m. You see the café Les Éditeurs, 4 Carrefour de l'Odéon - full with books, very welcoming café, NOT a tourist trap, everything served IS with quality and politeness. Open from early morning to late night hours. Good breakfast and nice lunches or dinners. Cozy decor and nice, literary, Parisian atmosphere. The red colour dominates:

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Another bar/cafe well reputed is the Hibou Bar, 16 Carrefour de l'Odéon opposite Les Éditeurs. If the ground floor is packed - try the higher 2 floors. Watch the prices. Mainly, young  clientele.Citywalk in , France, visiting things to do in France, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Note the café Le Comptoir, 9 Carrefour de l'Odeon -actually, part of the Relais St. Germain Hotel building. Delicious plates. Superb menu with top-quality portions. Not cheap  but, exceptional experience with non-regular offerings. The Comptoir might be very busy in the rush-hours. Service lagging behind the quality f the food. Le Comptoir is worth the wait for a table as the restaurant only takes reservations from its hotel (owned by the chef...). 

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Head south on Carrefour de l'Odéon and continue onto Rue de l'Odéon, 215 m. Turn right onto Place de l'Odéon, 40 m. to see the Odéon. The Odéon was founded in 1782 near the Latin Quarter. It housed the creation of Beaumarchais' Marriage of Figaro (1784) and the first continental performances of Shakespearean plays in the original English (1827). Since then, it has become the oldest theatre in Europe to be continuously active in its original venue. Its spirit of tradition combines harmoniously with its role in contemporary creation : during the Sixties, for instance, Jean-Louis Barrault staged or produced several new plays by Beckett or Genet at the Odéon. In 1983, under the guidance of Giorgio Strehler, the Odéon became the Théâtre de l'Europe. Today, this "Theatre of Europe" is directed by Stéphane Braunschweig, who has firmly restated its historical mission : to be a flagship of theatrical creation and production, to uphold a certain ideal of theatre as high art, in all its European forms and beyond, for all kinds of audience. Since 2003, the Odéon has a second venue in the 17th district of Paris at the Ateliers Berthier, which allows the theatre to host new forms and state-of-the-art performance designs.

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From Place de l'Odéon we head east toward Rue Casimir Delavigne, 40 m. Turn left onto Rue Racine, 280 m. We had lunch at Le Prince Racine, 22 rue Monsieur le Prince. Cute place. Nice atmosphere and decoration. Good food and not expensive. Continue onto Rue des Écoles, 80 m. and turn left onto Place Paul Painlevé, 50 m. Place Paul-Painlevé is served nearby by the line (M)(10) at the Maubert - Mutualité station , as well as by the RATP 86 87 bus lines. This place is named after the mathematician, politician and president of the Council of the Third Republic Paul Painlevé (1863-1933). This square was constructed in 1855 and made by transforming different parts of the streets of the Sorbonne , Du Sommerard and Cluny into a square with trees and statues located directly in front of the large entrance of the Sorbonne and takes its current name in 1934. Place Paul-Painlevé  houses a famous statue of Montaigne by sculptor Paul Landowski , who was installed there in 1934. Paul-Painlevé Square is located between rue des Écoles where the Sorbonne is located, rue de Cluny and rue Du Sommerard where the entrance to the National Museum of the Middle Ages is located in the Cluny Hotel. Although relatively small, this square has several public monuments: The Capitoline Wolf , suckling Romulus and Remus , is a bronze reproduction of the work preserved in the Capitol Museum . It was offered by the city of Rome to the city of Paris during their twinning in 1962. Originally created in 1900, the square was redesigned in 2000 to resemble a museum garden centred around the medieval theme.

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Square Paul-Painlevé is located just outside (north to) the important Musée de Cluny.

Monument to Octave Gréard , by Jules Chaplain (1909):

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Montaigne , work of the sculptor Paul Landowski (1896-1961), offered in 1934 to the city of Paris by Dr. Armengaud. This marble statue of the seated philosopher was replaced in 1989, as a result of degradations due to vandalism, by a bronze copy . On the base of the statue is written: "Paris has my heart from my childhood. I am French only by this great city. Great especially and incomparable in variety. The glory of France is one of the most noble ornaments in the world. ":

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From Place Paul Painlevé - head east toward Rue de Cluny, 40 m. Turn left onto Rue de Cluny, 80 m. Turn left onto Boulevard Saint-Germain, 110 m. Turn right onto Rue de la Harpe, 150 m. The complex of building of the Sorbonne University is LEFT (north-west) to us. Turn right onto Rue Saint-Séverin, walk 85 m. and the Saint-Séverin Catholic Parish, 3 Rue des Prêtres Saint-Séverin is RIGHT to us. The Église Saint-Séverin is a Roman Catholic church in the Latin Quarter of Paris, located on the lively tourist street Rue Saint-Séverin. The church's external features include some fine gargoyles and flying buttresses. Its bells include the oldest one remaining in Paris, cast in 1412. There is a flamboyant rose window above the west entrance. The large Gothic portal under the bell tower was transferred from the church of St-Pierre-aux-boeufs which was demolished to create a new street. Its relief depicts St. Martin dividing his cloak. Internal highlights of the church include both ancient stained glass and a set of seven modern windows by Jean René Bazaine (1970), inspired by the seven sacraments of the Catholic church, around the ambulatory. The deambulatory also includes an unusual pillar in the form of the trunks of a palm tree, that brings to mind the Apprentice Pillar at Rosslyn Chapel. The construction of the marble choir was made possible by donations from Anne, Duchess of Montpensier, a cousin of Louis XIV. The organ is signed by Jean Ferrand.

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We retrace our steps to enter the touristic parts of Saint-Séverin area. Head WEST (back) on Rue Saint-Séverin toward Rue des Prêtres Saint-Séverin, 60 m. Turn right (north) onto Rue Xavier Privas, 75 m. Turn left WEST) onto Rue de la Huchette, 25 m. to see the past Théâtre de la Huchette, 23 Rue de la Huchette. Small mythical hall dedicated to the theater of Eugène Ionesco with is absurd humor plays. Rue de La Huchette is ALWAYS crowded with tourists, souvenirs stalls and with various dining options. It is pretty close to Notre Dame. The house has been presenting since 1957, without interruption, two plays by Eugéne Ionesco (theater of the absurd) ("The Bald Singer"). Sessions take place on weekends and you need to buy in advance, as they are always full! Tickets are around 25 euros, there are student discounts.  The theater is well maintained, the room is small but very worth the experience, especially for theater fans! 

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Head west on Rue de la Huchette toward Rue de la Harpe, 100 m. Turn left onto Boulevard Saint-Michel, 25 m. Turn right onto Rue de l'Hirondelle, 35 m. Turn right and left onto Place Saint-Michel

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