Origins of Saint-Germain-des-Prés district date back to the VIth century : king of Francs
Childebert, Clovis’ son, besieged the Visigoths at Saragossa in 542. Back into the
Franc realm, upon the advice of abbot Germain, Childebert made built a basilica outside Paris to shelter his treasure, relics from Saint Vincent of Saragossa : a coat, and a golden reliquary-cross.
The basilica was consecrated in 558, Childebert died a few months later… It became a royal necropolis very quickly, right before basilica of Saint Denis.
Bit-by-bit, the basilica became an abbey and the most important monastic complex of Paris, attracting students, men of letters, publishers.
With the church (and its emblematic 1,000 years old bell tower) as a key point, the district became a hang-out for artists who used to meet at cafés (like Le Flore, les Deux Magots), students, and symbol of party notably postwar years, with the famous cellars where we used to play jazz.
Near Odeon, we find picturesque and peaceful paved-stone courtyards, and the first literary café of Paris (1686!), and further, Saint-André des Arts street, which name recalls us the missing church at the end of the street – close to the Fountain Saint-Michel- and which conserved its pristine form and some city palaces from the XVIIth century.
Photo credits : Emilie Robaldo