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Last Updated on 14th January 2019 by Sophie Nadeau

Around twenty minutes west of Paris by ReR regional train, lies the quaint town of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Complete with its own royal palace, a couple of other museums and enough patisserie shops to make you drool, it’s the perfect place to go on a day trip out of Paris…

Introducing Saint Germain en Laye, the Birthplace of Debussy

Located in the Île de France and with a population hovering around forty thousand people, the pretty town of Saint Germain en Laye is best known as being the birthplace of Debussy. And with an amazing view over Paris and vast woodlands to walk in, the town also has a rich history.

For more information, there is also a tourism office in the centre of the town with plenty of information on nearby attractions.


Things to do in Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Visit the Musée Archéologie

The château at Saint-Germain-en-Laye was once key to the French court and kings of France before they moved to Versailles. It was here that Napoleon I created his cavalry training school in the 19th Century. Today the palace is a museum, the National Archaeology Museum for France. There are particularly good displays about pre-History. There is also a chapel that you can visit.

Visit: between Wednesday and Monday.


Explore the Domaine Saint-Germain-en-Laye

The amazing view over the former gardens allows you to see all the way to La Defense (and on a clear day, Paris itself). The woodland and long plane tree lined avenues are lovely to walk around and make a great place to have a picnic.

At the very end of the garden is the Jardin Anglais (English Garden). The wending pathways here were created with the introduction of the railway line in order to ‘beautify’ the garden when the new tracks cut up its previous periphery.


Learn about Debussy at Maison Debussy

Located on the first floor above the Tourism office, the house of the composer Debussy is free to visit. Although it is not known in exactly which room the famous French composer was born, the museum consists of many of his personal possessions and it is here that he lived with his wife and daughter ChouChou.

Visit: between Wednesday and Monday.

Eat a pastry at Gouley

This award winning patisserie shop has more patisseries that I have ever seen in my life! From macarons to tarts, there is a rainbow of flavours, fruits, and sweets to choose from. After a lot of deliberation, I decided to go for the pistachio and raspberry tart.


Wander around Place des Marchés

Situated in the very heart of the town is the main square. Surrounded by independent boutiques, cheese shops, boulangeries and, of course, patisserie shops, it is a great place to stop, drink an expresso and go people watching.


Annnddd, if you want to see more, I’ve done a vlog of my trip to Saint-Germain-en-Laye:

How to visit Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Take the RER A in the direction of Saint-Germain-en-Laye from Auber. The train takes around

saint-germain-en-laye day trip from paris, france, home to debussy and the archaeological museum

About Author

Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, Paris, pizza, and history, though not necessarily in that order. A fan of all things France related, she runs when she's not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming her weight in sweet food. Currently based in Paris after studies in London, she's spent most of her life living in the beautiful Devonian countryside in South West England!


  • Mathilde
    3rd June 2017 at 8:02 am

    The museum about thé french painter Maurice Denis is also a interesting place to discover on Saint Germain en Laye

  • Christine Tatum
    12th September 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Thanks for sharing the vlog! I WILL be watching it over and over and dreaming of my trip!

  • Ashley
    16th February 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Awesome! I want to visit Paris someday- what a gorgeous city with so much history!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  • Maddy
    15th February 2016 at 11:37 pm

    I am so in love with this post! I’m visiting Paris for the third time this summer and I feel like I want to spend a day or two outside of the city! I’ve never heard of this town but it looks so quaint and perfect for a day trip. Especially since it’s so close by.

    After all of the deliberation, was the pistachio and raspberry tart a good choice? It sure looks like it was! YUM.

    Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂


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