Day trip around Paris - Poissy, Saint Germain en Laye and La Défense

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Lisa & Pol
by Lisa & Pol

Context

Every first Sunday of each month, a number of museums offer free admission. We always try to take advantage of this discount to discover new places around Paris. It's a great excuse to go out and explore areas that we know a bit less.

On the Paris Tourist Office website you can find the list of all the free museums and monuments.

Villa Savoye

Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier
Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier

It had been some time already that Villa Savoye was on our radar. Designed by Le Corbusier in 1928, it's an iconic building, featuring the five fundamental principles of modern design. Located in Poissy, a small town on the west of Paris, easily accessible by train. It looked like the perfect destination for this exceptionally sunny winter Sunday.

Le Corbusier designs can be seen in a dozen or so places in and around Paris. They usually quite stand out, by the shape and colors, and we definitely recommend checking them out on your way.

You can get all the information about the villa here : Villa Savoye

Getting to Poissy

Google Maps of the itinerary to Poissy
Google Maps of the itinerary to Poissy

We usually use Google Maps to plan itineraries, works very well, although sometimes the live schedule of buses isn't the best for some reason. It's a straight forward journey getting to Poissy, first Metro 3 to Gare Saint Lazare, and there switching to Train J. For a year or so, any one-way ticket within the region is capped at 5€ (except toward the airports). They are currently phasing out the use of carboard tickets, but to my knowledge as of February 2023, you cannot buy your ticket through your phone for this type of journey. This will probably change soon !

Metros are pretty frequent even on Sundays but make sure to check the schedule of trains (Transiliens and RER) in advance as they might not go as regularly.

Poissy, the Iron House and Villa Savoye

Lisa in front of the Iron House
Lisa in front of the Iron House

The weather was great so we decided to go by foot from the Poissy station to the Villa and we are glad we did ! After getting some lunch, we started the walk uphill and discovered a cute passage that lead to Parc Meissonier, a nice park with views on the river Seine. In the middle of the park, The Iron House, a museum we found by chance, that we visited completely alone. It's a couple of rooms, with the history of the house, the city and a great photo exhibit from a local photographer full on the theme of "all the details about Poissy that locals don't see anymore".

We finally got to our original destination about 3pm and found that many people had the same idea as us, and the house was actually quite busy. We are not connaisseurs, but we could totally tell that this house was pretty special from the outside of course but also in the inside where every furniture, room and equipement is interesting.

A villa opened to the outside
A villa opened to the outside

Pol grew up in Paris but had never been to Poissy, it's definitely a somewhat original destination !

Saint Germain en Laye

Pol in the flowers
Pol in the flowers

With our goal completed but still a couple of hours of sunshine ahead of us, we started walking towards Saint Germain en Laye, a pretty posh suburb, 1h15 away, across the forest. It's always such a great feeling to be in the nature, as there are not so many places around Paris where you can be alone, surrounded only by trees. That's one thing that Lisa was really missing coming to Paris, as she was so used to the forever proximity of nature back in Slovakia.

At some point we ended up on the main road and we decided to try our luck to see if someone could take us to the city center. 5 minutes were enough to be picked up by Sarah. Thanks Sarah ! :)

We were very impressed by the castle as we approched the main square, a real piece of art ! After failing to find a terasse on the sun, we had a short coffee break at Felicity's Café, which we definitely recommend. We then went inside the castle, which hosts the National Museum of Archaeology which was extremely full - because remember, first Sunday of the month.

The castle from the inside
The castle from the inside

Walking in the park and admiring the superb view on Paris in the distance, and thinking that we could stop in La Défense on our way home.

The chapel of the Saint Germain en Laye Castle
The chapel of the Saint Germain en Laye Castle

La Défense

La Défense during sunset
La Défense during sunset

La Défense is the business district of Paris, and looks nothing like the rest of the city. London or New York maybe. Enjoying the view on the Arc de Triomphe, thinking how it connects on a straight line all the way to the Louvre. Sipping our drinks on the steps witnessing the liveliness of the locals on this square. Quite a full day it was !

Recap

As always, a great week-end exploring new parts of Paris and its region. Having this day for free in the museums is a wonderful system that you should take advantage of if you have the chance. For the more popular places, you might need to book your free ticket in advance though as it attracts many people.

We will remember visiting the museum alone, the door handles of Villa Savoye, the kindness of Sarah, the first glimpse on the castle and the perfect sunset in La Défense.

Check out the video if you haven't yet, and don't hesitate to reach out to us if you have some feedback. This was the first video we posted, so we are still figuring things out :)

Lisa & Pol
Lisa & Pol
We're a Slovak-French couple in our twenties currently backpacking across Africa for a year. One of our goals is to inspire travellers to go explore this often forgotten continent. On this blog we're focusing on providing up to date info about prices and itineraries, especially geared towards backpackers on a budget. We also create content on Youtube and Insta if you prefer a more visual approach 😉
Categories : France
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