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Resources and Heritage

National Forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Its 3,533 hectares make the Forest of Saint-Germain the second largest forested area of Yvelines after the forest of Rambouillet (12,900 hectares).

This forest is populated with hundred-year-old trees and is an inviting place for walking throughout an extensive network of rides, alleys, roads and horse riding paths...

A wide variety of species are represented there:

- Sessile oak (53%),
- Beech (18%, planted in abundance between 1890 and 1950),
- Hornbeam (8%),
- Scots pine and European black pine (12%),
- Plus: maple, ash, wild cherry, rowan, birch, aspen, wild service tree, chestnut.

  • The Path of the Oratories (marked by blue crosses, 18 km long, a total walking time of 5 to 6 hours). Two variants: 13 and 9 km. Departure from the car park of the pool near Étoile des Neuf Routes (‘Star of Nine Roads’). The path passes by the foot of crosses and niches (modest oratories housing statuettes and placed in the forest over the ages).
  • The Fitness Circuit (Woodland Path), equipped with 10 fitness elements and 2 ground exercise stations. Total length: 2km. Departure from the car park of the pool near Étoile des Neuf Routes (‘Star of Nine Roads’).
  • The Discovery Path of the Val: Through 13 stations, walkers can discover the rich features of our forest area. At each stop, a display will describe the current panorama.
  • Water Sources: A pond called “la Mare aux Canes” (Route du Houx); l’étoile du Loup; a pond called “Étang du Corra” (along Route de Conflans).
  • The Crosses: They are used as landmarks and guides, but some of them were erected to commemorate events or to honour famous figures. Here are a few of the crosses on the path of the Oratories: Pucelle Cross (1423), Saint-Simon Cross (1635), Noailles Cross (1751)...

Should you happen upon a Republican Guard or police officer on horseback, don’t be surprised. The protection of walkers and constant monitoring of the forests of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Marly is part of the tasks assigned to the riders of the Goupil district, the training centre for the Republican Guard Regiment since 27 October 1965.

It is also one of the functions of the National Police!

 

The Le Nôtre Terrace

From 1668 to 1675, Le Nôtre created a series of gardens next to both castles of Saint-Germain-en-Laye: King François I’s Château-Vieux, and King Henry IV’s Château-Neuf (the latter castle was demolished at the end of the 18th century, as well as its terraced gardens).

Le Nôtre completed his work with the construction of a terrace 30 metres wide by 2400 metres long. The wrought iron railings were installed between 1857 and 1871.

This area still continues to be a highly renowned place for walking, with a magnificent view of western Paris.

Please also note:

A viewpoint indicator to identify the elements of the panorama,
Concerts held on Sundays in June and July, at 3:30 p.m. at the bandstand.

Free access, via the Park of the Castle of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Domaine National), everyday from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. during the summer, and until 5 p.m. during the winter. The opening hours are posted on the entrance gate.

Church of Saint-Germain

It is the fourth church in the same location since 1028... The existing church was finished in 1827 (the first stone was laid 60 years earlier under the reign of King Louis XV) and is located on the site of the little priory. It is dedicated to Saint Germain and Saint Vincent, who founded the town at the start of the 11th century.

Attractions:

  • The tomb of James II Stuart, King of England and Scotland (James VII), who died in exile at Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1702,
  • Chapels (St. Charles, St. Louis, St. Vincent de Paul),
  • The Grand Organ (Historic Monument) built by Alexandre Thierry in 1698 for King Louis XIV.
  • A 14th century stone statue of “N.-D. de Bon Retour”, 17th century pulpit.
  • And from the peristyle, a view from the Castle to the “Jardin des Arts” (Alexandre Dumas theatre).

Saint-Germain-en-Laye, always concerned to protect its architectural heritage, has launched a programme to restore its church over a several year period, from 2014 to 2018.

The restoration work will ensure long-term durability of the building, and protection of its works, cleaning and restoration of the frescoes decorating the vaulted ceilings of the chapels is intended to restore the appearance of the painted decors, such as the frescoes, and to ensure reflection of the natural light and appreciation of the volumes of the space. Read more...

 

The Historic City: A Protected Sector of 65 Hectares

This very lively and active part of the city is ideal for shopping excursions, cultural excursions (stately homes) and entertainment excursions (5 cinemas).

Saint-Germain-en-Laye, shopping city: the great majority of its 800 shops are established in the very heart of the old city centre: this remarkable situation makes Saint-Germain-en-Laye "the largest open air shopping centre in western Paris". Of special note are the well-developed food shop sector and a very well developed hotel and restaurant sector.

Saint-Germain-en-Laye’s market is very typical, picturesque and animated and is held on Place du Marché Neuf, on Tuesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Attractions:

Arcaded houses of the market square, houses built at the start of the 19th century. A typically French, very animated square, with shops and a market held several times per week.

The Historic City: A Protected Sector of 65 Hectares