15 things to do in Saint Cloud (France)

Saint-Cloud is an affluent, green and residential area on the western outskirts of Paris, but nothing like a city.

With endless parks and golf courses, the heart of Saint-Cloud is so unhurried, it’s called “Le Village”. Go explore and see the mansions behind the gates on the tree-lined hilly streets, then stroll to the lookout on the Seine.

Go a little further, and the heart of Paris and Versailles brings more culture and attractions than you’d like to conquer.

Nor can you choose a better location for spectator sports, as Paris Saint-Germain play their home games across the river and the unrivaled French Open offers two weeks of the best clay-court tennis every year.

Let’s explore the best things to do in St. Cloud:

1. St. Cloud Park

St. Cloud Park

The castle of Saint Cloud was the royal and royal palace, occupied by Marie Antoinette and Napoleon, but was razed during the Franco-Prussian War.

Its garden is magnificent and has the title of “Famous Garden” awarded by the Ministry of Culture.

Conical yew lines in the balustrades show where the palace once stood, while the gardens are still beautified as intended by André Le Notre and Marie Antoinette at Versailles.

Her rose garden is not to be missed, and La Lanterne is also an elevated viewing platform where you can look east across the Seine and pick out landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Tour of Montparnasse on the skyline .

2. Paris

Paris

Hop aboard the suburban Transilien train, metro line 10 or T2 tram, and before you know it, you’ll be in a wonderland of world-class museums, famous landmarks, shopping and dining.

The hard part will be deciding what to do.

On the west side of the city, you can quickly reach the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe, which is connected to the Bois de Boulogne via the Boulevard Foch.

Closer is the striking modern architecture of La Defense, a futuristic business district that developed in the 80’s and 90’s and is known for its massive new Arc de Triomphe.

3. Versailles

Versailles

From St. Cloud, you can reach this legendary imperial city in 15 minutes.

In the spirit of a king who left his mark, Versailles is not a place to go halfway.

It’s not enough if you plan to read them all in one day.

Even a whirlwind takes hours, simply because of the almost absurd size of the palace, its grounds and smaller but equally idyllic Hamlets like Louis XIV’s Grand Trianon and Marie Antoinette’s Breathtaking residence.

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Surrounding the city where court officials and members of the court gather are splendid boulevards and mansions, as well as the Church of Our Lady, where royal births and marriages are registered.

4. National Ceramic Museum

National Ceramic Museum

On the other side of the Parc de Saint-Cloud is the commune of Sèvres, almost synonymous with fine china.

Since the reign of Louis XV in 1756, this “manufacturer” has been producing ceramics according to royal, royal and national appointments. If you have an eye for decorative arts, you will admire 10,000 works in 18 different rooms and learn about the evolution of Sèvres’ iconic hard china.

You can admire the best of Sèvres manufacture, but also from eras and regions of the world, from Germany to China.

5. Bois de Boulogne

Bois de Boulogne

Covering 850 hectares, the Bois de Boulogne is the second largest green space in Paris and used to be a royal hunting ground for most of the time.

In the mid-19th century, the park had avenues and grand works such as the picturesque waterfall Grand Cascade and the man-made stream Ruisseau de Longchamp.

In the decades that followed, Degas, Renoir and Van Gogh all painted landscapes in the park.

The Bois de Boulogne is unique in summer, when you can rent a rowing boat in Lac Inférieur, cycle on 15 kilometers of trails or try horse riding for the first time.

The Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil in the south is a working garden with plants for the municipal buildings of the city.

6. Albert Kahn Museum

Albert Kahn Museum

In the 1910s, banker and philanthropist Albert Kahn embarked on an ambitious project to create a world archive containing tens of thousands of color photographs and 183,000 meters of footage.

The museum’s galleries show the extent of this remarkable undertaking, and the museum’s grounds are a big story.

Beginning in 1895, Kahn designed a series of master gardens in different styles: French flower beds, English country gardens, Vosges forest, “Blue Forest” with Atlas cedar and spruce, tall meadows, Japanese village and modern Japanese garden.

These were landscaped by some of the leading gardeners of the time.

7. Musée Marmottan Monet

Monet Museum

Monet lovers need to head to the museum at the tip of the Bois de Boulogne.

You can see more than 300 of his works in a stately former hunting lodge.

This is his largest collection of single paintings.

Among them was the seminal Impressionist, Soleil Levant, which defined the Impressionist movement.

Others you’ll know right away are his studies of Rouen Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament.

