A St. Germain des Prés Treasure: The Hotel St. Vincent
In the heart of St. Germain des Prés, on one of Paris’s quietest streets—the Rue du Pré aux Clercs—one finds a charming hotel reminiscent of all for which the Left Bank is known. Once a place that housed the disabled, this fully renovated hotel combines modernity with Napolean III-style décor, a style associated with Baron Haussmann’s renovation of Paris between 1852-1870.
We found the Hotel St. Vincent to offer a refreshing sense of charm and elegance without pretentiousness—a comfortable combination of Parisian chic with modern conveniences in a historically and culturally desirable location. Situated at the crossroads of art and fashion in one of Paris’s most famous areas, the Hotel St. Vincent is a terrific choice for its location alone.
Within walking distance of the hotel one finds the Seine, the Musee d’Orsay, the Sorbonne, the Luxembourg Gardens, the National Assembly and more. On our last evening in Paris, we attended a Saturday night organ concert in the Notre Dame cathedral. Afterwards, we strolled through the lively streets of St. Germain des Prés, listening to the sounds of laugher, conversation, music and gaiety amidst galleries, bistros, art dealers, restaurants and bars.
The neighborhood of St. Germain des Prés takes its name from the oldest church in Paris. Parts of it date back to the 6th century. After depredations by the Normans, the church was restored in 1163 by Pope Alexander becoming a fine example of Romanesque architecture. Facing the church is the Café des Deux Magots which because the favorite haunt of existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre and author Simone de Beauvoir immediately after World War II. The area became a hotspot for avant-garde theater, painting and jazz, drawing such personalities as Picasso and Samuel Beckett, among others.
On the ground floor of the Hotel St. Vincent ascends a lovely spiral staircase providing a gentle reminder of the days guests once lugged their suitcases up the stairs. Now the speedy elevator whisks guests up to their own particular floors. We used the hotel’s key attached to a weighty fob to unlock our room’s door—a charming throwback to yesteryear before electronic locks became standard in larger, commercial hotels. Our boutique-style hotel had 24-hour reception service, and we handed our key to the hotel manager whenever we departed the building. Beyond the reception and entry was a charming lounge area lined with sofas and tables, inviting guests to sit by an enchanting fireplace.
Our room at the Hotel St. Vincent was quiet and cozy, decorated in a simple, elegant style. It was easy to see that a good deal of renovation was required to update these rooms, now providing state-of-the art improvements, particularly regarding the plumbing and wi-fi accessibility. We especially enjoyed the shower and towel-warming bar that provided a heated towel for immediate use. Inside our room was a safe for our valuables within the closet that also contained a minibar. A pair of twin beds were pushed together and covered with a comforter. Our room came with free wi-fi, air conditioning, flat-screen tv and an iron with ironing table.
Room rates start at €205 for a standard room, €270 for a superior single room, €295 for a superior double or twin room, and €570 for a suite. Hotel St. Vincent offers a family room for a maximum of 4 people for €590. A generous buffet breakfast is included in the room rates and is offered from 7 am to 11 am with room service available.
Private chauffeur service is available from the hotel for transfers between Paris train stations and Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports, as well as for other uses. Rates are posted on the hotel website.
Check out a separate website for Hôtels du Faubourg Saint-Germain, a group of 3 hotels: Saint Vincent, Saint Thomas d’Aquin, Lenox Saint Germain here: http://www.hotelsdufaubourgsaintgermain.com/ The group also sponsors a blog (in French), covering relevant news of St. Germain des Prés, found here: http://lesechosdufaubourg.blogspot.fr/
The hotel manager of Hotel St. Vincent disclosed that more than 50% of his clientele comes from the United States. Tour managers are encouraged to contact the hotel directly to ask about group rates.
For a lively, three-minute video showing Hotel St. Vincent’s rooms and images of the area of St. German des Prés, be sure to check out the YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iLDRw-kO9M
Hotel St. Vincent
5 Rue du Pré aux Clercs
75007 Paris, France
Tel: +33 1 42 61 01 51