Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris

Saturday, 4 February 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Paris / Île-de-France
Reading Time:  4 minutes

Café de Flore © Celette/cc-by-sa-4.0

Café de Flore © Celette/cc-by-sa-4.0

Boulevard Saint-Germain is a major street in Paris on the Rive Gauche of the Seine. It curves in a 3.5-kilometre (2.1 miles) arc from the Pont de Sully in the east (the bridge at the edge of Île Saint-Louis) to the Pont de la Concorde (the bridge to the Place de la Concorde) in the west and traverses the 5th, 6th and 7th arrondissements. At its midpoint, the boulevard is traversed by the north-south Boulevard Saint-Michel. The boulevard is most famous for crossing the Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter from which it derives its name.

The Boulevard Saint-Germain was the most important part of Haussmann’s renovation of Paris (1850s and ’60s) on the Left Bank. The Boulevard replaced numerous small streets which approximated its path, including, from west to east (to the current boulevard Saint-Michel), the Rue Saint-Dominique, Rue Taranne, Rue Sainte-Marguerite, Rue des Boucheries and Rue des Cordeliers. One landmark removed to make way for the project was the prison of the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés which stood entirely on what is now the Boulevard, just west of what is now the Passage de la Petite Boucherie. The boulevard derives its name from the church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés which dates back to the Middle Ages. This area around the boulevard is also referred to as the Faubourg (“Suburb”) Saint-Germain which developed around the abbey.

In the 17th century, the Saint-Germain quarter became a major site for noble town houses, or hôtels particuliers. This reputation continued throughout the 19th century, where the old aristocracy of the Saint-Germain quarter is frequently contrasted with the new upper bourgeoisie of the Right Bank, having their homes on the Boulevard Saint-Honoré or on the Champs-Élysées (as noted, for example, in the novels of Honoré de Balzac and Marcel Proust).

Les Deux Magots © Franchecomte/cc-by-sa-3.0 Roller Skate Race © flickr.com - Jim Linwood/cc-by-2.0 © Tiraden/cc-by-sa-4.0 Boulevard Saint-German and Rue Danton © flickr.com - xiquinhosilva/cc-by-2.0 © Beyond My-Ken-cc-by-sa-4.0 Café de Flore © Celette/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Boulevard Saint-German and Rue Danton © flickr.com - xiquinhosilva/cc-by-2.0
From 1908 to the outbreak of World War II, number 195 was the headquarter of the Office international d’hygiène publique, ancestor of the WHO.

From the 1930s on, Saint-Germain has been associated with its nightlife, cafés and students (the boulevard traverses the Latin Quarter). Home to a number of famous cafés, such as Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore, the Saint-Germain quarter was the centre of the existentialism movement best associated with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. On 27 March 2000, this was commemorated by the city of Paris which renamed the area in front of the Saint-Germain Church, at the intersection of the Boulevard Saint-Germain and Rue Bonaparte, the Place Jean-Paul Sartre et Simone de Beauvoir.

After the Second World War the Boulevard Saint-Germain became the intellectual and cultural site for Parisian life. Philosophers, authors and musicians filled the night clubs and brasseries that line the boulevard.

The boulevard today is a thriving high-end shopping street with stores from Armani to Rykiel. The cafes continue to be sites for intellectual and political gatherings and the nightlife continues to thrive. Nearby is the Institut d’études politiques (“Sciences Po”) and the College des Ingenieurs.

Read more on parisinfo.com – A walk in Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Wikipedia Boulevard Saint-Germain (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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