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Ile-de-FranceOn the trail of Francis I in the Paris Area

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Saint-Germain-<br>en-LayeThe Château of Saint-Germain-en-Laye has remained unchanged since its construction by Francis I as it has been restored by Eugène Millet from 1862 to 1867 without changing it's splendid Renaissance theme. The Château, a royal residence from the 12th century, was home to St Louis, Charles V, Francis I and Louis XIV. The Sun King was born there and stayed there often before moving to Versailles in 1682. From the old feudal castle, Francis I kept only the chapel built by St Louis and the dungeon built by Charles V. It was there that he married Claude de France, daughter of Louis XII, in 1514. Under Louis XIV, the castle was for many years the residence of James II Stuart, King of England and Scotland. Napoleon III saved the château by making it the home of the National Antiques Museum which is dedicated to the archeology of the french territory. The castle's former Ballroom now features artifacts from all 5 continents comparing their different history. The castle features one of the largest archeological collections in Europe. With the old Louvre and Fontainebleau, Saint-Germain was one of the favorite residences of Francis I, who was always drawn to the vast forests abounding with game. The Château has strikingly original features: its courtyard is in the shape of an irregular pentagon corresponding to the foundations of the old fortress, its walls are made of pink brick and stone walls, its flat roof is surrounded by a balustrade topped with pilasters decorated with the salamander and the "'F" of François 1er. Today the Château and its park are next to a city in the middle of a large 9,000-acre forest. Saint-Germain, a lovely and youthful town, offers numerous other treasures : the famous Le Notre Terrace overlooking the Seine River, Debussy?s birth place, the Maurice Denis Museum, many elegant pedestrian streets with shops, and beautiful 17th and 18th century mansions.

Additional Information

Musée des Antiquités nationales ? Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye,
78105 Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Phone : 01 39 10 13 00
Fax :01 34 51 73 93
Address 2 :Office de Tourisme, 38, rue au Pain
78100 Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Phone 2 :01 34 51 05 12
Fax 2 :01 34 51 36 01

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