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Paris, France - Video Tour of Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Part 1)

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Published on Mar 16, 2011

Welcome for this new video tour of a great neighborhood of Paris by New York Habitat ( http://www.nyhabitat.com ). Today we are going to visit another lively part of Paris in this video tour: Saint-Germain-des-Prés!

This will be the first episode of a three-part series dedicated to Saint-Germain-des-Prés, so be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel ( http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c... )or check back on our blog ( http://www.nyhabitat.com/blog/2011/03... ).

The Saint-Germain-des-Prés area stretches just south of the Seine and east of the Latin Quarter, and was once a large monastery and a tiny market town. Its name in French means "Saint Germain in the meadows", and that was exactly where it was located: outside the walls of the city.

The monastery was founded in 532 by Childebert, the second king of France. It became rich and powerful, but did not survive the Viking raids of the 9th century. The monks then camped in the ruins until 990, when the monastery was rebuilt by King Robert the Pious.

The town between it and the city was a very lively place. Eventually theaters started popping up. By the 17th century, the town boasted the composer Lully's first opera house, Moliere's first theatre and the first Comédie Française. It eventually became a well-known literary and artistic center.

With construction starting in approximately 1000 A.D., the Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Prés is the oldest existing church in Paris. Most of it is Romanesque. The rounded arches, small windows and heavy walls of the bell tower are typical of the Romanesque style.

The area soon became a center for artists, intellectuals and writers. Already in the 17th century, the village was home to writers like Racine and La Rochefoucault. In the 19th century painters like Delacroix and Manet, and writers like Balzac settled here. Benjamin Franklin and Oscar Wilde lived near the square, as well. In the 1920s, many Americans were attracted by the charm of the neighborhood. Hemingway and his wife lived here, and Henry Miller often found himself in the district. Later, Picasso moved here and this is where he painted Guernica.

Life here still centers on the square in front of the church and on 3 famous cafés nearby. The square is a popular meeting place, often featuring musicians and sculpture displays.

Les Deux Magots, located at 6 place de l'Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Prés, is named for 2 Chinese figures on the wall inside, left over from when the café was a silk merchant's shop. When it opened, the café was a favorite of the poets Verlaine and Rimbaud. In the 1930s, Picasso liked to come here. In the late 30s, the café was frequented by the existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre and the writers Camus and Prévert.

When the café became a favorite of the Germans occupying Paris, Sartre and his colleagues abandoned it for Café de Flore on the next block, at 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain. The owner gave them the upstairs to sit, drink coffee and write. Sartre wrote his famous treatise Being and Nothingness in this location.

The other famous drinking place is the Brasserie Lipp, across the street at 151 Boulevard Saint-Germain. It was favored by the poets André Gide and Paul Valéry in the 1920s and it was here that Hemingway wrote A Farewell to Arms.

The Institut de France, at 23 quai Conti, with its distinctive dome was built in the 17th century for Louis XIV's Prime Minister, Mazarin. It is now the French Institute, the headquarters of the five French academies of arts and sciences. The most famous academy is the Académie Française, whose jurisdiction is the French language.

Of course, the best way to live like a local is to rent a furnished apartment in the heart of this famous neighborhood, such as this furnished studio in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés ( http://www.nyhabitat.com/paris-apartm... ).

Remember that New York Habitat offers many other great furnished apartment rentals in Saint-Germain-des-Prés and all over Paris ( http://www.nyhabitat.com/paris-apartm... ), including furnished apartments ( http://www.nyhabitat.com/paris-apartm... ) and vacation rentals ( http://www.nyhabitat.com/paris-apartm... ).

We hope you have enjoyed the Saint-Germain area, a neighborhood where history and culture meet.

Thank you for watching this video tour by New York Habitat. We hope to see you soon, sipping coffee like a local, in the heart of St-Germain-des-Prés.

Continue watching with Part 2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcjHcv...) and Part 3 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSrWkr...) of our Video Tour.

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