Renowned for its castle and its vast forest, the royal city of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, place of residence of many kings of France and birthplace of Louis XIV, has preserved much heritage from its rich past.
Former royal residence, the castle of Saint-Germain-en-Laye built in the 16th century for King Francis I houses today to the National Antiques museum. Besides the prestigious archaeological collections, the tour of the castle also takes in the Gothic Sainte-Chapelle chapel and a splendid internal courtyard.
In front of the castle spreads out a magnificent park featuring a landscaped garden great to wander around. Built by Le Nôtre, the Terrasse (terrace) of the park - 2400 metres long and 30 metres wide! - offers an open view of the River Seine, the West of Paris and the La Défense district. A viewpoint indicator helps to identify the surrounding sites.
Not far from the park, you can also walk in the old town along the pedestrian streets lined with old houses and mansions of the 17th and 18th centuries.
The town also offers a wide cultural choice with its museums: National Archaeology museum, situated in the castle; Claude Debussy museum, place devoted to the famous French composer born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye; Maurice Denis Le Prieuré museum which is home to numerous works by Symbolist and Nabi artists.
Saint-Germain-en-Laye is also a shopping town with a great many retail outlets. So many that it has earned the title "the biggest open-air shopping centre in west Paris". Calling all shopaholics!