Saint Cloud!!!

Ok so this one is a big task but feels worth the mention in my blog and will expand on future posts. Its a place that I have been several times but not from a tourist/visitor point of view so no photos. However, many meetings there and one hobby of mine that took me there often.

I like to tell you a lot on Saint Cloud, dept 92 Hauts de Seine, in the Ïle de France region. Just next to Paris! Sorry for my very creative post name ::)

Saint-Cloud is a huppée and residential town, it is mainly known for the Saint-Cloud park it shelters. The town is 10 km from Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral point zero.  It extends over the slopes which dominate the left bank of the Seine river ,opposite the Bois de Boulogne. The city center is located 3 km from the Porte de Saint-Cloud and the Porte d’Auteuil ,this two I have driven often. The town is bordered to the north by Suresnes (see post, and where I have worked), to the west by Rueil-Malmaison (emperatrice ..), Garches and Marnes-la-Coquette (driven thru and the highest per capita income in France)  and to the south by Sèvres (the porcelain town) and Ville-d’Avray (see post). Its eastern limit is materialized by the Seine river which separates it from the towns of Boulogne-Billancourt and Paris (Bois de Boulogne) via the passarelle de l’Avre footbridge.

Saint-Cloud was built on a hill, therefore many stairs, and even escalators, run through the town, oh yes indeed many almost perpendicular! and tight narrow streets! . The town of Saint-Cloud is known to many motorists for being the starting point for the first French highway: the A13 (Autoroute de Normandie) . Until 1974, the A13 stopped at the Pont de Saint-Cloud bridge. Since then, it has been connected to the Paris BP or boulevard périphérique or ring road by the Saint-Cloud viaduct which overlooks the Seine and by a tunnel under  Boulogne-Billancourt. Saint-Cloud owes its name to Clodoald, grandson of Clovis; threatened by his uncles, Clodoald moves away from power disputes and settles in Novigentum, a hamlet of loggers and fishermen where he builds a moustier or monastery of which there is still a wall. The town takes the name of “Sanctus Clodoaldus”. From then on, the town will often be at the heart of History.  Saint-Cloud bears witness to a rich and prestigious past. And I know, needed to visit more for the sights.

Some of this history is long and precious, I will condense as much as possible here.

An abbey developed in this place in 765, it is in third position, just after the abbot of Saint-Denis and that of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.  The Church of Saint-Cloud became collegiate with nine canons by the Bulle of Pope Alexander III in 1165. Saint-Cloud knew the Norman invasions of 845, 856, 861 and 885 which came to plunder Paris. During the Hundred Years War in 1358, the English took the village, burned it and massacred the inhabitants. Saint-Cloud was burnt down in 1411, during the fighting between Armagnacs and Bourguignons. In 1433, the inhabitants were crushed with requisitions. In 1556, Henri II built the stone bridge of Saint-Cloud, and Henri III authorized the inhabitants to surround themselves with walls and ditches. The lordship belonged to the bishop of Paris who lodge in the most beautiful house in Saint-Cloud, sold to Catherine de Médicis, who gave it to Jérôme de Gondi in 1577.

In 1589, Henri III, who had settled in the Château de Saint-Cloud built by Jérôme de Gondi to lead the siege of Paris, held by the Leaguers, was assassinated there by the monk Jacques Clément. Henri IV is recognized as king there. Near Paris and on the road to Versailles, the Château de Saint-Cloud was bought by Louis XIV and given to his brother Duke Philippe d’Orléans. He created its park from 1658. In 1674, Louis XIV erected a duchy peerage for the archbishops of Paris. Louis XVI acquired it in 1785 to offer it to his wife Marie-Antoinette. Then, both the castle and the park played an important role in the history of France throughout the 19C.

Napoleon Bonaparte carried out his coup d’etat on 18 Brumaire Year VIII or November 9, 1799, and made it his favorite residence, where the magnificences of the imperial court of Napoleon I spread . The civil marriage of Napoleon and Marie-Louise is celebrated there in 1810. In 1814, Saint Cloud was occupied by the Russian general count de Langeron, (born in Paris) who respected the castle and the inhabitants. In 1815, at the end of the Napoleonic epic, the Prussian marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher moved to the castle. Drunk with revenge, he lacerates silks and draperies, devastates the bedroom and the library. In 1817, the palace became a royal residence, and the Montretout mountain was later converted into a garden reserved for the Duke of Bordeaux (Henri d´Artois or Comte de Chambord, refuse to be king under the tricolor flag and the monarchy ended with him, should have been Henri V). Louis XVIII began barracks and buildings completed there by Charles X, who, on July 30, 1830, left it forever. It is from there that he leaves for exile. Napoleon III was proclaimed Emperor there on December 1, 1852.

