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Place St-Germain-des-Prés
France > Paris > Left Bank > St-Germain > Place St-Germain-des-Prés

Place St-Germain-des-Prés, the hub of the quartier, is only a stone's throw away from the Musée Delacroix, with the Deux Magots café on the corner of the square and Flore just down the boulevard St-Germain. Be warned that a place on the terrasse of either will inevitably involve you in the attentions of buskers and street performers. Both cafés are renowned for the number of philosophico-politico-literary backsides that have shined their seats, although nowadays they've almostly entirely fallen victim to their fame. The snootier Brasserie Lipp, across the boulevard, is a longtime haunt of the more successful practitioners of these trades.

The robust, eleventh-century tower opposite the Deux Magots belongs to the church of St-Germain-des-Prés, all that remains of an enormous Benedictine monastery. Inside, the transformation from Romanesque nave to early Gothic choir is visible even under the heavy greens and golds of nineteenth-century paintwork. In the choir, the marble columns of the middle triforium level date from an even earlier church on this site, which was erected in the sixth century and housed the remains of the Merovingian kings. The last chapel on the south side houses the tomb of the philosopher René Descartes. In the corner of the churchyard, by rue Bonaparte, a little Picasso head of a woman is dedicated to the memory of the poet Apollinaire.

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