Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments
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Last Updated: 30 January 2022


The historic city of Saint-Germain-en-Laye in the Yvelines département is famous for its royal castle and for being the birthplace of Louis XIV, the Sun King. The terrace of Le Nôtre, the castle’s gardens, the winding streets of the old town, the elegant tree-lined streets of the exclusive residential neighbourhoods make “Saint-Ger” a great destination to discover just 20 km West of Paris.


About Saint-Germain-en-Laye

The city of Saint-Germain-en-Laye has a population of approximately 40,000 (called Saint-Germanois and Saint-Germanoises) including 5,000 foreign residents. The commune is the largest of the Yvelines département and covers an area of 48 km2 (19 sq mi). The territory of the commune includes the National Forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (35 km2).

Map showing the location of Saint-Germain-en-Laye by French Moments
Map showing the location of Saint-Germain-en-Laye by French Moments

Saint-Germain-en-L. is one of the Sous-Préfectures of the Yvelines département alongside Rambouillet and Mantes-la-Jolie. Its post code is 78100.

The old town occupies a plateau overlooking the River Seine and the Western suburbs of Paris (Le Vésinet, Chatou, Nanterre, La Défense, Mont-Valérien).

Roof of Saint-Germain-en-Laye Castle 29 copyright French Moments
The garden of the château © French Moments

Today the city centre of Saint-Germain totalises more than 800 shops, making it the largest open-air shopping district of the Western suburbs of Paris.

Saint-Germain-en-L. gave its name to the famous Paris-Saint-Germain football team who was based at Le Camp des Loges from 1904 to 1974.


Where to stay in Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Use this map below to locate places where you can stay in town:


What to see in Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Town of Saint-Germain-en-Laye 10 © French Moments
Staircase in Saint-Germain-en-L. © French Moments

Sightseeing in Saint-Germain-en-L. includes the castle (Château-Vieux), the park of the castle with the Le Nôtre panoramic terrace, the National Forest of Saint-Germain and the Old Town centre.


About the town’s Coat of arms

Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments
Coat of Arms of Saint-Germain-en-L. on the Pavillon Henri IV © French Moments

The coat of arms of Saint-Germain-en-Laye represents a cot with a date (5th of September 1638) on a blue background that refer to the birth of Louis XIV. The yellow cot is adorned with fleur-de-lis, the symbol of the French royal family.

The coat of arms can be seen on the northern façade of the Henri IV Pavilion, the exact site of Louis XIV’s birth.


Twinned Cities

Town of Saint-Germain-en-Laye 05 © French Moments
Colourful façades in the town centre of Saint-Germain-en-L. © French Moments

Saint-Germain-en-L. is twinned with the following cities:

  • Aschaffenburg (Germany, since 1975),
  • Temara (Morocco, since 1982)
  • Ayr (Scotland, since 1984),
  • Winchester (USA, since 1990),
  • Konstancin (Poland, since 1992)


How to get to Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Vintage road sign by the church © French Moments
Vintage road sign by the church © French Moments

Saint-Germain is served by two lines: RER A and Transilien Line L. Both reaches Paris within 30 to 45 minutes.

To visit the historic part of town, take the RER A.

The RER A runs from Boissy-Saint-Léger in the eastern suburbs of Paris to Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Branches A2 and A1). In Paris it calls at Nation, Gare de Lyon, Châtelet-Les Halles, Auber, Charles de Gaulle – Étoile and La Défense. From the Arc de Triomphe (Charles de Gaulle – Étoile), it takes 22 minutes to reach the RER station situated at the foot of the castle.

More information on train timetables.

The great terrace of Le Nôtre, Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments
The RER A on its way to the station of Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments


Useful Links about Saint-Germain-en-Laye

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


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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 Discovery Courses and books about France.

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