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Saint Germain

Saint-Germain-des-Prés is an area of the left bank of Paris, France, located around the church of the former Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

Its territory spread along the left bank of the Seine in what is now the sixth and seventh arrondissements. Until the 12th century, the parish church was Saint-Pierre, on the site of the present Ukrainian Catholic church. The abbey continued to grow and flourish, extending its influence and building stone buildings. The name of the rue du Four (in the sixth arrondissement) corresponds to an oven of the abbey. About 1180, the first Saint-Sulpice church becomes the parish church.

This neighborhood became a haunt of intellectuals since the 17th century. The Encylopedists gathered at the Landelle Cafe on the rue de Buci or at Procope, which still exists. Likewise, the future revolutionaries Jean-Paul MaratGeorges Danton, and Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, who lived in the neighborhood. The buildings of the abbey were destroyed in the Revolution, when they served as an armory.

From 1921 until the end of the '50s, Le Divan bookstore, owned by Henri Martineau, also issued a journal of the same name, at the corner of the rue Bonaparte and the rue de l'Abbaye.

After the Second World War, the neighborhood became the center of intellectuals and philosophers, actors and musicians. Existentialism co-existed with jazz in the cellars on the rue de RennesJean-Paul SartreSimone de BeauvoirJuliette GrécoJean-Luc GodardBoris Vian, and François Truffaut were all at home there. But there were also poets such as Jacques Prévert and artists such as Giovanni Giacometti. As a residential address St Germain is no longer quite as fashionable as the area further south towards the Jardin du Luxembourg, partly due to Saint Germain's increased popularity among visitors.