St Germain des Pres

The lovely area of St Germain des Pres offers visitors a variety of interesting things to do, including shopping for antiques, people-watching, and relaxing at a cafe with a gourmet latte. The 6th arrondissement encompasses St Germain Paris, as well as part of the Montparnasse district, and its style runs the gamut from high-end fashion to retro clothing. Trendy cafes, jazz clubs, bars, and restaurants line the streets of St Germain des Pres, making it a perfect place for spending the evening after a day of walking, shopping, and taking in the sights.

Points of interest in St Germain Paris include the Luxembourg Palace and Gardens, Zadkine Museum, Abbey of St Germain des Pres, Church of Saint Sulpice, and the Eugene Delacroix Museum, along with two popular restaurants, the Les Deux Magots and the Café de Flore. The very chic and well-known restaurant with its long history is Les Deux Magots. Located in the Quartier Saint Germain, the restaurant is the perfect place to sit experience the fine dining combined with the historical atmosphere of the site where people such as Oscar Wilde, Pablo Picasso, and Ernest Hemingway spent their days.

First opened as a café in 1914, Les Deux Magots was the place to be seen in the early twentieth century, and it became a hot spot for artists and writers, as well as a place for people to discuss philosophy and politics. After a meal of fresh salmon from Scotland and Norway, succulent duck foie gras, assorted cheeses, and decadent chocolate mousse and gourmet coffee, you can visit Les Deux Magots boutique for specialty items such as linens, crockery, and souvenirs.

For a relaxed experience in another upscale restaurant with a colorful history, visit the Café de Flore. The restaurant opened in 1887 in the 6th arrondissement, and like Les Deux Magots, it became a regular haunt for artists and celebrities in St Germain Paris, and the tradition continues today. The cafe is at the corner of Rue St Benoit and Boulevard Saint-Germain, and it is said that Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre would meet for drinks in this art deco spot.

Two outstanding museums, the Zadkine Museum and Eugene Delacroix Museum, contain permanent works by the two outstanding artists. Russian-born Ossip Zadkine immigrated to Paris in 1908. His work in cubism and abstracts are on permanent exhibit in the studio-home where Zadkine created his work until 1967. The home and works were donated to the city and are open to the public, free of charge, Tuesday through Sunday.

The Eugene Delacroix Museum was the apartment and studio of the famous artist from 1857 to 1863. His work can be seen at the Church of Saint Sulpice, where he did extensive frescos that are present in the church today. These were completed a short time before his death. One of his most important pieces, Liberty Leading the People, completed in 1830 is on display in the Louvre. Many of his paintings and frescos are also on display at the Luxembourg Palace. The museum is open Wednesday through Monday

One of the most breath-taking areas of the Quartier Saint Germain is the Luxembourg Palace and accompanying Jardin du Luxembourg Park. Two magnificent examples depicting the opulence of French architecture, décor and gardens is found at the Luxembourg Palace and Garden and the Abbey of St Germain des Pres. Constructed between 1615 and 1627, the palace served as home for Marie de Medici until her exile in 1631. The palace was decorated by painter Peter Paul Rubens with a display of 24 works depicting the life of de Medici; the paintings, known collectively as the Marie de Medici Cycle, are on display in the Louvre.

The gardens also contain sculptures and fountains created by two landscape architects commissioned by de Medici. Today, the Jardin du Luxembourg is one of the largest in Paris and contains works by Rodin and Sicard, as well as a miniature Statue of Liberty. The gardens contain more than 300,000 flowers and plants, palm and fruit trees and an area especially for beehives. The park also has a playground for children, pony rides, boat rentals, and marionette shows at the Theatre du Luxembourg.

The Abbey of St Germain des Pres, destroyed and rebuilt many times throughout history, dates to the sixth century and is the oldest church in Paris. Only a small part of the original building is part of the reconstructed church with additional pieces kept in the National Museum of Moyen-Age. The church has fine examples of frescos and paintings by past masters. Nearby, the Church of Saint Sulpice dates to 1646 and houses many works containing bronze and marble sculptures, decorative bas-relief and cupolas, paintings, and frescoes by noted artists including Delacroix, Lemoyne, and Pigalle.

St Germain Paris is conveniently reached via Metro and many other forms of transportation in Paris, and it is also located close to plenty of hotels, ensuring that travelers who want to spend plenty of time in this beautiful area will have no trouble doing so.

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