Living the Parisian Life in Saint-Germain-des-Pres

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Saint-Michel Metro When I first landed in Paris at age 16, my favorite neighborhood was Montmartre.  The artists, the views, the hills — it just captivated me. But as I grew up, I found myself falling for an entirely new neighborhood.  Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the sixth arrondissement. Cafe de Flore Saint-Germain is located on the Left Bank of the Seine, just southwest of Notre-Dame.  It’s so close to everything — in just a few minutes, you could be at Notre-Dame or on Ile Saint-Louis, in the Luxembourg Gardens or the Pont des Arts, even the Louvre! What is it that I love about Saint-Germain? It looks like a classic Paris postcard, yet it feels like people actually live here. Rue de Buci I love walking around Saint-Germain.  It has all the things I love about Paris — cafes with heated outside patios, lots of little bookshops, galleries, and enough metro stations to easily cart you all over the city. Saint-Germain is also the intellectual hub of Paris.  This is the area of Paris where you want to find a cafe, sit down, and write the next Great American Novel.  It makes you feel like you could be that inspired. And there are a great many cafes, especially on what I lovingly refer to as “my cafe street” — Rue de Buci.  (Need free unlimited wifi?  Try Cafe le Conti.) Cafe des Deux Magots

The Lost Generation

The Lost Generation made their home on the Left Bank, and St. Germain was one of their prime neighborhoods.  You see the history throughout the streets of Saint-Germain and the surrounding neighborhoods. One of the most famous establishments in this neighborhood is Les Deux Magots — a cafe frequented by Hemingway, Picasso, Dali, and, well, the rest of the cast of Midnight in Paris.  😉 Being a huge Camus fan, I decided to stop at the venerable absurdist’s favorite hotspot — Cafe de Flore. Cafe de Flore While these famed cafes charge far more for a cup of coffee than seems appropriate, it’s nice just to enjoy the atmosphere and think about all that these walls have seen. Villa d'Estrees

Where to Stay: Hotel Villa d’Estrées

This was also the first time in all my trips to Paris that I’ve been able to stay in Saint-Germain.  We stayed at the lovely four-star Hotel Villa d’Estrées, a hotel that I enjoyed immensely and highly recommend.  If you are looking to stay in Paris, the Hotel Villa d’Estrées is a great choice, but also you also find great hotels that are more affordable. The location was absolutely perfect — a 30-second (!) walk from the Saint-Michel metro stop on Place Saint Andre and a short stroll from Notre-Dame, Rue de Buci, the banks of the Seine, and the main drag of Rue Saint-Germain.  Though it’s next door to the neighborhood Irish pub, it stays quiet. Hotels in popular Paris neighborhoods like Saint-Germain are often prone to pitfalls — tiny rooms, creaky elevators, spotty internet, the toilet in a separate time zone from the sink.  This hotel had none of those pitfalls — it was simple, elegant, and just lovely.  The staff were very friendly and helpful, and I felt very safe staying there. Villa d'Estrees Beautifully decorated, but not gimmicky.  Tasteful, but far from boring.  And so delightfully Parisian.  If this had to be my full-time Paris abode, I think I would do just fine here.  Especially because the internet was great. Villa d'Estrees I couldn’t have asked for a better time in Saint-Germain this time around — or in Paris, for that matter. More on Paris:
Essential Info: Rates at Villa d’Estrées start at 204 euros per night. You can find the best prices on other accommodation in Paris here. I never travel without travel insurance and always use and recommend World Nomads.
Many thanks to the Villa d’Estrées for hosting me in Paris.  All opinions, as always, are my own.
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24 thoughts on “Living the Parisian Life in Saint-Germain-des-Pres”

  1. I took a class at my university called 2Paris and the Art of Urban Life.” It was supposed to count as my Humanities Gen Ed, but we used the Green Guide as our textbook and the profs pretty much just reminisced about living in St. Germaine and frequenting cafés.

  2. Hat tip for the ‘Midnight In Paris’ mention – re-watched that film AGAIN this week, and with scenery such as this how could anyone blame me?

    Not too familiar with The Lost Generation, however, so looks like I’ve some reading to catch up with.

  3. Looks like you got a nice hotel room:)
    I stayed in somethin more budgetty on my last trip to Paris, République Hotel near Place de la République. It’s close to the subway, very clean and we payed about €50/night/person.
    Would definitely recommend it!

  4. We stayed in Saint-Michel and really enjoyed the area, though the hotel (while charming in its way) had a small dark room and a narrow spiral staircase which was almost the undoing of me.

  5. I do not know a whole lot about Paris, but now I feel like I have gotten a windows view into the remarkable city. It was amazing to see it from an artists point of view. I am excited to see more of what you discover.

  6. The small cafes are great, but if you need to pinch a few pennies try the local patisserie (pastry shop); ie where the locals go. You can get a cup of coffee, and a pastry on the go for a little less. If you don’t want to stand in a long line go after 8am.

  7. I used to study in Paris and I used to just love to go to St. Germain to hang out with my friends either for coffee or drinks! Such good memories, thank you!

  8. Paris is ok. Awe-struck Americans and Australians – refugees from the New World – stroll down the dog-shit strewn boulevards desperately seeking anything old like heliotropic Lara Crofts. People kiss, but then again people kiss in Mogadishu. And the food’s good yeah, but it’s 50 Euros per head and served by a surly middle-aged plate-jockey with something wrong with his eyebrows. Knowingly-twee Parisien culture is enough to drive a good man into the arms trade too.

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