St. Germain the ancient residence of the kings of France.

Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Castle, residence, Robert Batty, France,
The Castle of St. Germain.


THE Castle of St. Germain was formerly one of the finest royal residences in France. It took its name from a monastery, which was built in the forest of Laye by King Robert. In the year 1370, Charles V. laid the first foundations of a castle. It was taken by the English in the reign of Charles VI., but was retaken in that of Charles VII.

Francis I. whose passion for hunting detained him frequently in this residence, caused the old castle to be pulled down, and a new one to be built nearer to the river. This is known by the name of the Old Castle, to distinguish it from another built by Henri IV., and of which there is now nothing remaining but some ruins. Louis XIII. embellished it, and Louis XIV. added the large towers which flank its angles.

This palace, which was often inhabited by the Kings of France, and where Henry II., Charles IX., and Louis XIV were born, is now entirely stripped of all its ornaments, and is merely made use of as a sort of barrack. In the year 1689, the King of France gave an asylum to King James II. of England, who died there in the year 1701.

Source: French scenery: from drawings made in 1819 by Robert Batty (1788 or 1789-1848). London: Published by Rodwell & Martin, New Bond Street, 1822.