Royal towns and the art de vivre
A stone's throw from the bustle of Paris, escape to another world and another time
From the splendour of Versailles to the style and subtlety of Vaux-le-Vicomte. The finest examples of châteaux from the Middle Ages to the 19th Century are here and come to life throughout the year with concerts, operas, fountain and fireworks displays, flower shows and other special events.
Top 5 Châteaux
The Royal Towns also bear witness to the history of the region:
St Denis where the kings of France are buried, St Germain-en-Laye where Louis XIV was born and the fabulous Fontainebleau, whose château has been a favourite for monarchs from François I to Napoleon. The forest here is one of the most historic and picturesque in the country. In fact, the region boasts 270,000 hectares of national forest and 3 national parks. The medieval town of Provins has UNESCO status and transports visitors back to the Middle Ages. Beautifully preserved, it holds events and shows all year long to bring this era to life.
Top 5 Royal Towns
Artists towns at Auvers-sur-Oise and Moret-sur-Loing are sure to inspire you as they did the impressionist painters Van Gogh, Monet, Sisley and many others. The village of Barbizon still has a thriving art community in the heart of the forest of Fontainebleau, just as it did in the time of Millet and Rousseau. The great writers of France also made their home here: Zola, Hugo, Dumas and Balzac lived and worked here and their studios and homes can be visited.
Top 5 artists and writers sites
History, culture, natural beauty and the "Art de Vivre" less than 3 hours drive from Calais/Coquelles, the Ile-de-France is ideal for those who want to get away from it all, while still being close enough to enjoy the pleasure of Paris.
Find out more on the Paris-Ile de France Tourist Board.
Getting there and around
The royal towns region, escape to another world and another time!
Just a few hours drive on the motorway from Eurotunnel's Calais Terminal.