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Ile-de-France Travel Guide

  • Photo: onairda / Shutterstock
  • Photo: Pack-Shot / Shutterstock
  • Photo: Pierre Leclerc / Shutterstock
  • Photo: Dan Breckwoldt / Shutterstock
  • Photo: Pack-Shot / Shutterstock

Plan Your Ile-de-France Vacation

The Ile-de-France isn’t really an île (island), of course. The green-forested buffer zone that enfolds Paris is only vaguely surrounded by the three rivers that meander through its periphery. But it nevertheless offers a rich and varied sampling of everything you expect from France—grand cathedrals, painters' villages, lavish châteaux, plus the bubblegum-pink turrets of Disneyland

Paris—all delightfully located within easy shooting distance of the capital.

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Updated 1/20/2014

Top Reasons To Go

  1. Louis XIV's Versailles Famed as glorious testimony to the Sun King's megalomania, this is the world's most over-the-top palace and nature-tamed park.
  2. Creamy Chantilly Stately château, stellar art collection, fabulous forest, palatial stables … all within the same square mile.
  3. Van Gogh in Auvers The artist spent his last, manically productive three months here—you can see where he painted, where he got drunk, where he shot himself, and where he remains.
  4. Chartres Cathedral A pinnacle of Gothic achievement, this 13th-century masterpiece has peerless stained glass and a hilltop silhouette visible for miles around.
  5. Monet's Water Lilies Come to Giverny to see his lily pond—a half-acre 3-D "Monet"—then peek around his charming home and stroll the time-warped streets to the exceptional Musée des Impressionnismes.

When To Go

When to Go

Spring and fall are the optimal times to come. The Ile’s rightly renowned gardens look their best in the former, and its extensive forests are particula...

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