Saint-Germain-des-Prés is one of the oldest and most authentic districts of the French capital. It’s known around the world for its picturesque and romantic charm, as well as for its exceptional cultural appeal. It is in this unique setting that the Hotel du Danube stands. Treat yourself to a break in our 3-star establishment and you’ll have the opportunity to discover the history and heritage of this fascinating part of Paris at your leisure.
Saint-Germain-des-Prés: 1,500 years of history
The Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés was founded in 543 by Childebert I, the son of Clovis I, king of the Franks. A community grew up around the abbey over the centuries, while the abbey itself also evolved with its stone buildings built around the year 1000 and the renovation of the church in the 19th century.
The district developed its reputation as an artists' refuge from about the late 17th century, with the opening of the Café Procope, today the oldest continuously operated café in Paris. In the 18th century it was frequented by Diderot and D’Alembert, while Racine, Delacroix and Balzac were regulars in the 19th century. However, it was in the 20th century that Saint-Germain-des-Prés reached its cultural peak, when the likes of Apollinaire, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre frequented the now legendary literary cafes of Saint-Germain-des-Prés such as the Deux Magots, Flore and Brasserie Lipp.
A rich heritage
The architectural heritage of Saint-Germain-des-Prés undoubtedly contributes to its world-famous charm. The Théâtre de l’Odéon, inaugurated by Queen Marie-Antoinette, and the Musée Eugène Delacroix are essential cultural attractions housed in exquisite buildings.
Also worth visiting is the first French museum ever opened to the public, the Musée du Luxembourg, and the Institut de France, with its golden dome resplendent by the side of the Seine. For collectors, the antique shops on the Rue Verneuil and the art galleries on the Rue de Seine are unmissable.
Hotel du Danube, a 3 star hotel in the heart of the Saint Germain des Prés district