From the bestselling author of The Most Beautiful Walk in the World comes this first book in an exciting new series of narrative “biographies” of Paris’s great neighborhoods, beginning with Saint-Germain-des-Pres—the city’s “rebel quarter,” for centuries a center of artistic, intellectual, and revolutionary activity and home to some of Paris’s most iconic cafes and shops.
For many years, Saint-Germain-des-Pres has been a stronghold of sans culottes, a refuge to artists, a paradise for bohemians. It’s where Marat printed L’Ami du Peuple and Thomas Paine wrote The Rights of Man. Napoleon, Hemingway, and Sartre have all called it home. Descartes is buried there. Now bestselling author and Paris expert, John Baxter takes readers and travelers on a narrative tour of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, which is also where Baxter makes his home.
Tucked along the shores of the Left Bank, Saint-Germain-des-Pres embodies so much of what makes Paris special. Its cobblestone streets and ancient facades survive to this day, spared from modernization thanks to a quirk in their construction. Traditionally cheap rents attracted outsiders and political dissidents from the days of Robespierre to the student revolts of the 1960s. And its intellectual pedigree boasts such luminaries as Pablo Picasso, Arthur Rimbaud, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Simone de Beauvoir, Gertrude Stein, and Albert Camus. Baxter reveals all, guiding readers to the cafes, gardens, shops, and monuments that bring this hidden history to life.
Part-history, part-guidebook, Saint-Germain-des-Pres is a fresh look at one of the City of Light’s most iconic quarters, and a delight for new tourists and Paris veterans alike.