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Road Trip Around Paris: Explore the Cities and Villages Around France's Capital

Updated: Apr 14

Paris is one of the most beautiful and visited cities in the world, not just France. However, sometimes the crowds can be too much. If you're looking for a change of scenery, why not take a road trip around Paris? There are plenty of charming villages and small towns located near Paris that are worth exploring. In this blog post, we will give you some tips on how to make the most of your road trip around Paris. We'll also share some of our favorite places to eat, take photos and see the sights. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your road trip today!

Eiffel Tower, Paris
Eiffel Tower, Paris

Top tips before your road trip around Paris

To make the most of your road trip around Paris, we recommend planning ahead. Decide which cities, towns and villages you want to visit. Paris is located in the heart of France, so there are plenty of options. Once you've decided on your destination, research the best route to take. Make sure to factor in rest stops, gas stations and attractions that you might want to see along the way.

When it comes to food, Paris has plenty of options. But if you're looking for something different, there are many charming restaurants located in the villages and towns around Paris. Make sure to try some of the local specialties such as cheese, wine and bread. You can also find some great photo opportunities in these places. So whether you're looking to escape the crowds or simply want to explore more of France, a road trip around Paris is a great option. Bon voyage!

Top places to visit around Paris

Paris has many charming villages and small towns located near it that are definitely worth exploring on a road trip. If you’re looking for an escape from the city, look no further than these beautiful places just outside of Paris. These are some of our favorite spots to visit, eat, and take photos!

Some of the best places to visit on a road trip around Paris are:

  • The charming village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence

  • The beautiful small town of Giverny

  • The picturesque town of Eze

Paris


Paris is one of the most beautiful and visited cities in the world. Paris is located in the heart of France, so there are plenty of options for things to do and see. The city is known for its elegant architecture, delicious food and charming villages located near it. If you're looking for an escape from the crowds, Paris is a great option. Although Paris needs no introduction, here are our top 7 tips:

  1. Visit the Eiffel Tower

  2. Explore Notre Dame Cathedral

  3. Take a stroll through the Louvre Museum

  4. Enjoy a Parisian picnic in one of the city's many parks

  5. Ride the Paris Metro

  6. Marvel at the architecture of Sacré-Cœur Basilica

  7. Wander through the charming streets of Montmartre

Château of Vincennes

On the fringes of Paris, there is a royal castle. The Château de Vincennes was used as a royal residence from the 12th to the 18th century and still preserves its medieval towers, including the Sainte-Chapelle and 14th century keep, which is Europe's tallest of its kind. In 1365, Charles V, King of France, converted his family manor house at Vincennes into a more suitable royal residence by erecting the current keep to house his art collection and documents. The fortress's keep was used as a jail from the late 15th century to the 1800s, serving as a potent symbol of absolute State power and putting famous people such as Fouquet, de Sade, and Mirabeau behind bars. The Sainte-Chapelle began in 1379 and offers visitors an exquisite decorative ensemble complemented by the dreams of King Charles V for an exceptionally outstanding religious edifice to be added to this magnificent fortification.peer over the gatehouse parapet to see the two offices of the King's secretary in residence at Dijon Castle. Visitors may now see the sacristy, attics, and treasury at the Sainte-Chapelle.


Maincy

The village's 10-kilometer squared area is home to two small rivers--the Almont (a tributary of the Seine) and the Bobée. The land consists mostly of farmland and forests, with crops taking up 40% of its total space and forests covering 37%.

The specific landmark that characterizes the locality is the Vaux-le-Vicomte castle and its vast park, occupying a little more than a third of the land to the northeast. The château, built around 1660 for Nicolas Fouquet who later fell out of favor with Louis XIV, is an example of classical architecture from the Grand Siècle period. Today, it remains a popular tourist destination.


The castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte, located northeast of the historic town of Maincy, has had a great impact on the town's history and remains its jewel today. Every year, 300,000 people visit Maincy (1800 inhabitants) to discover the castle's magnificent interiors and gardens. However, don't forget to stroll through the village itself and explore the beautiful countryside surrounding it.


Barbizon

People visit Barbizon to enjoy its natural beauty and charming atmosphere. The village is located in the heart of the Forest of Fontainebleau, which is known for its rolling hills, forests, and cliffs. Barbizon is also home to a number of art galleries and studios, which are popular with artists and tourists alike. In addition, the village is home to a number of charming restaurants and cafes, which make it the perfect place to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.

The Maison et Atelier de Jean-François Millet, which was the former home and studio of one of the most distinguished members of the Barbizon school of painters, offers an enriching experience that tells guests more about the artist. The small house included three rooms where Millet and his family lived: a kitchen, living quarters, and his atelier (a workshop or studio).

