"The castle of king Louis XIV" Saint-Germain-en-Laye by gwened

Saint-Germain-en-Laye Travel Guide: 20 reviews and 89 photos

Chateau St Germain en Laye

where n the old one Louis XIV was born, and lived before moving on...now the museum of antiquities, gorgeous, grand, the history of France
behind street see the pavillon Henri VI where there is a seal telling you Louis XIV was born here.
To give lip service to this wonderful city very close to me for many years and spent many afternoons and evenings here. its a lovely town with rich history of France yet not so much visited. i encourage you to do so, its great. A royal town of France, the king was here!

A bit of history,the rich history of this royal town of France.
By 1124AD,the king Louis VI le Gros or Fat (1081-1137), that wanted to impose its authority on the region of ile de France decide to built a castle on the ground of the current one still, facing the church of Saint-Germain.

king François Ier,marries Claude de France in the chapel May 18 1514; and the castle becomes their favorite residency. king Henri II, is born here ,he that will be king by 1547.king Charles IX, in 1561,established a factory of glass or mirrors here. In 1599 king Henri IV, exempts all the residents of the town free of paying taxes ,this will last until 1789!

The king Louis XIII spent his childhood here at the Château-Vieux de Saint-Germain. From 1661 to 1682, king Louis XIV spent an important part of his life here ,and has decorated and arrange the gardens by Le Notre between 1663 to 1680. He,also, ordered the renovation and decoration of the apartments of the castle by Le Brun and Le Vau.

The exile king of Great Britain James II ,cousin of king Louis XIV lived here from 1689 until his death at 1701 (his tomb is at the church of St Germain across the street). In 1777,king Louis XVI bequest the castle in bad condition already to his brother Charles, comte d'Artois, the future king Charles X.

On March 8, 1862 an imperial decree is ordered to create on the castle a museum of celtique and gallo roman antiquities or « Musée des antiquités celtiques et gallo-romaines » , later renamed the national antiquities museum or « Musée des antiquités nationales », and more recently the National Archeological museum or « Musée d'archéologie nationale ». The first rooms of the museum were open by emperor Napoléon III on May 18 , 1867.
On September 10, 1919 the treaty of Saint-Germain (same time as the treaty of Versailles with Germany) was signed in the main room of the castle , this treaty establishing the peace between the allies and Austria ,and ends the dynasty of the Austro-Hungarian empire .

During the WWII, the city is again under nazi occupation from June 14, 1940 to August 25, 1944. The colonel général von Rundstedt , prepares the opération Seeloewe, or the invasion of Great Britain from here. The city becomes the seat of the operation Ob West, or the HQ of Nazi troops from Norway to Biarritz. Many bunkers are built from 1943 by prisioner workers taken from the Organisation Todt, and especially the buried bunkers done for the commanders and located by thestreet rue Félicien David.

The city has museums and many buildings and houses of the period, and a great marché or market not to be missed.

side of Castle by grill

grill entrance to the park

side of castle and gardens

going to the esplanade where the gardens were done by Le Notre and have wonderful views to Paris

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:From Louis XIV the history of France
  • Cons:none
  • In a nutshell:The history of France,another royal town
  • Last visit to Saint-Germain-en-Laye: Jun 2012
  • Intro Updated Oct 29, 2012
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Reviews (12)

Comments (1)

  • gwened's Profile Photo
    Oct 26, 2013 at 1:23 AM

    the castle museum is undergoing rénovations dearly needed as none since 1875. The Chapel where the Young future Louis XIV was baptised is the first one to be redone, starting with the belltower. the rest remains open. FYI

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