Flâneries in Paris: A Walk in Saint-Germain-des-Prés

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Flâneries in Paris: A Walk in Saint-Germain-des-Prés
This is the 19th in a series of walking tours highlighting the sites and stories of diverse districts of Paris. No flânerie should ever be a rush. It’s a go-with-the-flow sort of walk, which may end up longer or shorter than you’d intended. Regular readers may recall that my plan for walking between two of the city’s grand churches, Saint-Sulpice and Saint-Germain-des-Près, was never finished, even though it’s really a 10-minute stroll if you don’t get distracted. But the various delights of Saint Sulpice – the square, the lion fountain, the Delacroix paintings inside – had turned the walk into a pleasurable dally. Time passed, I lingered, I got no further. Marché Alimentaire Saint-Germain. Photo credit: Marian Jones It was on another day then, months later, that I went back to “the poshest market in Paris” as I have seen the Marché Saint-Germain described, to carry on where I left off. As soon as I entered the cheerful market entrance, with its sparkly sign where the word alimentaire is written large, I knew that culinary delights awaited. The Comptoir du Marché’s scribbled blackboard promised a three-course meal for 25 euros, and the carefully worded descriptions were enticing. If it weren’t just 10 am, which entrée would I choose: millefeuille with goat’s cheese or salmon tartare with a ginger and lemon sauce? Hard to say, but really it was picnic items I wanted and there was plenty of choice: Iranian pâtisseries, gâteau ricotta from the Italian delicatessen, little tubs of delicately braised seasonal vegetables. The Comptoir du Marché’s blackboard. Photo credit: Marian Jones I popped a couple of carefully wrapped little packages into my bag and set off into Rue du Four, a narrow street whose name gives away its history. The four was a communal oven which belonged to the Abbey of Saint-Germain in the 13th century, the place where the monks baked their bread. At the end, I turned in to the even tinier Rue des Ciseaux, a good example of the medieval streets which were mostly swept away by Baron Haussmann in the 19th century and replaced with majestic avenues. And sure enough, just at the end of Rue des Ciseaux was one of his showpieces, the Boulevard Saint-Germain. Marché Saint Germain. Photo credit: Marian Jones

Lead photo credit : Place Furstenberg, courtesy of Marian Jones

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Recently retired from teaching Modern Languages (French and German), Marian now has time to develop her interests in travel and European culture and history. She will be in Paris as often as she can, visiting places old and new, finding out their stories and writing it all up as soon as she gets home. Marian also runs the weekly podcast series, City Breaks, offering in-depth coverage of popular city break destinations, with lots of background history and cultural information. She has covered Paris in 22 episodes but looks forward to updating the series every now and then with some Paris Extra episodes.


  • Pam A
    2023-08-18 06:31:36
    Pam A
    This was delightful to read. I will be visiting this area the end of next month and will refer to your writing


    • Marian Jones
      2023-10-21 06:02:09
      Marian Jones
      Merci beaucoup, Pam. I hope you had a really enjoyable visit to St Germain. It's the perfect spot for a wander, or indeed several wanders!