Wandering near Paris : Maisons-Laffite


Maison Laffite, HDR

Château de Maisons-Laffite

I’ve been living in Sartrouville, a commuter suburb near Paris, for more than 9 months now, and yet, I had never really taken the time to visit and see the surroundings until last month. Maybe I thought that because it was a commuter suburb, it had nothing worth a visit. As I’m quite used to writing now, I was wrong.

Generally, most people think of the suburbs of Paris as boring places where people wake up in the morning, go to the nearest train station an hour or so later, then take the train to Paris, work until 12:30, have a one-hour pause for lunch, go back to work, come back home at around 7:00 in the evening, eat, watch TV, and sleep, and then wake up again for another similarly boring day. That’s what we call “métro-boulot-dodo” in France, literally “Subway-work-sleep”. If I have to admit that it’s not that far from the truth, still, it doesn’t mean everything has to be boring in the suburbs of Paris.

Take Maisons-Laffite, for instance. At first sight, it’s just another dull suburb located in the North of Paris, on the RER A line. You would probably never give it a chance if you were to cross it by train. However, it hosts one wonderful tiny castle that is definitely worth more than a glance.

With its classical style, yet human size, I love how it seems to come out of nowhere : you happen to cross a bridge stretching from Sartrouville to Maisons-Laffite, and you come across one beautiful castle you would never have thought you could find in such a place. Plus, it’s not such a touristic place, so you can often enjoy the view alone, without anyone frolicking around to ruin the picture you want to take. You can just come in the evening, wait for the sun to set, take a few pictures, smile, and come back, with a peaceful and satisfied mindset.

In the end, even though I must confess there’s not much I’ll miss in Sartrouville (save the people I live with, of course), it is also true that with time, I’ve learnt that living in the suburbs of Paris was not so boring as I had been told. Of course, it’s not as exciting as Paris downtown, but if you give it a chance, you might be surprised by what you will come across.

Maison Laffite in the late afternoonChateau de Maisons-Laffite at sunset

Maison Laffite at sunset

Chateau de Maisons-Laffin at sunset, slowly lighting up for the night

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