On July 15, 1870, the Franco-German War of 1870 was declared to Prussia in a council held at the Château de Saint Cloud. After the French defeat, on October 13, 1870, the castle, previously occupied by the Prussians during the siege of Paris, was set on fire, according to the Prussian version, by a shell fired by the French from the fortress of Mont-Valérien. The Prussians who had no interest in defending a French building, destroyed by the French themselves, did nothing to prevent the fire and let the castle burn. However, the French claimed to have found in the ruins several traces of fuel. Fortunately, the Empress Regent Eugenie had ordered the removal of the most precious works of art to the furniture repository. Be that as it may, the city emerged almost completely destroyed from the war, only 21 houses remained standing. It was then necessary to rebuild it. At the start of the 20C, the very recent Coteaux district passed into posterity thanks to the resounding exploits of the balloonists of the Aéro-Club de France (at Rue Galilée Paris) , including Alberto Santos-Dumont.

Here is a break and advance by the City of Saint Cloud on its heritage in French: City of Saint Cloud on its heritage

Some general public transport and parkings of Saint Cloud:

There are strict regulations on parking from a  rotating zone the parking is payable from Monday to Friday from 9h to 19h and Saturday from 9h to 13h . In the resident area: parking is payable Monday to Friday from 9h. to 19h.  It is free on weekends, holidays and the month of August. The Parking spaces available are Colline: 1, place Georges-Clemenceau; Liberation: 5, rue Dailly, Joffre: Place Joffre ;Orleans: Rue d’Orléans; Quai Carnot: under the A13 viaduct; Tramway Parc de Saint-Cloud : Near the T2 station,  Marché des Avelines: 38, Bd de la République, Desfossez: Rue du Docteur-Desfossez. Mine always is in black.

The city is served by the SNCF (from Gare Saint Lazare), nine bus lines, the tramway, a municipal minibus service. The Metro in Boulogne-Billancourt, and taxis complete the transport offer. The prominent bus lines me think are the Line 52 Parc de Saint-Cloud / Opéra Garnier. Line 72 Parc de Saint-Cloud / Paris Hôtel de Ville, and line 471 Versailles Rive Droite station / Coteaux station. Noctilien night buses ,also goes through Saint-Cloud with the N53 Saint-Lazare / Nanterre Université RER line (Saint-Cloud Val d’Or station served every hour from 0h30 to 5h30 ). Then you have the tramway line 2 or T2
Pont de Bezons / Porte de Versailles  Parc de Saint-Cloud station with bus lines tranferts  52, 72, as above. By the Pont de Sèvres station metro line 9  located in Boulogne-Billancourt and close to the Saint-Cloud park; by the Boulogne – Pont de Saint-Cloud station of  metro line 10 of the Paris metro, also located in Boulogne-Billancourt and close to the center of Saint-Cloud; and by the Val d’Or station and the Saint-Cloud station located on lines L and U of the Transilien trains from Saint Lazare.

Now some of the things to see in this wonderful town are

The constructions of the decorator architect Louis Süe, see the villa de Jeanne Paquin done in 1912 at 33 rue du Mont-Valérien and the villa de Jane Renouardt at 2 rue de Buzenval which he built from 1924 to 1925 in the company of painters André Mare and Jean Claude Nicolas Forestier and the Compagnie des Arts français. The Jardin Stern garden, avenue Pozzo-di-Borgo: created in 1927 by Jean Claude Nicolas Forestier, this terraced garden spanning the railway track. The Château de Pélican  is also a monument of the city.

It was in the national domaine de Saint-Cloud, also called Parc de Saint-Cloud, that the castle was located, the holiday residence of several French sovereigns. The French gardens, designed by Le Nôtre, have been preserved. More on this wonderful property more garden that most historians claimed on Louis XIV, he governed from Versailles, but his friends are entertained at Saint Cloud! See oficial webpage here in English. Domaine de Saint Cloud

And the Hauts de Seine dept 92 tourist office on the castle in French: Hauts de Seine tourist office on the castle

