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Commentaires d'Archibald Alison sur le château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye

« [p. 85] St Germain, though less picturesquely situated than St Cloud, presents features, nevertheless, of more than ordinary magnificence. The Palace, now converted into a school of military education by Napoleon, is a mean irregular building, though it possesses a certain interest, by having been long the residence of the exiled house of Stuart. The situation, however, is truly fitted for an imperial dwelling; it stands on the edge of a high bank overhanging the Seine, at the end a magnificent [p. 86] terrace, a mile and a half long, built on the projecting heights which edge the river. The walk along this terrace is the finest spectacle which the vicinity of Paris has to present. It is backed along its whole extent by the extensive forest of St Germain, the foliage of which overhangs the road, and in the recesses of which you can occasionally discern those beautiful peeps which form the peculiar characteristic of forest scenery. The steep bank which descends to the river is clothed with orchards and vineyards in all the luxuriance of a southern climate; and in front, there is spread beneath your feet the wide plain in which the Seine wanders, whose waters are described at intervals through the woods and gardens with which its banks are adorned; while, in the farthest distance, the towers of St Denis, and the heights of Paris, form an irregular outline on the verge of the horizon. It is a scene exhibiting the most beautiful aspect of cultivated nature, and would have been the fit residence for a Monarch who loved to survey his subjects’ happiness: but is was deserted by the miserable weakness of Louis XIV, because the view terminated in the cemetery of the Kings of France, and his enjoyment of it would have been destroyed by the thoughts of mortal decay. »

Alison, Archibald