September 26, 2014

A Weekend Walk in Saint-Germain-des-Prés

When we think of Paris, an abundance of costly museums, restaurants and attractions come to mind. However, if you’re trying to stick to a budget, there are tons of great things to do that won’t leave you with an empty wallet.

Weather permitting, a self-guided walking tour is the perfect way to explore a new neighborhood and discover lesser-known sites and facts. Before arriving in Paris, look into purchasing a small local guide to allow you to get the most out of your stroll. A favorite route of mine comes from the French book, Le Guide du Routard Paris Balades. Check out some of the highlights below.


Place Saint Germain des Prés sign, Paris 6

 

Existentialist Paris: Saint-Germain-des-Prés (p. 148-156)  

 

Begin at the church Saint-Germain-des-Prés, located near the métro stop of the same name. 

After a visit inside the church (one of the oldest in Paris), step outside to discover La place Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and the famous Les Deux Magots café, once a hotspot for writers and intellectuals including Giradoux, Faulkner, Sartre and Beauvoir.

Just next door, you'll find the Club Saint Germain, a former bar, bookshop and concert venue which in its day, welcomed jazz legends like Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker.

Moving on to what is today a Dior boutique, is the former home of one of Paris' mythical libraries Le Divan, which has since moved to the 15th.

Continue on to la rue Bonaparte, where you'll find le café Bonaparte, a favorite of Sartre's, located just underneath his apartment (number 42). And just nearby, you'll pass by number 46, where American writer Henry Miller once lived.

Make your way to where la rue Bonaparte and la rue Jacob meet to discover Le Pré aux Clercs wine bar, often frequented by Hemingway, who at the time, enjoyed bottles for only 60 cents a piece!



To continue this tour (in French), pick up a copy of  Le Guide du Routard Paris Balades.
For additional self-guided tours in English, check out travel guru Rick Steves' 2014 Paris Guidebook.

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