Faubourg Saint Germain – Rue du Bac, Rue de Grenelle

Rue du Bac metro station

The area, where Katie and Georgia live with their grandparents and where the hotel particulair of JB is located, is called Faubourg Saint Germain. The area used to be an agricultural suburb in the backyard of Boulevard Saint Germain and the Saint Germain des Pres neighborhood. During the 17th century it was discovered by the French nobility. Up to then they lived in the Marais, yet Le Faubourg was less populated and less polluted – an ideal place to build their urban mansions. During the Revolution many of these hotel particulair were confiscated and institutions moved in. However, with the reestablishment of royalty the nobility returned. Up to today, Faubourg remains to be the center of French upper class social life and is still one of the most exclusive districts of Paris.

Rue de Grenelle: The word Grenelle derives from the Latin word Garanella, describing a wooden area where rabbits live. However, those rabbits had not to relocate so JB could build his mansion. The Garanella plain was where today’s Grenelle neighborhood is located, in the southwest of Paris. And it saw in 52 BC the Battle of Lutetia where the Gauls were defeated by the Roman Legion. The street is named after this neighborhood that was annexed to Paris by Baron Haussmann.

Rue du Bac: Bac is the French word for ferry. And Rue du Bac was named after a ferry that crossed the river Seine, at the place where later the Pont Royal was built. This ferry carried the stone blocks from the stone mines, which were later partially renovated and turned into the Catacombes, to the construction site of the Palais des Tuileries.

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