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A Day in Saint Germain-des-Prés

Paris is one of those cities that’s all about the small details and I think that’s what make’s it feel really special.

Since I arrived in Paris nearly two years ago I had to deal with different issues; finding an apartment, getting used to the city… But on reflection even the worst part of settling in the city seemed worth it in the end.

When you finally find the right place for you, waking up every morning in Paris is like a dream come true. I am lucky enough to be able to have breakfast with a nice view. When I am not working, fully appreciating the city is how I have spent my days over the last few years.

Living Like A Local in Saint-Germain

Living in Paris like a local (even though I’m not from France) makes a huge difference. Sometimes, it’s a privilege just to take a walk with my camera and capture a moment from the city’s daily life. Since I live really close to Saint-Germain-des-Prés, on the weekends I like to go to the Cours des Halles market, rue de Seine, to do my fruit and veg shopping. Rue de Seine and the streets that cross it, fizz with activity night and day, as the locals converge to meet at the cafés at night or do their shopping during the day. My favorite florist, Aquarelle, is not far on, 9 rue de Buci. I often end up at The Bar du Marché, 75 rue de Seine. It’s my favorite place to meet with friends at the weekend, especially over a cool glass of Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley.

Literature and Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Saint Germain’s cultural heritage is still a strong part of its identity with literary cafés like the Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots still very much the places where familiar faces from the worlds of art, literature, fashion and film converge. Not far from these glamorous outposts, one can find some world-class museums, such as the Musée D’Orsay or the Musée de Cluny, with its rich collection of Medieval Art.

The bookshops along the left bank are also ideal places to browse for a holiday read and stepping into the San Francisco Book Co. on 17 rue Monsieur le Prince, is always a privileged moment. I love to browse its impressively sourced collection of second-hand copies of American, Irish and English fiction. I often converse with the well-read owner who gives astute and often surprising recommendations.

The animated and lively Shakespeare & Co. is another cultural institution that remains one of the last bastions at which writers converge on a Monday night for a reading, usually in the presence of an international author who is passing through Paris during his/her promotional tour.

Luxembourg Gardens and the Musée du Luxembourg

A walk to the Luxembourg Gardens, should be complimented with a visit to the Musée du Luxembourg, where exhibitions take place all year round. The most recent was the Marc Chagall exhibition and the next, when it re-opens in October, will be “The Dream in Renaissance Painting”. Ernest Hemingway used to come to the Musée du Luxembourg to look at the Cézannes when he was taking a break from his writing and wrote in a moveable feast: “I learned to understand Cézanne much better and to see truly how he made landscapes when I was hungry. I used to wonder if he was hungry too when he painted; but I thought possibly it was only that he had forgotten to eat.”

If you are anything like Hemingway you will have worked up a considerable appetite. The best restaurant to end a day in Saint-Germain-Prés is the illustrious Brasserie Lipp, one of the few Alsacien brasseries in Paris. Former diners include James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Andre Gide, and Ernest Hemingway.

This post has been written by Marie from the fresh Parisian letting agency Habitat Parisien.

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