Saint-Germain-en-Laye is a town in movement that savours the present, but it remains well aware of its royal and imperial past. Sheltered in the heart of its forest, it showcases its historic centre, including the Château and Le Nôtre Terrace overlooking the Seine and Paris, while launching urban improvement works to promote proximity, social ties and an environmentally friendly focus.

Its project is based on several drivers of shared values: excellence in education, university vocation, international outreach, a profusion of art, natural surroundings and an outstanding heritage.

It also has sport at its heart, hosting and promoting all sorts of sport experiences as the latest chapter in a long and illustrious history: the coup de Jarnac sword stroke in 1547; La Jamais Contente becoming the first road vehicle to go over 100 km/h in 1899; the organisation of the Bol d'Or from 1923 to 1951; and hosting the biggest cycling races on Earth. Paris Saint-Germain also traces its roots to this town.

Saint-Germain-en-Laye embodies a natural conversation between balance and sharing and an ongoing dialogue between heritage and creativity.

Several kings were born in the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye royal palace, including Henry II. An important exhibition on the monarch is set to open on 31 March to commemorate the 500th anniversary of his birth. The building was restored in 1862 and now hosts the National Archaeological Museum, formerly the National Museum of Antiquities.

Its world-class exhibitions take a look at the lives of men and women in France from its origins to the end of the first millennium, going from the first hunter-gatherers to the first kings.

About 29,000 artefacts and series stand as mementos of the evolution of artistic techniques, expressions and representations through time, while the Ballroom and Comedy Theatre host an exceptional comparative archaeology department.

The National Estate adjacent to the Château offers a jaw-dropping view of Île-de-France. Located half an hour from Paris, it has gardens sprawling across 45 hectares and boasts a 1,945 m terrace designed by André Le Nôtre, gardener to the "Sun King", Louis XIV, who was also born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1638.

Place du Marché Neuf, Saint-Germain-en-Laye © Copyright J. Paray
Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye © DA. Vervueren - MAN