St-Germain-des-Prés City Orientation

Top Reasons to Go

Musée d'Orsay. The magnificent vaulted ceiling and abundant natural light inside this train station–turned–art museum are reminders of why the Impressionist painters thought les gares were the cathedrals of the 19th century.

Jardin du Luxembourg. Take in a puppet show, wander the tree-lined gravel paths, or simply laze by the fountain in one of the city’s most elegant gardens.

Boulevard St-Germain. The main artery of this chic neighborhood is edged with shops and galleries. The top boutiques are clustered around Rue de Rennes.

Café life. This is prime people-watching territory. So pull up a seat at a comfy café, order a coffee, beer, or boisson, and prepare to watch the world go by.

Making the Most of Your Time

Aim for an early start—savor a café crème at a café along the river and get to the Musée d'Orsay early, when crowds are thinner. Leave some time for window-shopping around Boulevard St-Germain and Rue de Rennes on your way to the Jardin du Luxembourg. You might want to plan your visit on a day other than Monday, when the Orsay, many of the art galleries, and even some shops are closed.

Getting Here

The St-Germain neighborhood is in the 6e arrondissement and a bit of the 7e. To get to the heart of this area, take the Line 4 métro to St-Germain-des-Prés. For shopping, use this station or St-Sulpice. It's a short walk to the Jardin du Luxembourg, or take the RER B line to the Luxembourg station. For the Musée d'Orsay, take the Line 12 métro to Solferino or the RER C line to the Musée d'Orsay.

Best Cafés

Café de la Mairie. Overlooking the St-Sulpice church, this retro café recalls the Latin Quarter of yesteryear before the proliferation of luxury boutiques and trendy eateries. 8 pl. St-Sulpice, St-Germain-des-Prés, Paris, Île-de-France, 75006. 01–43–26–67–82.

Café du Métro. You can refuel at this friendly café-brasserie after a shopping spree around Rue de Rennes. Main menu items are pricey, but the free Wi-Fi compensates. Closed Sunday. 67 rue de Rennes, St-Germain-des-Prés, Paris, Île-de-France, 75006. 01–45–48–58–56; www.cafedumetro.com. Closed Sun..

La Palette. The terrace of this corner café, opened in 1902, is a favorite haunt of local gallery owners and Beaux Arts students. Light fare is available throughout the day. 43 rue de Seine, St-Germain-des-Prés, Paris, Île-de-France, 75006. 01–43–26–68–15; www.cafelapaletteparis.com.

Le Bar du Marché. Grab a sidewalk table—if you're lucky—or stand at the bar, skip the food, and order an apéritif at this constantly packed little place. The feel is classic French with a splash of kitsch, right down to the waiters in overalls and berets. 75 rue de Seine, St-Germain-des-Prés, Paris, Île-de-France, 75006. 01–43–26–55–15.

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