The Royal town of Saint-Germain-en-Laye
The royal past and pleasant living environment of Saint-Germain-en-Laye radiates throughout Yvelines
It was Louis VI, known as “le Gros” (the fat) who decided in 1124 to have the château built at Saint-Germain-en-Laye. After gaining the status of “residence” under Louis VII, the château housed almost every king of France up until 1682, when Louis XIV left Saint-Germain for good and went to Versailles.
The most famous residents of the Château-Vieux (old château) were Louis IX, aka Saint-Louis, who built the chapel, François Premier who added the site’s Renaissance touch, Henri II, who initiated the building of the Château-Neuf (new château) below the old one, Henri IV, who stayed there on a regular basis, and Louis XIII, who died there.
As for Louis XIV, who was born on 5 September 1638 at the Château-Neuf, his usual place of abode was the Château-Vieux between 1666 and 1681, when Saint-Germain enjoyed unrivalled growth. There are numerous hôtels particuliers dating from that period. Among them, the private mansion of the Marquise de Maintenon on Rue du Vieil-Abreuvoir is probably one of the most typical.
A number of personalities from the artistic world also stayed there, including musicians like Claude Debussy, Lulli and Mozart, and painters such as Maurice Denis and the Vera brothers.
The biggest open air shopping centre in the west of Paris
Just 25 minutes from Paris on the RER, Saint-Germain offers a real change of scenery, flaunting its many assets and economic dynamism amid heritage, nature and the art of living.
You will succumb quickly to the charm of the pedestrian streets and uncountable sunny squares lined with youth-filled terraces.
Enthusiastic shoppers and food-lovers have plenty of choice among the 800 boutiques devoted to fashion, interior design and gastronomy. Not forgetting the excellent market which is held on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays at Place du Marché. Ambiance guaranteed!
Gastronomy and nightlife
For a bite to eat or to enjoy a drink, the town has many great addresses. From home-made dishes to fine-food restaurants, not forgetting the creperies, pizzerias and other international options worthy of this cosmopolitan place! There’s considerable choice, whether it’s French cuisine, Mexican cocoa chicken or Indian dishes that take your fancy.
Need an idea for the evening? Enjoy a drink while supporting the PSG football team, share a platter as you listen to jazz music, let your hair down at a rock concert, go to see a classical play, or simply gaze at the stars from the edge of the forest. Anything’s possible!
Don’t forget to try the local culinary specialities: chocolates, Saint-Germain and Debussy cakes and cheeses.
Leisure activities for every taste
Throughout the year and whatever the day of the week, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding things to do, many of which are free. For music lovers, there are concerts at the bandstand and in the church. If you’re looking to take a breath of fresh air in the great outdoors, go hiking or cycling along the forest paths. History buff? We have four museums and the heart of the town is one of the oldest in the entire Ile-de-France region.
During the summer, the Fête des Loges is THE event west of Paris! Go along with family or friends for some breathtaking experiences and plenty of fun.
You’ve guessed it, Saint-Germain appeals in many ways and you can enjoy its charm just outside the capital.