Saint-Cloud is a very wealthy suburb west of Paris. It is most known for the Domaine de Saint-Cloud, a very large park that was home to the private country residence of various French royal figures such as Marie-Antoinette and Napoleon.
The slightly odd name of this suburb is a corruption of Saint Clodoald, grandson of Clovis, who sought refuge here in the 6th century to lead a monastical hermit life.
The original palace of Saint-Cloud was founded by the Gondis, a family of wealthy bankers from Florence in the 16th century. It came into French royal hands when Philippe, Duke of Orleans and brother of King Louis XIV, bought it from the Gondis in 1658. It remained in the hands of the Dukes of Orleans until it was bought in 1785 by Marie-Antoinette as a place to raise her children.
Following the French Revolution, it became the setting of the 1799 Coup de Brumaire in which Napoleon overthrew the Revolutionary government and declared himself emperor. Thereafter it remained the primary residence of Napoleon and then his nephew Napoleon III, until the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 when it was burned down. Today, while little of the old palace remains, the 460-hectare estate remains and is home to many beautiful gardens and scenic views of Paris.
Saint-Cloud was also known for being home to the estate of Marie Bonaparte (now replaced by a very ugly housing estate), in which the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, lived for a brief stint during his childhood in the 1920s.
Today, Saint-Cloud is a town of 30,000 people (2018), and one of the wealthiest places in France. It is home to a number of important people many of whom live in the exclusive Parc de Montretout estate, the most famous current resident being the politician Marine Le Pen. It remains a getaway destination for Parisians looking for green space that is relatively lacking in Paris.
Despite its long heritage, Saint-Cloud experienced major urban expansion following the Second World War and so its architecture is surprisingly eclectic. Saint-Cloud can be divided into a number of distinct districts each with its own unique style and atmosphere. The district of Montretout, at the top of the hill to the West of Boulevard de la République, is a mostly quiet suburban residential area home to large stone houses (pavillons in French) for upper-middle-class families. To the north is the district of Les Coteaux which retains a cosy 19th century provincial town feel to it. Directly downhill from Saint-Cloud station you have the old village of Saint-Cloud, home to the Saint Clodoald church, the town hall and many expensive boutiques. The areas around Val d'Or and Les Milons are mostly home to modernist housing estates that provide little interest to the average tourist.
Saint-Cloud is relatively well-served by public transport. The most direct route from the centre of Paris is line 1 and 2 stations before heading down to the south-west. However, line does take quite a circuitous route around the north-western suburbs to get there and it is often quicker to get to Saint-Cloud from the centre by taking line and changing at La Défense. Line also stops at Saint-Cloud station and provides quick access both to the business and shopping district of La Défense to the north, and the towns of Versailles and Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines to the south., which goes from Saint-Lazare station and stops at both
Line Tserves tram stops Les Coteaux, Les Milons and Parc de Saint-Cloud and provides a direct connection with the centre of Paris at Porte de Versailles.
Although the commune of Saint-Cloud is not served by the Paris Metro, Pont de Saint-Cloud station is a short walk across the Seine to Boulogne-Billancourt and is at the end of line . Saint-Cloud station will also be served by the new Line , which is scheduled to open in the mid-2020s as part of the Grand Paris Express scheme and connect Saint-Cloud with nearby inner suburbs of Paris.
Saint-Cloud is quite a hilly place, and walking from the banks of the Seine through the village up to Saint-Cloud station and then to Boulevard de la République can prove quite an exhausting workout. The local council provides a free shuttle bus for travel around the commune on weekdays during the day for people in little hurry.
- 1 Parc de Saint-Cloud (Domaine Nationale de Saint-Cloud) (nearest entrances at the bottom of the hill next to the banks of the Seine, off Rue des Ecoles and up the hill off Avenue de Général Leclerc). closes at sunset and in windy weather. Home to the gardens of the former Palace of Saint-Cloud.
- 2 Musée des Avelines, 60 Rue Gounod, ☏ . W Sa 12:00-18:00, Su 14:00-18:00. A small art and baroque history museum.
- 3 Jardin des Tourneroches. Charming little park around a 1930s manor house.
- 1 Les 3 Pierrots (Cinéma Théâtre Les 3 Pierrots), 6 Rue du Mont Valérien, ☏ . A theatre and art house cinema.
- 2 Saint-Cloud Hippodrome, 1 Rue du Camp Canadien, ☏ .
- 3 Paris Country Club (Le Golf de Paris), 1 Rue du Camp Canadien, ☏ . Daily 08:30-18:30. Golf course.
The music festival Rock en Seine also usually takes place at the end of August every year in the Parc de Saint-Cloud.
- 1 Monoprix, 5 Avenue du Maréchal Foch. M-Sa 07:30-21:00, Su 09:00-19:30. Probably the largest supermarket in Saint-Cloud, although a little on the expensive side.
- 2 Lidl, 9 Rue Dailly, 92210 Saint-Cloud. M-Sa 08:30-20:30, Su 08:30-12:15. Budget supermarket.
- 3 Aldi, 55 Boulevard de la République, 92210 Saint-Cloud. M-Sa 08:30-19:30, Su 08:30-12:30. Budget supermarket, generally much less busy than Lidl.
- 4 Marché des Avelines, 38 Boulevard de la République, 92210 Saint-Cloud. every Saturday morning. Covered food market that is closed for renovation.
- 5 Marché Stella Matutina, 2 Avenue des Villes Jumelées, 92210 Saint-Cloud. W and Sa 08:00-13:00. Open food and flower market.
Saint-Cloud does not have as diverse a range of eateries as its neighbouring communes Boulogne-Billancourt or Suresnes, and there is a particular lack of fast food chains since they are forbidden by the local municipality. The largest number of restaurants are in the old village (the area roughly enclosed by Rue Dailly to the North and the park/motorway to the South), particularly along Rue d'Orléans and Rue Royale, with another smaller cluster near the Passerelle d'Avre along the Boulevard Sénard. There are also a few restaurants and bars scattered around in the Parc de Saint-Cloud.
Elsewhere in Saint-Cloud you also have:
- 1 Mé Miam, 7 Rue Alexandre Coutureau, ☏ . Cheap and hopelessly small Vietnamese takeaway selling Banh Mi and Bo Bun.
- 2 Le Girafon, 41 Boulevard de la République, 92210 Saint-Cloud, ☏ . Pizzeria (oh I'm sorry, "Franco-Italian restaurant") with some interesting French interpretations.
- 3 Quai Ouest x Bocca sur Seine, 1200 Quai Marcel Dassault, ☏ . Daily 12:00-21:00. Expensive French/Mediterranean restaurant on a barge in the Seine
Saint-Cloud is the location of a number of international schools, most notably the American School of Paris (41 Rue Pasteur, ☏ ), and the German school (Internationale Deutsche Schule Paris, 18 Rue Pasteur, ☏ ) which also offers German classes to adults.
- Bois de Boulogne, accessible directly by footbridge (Passerelle d'Avre) over the Seine from Les Coteaux tram stop.
- Boulogne-Billancourt, just over the Seine from Parc de Saint-Cloud tram stop.
- La Défense
|Routes through Saint-Cloud|
|Versailles ← Ville d'Avray ←||S N||→ Suresnes → La Défense|
|Versailles ← Ville d'Avray ←||S N||→ Suresnes → 8th arrondissement|
|Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche ← Garches ←||W N||→ Suresnes → 8th arrondissement|
|Rouen ← Giverny ←||NW E||→ Paris|
|15th arrondissement ← Sèvres ←||S N||→ Suresnes → La Défense|