Lycée International de Saint-Germain-en-Laye

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Lycée International de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Slottet vid Lycée International de St-Germain-en-Laye.jpg
2 bis Rue du Fer à Cheval
78100 Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France
School type French public school
International school
Established 1952
Status Open
Headmaster Mme Negrel
Grade levels Pre-school, primary school, middle school, high school
Gender Co-ed
Enrollment 3000

The Lycée International de Saint-Germain-en-Laye (commonly, Lycée International or L.I. ; English: International High School of Saint-Germain-en-Laye) is a French public school located in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Yvelines, in the western suburbs of Paris, France. Established in 1952 as a school for the children of international personnel working at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in nearby Rocquencourt, the Lycée International caters to students with international and multilingual backgrounds.[1] With a typical success rate of 99.9 to 100 percent on the French baccalauréat, the Lycée International ranks among France's top public schools and is considered to be the country's best public international school.[2][3][4]

In 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, the Lycée International was ranked best high school of France by the classement national des lycées publics and 3rd best all categories mixed.[dubious ]

Students at the Lycée International are required to be fluent in French and one other language taught in one of the school's fourteen national sections: American, British, Danish, Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, and Swedish, the academic curriculum at the Lycée International supplements the standard French curriculum with additional courses in literature/language, history, and geography, taught in the language of the students' respective national sections, allowing them to pursue the option internationale du baccalauréat (OIB), the international variant of the French baccalauréat.

The school's main campus at 2 bis Rue du Fer à Cheval (48°53′44″N 2°3′40″E / 48.89556°N 2.06111°E / 48.89556; 2.06111) in Saint-Germain-en-Laye contains a preschool (maternelle), a primary school (école élémentaire), a middle school (collège), and a high school (lycée). Due to the size of the student body, some larger national sections have satellite campuses for primary and middle school grades at other local schools in the area of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. All students return to the main campus for their final three (lycée-level) years.


The history of the school to date can be described by three distinct phases:


In 1951, the then-recently established NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation), a grouping of 15 countries, created Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) with the aim of ensuring peace and security in the North Atlantic region, and promising European members the support of the United States in the event of any future aggression.

SHAPE was installed at Rocquencourt, and Saint Germain-en-Laye was chosen as the place of residence for the serving officers and their families, the SHAPE Village Project was built in the grounds of the Château d'Hennemont (fr) to accommodate 1,500 officers and soldiers from 13 nationalities, and their families.

In January 1952, the SHAPE village school was set up in the chateau under the direction of René Tallard. By the end of the school year, 400 children were on the register, including 200 French children, half of them inhabitants of the town. Two years later, in 1954, the school was officially renamed the NATO International School (l’Ecole Internationale de l’OTAN).

Funding from SHAPE provided the school with equipment and accommodation, including a new flagship building completed in 1960, from 1961, senior students prepared for the Diplôme des Ecoles Internationales and the following year, the school was renamed the NATO International Lycée (Lycée International de l’OTAN). The founding proviseur, René Tallard, retired in 1965.


Not only did 1965 mark the retirement of the much respected M Tallard, it was also the year in which President de Gaulle decided to pull France out of NATO’s military operations. NATO, and SHAPE, were forced to find a new European base, in Belgium, and the Lycée International de l’OTAN lost two thirds of its pupils at a stroke, it was an immediate challenge for the new proviseur, Edgar Scherer. His was the delicate task of working with the remaining two sections – the German and the Dutch – to persuade the educational authorities, both in France and overseas, to rebuild the life of the school which, would from now on need to count on the support of "economic expatriates" to replace those of the original military community.

By 1968, under Scherer’s leadership and direction, the school was building up strength with six sections – German, Dutch, British, American, Danish and Italian.


Scherer’s successor, Jean Pierre Maillard, had a different challenge: modernising the infrastructure of a school, which had been expanding again over more than twenty years. Replacing pre-fabricated buildings with more lasting structures was now a priority.

Thanks to state funding, the result was a new campus, including a fine new primary building. Under Maillard, other projects advanced too: the development of the network of partner schools, the drafting of a "projet d’établissement", the creation of the Japanese section in 1993; the embracing of the Option Internationale du Baccalauréat as the final exam for senior Lycée students, and the renovation of the chateau.

In 1997, Maillard handed the baton on to Patrick Charpeil, who focused attention on the administrative complexities of the school, clarifying the legal basis of the Lycée and its component parts. Charpeil continued to oversee the restoration of the chateau and successfully liaised and lobbied with the supervising educational authorities to advance important projects concerning security, major improvements and maintenance.

Yves Lemaire took over the helm in September 2001 until September 2012. The challenges were as stimulating as ever: the final stages of renovation and the future use of the chateau; the pressure for increasing the number of classes at Lycée level; nationwide administration of the OIB; the creation of the Polish section at Collège and Lycée level (in 2002/3) and the consolidation of the legal status of the school via a new decree.

