Saint-Germain-des-Prés is a quintessential Parisian neighborhood — with cafés frequented by artists, cobblestone streets, and Haussmann architecture.
Paris has plenty of beautiful hotels — including those with excellent amenities, five-star service, and Eiffel Tower views. But one quality travelers often overlook while searching for their Parisian homebase is the neighborhood. In Paris, the ins and outs of daily life occurs within a small radius of your front door. Your morning croissant comes from the boulangerie around the corner, the camembert for your afternoon picnic from the fromagerie down the street, and your evening nightcap at the bistro two blocks over.
In a city that prides itself on its walkability and localization, your neighborhood is everything; it sets the tone for your entire trip.
A Neighborhood of Artists
Tourists tend to flock to the neighborhoods surrounding the Louvre and Place de la Concorde, but travelers in the know — and Parisians themselves — head to Saint-Germain-des-Prés, a neighborhood of artists.
In this neighborhood on the left bank of the Seine, narrow cobblestone streets are lined with the Haussmann-style buildings that have long defined Parisian architecture, and you can wander in and out of art galleries, museums, and parks before enjoying an espresso at Café de Flore, which has been frequented by artists for centuries — from Ernest Hemingway in the 1920s to Sharon Stone and Jack Nicholson in the ‘80s.
An Art-inspired Boutique Hotel
Right down the street from Café de Flore (and the equally famous Les Deux Magots café) is Hôtel Bel Ami. Located in a former printworks that dates back to the 18th century, it is filled with books that pay tribute to its history and interiors featuring the work of modern-day artists as an ode to the great minds and creators who have inhabited the neighborhood for centuries.
The self-proclaimed “art-inspired hotel” showcases playful touches like the solid glass circle behind the concierge desk and cozy Silvera bubble chairs off the entrance. Each of the property’s 102 rooms continue the artistic theme, with pops of color and print tastefully added to each room. Those looking to make Saint-Germain-des-Prés their home for longer than a weekend can explore one of the hotel’s expansive apartments, which have multiple bedrooms, washing machines, kitchenettes, and in some cases, an outdoor terrace.
Each morning, guests at the Hôtel Bel Ami are greeted with a full organic breakfast — including fresh-squeezed juices, house-made bread, and a large selection of warm and cold breakfast offerings. The meal is enjoyed in the bright and airy Restaurant les Mots Passants, which is lit by a wall of windows looking out on the city streets. Guests can also enjoy the meal in the comfort of their room or taken to go.
In the evening, tapas paired with an extensive drink menu set the tone for a night out in Paris.
The property has a small fitness center and an on-site sauna that is available on demand, as well as an extensive spa menu that relies on the sought-after products of Maison Flamel, a skin care company rooted in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood.
Celebrity-frequented Cafés and Michelin-starred Restaurants
There is something about Saint-Germain-des-Prés that draws creatives — from luminaries like Pablo Picasso to modern-day stars like Johnny Depp. Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots hold the title as the neighborhood cafés with the most star-studded histories, but for an authentic French brasserie experience, head to Brasserie Lipp, which is a self-proclaimed “Parisian institution” (and we have to agree).
In addition to storied establishments with a history that dates back to the 1800s, the neighborhood has a blossoming food scene that includes several Michelin-starred restaurants. Within a few blocks of the Hôtel Bel Ami is the Michelin-starred Armani Ristorante, which falls under the arm of the luxury Armani fashion house, and upscale, primarily vegetarian Yoshinori.
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