The Rampe des Grottes in St Germain en Laye!!!

Now I like to bring you in to a new post text and older picture something  I have left behind but needs to be in my blog. Once upon a time, I lived not far from Saint Germain en Laye and visit the city often, especially for its castle and market. One particular spot very historical was the rampes des grottes or caves ramp wall; and that is the reason of this post. Hope you enjoy it as I.

For the geographical, historically incline in me, Saint Germain en Laye is in dept 78 of my beloved Yvelines, in the Île de France region of my belle France. The city if about 17 km from Paris and 13 km from the dept capital city of Versailles. OF course, well connected to both by public transports.

I like to tell you about something I used to do with my boys climbing up and down on the steps of history of France. As it is along with the Henri IV (now restaurant see post) ,and Sully pavilions (latter located in the town of Le Pecq), the Rampe des Grottes ,and the Lions’ wall constitute the only surviving witnesses of the Château-Neuf (birthplace of Louis XIV) ,and of the magnificent composition of successive terraced gardens organized on the slope between the château and the Seine river. Picture below from the ramp in St Germain en Laye to the city of Le Pecq below and afar Paris!

SGL rampe des grottes or caves facing the city of Le Pecq nov13

Under the  terraces, there were seven caves, fitted out in a grandiose manner, in which hydraulic entertainments delighted the King and visitors. But these caves are above all, for Henri IV, a real entertainment. He notably took the ladies of the court there. The Château-Neuf was for the young Louis XIII his most usual place to walk, but the caves inspired him with particular terror and he asked that the keys be handed over to him for fear of being locked up ! This set created at the end of the 16C under Henri IV. is abandoned by Louis XIV in favor of Versailles and the crumbling began.  

 After a second restoration campaign undertaken in 2012, the Doric gallery, fitted with a wrought iron balustrade, was completely restored in 2014, as part of a third work campaign. Some of the more interesting me think are :

The Grotte du Dragon or Dragon Cave animated by a furious dragon who flapped its wings vomiting torrents of water, The Dragon Cave (located in the center of the Doric gallery) is a large gallery of 49 meters long and nearly 10 meters from above.

The Grotte de Neptune had the forehead of God was crowned with reeds; from his beard and hair flowed the waves which mingled with the waters over which he appeared in triumph, while newts and nereids, swimming around him, announced to the humid empire, to the sound of their conches, his dominator and his master. Four winds blew, as treacherous jets of water sprayed on the spectators.

The Grotte des Orgues cave was inhabited by a young and beautiful nymph, whose fingers, set in motion by the force of the waters, produced from an organ sometimes sweet and melancholy chords, sometimes hunting and war tunes. Opposite her, a serpent, seemingly annoyed by the melody of its instrument, was making powerless efforts to reach her with the waves that its gaping mouth threw. Between the nymph and the snake, a black marble table rose from which emitted various jets of water which, when they joined together, represented cups, vases, images. To the sounds of the organ and the sound of the waters, The songs of a large number of nightingales mingled, interrupted by the sinister cry of this ominous bird that an unhappy husband never hears without shivering in the various niches, craftsmen suspended their work as soon as the organ is heard. Near the window, Mercury, one foot in the air, sounded the trumpet as a cuckoo sang its melancholy tune.

The Rampe des Grottes cave ramp wall, located under the Henri IV Pavilion (restaurant now) has collapsed. The staircase giving access to the Castle terrace is therefore closed until further notice. Access is still possible, however, by the opposite ramp located opposite Avenue du Pavillon Sully. This should be temporary , check before coming but worth the detour indeed,.

The St Germain boucles de Seine tourist office on the Caves ramps

There you go folks, a dandy of history and architecture in royal Saint Germain en Laye! This take a bit of walking and descend steps but worth it me think. Hope you enjoy the Rampe des Grottes!

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

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