While there is no shortage of things to see and do in Paris, don’t be afraid of exploring a little further afield too. There are many great places you can visit for a day away from the hustle and bustle of the city’s arrondissements and these are just a few of them.
Versailles is just a short train journey away from the city, and it is where you will find the Royal Palace of Versailles surrounded by the wonderful palace gardens. This is one of the most opulent chateaux in the region and it is also of huge historical importance. It is also where the treaty at Versailles was signed that ended the First World War. The treaty was signed in the Hall of Mirrors, the same location that saw the 1871 proclamation of the German Empire under the Kaiser. The Palace was built by Louis XIII on the site of a hunting lodge.
Forest of Fontainebleau
The Forest of Fontainebleau means the forest of heather and it lies just sixty kilometres away from the city and is easily reached by train and coach. Now a national park, it was once a royal hunting park. It covers 25,000 hectares and is densely populated by flora and fauna including many rare species. There are hundreds of designated walks and trails and for the more adventurous there are many rocky places that attract climbers of all skills from beginners to experts. Alternatively you can hire a bicycle or even a horse for the day.
Chateau of Fontainebleau
At Fontainebleau you will also find a wonderful chateau which dates back to the middle ages and which was once an important seat of power and which bears the marks of many Emperors, Kings and Queens; in fact a total of 34 monarchs have ruled from this chateau. You will discover the Renaissance Rooms which contain stuccoes and frescos designed by Primatice and Rosso that date back to sixteenth century; the Inner Apartment of Napoleon 1st which dates back to 1808; the Grand Apartments of the Sovereigns with many fine paintings and tapestries collected over three centuries; the Pope’s Apartment; and the Lesser Apartments which Napoleon built for Josephine.
Giverny, made famous by Claude Monet who built his Japanese garden here which featured in many of his paintings, lies just eighty kilometres outside Paris and is a must see place for any lover of art. Wander round the gardens and visit the Musée des Impressionnismes, perfect for a day out from the city and you can travel by bus or train to get there.
Nowadays getting to Paris is inexpensive and convenient. Buses to Paris from London depart throughout the day and you can even travel by night to make the most of your weekend away.
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This is a guest post by Claire Chat a new Londoner, travel passionate and animal lover. She blogs about Pets and Travelling in Europe. If you want Claire to write you specific content, you can find email her here or contact her on Twitter (Claire_Chat).