Saint- Germain -en- Laye is a city in the western catchment area of Paris in the Yvelines department in the Île- de -France region of France. The city has 40 653 inhabitants (as of 1 January 2011) and covers 48.27 square kilometers.

It lies at the Forêt Domaniale de Saint -Germain -en- Laye, a large wooded area west of Paris, and has a lovely historical buildings.


Saint- Germain -en- Laye was founded in 1020 by King Robert II as a convent on the site of the present church of Saint- Germain. Before the French Revolution in 1789, was Saint- Germain -en- Laye royal town and residence of many French monarchs.

The castle of Saint- Germain -en- Laye was from 1364 to 1367 by King Charles V on the remains of an old castle from the time of Louis IX. built. Francis I put it in the following restore. The kings Henry IV and Louis XIII. worried about the city's architecture.

The Sun King Louis XIV made ​​Saint- Germain -en- Laye to his main residence from 1661 to 1682; its importance for the history of the city is reflected in the fact that his date of birth, September 5, 1638, is immortalized in the town crest. He handed the castle to King James II of England, after it had to go into exile from Britain. James II lived in the castle for thirteen years, his daughter Marie -Louise Stuart was born in exile in 1692. James II Stuart is buried in the church of Saint- Germain. Even after the castle was the center of the courtyard of the exiled Stuarts. During the French Revolution the city's name was changed - as in so many places that suggested a reference to the church or to the Crown: Saint- Germain -en- Laye was Montagne -du -Bon -Air.

Under Napoleon Bonaparte, the Château vieux -called castle was used as a cavalry school, later as a barracks and military prison until Napoleon III. in him the 1867 inaugurated Museum of Antiquities National - National since 2005, Musée d' Archéologie - was set up. This museum shows the development from the Paleolithic ( Old Stone Age ) to the time of the Merovingians.

After the First World War, the Treaty of Saint- Germain was signed in 1919 in Saint- Germain -en- Laye, which marked the end of the monarchy and governed the peace provisions for the Austrian half of the empire. During the occupation during the Second World War from 1940 to 1944 the city was the headquarters of the German army.


Saint- Germain -en- Laye is one of several end stations of the RER A, an S -Bahn -like suburban transport in the Paris region.

Sons and daughters of the town

  • Henry II (1519-1559), King of France
  • Charles IX. (1550-1574), King of France 1560-1574
  • Margaret of Valois (1553-1615), Queen of France and Navarre
  • Louis de Buade (1622-1698), governor of the French colony of New France ( Canada )
  • Louis XIV (1638-1715), King of France from 1643 to 1715
  • Philip I, Duke of Orléans (1640-1701), brother of Louis XIV
  • Louis Adolphe Thiers ( born April 16, 1797 in Marseille, † September 3, 1877 in Saint- Germain -en- Laye ), historian and politician, first President of the Third French Republic
  • Jean Albert Gaudry (1827-1908), geologist and paleontologist
  • Salomon Reinach (1858-1932), cultural historian
  • Théodore Reinach (1860-1928), historian
  • Claude Debussy (1862-1918), composer
  • Edouard Nanny (1872-1942), double bass player and composer
  • Jehan Alain (1911-1940), organist and composer
  • Marie -Claire Alain (1926-2013), organist and music teacher
  • Serge Lang (1927-2005), mathematician
  • Jacques Fesch (1930-1957), Christian mystic and criminals
  • Emmanuel Todd ( born 1951 ), historian, demographer and political writer
  • St Germain (born 1973 ), musician
  • Bruno Besson ( b. 1979 ), race car driver
  • Amélie Mauresmo ( born 1979 ), tennis player
  • Saer Sène ( born 1986 ), football player

Twin Cities

Saint- Germain -en- Laye has the following sister cities:

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