Want to explore Saint-Germain-des-Prés but not sure where to start? This article will show you all the best things to do in Saint-Germain-des-Prés plus where to stay and eat for a fun trip!
Located in the 6th arrondissement, Saint-Germain-des-Prés is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Paris.
You can easily find out why after spending a couple of hours indulging in its village-like atmosphere and laid-back yet sophisticated vibes.
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Once home to some of the 19th century’s greatest writers and artists, Saint-Germain-des-Prés’ artistic roots remained throughout the decades though there’s more to it than just that today.
Thanks to its upscale shopping, dining, and immense culture, it has become one of the main playgrounds for the elite and chic of Paris. So, if you’re visiting Paris for the first time, this is one of the places not to skip.
Not sure what to do in Saint-Germain-des-Prés? This Saint-Germain-des-Prés Paris guide has everything you’ll need to plan your visit from fun things to do to where to stay and eat.
Before You Go, Here’s How to Plan Your Visit To Paris: Practical Quick Tips
WHERE TO STAY
Best Eiffel Tower Views: Hôtel Le Walt (9.0)
Luxury stay: Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel (8.2)
Mid-range stay: Hôtel Eiffel (8.7)
Budget Stay: People – Paris Bercy (8.9)
Apartment Rental: Résidence Charles Floquet (9.1)
- Considering travel insurance for your trip? World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 adventure activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation, and more.
- Prepare your trip extensively with this Paris Travel guidebook.
- Don’t forget a universal travel adapter, a travel neck pouch, and comfortable walking shoes.
- Consider getting either the museum pass or the Paris city pass if you plan to visit a lot of attractions. The city pass comes with free transportation and access to the hop-on-hop-off bus. You can read my Paris museum pass review to see if it’s right for you.
- Book this private transfer from CDG airport to Paris to avoid the hustle of figuring out how to get to Paris.
Before we look at the best things to do in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, here are the best hotels to stay at if you choose to base yourself in this neighborhood!
Where to Stay in Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Below are some of my accommodation recommendations for all budgets, so choose whatever suits your taste!
Le Relais Médicis: You don’t have to break the bank to book a charming and cozy hotel in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. One of the best budget accommodations in the neighborhood is Le Relais Médicis, located in the heart of the district. With Italian Renaissance-style decor, charming woodwork, warm accents, and real antiques and rooms designed for optimum comfort, this 4-star hotel promises a good night’s sleep after a long day of sightseeing.
Hotel Left Bank Saint Germain: For just a bit more, you can book your stay at the Hotel Left Bank Saint Germain, popular for its exceptional location. Located just a stone’s throw from many popular attractions like the Luxembourg Gardens, the Louvre, and the Notre Dame Cathedral, this hotel is set in a beautiful 18th-century building and provides a stay with an in-between charm of history and modernity. You can spend a night in one of its 30 spacious standard rooms, or its lovely suite that offers views of the Notre Dame Cathedral!
Grand Hôtel de L’Univers Saint-Germain: For a touch of luxury but still affordable, look no further than Grand Hôtel de L’Univers Saint-Germain. Previously an old 15th-century townhouse, the hotel retains much of its historical charm, including original beams in the ceiling, antique furniture, and a beautiful old vault breakfast room. The rooms of this hotel are finely decorated (themed in a typical French country house style) and provide everything you’ll need for a cozy stay.
Citadines Saint-Germain-des-Prés Paris: If you’d rather stay in an apartment, then Citadines Saint-Germain-des-Prés Paris is the one I recommend. This serviced apartment has everything you’d need from a fully functional kitchen to modern amenities. Some rooms even have window views of the Seine. As for the location, you’ll be within walking distance of the Luxembourg gardens, the Louvre, Notre Dame cathedral, and many other Paris attractions.
Best Things to Do In Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Now that you have where to stay, let’s look at the fun things to do in St Germain Paris.
1. Go on a Guided Walking Tour of Saint-Germain-des-Prés
One of the best ways to discover all the famous and hidden gems of Saint-Germain-des-Prés is on foot!
Of course, you can wander on your own but if you want to take your experience to the next level and learn more about the fallen literary personnel that called it home and the history of the area, I recommend signing up for this guided walking tour.
The tour lasts 2 hours and by the time it ends, you’ll have fallen even more in love with this chic neighborhood.
2. Explore Saint-Germain-des-Prés and its Surrounding Areas on a Bike
While Saint-Germain-des-Prés’ quaint streets are absolutely walkable, they’re also perfect to be explored on a bike.