Château de Chamarande

The chateau was rebuilt in 1654 and has moats that are now lawns. The area of 'canals, ponds and fountains' is attributed to Andre Le Notre. A pond with an island and cypresses was added in 1780. After the French Revolution, the estate was redesigned as an English park before it was acquired by the Municipality of Essonne in 1978. In 2001, a centre for contemporary art featuring work from young artists opened on site.

Palace of Versailles

Together with its gardens, the Palace of Versailles is one of the most famous world heritage monuments. The ensemble traces the architectural style of the 17th and 18th centuries and comprise: the Royal Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors, the Chapel, the Royal Opera and the Museum of the History of France. The Park is decorated with statues, fountains, water parterres and outstanding buildings such as the Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon, the Temple de l'Amour and the Hamlet of Queen Marie-Antoinette.

After the restitution of the royal gate and the complete restoration of the Petit Trianon, the Royal Opera opened its doors in 2009 after two years of renovation works: it now welcomes the public with an exceptional programme. Since October 2010, the King's table is once again in the antechamber of the Grand Couvert which has been fully restored and is now reopen to the public. It recreates the dinnertime atmosphere in which King Louis XIV's would eat in public with his family every night at 10pm with each dinner lasting 45 minutes!

Palace Versaille France
Palace of Versaille, France

Chartres, France


Chartres, France is a small town located in the Paris region and is known for its beautiful Gothic cathedral. The city has much to offer visitors, from its historic monuments to its charming cafés and restaurants. It's also home to many art galleries, museums, and other cultural attractions that visitors can enjoy while exploring the area. Whether you're looking for an educational experience or just a relaxing day trip away from Paris, Chartres offers something for everyone!

Chartres cathedral is a stunning, record-breaking monument situated in Eure-et-Loir that should not be missed on your travels. The incredible history behind the Chartres Cathedral is certainly worth exploring - its captivating story of twists and turns has granted it UNESCO world heritage status, ensuring pilgrims and tourists can marvel at its beauty for many years to come.

Placed in the picturesque Eure Valley, you will be captivated by Maintenon castle's remarkable history and those who have shaped it over the years. Thanks to restorations throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, each room of this amazing manor boasts old furniture that transports visitors back into time. Experiencing Maintenon Castle is truly a magical journey through past eras! The castle is just the right size for everyone and it isn't too tiring to walk around. Kids can get a game booklet at the entrance which will teach them something new while they have fun and explore! After visiting this castle, your children are sure to want more!

Claude Monet's garden at Giverny

Giverny is a beautiful village located in the Paris region and home to one of the world's most famous gardens: Claude Monet's Garden. This stunning garden was created by the French Impressionist painter and has been lovingly tended for over 40 years. It's here that he found his inspiration for many of his masterpieces, such as Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge. With its lush vegetation, winding paths, colorful flower beds, tranquil ponds and water lilies, it's easy to see why this garden continues to be an inspiration for so many today! Visitors can explore the grounds on foot or take a guided tour with an experienced guide who can explain more about Monet’s life here at Giverny. There are also plenty of other activities in Giverny from exploring nearby villages to visiting local markets or simply taking time out to relax in nature – all perfect ways to experience Claude Monet’s Garden at Giverny!

Claude Monet's garden at Giverny
Claude Monet's garden at Giverny
Vernon, France

Although it may not have many towering monuments, the small town of Vernon makes up for that with a rich network of streets and houses from as early as 1100s. As you explore these historic structures around the collegiate church, make sure to take your time and notice all its details! If you head towards more residential areas such as Victor Hugo or l’Ardèche, don't forget to marvel at grandiose avenues lined by lime trees. Truly an experience like no other!

For a peaceful experience of the Seine, Quai Garnuchot is just perfect with its grassy embankment along the river. Chateau de Bizy near Vernon provides an idyllic castle enclosed in picturesque grounds filled with fountains; and inside one can find furniture from 1st Empire period as well as stables designed similar to those at Versailles Palace.


Why wouldn't you take a road trip around Paris?

Paris is a city of endless possibilities and the surrounding cities, towns and villages offer even more to explore. From Paris' iconic monuments to small-town charm, there are plenty of activities for travelers looking for an off-the-beaten path experience. Whether you're exploring Chartres cathedral or Giverny's gardens, Maintenon castle or Vernon's historic streets – Paris has something unique and special to offer every traveler! So grab your camera, plan your route carefully and get ready to take in all that Paris has on its doorstep – it will be a road trip like no other!

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