Saint Germain en Laye, the gardens!

And back to old familar stumping grounds that while living in Versailles was also a very much visited place with the family for the shopping, the museum and the gardens. Oh yes this is Saint Germain en Laye in my old Yvelines dept 78 of the Ïle de France region.

I have written about the castle, museum and city before, so let me complete by telling you a bit about the gardens of the Château de Saint Germain en Laye.

First, a bit on the castle , briefly as have several posts on it already in my blog.

The Château of Saint-Germain-en-Laye is a former residence of the kings of France. The current castle was built under François Ier by Pierre de Chambiges, from 1539. Enlarged to several times by his successors, it was a royal residence until 1682, when Louis XIV left it definitively for Versailles. The chapel of the castle, in Gothic style, is a vestige of the old fortified castle built by Louis VI le Gros. It was built by Saint Louis (Louis IX) in 1238. Louis XIV was baptized there. The castle was transformed into a cavalry school under Napoleon I, it later housed a military penitentiary. It was restored under Napoleon III. Since 1867, it has housed the National Archeology Museum.

King Louis XIV was born at the Château Neuf now gone, the one you see is the Château Vieux that is the museum. Worth a bit of history here I like

In January 19, 1777, the dilapidated Château Neuf was given by King Louis XVI to his younger brother the Comte d’Artois (later king Charles X grandson of Louis XV) to carry out the work. Demolition and reconstruction projects are established. However, the French revolution arrives, the castle is seized as national property and sold to the former manager who demolishes it, subdivides the land and sells the materials. Today, only the Henri IV Pavilion (a nice restaurant today) , the Garden Pavilion, the Sully Pavilion at nearby Le Pecq, a terrace and its two ramps at the end of rue Thiers which overlooks the avenue du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny and some vestiges in the cellars of the district ,one at 3 rue des Arcades remains.

The gardener Claude Mollet, creates the terraced gardens on the east facade of the Château Neuf for king Henri IV. These gardens, designed at the border of the 16C and 17C, were then adorned with caves, water games and hydraulic automata.

Saint Germain en Laye

On the north facade of Château Vieux, the regular gardens were created under the direction of André Le Nôtre, between 1663 and 1673. This one, much appreciated by king Louis XIV, redesigned the green spaces of the two castles, the Château Vieux by François I and the Château-Neuf of Henri IV; by creating three separate gardens, namely a large flowerbed, a slanting flowerbed and the Dauphine garden.

Saint Germain en Laye

In addition, Le Nôtre imposes here the genius of perspective. Its large terrace, built between 1669 and 1674, 2 km long, is a true masterpiece of perspective. It offers an exceptional panoramic view over the entire Seine valley, extending to the edge of the forest. Beautiful walks in the heart of lush greenery await you. An orientation table will allow you to identify the main landscape and architectural elements of the panorama. You can go free to the park and the large terrace of the Domaine de Saint-Germain-en-Laye every day.

Saint Germain en laye

Saint Germain en Laye

Some webpages as usual by me to help you plan your visit here , and it is a must! are

City of St Germain en Laye on parks and gardens in French

Official Antiquities museum on the gardens in English

City of St Germain en Laye on shops with the gardens info in French

And there you a wonderful city, much to see ,architecturally stunning and full of history near Paris easy on public transports with the RER A; no excuses a must to see. The gardens of the Château de Saint Germain en Laye.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!



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