St Germain des Pres
Spread out over the 6th and 7th arrondissements is a historically bohemian neighborhood called Saint-Germain-des-Prés, which was once the meeting place for the world's most well-known intellectuals. Philosophers and artists such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Luc Godard and Giacometti were drawn to the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area where cafés and brasseries became hives for discussions and performances.
Although the neighborhood no longer attracts the artistic crowd it once used to, it still offers two prestigious spots where famous French figures come to chat. Two establishments, one named Les Deux Magots and the other named Café de Flore, represent the quintessential French café experience. At either one of these cafés, visitors can experience the bustling way in which locals take their coffee. Even the servers there are known for their efficiency and professionalism.
After enjoying an espresso at a café, visitors can then see the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. This ancient abbey was constructed in the 6th century, at the location of a former Roman temple. Restored in the 1820s, the abbey became an official French monument historique, or national heritage site, in 1953.
In addition to chic cafés and an ancient abbey, Saint-Germain-des-Prés offers plenty of shopping and dining opportunities, especially near the pedestrian street Rue de Buci. Visitors should keep an eye out for the small, quaint shops offering rare, local products. At night, the neighborhood remains alive with bars and restaurants open until late hours.