Alleyways and monuments steeped in history!
At Place Charles de Gaulle, opposite the château, Saint-Germain church is a real treasure trove. Go inside to see the great organ and small organ, both listed historic monuments, the frescoes created in 1849 and 1857 by Amaury Duval, a student of Ingres, and the tomb of James II Stuart, king of England, who spent 13 years in exile at Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
Then, visit the town’s oldest district with its historic mansions. Follow the twisted Medieval streets and cul-de-sacs and admire the private mansions of different eras.
In 1862, Claude Debussy was born in one of them, at no. 38 Rue Au Pain, which housed the Tourist Office for many years. Nowadays, the entire building is a museum devoted to the glory of Debussy, boasting a permanent collection of his personal effects as well as various temporary exhibitions.
Our favourite feature is the internal courtyard with its splendid staircase and railings.
If you really want to take the pulse of this Town, go to Place du Marché. You’ll soon succumb to the charm of the “village” ambience and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants with terraces, very pleasant on a fine day. You might even let yourself be tempted by a spree among the 800 shops.
Arts & Crafts District
Extend your visit to the Ilot Saint-Christophe quarter where you’ll find a concentration of the artistic soul of Saint-Germain. Picture framers, upholsterers, bronze and paper sculptors, illuminator, instrument maker, art and antique furniture restorers and perfume creators all open their workshop doors to demonstrate their techniques and show you their work! Saint-Germain-en-Laye boasts a total of around fifteen different arts and crafts!