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Monet joined the Who’s Who of Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, including Degas, Sisley, Renoir, Pissarro, Boudin, Signac, Gagen, and the list goes on.

8. Fondation Louis Vuitton

louis vuitton foundation

Frank Gehry’s 12 glass canopies for this modern art museum feature 12 futuristic armor-like structures that look like a ship that just landed on the Bois de Boulogne near the Jardin d’Acclimatation spacecraft.

Opened in 2014, the museum is dedicated to temporary exhibitions of contemporary art, design and architecture, and has so far hosted exhibitions for Daniel Buren and Olafur Eliasson.

There’s also a permanent exhibition exploring Gehry’s designs for this new Parisian landmark, with early sketches and large models that can move around, as well as high-definition video shot using drones.

9. Jardin d’Acclimatation

Jardin d'Acclimatation

The youngest family members will go crazy for this historic amusement park in the Bois de Boulogne.

The Jardin d’Acclimatation was opened in 1860 by Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie, initially as a zoo.

There is now enough to keep the youngest family member entertained for a full day.

There are still animal enclosures with alpacas and goats, and kids can ride donkeys.

On top of that are the playground attractions such as carousels, miniature roller coasters and old-fashioned carnival games.

There are mini trains, fountains where children can paddle and puppet shows, while adults will be captivated by all the turn-of-the-century architecture.

10. Malmaison Castle

Malmaison Castle

From 1799 until her death in 1814, the castle was the home of Queen Josephine, giving you an up-close look at her and Napoleon’s life.

Josephine and Napoleon’s luxurious items still adorn the interior, including fine Sèvres china tableware, an oversized pool table, the Emperor’s saber and room after room of mahogany furniture.

Also in 2017 is an exhibition of Josephine’s clothing, from dazzling evening gowns to her lingerie! After Josephine died, Napoleon moved back within a hundred days, so this was his last residence on French soil.

11. Bois Préau

boispreo

A statue of Queen Josephine greets you as you enter this 17-hectare English-style park near Malmaison Castle.

In 1809, she bought Bois Préau and added it to her own large tract of land, something that dates back to her time here more than 200 years ago.

An avid botanist, Joséphine gets excited about redwoods, Turkish hazels and Corsican pines, just some of the park’s many mature trees.

Château de Bois-Préau was built in the late 1850s and hosts an exhibition about Napoleon’s exile in St. Helena and the return of his ashes to Paris.

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12. St. Cloud Arena

St. Cloud Arena

It’s only right that a luxury area like St. Cloud should have a racetrack.

This course is a French “Historic Monument”, opened in 1901 for apartment events from spring to autumn.

The two major events, the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in June and the Critérium de Saint-Cloud in late October or early November, are big news for the first group of races.

If you’re around these dates, you can add some old-world entertainment to your stay in this posh neighborhood.

13. Mount Valerian

Valerian Hills

Just down the road, the 162-meter hill overlooks the Seine and the Bois de Boulogne.

On the top of the hill is a fortress built in 1841 to strengthen the defensive circle of Paris, which played a role in the Prussian siege of Paris in 1870-71. It was not until the surrender of Valerianburg that France decided to sign an armistice.

More than 1,000 resistance fighters were executed by firing squad at the fort during World War II, so from 1945 it has become the largest French resistance monument in France.

You can contact the memorial’s visitor center to arrange a free guided tour of the site.

14. Roland Garros

Roland Garros

For two weeks in late May and early June, the French Open will be played at the Paris Tennis Club in Auteil.

If you’re a tennis fan and love clay-court events, an afternoon at Roland Garros could be the dream of your life.

You’ll see the top men and women in the world, even more so if you come to Week 2.

But at the start of the game, it’s great to watch the game from a smaller outfield just a few meters away from the players.

You can enjoy lunch by booking a “Prime” ticket at one of the club’s trendy restaurants.

15. Paris Saint-Germain

Paris Saint-Germain

There is a steady stream of high-quality sport, and from August to May you’ll make a quick jaunt at the home of one of Europe’s best teams.

PSG have long been a household name for football supporters since their founding in the 70s and rising through the ranks.

But they hit a new standard in 2011 with a huge investment in Qatar, and it’s no exaggeration to say that you’ll be watching some of the best players in the world at the Parc des Princes.

Just next door to this stadium is the Stade Jean-Bouin, home to the Stade de France football team, one of the best teams in the top 14.

Where to stay: The best hotels in Saint-Cloud, France
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