Jardin des Tourneroches garden offers one of the most breathtaking panoramic views of the city , centered on the Eiffel Tower, embracing the Bois de Boulogne and Paris from the natural balcony of the hillsides. These lands have belonged since 1860 to the powerful family of Goyeneche, the Grande of Spain and the Dukes of Gamio. During these years the property was called Castel Gamio. The house, known as the Villa Tourneroches, was built in the 1930s. Doctor Débat bought the property located on either side of rue du Mont-Valérien; this area already carries a house, outbuildings and a garden fitted out at the beginning of the century; he razed the house and built his house, a caretaker’s house and a house near the station; it preserves the park, the outbuildings and the pre-existing dovecote.  This neo-medieval Church of Saint Clodoald dominates the center of the old town. It was rebuilt under the Second Empire by the architect Pierre-Félix Delarue, between April 1861 (laying of the first stone) and May 1863 (blessing), in place of the old collegiate church which housed the crypt containing the tomb apocryphal of Saint Clodoald. Inside the church, under the altar of the chapel dedicated to Saint Cloud, a shrine contains his relics. The Church Notre-Dame-des-Airs was built in 1919, owes its name to the memory of the frequentation of the it and area by aviation pioneers such as Santos-Dumont. Another spot dear to me because many times drove by it to avoid traffic on the A13 going to Paris!  This is the Hippodrome de Saint-Cloud racecourse . It was inaugurated on March 15, 1901, and is today a galloping racetrack, with a 2,300-meter grass track with rope on the left, which covers an area of ​​75 hectares. More on the racecourse from the Paris tourist office in English here: Paris tourist office on the Saint Cloud racecourse

The first Pont de Saint-Cloud bridge appeared in history in 841 during a conflict between Charles le Chauve and Lothaire I ,the sovereigns therefore crossed the Seine by boat, and the course was they will died. Well, François I having already died in Rambouillet, made his convoy paraded on the bridge and the embarrassing tradition was broken without risk, the king being already dead. The wooden bridge was then demolished and in 1556, his son Henri II built a magnificent bridge made up of eleven stone arches. Napoleon ordered its repair in 1808, it was 12.8 meters wide. It was then rebuilt in 1940 and widened to 30 meters, for a length of 186 meters. Copper-clad metal deck crosses the Seine in a single spray, simply placed on six rows of columns of reinforced concrete. In order to allow circulation along the quays, underground passages have been laid out on both banks. The Avre reservoirs are four reservoirs built between 1891 and 1938 to allow water to be stored before it is transported to Paris. This water is routed from the department of Eure-et-Loir thanks to a 102 km long aqueduct passing through the passarelle de l’Avre footbridge. At the Avenue de Longchamp, in Saint-Cloud, a bronze statue commissioned by the Air Club of France represents the character of Greek mythology Icarus, in honor of Santos Dumont. The monument is located in a square near the old Aeroestation of Saint-Cloud, where Santos-Dumont carried out its experiments on heavier than air, and the monument was inaugurated on October 19, 1913.

In October 2011, the town of Saint Cloud joined the “Imperial City” group, created jointly by the towns of Saint-Cloud, Rueil-Malmaison, Compiègne and Fontainebleau. The aim of this group is to enhance, from a tourist and cultural point of view, the Napoleonic heritage linked to the First and Second Empire. It must be said that in Saint-Cloud this heritage is very present with the Saint-Clodoald Church erected under the Second Empire, the house of the famous composer Charles Gounod dating from the 19C, and of course, the National Estate, witness to ‘a time when the Château de Saint-Cloud was one of the most prominent places in the country. There are other cities in Europe, the webpage is here for reference: Imperial cities on Saint Cloud

In 1929, Jean Cocteau entered the Saint-Cloud clinic for the second time trying to detoxify himself from opium. He took the opportunity to write Les Enfants terribles in 17 days. Also, some nice films I have enjoyed over time with some location here are from the 1955-56, Elena et les Hommes of Jean Renoir, at the Bois de Saint-Cloud; in 1966, Le Grand Restaurant of Jacques Besnard with Louis de Funès, with a scene in the park of Saint-Cloud.

Ok so all that , and what was that I came here often, almost every weekend while living in Versailles? Well, Le Savour Club went to the Les Chais du Savour St Cloud at 12 Bis Rue De Dailly was an extraordinary wine cellars where you buy the best of France and tasted before purchase. They held many wine tasting events and many pairings with delicious dinners and an experience crowd. We love it and could not resist driving here to be in it.  Several times we had our lunch just a bit below facing the Place Georges Clemenceau ,the Bistrot Le Saint Cloud at 2 Rue De Dailly , which I am afraid could not verifie if still open.I am sad to see ,it has now become more a beer place than wine, Craft Beers & Cie even if still keep the wine status in their store in Lille. See the new webpage here: The Savour Club Saint Cloud

saint cloud

Surely , memories forever, and as often the case nothing is eternal. The anecdote in all of this long post, is that for a great town, close to me never dwell into its things to see but went as an everyday resident/local for the wines and the occassional lunch and that it was. One more spot of my belle France that need to see more in depth time and health permitting. Hope you have enjoy the post, and maybe tell me about Saint Cloud yourselves.

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

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