Discover not just the popular attractions in the area but also the charming hidden gems of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and its surrounding neighborhoods by signing up for this biking tour.
This 3-hour small-group bike tour is led by a friendly local guide and will allow you to discover the streets of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the Latin Quarter, Odéon, Luxembourg, and Le Marais at a leisurely pace on two wheels.
You’ll get to cover a lot of interesting ground and learn about the anecdotes behind Paris’s great history.
The tour is suitable for all fitness levels (including kids) and includes leisurely breaks in between.
However, if you feel like normal bikes will be very tiring for you, you can opt for this electric bike tour that goes through Saint-Germain-des-Prés too.
3. Immerse Yourself in Art at Musée national Eugène Delacroix
Also simply known as the Musée Delacroix, visiting the Musée National Eugène Delacroix is one of the best things to do in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
This quaint and underrated art museum is dedicated to painter Eugène Delacroix, a French Romantic artist known for his expressive brushstrokes and dramatic artworks including the famous Liberty leading the people painting housed in the Louvre Museum.
The museum is housed in the painter’s intimate old studio apartment where he lived, worked, and eventually died.
You’ll be able to admire a great collection of his paintings, sketches, portraits, preparatory studies, letters, and photos that provide a good glimpse into the life and works of one of the greatest French painters of the 19th century.
Some must-see artworks at the museum include Eugène’s iconic masterpieces Mary Magdalene in the Desert, Romeo and Juliet, Bacchus with a Tiger, and The Education of the Virgin.
Psst… To get access to Eugène Delacroix museum, you can purchase this Paris museum pass which also gives access to over 60 other attractions.
You can also check out my recommended tours and activities in Saint Germain in the widget below all offered by my favorite tour provider GetYourGuide.
4. Visit One of the Oldest Churches in Paris, Église de Saint Germain des Prés
The Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés is one of the oldest existing churches in Paris.
The church has gone through a lot throughout history, including being destroyed twice by the Vikings during their invasions.
Due to its historical and religious significance, the building was rebuilt and restored throughout the years, and remains a beautiful structure of Romanesque and Gothic architecture today, complete with a bell tower, pitched roof, ancient paintings, stained glass windows, a beautiful nave, and its impressive Abbey.
Definitely pop by for a visit when you’re in the area!
5. Catch a Glimpse of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts
Also known as the National School of Fine Arts, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts is France’s prestigious art school located right in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
Although you can admire its main courtyard and beautiful exterior architecture, the school is generally closed to public visits except on selected dates where visits are offered free of charge.
It also frequently hosts exhibitions and events which you can attend to see its collection of paintings, sculptures, and books.
Check on their official website to see if your visit coincides with any special events, (usually in early February, late June, and September).
You may be able to walk the grounds of the beautiful art school that produced some of the greatest French people in the art sphere like Jacques-Louis David, Edgar Degas, Eugène Delacroix, Henri Matisse, and so many others.
6. Get Some Jazzy Fun at the Festival Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Founded in 2001, the Festival Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés is an annual festival that you shouldn’t miss out on if you’re in Paris in May or early June.
Dedicated to the area’s jazz culture, Festival Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés is a fun event that combines everything from concerts to live performances, exhibitions, competitions, conferences, masterclasses, and more.
Most of the events are open to the public for free and activities are held at a variety of venues in and around Saint-Germain-des-Prés such as Place Saint-Germain-des-Près, the Sorbonne University in the Latin Quarter, the Odéon Theatre, the Sunset and Sunside Jazz Club, hotels, shops, streets, and more.
Besides being a space for aspiring and up-and-coming artists to showcase their talents, the festival has also had appearances from global jazz musicians like Stéphane Huchard, Michel Portal, Paolo Fresu, and Mina Agossi, amongst many others.
Keep an eye out for the festival line-up as well as the schedule and other information on the organizer’s official website.
7. Get your Macaron Fix at the Iconic Ladurée
Did you know that you can find Ladurée, one of France’s most popular makers of high-end pastries and the most famous Paris Macaron shop in Saint-Germain-des-Prés?
Ladurée’s double-decker macarons are world-renowned, and a must-try when in Paris.
While the Ladurée shop in Saint-Germain-des-Prés is smaller than the popular one on Champs-Elysées, it’s worth stopping by! This also means you likely won’t have to wait in a queue as long to get some delicious sweet treats.
If you’re a Ladurée newbie, you might want to try one of its classic and well-loved flavors such as caramel, strawberry poppy, pistachio, rose petal, or orange blossom!
