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The Château-Neuf was one of Saint-Germain-en-Laye’s two castles which served as a royal residence from the mid-16th century until 1680. Built on the grounds of the Château-Vieux it offered a stunning view on the valley of the Seine, as far as Montmartre. Now demolished there are only a few remains of the castle. One of them is the Pavillon Henri IV, birthplace of Louis XIV.


Château-Neuf of Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Château-Neuf of Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1637 by Auguste Alexandre Guillaumot
Château-Neuf of Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1637 by Auguste Alexandre Guillaumot

Next to the Château-Vieux (old castle), a new castle (Château-Neuf) was built by Philibert Delorme in 1557 under the reign of Henri II to accommodate the King’s Court.

Map of Saint-Germain-en-Laye Chateau Neuf by French Moments
Map of Saint-Germain-en-Laye – Château Neuf by French Moments

Originally the Château-Neuf consisted of a central one-level structure framed by four pavilions. Each of them had a second level with sloping Mansart-style ceilings. At the centre Delorme created a quatrefoil-shape courtyard.

The castle was later enlarged and embellished by Henri IV who added three gardens and seven successive terraces down to the Seine linked by elaborate stairs. The new estate welcomed the King’s Court in 1603.

Etching of Château-Neuf in Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Etching of Château-Neuf in Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Etching of Château-Neuf in Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Etching of Château-Neuf in Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King, was born at the Château-Neuf on 5 September 1638. His father, King Louis XIII died there on 14 May 1643.

The castle served as a refuge place to Charles II Stuart after the execution of his father.

In 1777 the dilapidated castle was given by Louis XVI to his younger brother the Count of Artois who started to work on its restoration.

At the French Revolution the castle was confiscated and sold to the former administrator who dismantled the estate to subdivide the land into lots for sale.

Château-Neuf of Saint-Germain-en-Laye by Claude Châtillon (1547-1616)
Château-Neuf of Saint-Germain-en-Laye by Claude Châtillon (1547-1616)

Today there are only few remains of the castle still visible:

  • the red brick wing of the Pavillon Henri IV
  • the Gardener’s Pavilion (Pavillon du Jardinier) in Le Pecq
  • two ramps of a terrace at the end of rue Thiers
  • a few remains hidden in the cellars of houses built in the area.
Town of Saint-Germain-en-Laye 10 © French Moments
Staircase in Saint-Germain-en-L. © French Moments

Video showing a reconstitution of the Château-Neuf:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpcjDEuTq-4

Find out more about the Château-Vieux of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.


Pavillon Henri IV

The Pavillon Henri IV, Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments
The Pavillon Henri IV, Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments

The Pavillon Henri IV (Pavilion) houses a luxury hotel and a gastronomic restaurant which has become over the years a historic place as well as an institution to the town of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. One of its rooms includes the oratory were baby Louis XIV was anointed.

Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments
Coat of Arms of Saint-Germain-en-Laye on the Pavillon Henri IV © French Moments
Birth certificate of Louis XIV at the Pavillon Henri IV © French Moments
Birth certificate of Louis XIV at the Pavillon Henri IV © French Moments

The institution founded in 1850 by a Welshman welcomed a great number of celebrities from aristocrats to artists, writers, politicians and statesmen: French Statesman Adolphe Thiers (1797-1877) who died there, Mac Mahon, Carnot, Félix Faure, Poincaré, Georges V, Alphonse XII, Georges Sand, Victor Hugo, Zola, Daudet, Millet, Liszt, Pasteur, and Sarah Bernhardt. Maybe one of the hotel’s most famous guests was Alexandre Dumas who wrote there the Three Musketeers and the Count of Monte Cristo. At the hotel Composer Offenbach composed some of the music to his famous operettas. The house was temporary given to Mohamed V of Morocco in November 1955.

The restaurant is famous for being the place where pommes soufflées and sauce béarnaise were created.

And since the Pavillon Henri IV is a hotel, guess what – you can book a night in the very building where king Louis XIV was born! ?

>> Book your room in the Pavillon Henri IV*** <<

Entrance to the Pavillon Henri IV, Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments
Entrance to the Pavillon Henri IV, Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments
Château-Neuf of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, painting by Adam Frans van der Meulen
Château-Neuf of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, painting by Adam Frans van der Meulen

Useful Links about Saint-Germain-en-Laye

The Castle of Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments
The Castle of Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments

Some of the links above are affiliates so if you’re planning a trip, using these links helps me keep things running. There’s no extra cost to you. All you have to do is click the link and any booking you make is automatically tracked.


 

About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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Transparency: Some blog posts and pages may contain affiliate or sponsored links. If you are planning a trip, the use of these links helps us to run the site. There is no additional cost to you. All you have to do is click on the link and any booking you make is automatically tracked. Thank you for your support!

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