Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris

The Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés is the oldest church in Paris and therefore has a wide range of architectural styles thanks to the many renovations through history.

Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés lies just beyond the outskirts of early medieval Paris and was the burial place of Merovingian kings of Neustria. At that time, the Left Bank of Paris was prone to flooding from the Seine, so much of the land could not be built upon and the Abbey stood in the middle of meadows, or prés in French.

The Abbey was founded in the 6th century by the son of Clovis I, Childebert I (ruled 511–558). Under royal patronage the Abbey became one of the richest in France.

It gave its name to the quarter of Saint-Germain-des-Prés that developed around the abbey. This area is also part of the Latin Quarter, because the Abbey donated some of its lands along the Seine—the Pré aux Clercs (“fields of the scholars”) for the erection of buildings to house the University of Paris, where Latin was the lingua franca among students who arrived from all over Europe and shared no other language.

Visit

Abbey of Saint-Germain-de-Pres is still an active church so entrance is free although donations are welcome.

Metro stop: Saint Germain des Pres

Paris 6th Arrondissement

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