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André Le Nôtre in St Germain-en-Laye…

Ever since Alex posted some photos on her Facebook over a year ago of her walk in the woods of St Germain-en-Laye, Frédéric and I spoke often of visiting it ourself. But alas, all talk, no action…

When Lauren and Danielle started planning for an afternoon out in this western suburb of Paris, I jumped at the opportunity to tag along. We were joined by Anne, Deanna and Lauren’s adorable pup, Daisy. Moreover, with “free” daily transport within Ile-de-France in the summer thanks to the dézonage of Navigo – it is now back to weekends and public holiday only – it would be silly not to take advantage of it.

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

A short fortnight later, I found myself hopping back on the RER A towards St Germain-en-Laye, this time with Frédéric and Nicolas in tow. For the second time in as many weeks, I was admiring the beautifully designed garden of the Château of St Germain-en-Laye by André Le Nôtre, principal gardener to King Louis XIV (who was, incidentally, born in St Germain-en-Laye) and the man responsible for raising the bar in the construction of formal French gardens.

In conjunction with the 400th birthday of this architect-cum-gardener who also gave us the amazing gardens of Versailles, a number of events have been organised in Le Nôtre’s honour. The Palace of Versailles hosts a number of events throughout l’année Le Nôtre while at St Germain-en-Laye, the palace and its garden become grounds for installations of contempory arts.

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

Some of the exhibits are easier to spot than others. The more hidden ones are identified thanks to the knee-high explanation plates usually placed not too far away from the installations. A couple of them are so well-camouflaged that I thought they were part of the original garden layout and component; it was only on closer look that I found them to be otherwise.

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

The view from the long stone terrace towards the Seine and Paris is unparallel. From small wineyards and vegetable farms in the valley of the Seine to the unmistakeable skyline of La Défense and the silhouettes of the Eiffel Tower, Montparnasse Tower and the Butte Montmartre, one word – wow! Definitely a good spot for picnic with a view on a warm summer afternoon.

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

A walk in the woods along gravelled path and in the shade proved to be equally pleasant. However, for our next trip, we should plan for more time to head out into the vast Forest of Laye. The boys and I skipped it during our excursion for the Fête des Loges was in operation and none of us wanted to exchange the calm countryside for funfair madness.

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

St Germain-en-Laye

Last but not least, prior to leaving (or on arrival even), a quick stop for ice cream certainly couldn’t go wrong. La Fabbrica de Luca is a fairly new addition to the town, and the quality of their gelato is top notch. You can also ask for a milkshake with any one of the ice cream flavours, if you want something else for a change. Thumbs up!



Category: Event, France, Paris

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2 scribbles & notes

  1. med says:

    sweet summer with ice cream hehe….princess bed….interesting when time for bed or when u wake up in the middle of the nite hoohooo

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