Ile-de-France: Places to Explore


  • Auvers-sur-Oise

    The tranquil Oise River valley, which runs northeast from Pontoise, retains much of the charm that attracted Camille Pissarro, Paul Cézanne, Camille Corot, Charles-François Daubigny, and Berthe Morisot... Read more

  • Barbizon

    On the western edge of the 62,000-acre Forest of Fontainebleau, the village of Barbizon retains its time-stained allure despite the intrusion of art galleries, souvenir shops, and busloads of tourists... Read more

  • Chantilly

    Celebrated for lace, cream, and the most beautiful medieval manuscript in the world—Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry—romantic Chantilly has a host of other attractions: a faux Renaissance château... Read more

  • Chartres

    If Versailles is the climax of French secular architecture, Chartres is its religious apogee. All the descriptive prose and poetry that have been lavished on this supreme cathedral can only begin to suggest... Read more

  • Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

  • Compiègne

  • Courances

  • Dampierre

  • Disneyland Paris

    Originally called Euro Disney, Disneyland Paris is probably not what you've traveled to France to experience. But if you have a child in tow, the promise of a day here may get you through an afternoon at... Read more

  • Fontainebleau

    Like Chambord, in the Loire Valley, or Compiègne, to the north, Fontainebleau was a favorite spot for royal hunting parties long before the construction of one of France's grandest residences. Although... Read more

  • Giverny

    The small village of Giverny (pronounced jee-vair-knee), just beyond the Epte River, which marks the boundary of the Ile-de-France, has become a place of pilgrimage for art lovers. It was here that Claude... Read more

  • L'Isle-Adam

    Residentially exclusive L'Isle-Adam is one of the most strikingly gorgeous towns in the Ile-de-France. Paris lies just 40 km (25 miles) south, but it could be four times the distance and as many years... Read more

  • Maintenon

  • Pierrefonds

    Dominating the attractive lakeside village of Pierrefonds, a former spa resort, is its immense ersatz medieval castle.... Read more

  • Pontoise

    A pleasant old town on the banks of the Oise, Pontoise is famous for its link with the Impressionists.... Read more

  • Rambouillet

  • Rueil-Malmaison

    Rueil-Malmaison is a slightly dreary western suburb of Paris, but the memory of the legendary pair Napoléon and Joséphine still haunts its Neoclassic-era château.... Read more

  • Senlis

    Senlis is an exceptionally well-preserved medieval town with a crooked maze of streets dominated by the svelte, soaring spire of its Gothic cathedral. Be sure to also inspect the moss-tile church of St-Pierre... Read more

  • St-Germain-en-Laye

  • Thoiry

    Thoiry is most famous for its 16th-century château, with beautiful gardens, a wild-animal preserve, and a gastronomy museum. The village makes an excellent day trip from Paris, especially if you're traveling... Read more

  • Vernon

    The Vieille Ville (Old Town) of Vernon, on the Seine, has a medieval church, which Monet painted from across the river, and several fine timber-frame houses (the most impressive, on Rue Carnot, houses... Read more

  • Versailles

    It's hard to tell which is larger at Château de Versailles —the world-famous château that housed Louis XIV and 20,000 of his courtiers, or the mass of tour buses and visitors standing in front of it. The... Read more