The Center of Art, Fashion, Gastronomy and Culture

So much to see and do… 

For a change of pace, take a Day Trip – and experience another Face of France!
Just outside the Capital, are several choice destinations, rich in history, waiting to be discovered :

Monet’s Home and Gardens at Giverny, Chateau Versailles or Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte, Chartres and its magnificent Cathedral, the medieval towns of Senlis or Provins, the elegant Chateau & Gardens of Sceaux … all within an hour from Paris by Metro, Train or Bus.

Annabel Simms’ book « An Hour From Paris » is an indispensable reference and guide book for Day Trips from Paris.
There is a copy of it on the bookshelf in your little home. 
Philippe and I have followed several of the book’s 20 destinations and enjoyed each and every one of them!

Château de Versailles

The Palace of Versailles (French: Château de Versailles), or simply Versailles (English: /vɛərˈsaɪ/ vair-SY or /vərˈsaɪ/ vər-SYFrench: [vɛʁsaj]), is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France. It is now open as a museum and is a very popular tourist attraction.
Versailles was the seat of political power in the Kingdom of France from 1682, when King Louis XIV moved the royal court from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789, within three months after the beginning of the French Revolution.
Louis XIV’s expansion of the building was begun around 1661, with Louis Le Vau as architect. It was not completed until about 1715, having been worked on by architects including François d’Orbay, Charles Le Brun (interiors especially), Jules Hardouin-Mansart and Robert de Cotte. André Le Nôtre began the gardens and structures in them.


The fastest way to get to Versailles:
Travelling from Paris Montparnasse to Versailles
To travel from Paris to Versailles, you can catch a Transilien line N train from Montparnasse main railway station which will take you directly to Versailles – Chantiers train station in Versailles. Visitors staying near Montparnasse will find it is the easiest way to travel to Versailles. This train journey takes less than 15 minutes and is the fastest way to Versailles by train.

Chateau de Versailles Galerie des Glaces
Chateau de Versailles Galerie des Glaces

Château de Sceaux

Sceaux is famous for the Château de Sceaux, set in its large park (Parc départemental de Sceaux), designed by André Le Nôtre, measuring 2 km2 (0.77 sq mi).
The original château was transformed into a School of Agriculture during the Revolution and lost much of its luster.
It was demolished at the beginning of the 19th century following its sale by the then French government.
Sceaux castle was originally built by Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the minister of finance to Louis XIV .
The present château, rebuilt between 1856 and 1862 in a Louis XIII style, is now the museum of Île-de-France open for visits

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte is a baroque French château located in Maincy, near Melun, 55 kilometres (34 mi) southeast of Paris in the Seine-et-Marne département of France.
Constructed from 1658 to 1661 for Nicolas Fouquet, Marquis de Belle Île, Viscount of Melun and Vaux, the superintendent of finances of Louis XIV, the château was an influential work of architecture in mid-17th-century Europe. At Vaux-le-Vicomte, the architect Louis Le Vau, the landscape architect André le Nôtre, and the painter-decorator Charles Le Brun worked together on a large-scale project for the first time. Their collaboration marked the beginning of the “Louis XIV style” combining architecture, interior design and landscape design. The garden’s pronounced visual axis is an example of this style.


Cathédrale de Chartres

Notre Dame de Chartres
South transept rose Chartres

Chartres Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres (French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres), is a Roman Catholic church of the Latin Church located in Chartres, France, about 80 km (50 miles) southwest of Paris. The current cathedral, mostly constructed between 1194 and 1220, is the last of at least five which have occupied the site since the town became a bishopric in the 4th century. It is in the Gothic and Romanesquestyles.
It is designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, which calls it “the high point of French Gothic art” and a “masterpiece”.
The cathedral has been well preserved. The majority of the original stained glass windows survived intact, while the architecture has seen only minor changes since the early 13th century. The building’s exterior is dominated by heavy flying buttresses which allowed the architects to increase the window size significantly, while the west end is dominated by two contrasting spires – a 105-metre (349 ft) plain pyramid completed around 1160 and a 113-metre (377 ft) early 16th-century Flamboyant spire on top of an older tower. Equally notable are the three great façades, each adorned with hundreds of sculpted figures illustrating key theological themes and narratives.

Since at least the 12th century the cathedral has been an important destination for travelers. It remains so to the present, attracting large numbers of Christian pilgrims, as well as large numbers of secular tourists who come to admire the cathedral’s architecture and historical merit.

Paris-Chartres by train


Claude Monet noticed the village of Giverny while looking out of a train window. He made up his mind to move there and rented a house and the area surrounding it. In 1890 he had enough money to buy the house and land outright and set out to create the magnificent gardens he wanted to paint. Some of his most famous paintings were of his garden in Giverny, famous for its rectangular Clos Normand, with archways of climbing plants entwined around colored shrubs, and the water garden, formed by a tributary to the Epte, with the Japanese bridge, the pond with the water lilies, the wisterias and the azaleas.

Visiting Monet’s gardens and home in Giverny is an easy day trip from Paris, via train to Vernon