The station was opened on 9 January 1910 as part of the connecting section of the line under the Seine between Châtelet and Raspail. It is named after the Place Saint-Germain and the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, dedicated on 23 December 558 by the son of Clovis, Childebert I (ruled 511–558), at the request of St. Germain, Bishop of Paris. Childebert died the same day and was buried in it. More than a thousand years later the remains of the philosopher René Descartes were also buried in it. The expression "des-Prés" refers to the Prés aux Clercs ("fields of the scholars") used for the erection of buildings to house the University of Paris.