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Appearing like all France in miniature, the Ile-de-France region is the heartland of the nation. The "island of France" is the poetic name for the area surrounding Paris and taking in the valleys of three rivers: the Seine, the Marne, and the Oise. Ever since the days of Julius Caesar, this has been the economic, political, and religious hub of France and, consequently, no other region boasts such a wealth of great buildings, from Chartres to Fontainebleau and Versailles. Though small, this region is so rich in treasures that a whole day of fascinating exploration may take you no more than 60 km (35 miles) from the capital.
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