I can’t even decide which one is my favorite, so you might wanna get a whole box instead of just one or two.
8. Eat Delicious Chocolate At Debauve & Gallais
Besides the iconic Ladurée, Saint-Germain-des-Prés is home to plenty of other upscale shops with handcrafted specialties including hand-made sweets, chocolates, pastries, and bread.
In fact, one of the oldest chocolate shops in Paris, Debauve & Gallais is located right in this upscale neighborhood.
Fun fact: The last Queen of France, Marie Antoinette herself (as well as many other royals) was a patron of Debauve & Gallais, and the shop was an important supplier of royal chocolates.
If you’d like, you can even order the late Queen’s favorite dark chocolate while you’re there! Just ask for the Pistoles de Marie-Antoinette, and the staff will know which one to get you.
9. Treat Yourself To A Pastry And Chocolate Walking Tour
To fully immerse yourself in the creations of local chef confectioners and gastronomic craftsmen of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, I suggest booking yourself this unique 3-hour chocolate and pastry tasting tour.
You’ll get to sample plenty of delicious chocolates, pastries, and various types of French bread during your tour and learn about the history of chocolate and pastry making from a knowledgeable local guide!
Things to Do Near Saint-Germain
While this article is about what to see in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, there are some places that are just next to the neighborhood that you shouldn’t miss checking out too! Below are some of the best things to do near Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
10. Marvel at Old Coins at The Monnaie de Paris
If you’ve got an interest in how coins and medals are made, you’ll enjoy visiting Monnaie de Paris.
Also known as the Paris Mint, the Monnaie de Paris is an important institution that is responsible for producing the coins of France.
In fact, it’s the world’s oldest continuously running minting institution having been established in AD 864!
The Paris Mint is not just a fully-functional place for coin production, but it’s also a museum that houses a collection of many ancient coins and medals.
You will not only get the opportunity to admire its collection of treasures but also learn the know-how of coin production upheld by the artisans of the Mint.
You’ll even get to make your very own coin or medal as a memorable Parisian souvenir if you signup for a workshop.
Besides coins and medals, they also organize various worships that could be fun for the entire family like the Chocolate fondue, art foundry, engraving workshops, and more.
You can buy individual tickets but if you buy this Paris Museum Pass, you’ll have access to Monnaie de Paris plus over 60 other Parisian museums and attractions.
11. Visit the Bridge of Romance, Pont des Arts
The most famous bridge in the 6th arrondissement is none other than the Pont des Arts, a pedestrian bridge that has gained an international reputation as the bridge of romance or love lock bridge and throwing the keys into the Seine River.
Back in the day, lovers from all over the world flocked here to declare their eternal love by attaching love locks to this bridge.
While love locks can no longer be attached to the bridge today due to structural concerns, its symbolism still makes it a must-visit when in Paris.
Besides being an icon for lovers in Paris, the cast iron bridge was Paris’s first metal bridge and has gained much praise as an engineering marvel.
So, as you stroll around Saint-Germain-des-Prés, be sure to stop at this Parisian bridge!
12. Catch a Show at the Odéon Theatre
Often overshadowed by other more popular theaters in Paris like Palais Garnier, the Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe or simply Odéon Théâtre is in fact one of the oldest theaters in Europe.
With elegant classical architecture, the theater grounds also consist of Place de l’Odeon, a semicircular square.
The theater has gone through a lot, having been burned, rebuilt, renamed, and reopened multiple times throughout history.
It has hosted plenty of historic performances including Shakespeare and Beckett, and it still holds various plays. You can check the official website to know which shows are showing and on which days.
13. Chill In Jardin du Luxembourg
Jardin du Luxembourg is one of my favorite places to chill in near Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
Sharing a border with the Latin Quarter, the Luxembourg Gardens consist of beautifully-manicured French and English gardens as well as a geometric forest, pond, an apple orchard, greenhouses, over 100 statues, the monumental Medici Fountain, and family-friendly facilities including playgrounds, rides, and recreational facilities. And yes, you’ll find one of the replicas of the Statue of Liberty in Paris here.
Whether you want to take a moment to relax and people-watch after a sightseeing adventure or you pack a picnic to chill the entire afternoon, you’ll have a great time at this beautiful Parisian garden.
14. Visit the Musee du Luxembourg
Did you know that the Musée du Luxembourg was the first Parisian museum to open to the public?
