Sign Up
Newsletter Signup
Free Fodor's Newsletter

Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.

Passport: Your weekly travel wrap-up
Today's Departure: Your daily dose of travel inspiration

Side Trips from Paris Sights

Château de St-Germain-en-Laye

  • Pl. Charles-de-Gaulle Map It
  • St-Germain-en-Laye
  • Castle/Palace/Chateau

Fodor's Review

Next to the St-Germain RER train station, this stone-and-brick château, with its dry moat, intimidating circular towers, and La Grande Terrasse, is one of the most spectacular of all French garden set-pieces. The château itself dates from the 16th and 17th centuries, but a royal palace has stood here since the early 12th century, when Louis VI—known as Le Gros (the Plump)—exploited St-Germain's defensive potential in his bid to pacify the Ile-de-France. A hundred years later Louis IX (St. Louis) added the elegant Sainte-Chapelle, the château's oldest remaining section. Note the square-top, not pointed, side windows and the filled-in rose window on the back wall. Charles V (1364–80) built a powerful defensive keep in the mid-14th century, but from the 1540s François I and his successors transformed St-Germain into a palace with an appearance more domestic than warlike. Louis XIV was born here, and it was here that his father, Louis XIII, died. Until 1682, when the court

moved to Versailles, it remained the country's foremost royal residence outside Paris, and several Molière plays were premiered in the main hall. Since 1867 the château has housed the impressive Musée des Antiquités Nationales (Museum of National Antiquities), holding a trove of artifacts, figurines, brooches, and weapons, from the Stone Age to the 8th century. Behind the château is André Le Nôtre's Grande Terrasse, a terraced promenade lined by lime trees. Directly overlooking the Seine, it was completed in 1673 and has rarely been outdone for grandeur or length.

Read More

Sight Information


Pl. Charles-de-Gaulle, St-Germain-en-Laye, 78100, France

Map It



Sight Details:

  • €9
  • Wed.–Mon. 10–5


Map View

Map of

What's Nearby

  • Restaurants
  • Sights
  • Hotels

Add Your Own Review

When did you go?

Minimum 200 character count

How many stars would you give?




Don't Miss



No Thanks

Love To Travel?

Get FREE e-mail communications from Fodor's Travel, covering must-see travel destinations, expert trip planning advice, and travel inspiration to fuel your passion.

How we use your email

Thank You

Now sit back, relax, and check your inbox to start planning your next travel adventure.

Please tell us more about the type of travel you're interested in. Check all that apply.