Devant le château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye © J. Damase
The royal and imperial town of Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Une des villes historiques les plus fascinantes aux abords de Paris
A favourite residence for many French kings from Louis VI le Gros on, including François I and Henri IV; it was also the birthplace of Louis XIV. The town has preserved not just its medieval heart, but also the Château-Vieux, turned into the Musée d’Archéologie Nationale under Napoleon III, and the Domaine National, the surrounding grounds, featuring the famed Le Nôtre Terrace. Also look out for: the homes of celebrated artists who lived here, including painter Maurice Denis and composer Claude Debussy; the fine townhouses, many owned by aristocratic families in the 17th century; Place du Marché, an arcaded square where many events are put on.