In September 2012, Mr. Joel Bianco officially took office as the new proviseur (headmaster).


The curriculum at the Lycée International combines the French national curriculum with the curriculum of one of the national sections. French staff teach subjects to French national standards and foreign teachers – employed in one of the system’s thirteen national sections – are given the freedom and responsibility to teach literature, language and history to their own national standards, these additional classes in the national sections provide (on a weekly basis):[5]

  • Six hours of language class in the primary school
  • Four hours of literature/language and two hours of history in the middle school
  • Four hours of literature/language and four hours of history in the high school**

(**the 'American Section' is an exception to this rule, receiving five hours of literature/language and three hours of history; the 'Polish Section' is an exception to this rule as well, having five hours of literature/language, two hours of History and one hour of Geography; as for the 'Japanese Section', it has six hours of literature/language and two hours of history/geography))

Since the French curriculum requires learning at least one foreign language, many students who graduate from the Lycée International are fluent in three languages.

Students who do not speak French are placed in a French immersion program called Français Spécial, after two years, they are expected to be fluent in French and are required to follow the standard French curriculum along with the rest of the student population.

Most students opt to take the international variation on the baccalauréat, called the OIB (Option Internationale du baccalauréat), in order to take advantage of their language skills. Students who sit for the baccalauréat choose one of three streams (termed séries) in their last two lycée years. Each stream results in a specialization and carries different weights (coefficients) associated with each subject.

sciences économiques et sociales
(economics and social sciences)
The natural sciences stream requires a high level in mathematics, physics & chemistry, and biology or, if available, engineering sciences. The bac ES is balanced between literary and economic and social courses of studies, and students must take an economics and social sciences exam. The bac L weighs French literature, philosophy, history & geography, and foreign languages heavily.

Baccalaureat results at the Lycée International de Saint Germain-en-Laye have traditionally fluctuated between 99% and 100%.[2]

Year Total Serie L Serie ES Serie S
# Students Results # Students Results # Students Results # Students Results
2011[6] 281 99.6% 25 100% 120 99% 136 99%
2010[7] 286 100% 19 100% 100 100% 167 99%
2009 291 99% 29 100% 118 99% 144 99%
2008 283 99% 34 100% 125 99% 124 99%
2007 316 100% 34 97% 133 100% 149 100%
2006 261 100% 28 100% 118 99% 115 100%
2004 281 99% 33 100% 129 99% 119 99%
2003 260 100% 28 100% 123 100% 109 100%


The school has fourteen national sections which are, essentially, schools within a school. Students are taught the relevant national curriculum alongside the standard French curriculum. Foreign teachers in each of the national sections give the students lessons in literature, geography and history (generally from six to eight hours a week according to the grade) in their native tongue. However, all other disciplines of the official program are taught in French.

  • American Section [8]
The American Section Program starts in Pre-Kindergarten and goes through 12th grade, enrolling approximately 690 students. About 60 percent of its students are U.S. citizens; of these many hold both French and American citizenship. Most of the remaining 40 percent are French citizens who have spent considerable time in the United States or have had American schooling, the American Section provides an international education within the context of the Lycee International. Students from nursery to college preparatory level experience a hybrid of American and French curricula with an emphasis on language, math, and science skills. The American Section provides an American educational and cultural experience, allowing students to maintain strong links with their American culture while developing a consciousness as global citizens.
The American Section pursues its mission through an American curriculum which culminates in the French Baccalaureate with International Option, as well as through a broad and enriching co-curricular program including such activities as drama, music, community service, sports and student publications.
The Ecole Schnapper and the Collège Marcel Roby, also located in St. Germain en Laye, are American Section partner schools. Approximately 65 students in grades K-5 (CP-CM2) attend the Ecole Schnapper, and 160 students in grades 6-9 (6è-3è) the Collège Marcel Roby. Students enrolled in these two schools receive the same American Section education as their peers on the Lycée International campus.



  1. ^ "History of the School," The British Section: The Lycée International Saint-Germain-en-Laye & Partner Schools, accessed October 26, 2013, [1].
  2. ^ a b "Lycée International - SAINT-GERMAIN-EN-LAYE," L'Express, accessed October 26, 2013, [2].
  3. ^ "Classement Lycée International Saint-Germain-en-Laye Académie Versailles," Le Figaro Étudiant, accessed October 26, 2013, [3].
  4. ^ "Private & International Schools in France," Learn4Good, accessed November 7, 2013, [4].
  5. ^ [5] Specificites du Lycee International
  6. ^ 2011 Results
  7. ^ 2010 Results
  8. ^ "欧州の補習授業校一覧(平成25年4月15日現在)" (Archive). Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Retrieved on May 10, 2014.
  9. ^ [6] Archived May 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ [7] Archived April 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ "Sección Española en St. Germain-en-Laye" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2014-01-31. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°53′44″N 2°3′40″E / 48.89556°N 2.06111°E / 48.89556; 2.06111