If you’ve been to Paris a couple of times and felt like seeing it from a different angle, I have a suggestion: Picturesque Saint Germain en Laye is about 30 min away if you leave from Châtelet – Les Halles in the very centre of Paris, by RER A1 (Click here for an interactive map).
This makes for a lovely afternoon trip on a sunny day, and there is plenty to see:
- A 12th century château built by King Charles V
- A national forest
- Musée d’Archéologie Nationale
- The Debussy Museum
- A beautiful 2.4km stone terrace with beautiful views over the Valley of the Seine and Paris
We started our promenade on sunny Easter Sunday from the forest, walking all along the terrace and admiring the views, up to the castle, stopping for a hot drink at a cafe by the local theatre and venturing into the streets of the city.
Thinking about it a bank holiday day is not the best day to go into the city as most things were shut. But then again the real beauty of the place is in the environment.
From the end of the 2.4km you can barely see the castle. It’s about 30 minutes walk at a regular pace each way, and very pleasant all along.
Joggers and dog walkers abound here.
You can see Paris below with some of its recognisable landmarks…
View from the halfway point, heading towards the castle a the end:
At the end of the terrace you are rewarded with a beautiful place, a cafe and play areas for the family.
And finally you arrive at the castle and front gardens. Within the castle you will find the Musée d’Archéologie Nationale, and in front of it (on the right in the photo) the theatre which is right next to the RER station and main parking for the city.
Our way into the city streets.
My two recommended spots for sweet teeth:
It’s so important to go discover the less obvious locations. After all, if you go where everybody goes, you may not find your own way.
Saint Germain en Laye, with its beautiful surroundings, and its rich history, is sure to deliver in inspiration next time you visit Paris.