Boulevard Saint-Germain is a boulevard on the left bank of Paris (France), so named in honor of Bishop Germain of Paris (496–576), and because of the proximity of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés church (former abbey).

3,150 meters long and approximately 30 meters wide, Boulevard Saint-Germain starts from the Seine at the corner of the Quai Saint-Bernard and opposite the Île Saint-Louis, in the 5th arrondissement, runs along the river a few hundred meters at the foot of the Sainte-Geneviève mountain, then crosses the 6th arrondissement and joins the Seine again at the Quai d’Orsay, in the 7th arrondissement. It is the main road in the Latin Quarter, with Boulevard Saint-Michel and Faubourg Saint-Germain.

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.

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).

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.

Main sights

Section of the 5th arrondissement: from the Pont Sully to Saint-Michel boulevard

No 5: the photographer Eugène Pirou had his studios in this building in 1889.

No. 20: Consulate General of Uruguay in the 1920s.

No. 21: building from 1881-1882 built by the architect Jean Boussard.

No 37: André Pieyre de Mandiargues and Henri Cartier-Bresson lived there.

No. 43: here took place during the siege of Paris the municipal council of Bourg-la-Reine.

No. 45: Georgette Elgey lived there until her death.

No. 47: Le village Ronsard restaurant. In Jean-Pierre Melville’s film, Le Cercle rouge, shot in 1970, Bourvil lives above the restaurant.

No. 53: 18th century mansion, formerly located rue des Noyers. Armand Salacrou lived there.

No. 57: building of the Special School of Public Works, built on the site of a row of old houses, one of which was the birthplace of Alfred de Musset in 1810.

No. 71: in 1864 the Cluny theater was built, on part of the site of the former Mathurins convent.

No. 74: building where Doctor Simon Noël Dupré (1814-1885), professor of anatomy and surgery, poet, singer and French politician lived and hanged himself.

Section of the 6th arrondissement: from boulevard Saint-Michel to rue des Saints-Pères

No. 79: Hachette bookstore, founded in 1826 by Louis Hachette, replaced by a bank since 1994.

No 87: Édouard Branly (1844-1940), French physicist and doctor, radio pioneer, lived in this building.

No 90: the architect Charles Garnier died there; a plaque pays tribute to him.

No. 99: UGC Danton cinema.

No. 104: the doctor Arnold Netter lived there; a plaque pays tribute to him.

No. 108: the Journal of Economists held its headquarters there in the 19th and 20th centuries.

No. 111: headquarters of La Revue Politique et Littéraire and La Revue Scientifique in the years 1870-1890.

No. 112: apartment of Pierre-Charles Pathé, and headquarters of the Committee of Intellectuals for the Europe of Freedoms.

No 113: Mk2 Odéon cinema.

No. 120: plaque from the City of Paris in homage to Doctor Pierre Simon.

No. 123: the Polish Bookstore in Paris.

No. 124: UGC Odéon cinema.

No 126: the writer Gilbert Cesbron lived there from 1946 to 1979; a plaque pays tribute to him.

No. 143: The Madison Hotel. André Malraux spent the winter of 1937 there.

No 145: Monument to Diderot by Jean Gautherin (1886), recalling the place where he lived, then rue Taranne; Steph Simon gallery in the 1950s.

No. 145: Lipp brewery. Moroccan opposition leader Mehdi Ben Barka was kidnapped in 1965; a plaque pays tribute to him.

No. 147: the art historian Élie Faure (1873-1937) lived on the top floor until his death.

No 153: the Polish historian and politician Joachim Lelewel lived there in 1832; a plaque pays tribute to him.

No. 155: the painter Antonio de La Gandara (1861-1917) lived there when he died.

No 166: La Rhumerie, bar frequented in particular by Antonin Artaud.

No 167: the resistance fighter François Faure lived there; a plaque pays tribute to him.

No. 172: the Café de Flore, one of the most famous literary cafés in Paris, where winners of the Goncourt prize meet, poets from all eras, and where some ideologues of the Russian or Chinese revolutions and great literary personalities have passed.

No. 175: location of the Hôtel Selvois. Sonia Rykiel boutique inaugurated in 2008.

No. 184: building designed in 1878 by the architect Édouard Leudière for the Geographical Society.

No. 186: at this corner was the Saint-Germain cemetery, also called Saint-Pierre cemetery.

Section of the 7th arrondissement: from rue des Saints-Pères to the Pont de la Concorde

No 177: the politician Édouard Frédéric-Dupont lived there from 1908; a plaque pays tribute to him.

No. 195: building designed by the architect Charles Garnier in 1882 for the Hachette family, originally comprising one apartment per floor with an area of 423.45 m2.

No. 197: building designed by the architect Jean-Louis Pascal in 1882 for the Lefevre family.

No. 198: last home of the painter Jean-Achille Benouville, who died here in February 1891.

No 202: home of the poet Guillaume Apollinaire. The latter left Auteuil in January 1913 to move into this building whose proximity to the Café de Flore he appreciated, among other things. He resided there until his death in November 1918. A plaque pays tribute to him.

No. 205: offices of the International Labor Organization in Paris.

No. 215, and 2 and 4, rue de Saint-Simon: neo-Renaissance style mansion built by the architects Vaucheret and Potier between 1881 and 1885. Headquarters of the College of Engineers since 2009.

No 216: Embassy of Montenegro in France.

No. 217: Varengeville hotel, formerly located rue Saint-Dominique, built in 1704 by the architect Jacques V Gabriel and remodeled by Jean-Baptiste Leroux. Today it houses the House of Latin America, founded in 1946 on the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to strengthen and develop relations and exchanges of all kinds between France and the republics of Latin America.

No. 218: hotel formerly located rue Saint-Dominique, inhabited from 1714 to 1746 by the memoirist Louis de Rouvroy, Duke of Saint-Simon; a plaque pays tribute to him.

No. 222: museum of letters and manuscripts (from 2010 to 2015).

No. 233: building acquired in 1981 by the National Assembly to house a certain number of its services there.

No. 241: François Fillon’s headquarters for the 2016 Republican presidential primary and the 2017 presidential election.

No. 243: the singer and composer Pauline Viardot lived there from 1884 until her death in 1910; a plaque pays tribute to him.

No. 248: Hôtel de Lesdiguières, also known as Hôtel de Béthune-Sully.

See more:

20 arrondissements of Paris

Architecture of Paris

Museums of Paris

Entertainment in Paris

Bridges in Paris

Parks in Paris

Streets and squares in Paris

Shopping in Paris

Transport in Paris

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