The charming old village of Marly
Two towns of Saint Germain Boucles de Seine share an intimate relationship based on their royal past.
Marly-Le Roi is one of those gems.
Recognising the potential of this wonderful little village perched on the hillside at the edge of a vast forest hunting ground, Louis XIV chose it as a place of residence that offered much greater privacy than the one he already owned at Versailles. As described by Gérard Mabille in Views of the Gardens at Marly: Louis XIV: Royal Gardener, “perhaps what the king sought and found at Marly was, ultimately, what was missing at Versailles”.
Besides its radiant past, the old village of Marly still boasts some essential features to be discovered as you explore the little pedestrian streets.
Hôtel de Ville: the current town hall is situated in the former royal kennels; just behind it, the Parc du Chenil is the ideal spot to relax and admire the English-style garden created in the 19th century. And if you want a bite to eat, you have the perfect place just opposite, at the “Auberge du Vieux Marly”!
Place Victorien Sardou: the square bears the name of an ancient playwright (unrelated to the singer, Michel Sardou!), whose former dwelling, Château du Verduron, can be seen with its impressive Allée des Sphinx unfurling behind the splendid gate donated by the Académie Française. The village is dominated by the bell tower of Saint-Vigor church, which is worth visiting for its admirable stained glass windows.
La Grande Rue: the main street, with coloured façades that make you think you’re in a village of Provence.
Another feature that makes Marly so splendid is its superb national domain, which Louis XIV also had built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart. It was later enhanced by Coustou’s marble horses which were commissioned by Louis XV.
The watering pond, built between 1696 and 1698, is another strong symbol that has been depicted many times in the paintings of Alfred Sisley.
Finally, the last gift from Louis XIV to the people of Marly was Saint Vigor church, whose paintings and stained glass windows were restored in 2012. Since 2015, the church itself has also been undergoing major restoration work.
Don’t miss the experience of a gourmet break at one of the village’s numerous restaurants.