Sevres-Babylon is more than a neighbourhood, it’s a meeting place, a place of contrasts. The aristocratic grace of the 7th arrondissement blends into the merry whirlwinds of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Haussmann-style buildings and 17th century buildings rub shoulders in perfect harmony. Under the Ancien Régime many different religious congregations existed here. Convents and monasteries abounded in what was then the outskirts of the city. The Revolution was over, but the quarter retained a not-at-all monastic spirit, but rather one of discretion made up of elegance and courtesy. Like the marvellous Jardin Catherine Labouré, rue de Babylone, a clue to the former presence of the nuns. And still in rue du Bac, like the Séminaire des Missions Etrangères, which has one of the most beautiful enclosed gardens in Paris open for visits on Heritage Day.
The churches here are visible... or perhaps hidden. Do you know, for example, of the existence of Saint Ignatius church, at the corner of rue de Sèvres and boulevard Raspail, which is accessed through a seventies building? Another magical stop: square Roger Stéphane, at the end of impasse Recamier, on the edge of the city. An enchanting tangent whose name is spoken on the quiet - a secret because it is invisible from the street.
Sèvres-Babylone is the serene grace of timeless elegance.
True to its nature as a meeting point, the neighbourhood alternates fashion, luxury, and delicious food shops. The pretty shops on rue de Grenelle are answered by the gourmet shops on rue du Cherche-Midi. On the same side Rue de Sèvres has the Chantelivre bookstore, the mecca of books for young people, the superb Hermès store and the Maison du Chocolat. After buying shortbreads at Poilâne, taste the exquisite Mozzarella at Cherche-Midi, the wonderful soufflés at Récamier, or the simpler dishes offered at La Marlotte, and even take a moment to explore Musée Maillol. Finally, in the shade of César’s centaur that adorns the crossroads, it is very pleasant to drink a spritz on the terrace of Café de la Croix Rouge or a glass of St Joseph at the legendary Sauvignon wine bar. Another place where life is good...
Everything possible has already been written and said about Bon Marché, but it is still something not to be missed for lovers of French excellence. And as for its Grande Epicerie, even the least epicurean souls would die for it. The infinite variety of the products and their quality make it the very heart of the Parisian gourmet food scene.