French commune


mapcaption=Location (in red) within Paris inner and outer suburbs
canton=Chief town of 2 cantons
insee=78551| cp=78100| gentilé=Saint-Germanois
maire=Emmanuel Lamy| mandat=2001-2008
intercomm="none as of 2005"
alt moy=78 m |alt mini=22 m |alt maxi=107 m
38,423|date-sans=Jan. 1, 2005 estimate)
(March 8, 1999 census| dens=851|date-dens=2005
:"For treaties with this name see Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (disambiguation)"

Saint-Germain-en-Laye is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris in France. It is located 19.1 km (11.9 miles) from the center of Paris. Inhabitants are called "Saint-Germanois". With its elegant tree-lined streets it is, with Garches-Vaucresson, the wealthiest suburb of Paris, combining both high-end leisure spots and ultra-residential neighborhoods (see the Golden Triangle of the Yvelines).

It is a "sous-préfecture" of the Yvelines "département", being the seat of the Arrondissement of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Because it includes the National Forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, it covers approximately 48 km², making it the largest commune in Yvelines. It occupies a large loop of the Seine. Saint-Germain-en-Laye lies at one of western terminus of the line A of the RER.


Saint-Germain-en-Laye was founded in 1020 when King Robert the Pious (ruled 996-1031) founded a convent on the site of the present Church of Saint-Germain.

Prior to the French Revolution in 1789, it had been a royal town and the Château de Saint-Germain the residence of numerous French monarchs.The old château was constructed in 1348 by King Charles V on the foundations of an old castle ("château-fort") dating from 1238 in the time of Saint Louis. François I was responsible for its subsequent restoration. In 1862 , Napoleon III set up the "Musée des Antiquités Nationales" in the estwhile royal château. This museum has exhibits ranging from Paleolithic to Celtic times. The "Dame de Brassempouy" sculpted on a mammoth's ivory tusk around 23,000 years ago is the most famous exhibit in the museum.

Kings Henri IV and Louis XIII left their mark on the town.

Louis XIV was born in the château (the city's coat of arms consequently shows a cradle and the date of his birth), and established Saint-Germain-en-Laye as his principal residence from 1661 to 1681. Louis XIV turned over the château to King James II after his exile from Britain after the Glorious Revolution in 1688. King James lived in the Château for 13 years, and his daughter Louisa Maria Stuart was born in exile here in 1692. King James Stuart is buried in the Church of Saint-Germain.

Saint-Germain-en-Laye is famous for its 2.4 kilometre long stone terrace built by André Le Nôtre from 1669 to 1673. The terrace provides a view over the valley of the Seine and, in the distance, Paris.

During the French Revolution, the name was changed along with many other places whose names held connotations of religion or royalty. Saint-Germain-en-Laye became Montagne-du-Bon-Air.

In the 19th century, Napoleon I established his cavalry officers training school in the Château-Vieux.

During the occupation from 1940 to 1944, the town was the German Army Headquarters.


Saint-Germain-en-Laye is served by Saint-Germain-en-Laye station on Paris RER line A.

It is also served by two stations on the Transilien Paris – Saint-Lazare suburban rail line: Saint-Germain – Bel-Air – Fourqueux and Saint-Germain – Grande Ceinture.

Finally, Saint-Germain-en-Laye is also served by Achères – Grand Cormier station on Paris RER line A and on the Transilien Paris – Saint-Lazare suburban rail line. This station is located in the middle of the Forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, far away from the urbanized part of the commune.



Saint-Germain-en-Laye was the birthplace of:
* Henri II (1519-1559), King of France
* Charles IX (1550-1574), King of France
* Louis de Buade de Frontenac (1622-1698), French courtier and Governor of New France
* Louis XIV (1638-1715), King of France
* Claude Debussy (1862-1918), composer of European classical music
* Maurice Denis (1870-1943), painter and writer and a member of the Symbolist and Les Nabis movements
* Jehan Alain (1911-1940), composer of European classical music
* Albert Dupontel (born 1964), actor
* Amélie Mauresmo (born 1979), tennis player
* Jonathan Eysseric (born 1990), tennis player

Twin towns

Saint-Germain-en-Laye is twinned with:
* Aschaffenburg, Germany - since 1975
* Temara, Morocco - since 1982
* Ayr, Scotland - since 1984
* Winchester, Massachusetts, United States of America - since 1990
* Konstancin-Jeziorna, Poland - since 1992

External links

* [ Saint-Germain-en-Laye official website]
* [ German bunkers in Sant-Germain-en-Laye]
* [ Saint-Germain-en-Laye personal website of history, a lot of pictures, not official] (in French)

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