Located in the Luxembourg Gardens, the museum has made great contributions to the museum and art scene of Paris today, as many of the collections now on display at the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou, and other museums were originally collections of Musée du Luxembourg.
The museum is known for hosting plenty of highly-anticipated exhibitions throughout the year, so be sure to check the official website to know what’s on.
15. Admire Eglise Saint-Sulpice
Also located close to the Luxembourg Gardens, Eglise Saint-Sulpice is one of the biggest churches in the city, only slightly smaller than the majestic Notre Dame Cathedral.
Its timeless beauty makes it well worth a visit when you’re in the area. Besides admiring its interior, I also suggest spending some time taking in its beautiful facade and the detailed fountain in the courtyard.
Fun fact: Eglise Saint-Sulpice gained further popularity after being featured as one of the filming locations of The Da Vinci Code film by Dan Brown.
However, in reality, the filmmakers were actually not given permission to shoot inside the church, and completed their filming by creating a giant replica of the venue!
16. Shop to your Heart’s content at Le Bon Marche
If you’re hoping to do some shopping, you’ll be glad to know that one of the best department stores in Paris is nestled near Saint-Germain-des-Prés!
Founded in 1852, Le Bon Maché is known for being the first department store to open in Paris.
While it started off as a charming novelty shop that sells niche home and living items such as lace, sheets, mattresses, buttons, and ribbons, today, it’s dedicated to the best of fashion, designer goods like French jewelry, French perfumes, French handbags, and fine gastronomy and food supplies in the conjoining Grande Épicerie de Paris. You can pretty much get anything and everything here!
The grand magasin even conducts guided tours, workshops, and cooking demonstrations from time to time.
Best Restaurants in Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Saint-Germain-des-Prés has some of the best restaurants in Paris that have become institutions. If you get hungry, be sure to check out one of these restaurants.
Les Deux Magots
The elegant Les Deux Magots is one of the best restaurants in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and there are plenty of reasons why.
It officially opened its doors as a cafe-restaurant in 1884 and was frequented by artists, writers, and intellectuals like Simone de Beauvoir Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, and more, since its establishment.
It has a legendary French cafe vibe and welcomes patrons with freshly-brewed coffee, pastries, hot chocolate, and traditional French dishes.
The cafe is so popular that it became an attraction of its own, so expect huge crowds.
Cafe de Flore
Also known as one of the oldest coffeehouses in Paris, Cafe de Flore boasts an equally aesthetic environment and also amazing post-war clientele, including the likes of Pablo Picasso, Georges Bataille, and Simone de Beauvoir.
Housed in a gorgeous Art Deco building garnished with flowers, the cafe has been featured and mentioned in many songs, books, and films over the years.
Aux Prés Cyril Lignac
To enjoy a hearty French meal in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the elegant Aux Prés Cyril Lignac is your best bet!
Run by celebrity French chef Cyril Lignac, the restaurant specializes in delicious, elevated French cuisine cooked the traditional way and served in a warm, friendly bistro-like atmosphere.
Popular items on the menu include their delicious Lamb shoulder, beef fillet tartare, Chicken escalope, lobster rolls, and steaks. Make sure to also leave room for dessert — the chef’s classic mille-feuille is incredibly delicious!
Le Relais de L’Entrecôte
The doors of Le Relais de L’Entrecôte almost always come with a queue of hungry patrons for its specialty dish — quite literally the only thing available on the menu — steak Frites (also called steak and fries)!
Steak Frites here are typically served with an appetizer of lettuce walnut salad followed by the main star drenched in the restaurant’s special sauce.
Your steak will be served in two servings (opt for your choice of rare, medium rare, or well-done meat), and fries are unlimited.
Ps: Come here in the afternoon if possible because dinner queues can get pretty crazy!
I hope you liked my guide on the best things to do in Saint-Germain-des-Prés!
The neighborhood is perfect as a launchpad for exploring Paris and I highly recommend basing yourself at one of the hotels mentioned above, or else, just be sure to allocate time on your Paris itinerary to check out the area — you won’t regret it.
Check out these posts to help you plan your trip to Paris
- Fun things to do in Paris on a Rainy day
- Famous Paintings in Paris
- Where to Find the Best Macarons in Paris
- Famous Paintings at the Louvre Museum
- Best Covered Passages of Paris
- Most beautiful neighborhoods of Paris
- Fun free things to do in Paris
- Famous Churches to Visit in Paris
- Best Museums in Paris
- Tips for Visiting the Eiffel Tower
- How to spend One day In Paris
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