Located in the popular Saint Germain-des-Pres area of Paris (6th arrondissement), the Abbey of Saint Germain-des-Pres is one of the oldest churches in Paris with parts of the church dating back to Roman times.
The Abbey is a mix of different architectural styles due to its long history of renovations but has the familiar cavernous sanctuary and soaring arches as well as beautiful wall frescoes and some amazing trompe l’oeil. You will notice the the “mason work” is really painted outlines to look like stone.
Being one of (if not the) oldest church in Paris, you can view the many histories of Paris in its architecture.
Rarely busy (as in I have never had to wait in line to enter), this is an easy pop in and see site of Paris. It is also located directly across the street from Les Deux Magots (and a few more steps from Cafe de Flore) so after you have sipped your cafe au lait and finished your croissant, stroll over and see this magnificent church.
You may be treated to organ practice. On my last visit, I enjoyed some lovely organ music as I explored.
FREE. Abbey of Saint-Germain-de-Pres is still an active church so entrance is free although donations are accepted.
Free guided tours are every Tuesday and Thursday at 3pm according to their website. However, Google showed Tuesday’s tour being at 11am…well it is France and everything is subject to change.
If you miss the guided tour and really want a guide, there is an audio guide available on Google Play and Apple Store. There is a fee for the app download.
You don’t need a guide (in person or audio) to enjoy this lovely church.
Address: 3 Place Saint-Germain des Pres 75006 (6th arrondissement)
Metro stop: Saint Germain des Pres
Directly across the street from Les Deux Magots
I hope you add the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres to your Paris itinerary. Just like Sainte Chapelle is an easy add on visit if seeing Notre Dame, the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres is an easy add-on if visiting the Saint Germain des Pres area and especially if you are stopping at the famous Les Deux Magots or Cafe de Flore cafes.
Have you visited the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres? What did you think?
When strolling the streets of Paris, it is hard not to miss the stunning old churches that dot the city. They are magnificent works of art in their own right and often have gorgeous frescoes painted by famous artists.
Unfortunately, Paris is known for the abundance of scam artists so it is important to know which churches have free entry like at Notre Dame and which churches have paid entry like at Sainte Chapelle. Once when I was visiting the Abbey of Saint Germain des Pres, a free entry church, a very official looking man tried to get me to pay to enter.
So that you aren’t scammed, here is how you tell the difference…if the church is “active” meaning the church still holds services and provides ministry to the people, it is a free church. Notre Dame is still an active church holding Mass and other services so entry to the church itself is free. There is a fee to visit the bell tower. Sainte Chapelle, however, is no longer an active church which is why there is a fee to enter.
You will find that most of churches in Paris are free entry and are a great budget friendly way to view the history, art and charm of the city.
Pro tip: Not glamorous but sure functional. When touring around Paris, I always wear a money belt with a little extra cash and a credit card in case I get pick pocketed. Buy yours here (affiliate link).*
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Notre Dame may not be one of the wonders of the world but it should be! Every inch is covered with something amazing to see. Like most of Paris, it is dripping with history and the cathedral is a great example of Gothic architecture.
While visiting Notre Dame, my mom and I were walking around the inside perimeter of the cathedral, taking it all in, when it was announced a Mass service was soon to begin. Always wanting to attend a Mass service, we couldn’t believe our timing and decided to participate.