Le Mans Guide

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Every year some 250,000 spectators descend on this "City of Art and History" in north-western France for the annual Le Mans 24 Hours Race , the most famous endurance race in the world. This year will be no exception with 56 cars competing in the legendary 'twice around the clock' race on the 16th and 17th of June 2018. As always you can be sure of an exciting race and a close finish. Ferrrari, BMW, Porsche, Corvette, Lotus, Aston Martin ... will all be there battling for the first place. Le Mans 24 Hours offers a full weekend of events proving that at Le Mans "every second is a new emotion". At Le Mans 24 Hours lasts a whole week! History Le Mans 24hr race has been held annually since 1923. Credit: wheels_a_holics Le Mans has hosted a 24-hour race since 1923, stopping only briefly for The Great Depression and the Second World War. The race was set up by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) to test both car and driver for endurance and reactions. This has led to car manufacturers being forced to innovate in order to allow better aerodynamics, fuel efficiency and braking and Le Mans regularly features new designs from some of the biggest names in racing (known as Le Mans Prototypes, or LMPs). Although the 13.6km track, named the Circuit de la Sarthe, has seen many tweaks over the years (most notably the inclusion of chicanes on the straight to stop drivers going too fast) the basic layout has remained the same. Some sections use public roads which can be driven on in the days leading up to the race before being closed off, giving you a unique opportunity to get an insight into the experience of the competitors (except at a slower and safer speed of course). The events Le Mans is considered one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world. Credit: s.vallat_photographie Every year fans get the chance to meet their heroes with the Drivers' Autograph Session, and those lucky enough to get their hands on a General Enclosure, Grandstand, or VIP weekend ticket will get a chance to explore behind the scenes with guided pit walks, offering a unique first-hand experience of the track. One of the most popular non-race events traditionally occurs on the Friday, when the competitors take part in the Drivers' Parade through the centre of Le Mans. The carnival-style event not only gives spectators the opportunity to get up close to both classic cars and drivers, but also to enjoy a huge street party. Each year is more colourful and livelier than the previous; expect music, dancing and the odd cheeky display of bravado from some of the best drivers in the world today. If you're feeling the need for speed then the high velocity events begin mid-week, with free practice sessions and qualifying practice sessions warming up the tyre rubber. These are normally followed by more qualifying practice sessions in the following days. As the main race approaches on the Saturday there are a number of support races which make for an equally impressive spectacle. In the morning, the Le Mans Legend takes place, a unique event reserved for cars that have previously competed in Le Mans. Each year a different era is picked from the past and drivers range from amateurs to former champions, such as Sterling Moss. Of course, after all this excitement it's easy to forget that you have 24 hours of one of the greatest races on the planet to cap it all off. You can watch all the action first hand or on one of the eleven giant screens scattered around the race area, grandstand and village, so you don't have to miss one nail-biting minute. Aerial view of part of the Le Mans circuit. Accommodation and tickets The ACO opens several campsites around the circuit for the event. Most are only a short walk from the track and are connected to the village by a small train. You will need to get a special camping ticket, normally one per vehicle required, and the best campsites sell out fast, so be sure to book as early as possible. Tickets can be bought directly from the ACO at the official Le Mans race website. To see the race you will need at least an Enceinte General ticket (general admission), but separate tickets are needed for the grandstands. For more tips and advice see our guide to camping in France. Other sights Cathedral of Saint Julian in Le Mans The city of Le Mans itself should not be overlooked, with its stunning architecture and amazingly-preserved old town. An ancient settlement, the remains of a Roman wall and amphitheatre can be seen in town and the cobbled streets may seem familiar as the setting for Gérard Depardieu's film adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac. Paris is just a 2 hour drive away, so if you want to take a break from the racing festivities and do something a little different why not check out our guide to shopping in Paris? Whether you're a huge racing fan or just interested in experiencing one of the most incredible and exciting events on the sports calendar then be sure not to miss the "24 Hours of Le Mans" event. Circuit des 24 Heures 72019 LE MANS CEDEX 2 Phone : 02 43 40 24 24 Fax : 02 43 40 24 15 Information and tickets at: www.24h-lemans.com Book your journey Top image credit: fritsh

Secret Paris

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So you've been to the Louvre, walked around the Arc de Triomphe, and you've looked out over the city from the top of the Eiffel Tower, but there's so much more to see in the world's most romantic city. We've overturned every paving slab and crept around hidden street corners to bring you a selection of Paris' best unknown gems, but don't tell anyone! Little-known day spots Parc de Bagatelle When you're exploring one of France's most unique cities, a trip around the usual tourist traps can mean missing out on the most interesting parts of a city. Paris is known for its beauty and many tourists head to the famous parks surrounding Champs-Elysée avenue. For a quieter spot, head to Parc de Bagatelle of the Château de Bagatelle in western Paris. This beautiful, quiet garden was created in the 18th century, and is home to a Chinese-style pagoda, as well as stunning rose gardens, which play host each year to an international competition. Parc de Belleville Another stunning green space, which provides great views over Paris is Parc de Belleville. If you're tired of the Eiffel Tower, this is a superb alternative that will give you panoramic views over the city, and it even has its own wooden children's park. Home to waterfalls, streams, and 140 wine-producing grape vines, take a picnic to the top of Belleville hill and watch as the city breathes below. Another interesting way to see the city is by taking a boat tour along the River Seine, an option that is surprisingly overlooked by many tourists. Views over the city at Parc de Belleville Marché Monge Paris has dozens of markets, both open air and covered, but one of the most delightful is Marché Monge. This food market is set in the quiet surroundings of Place Monge, which can be found just south of the River Seine in the city centre. You can spend an afternoon pleasantly browsing the high quality goods that are on sale, and we love the fact that you're able to buy produce directly from the source. Chat with the fishmonger and ask about sustainable fishing, or discuss local farming whilst buying fresh fruit and veg. Take some extra cash to this market though, as prices reflect the quality of goods on offer. Underground culture La Pagode Cinema If you're looking for something to do in the evenings, why not spend some time checking out Paris' movie theatres? La Pagode Cinema is celebrated amongst those who know its existence, as it's one of the most beautiful places to see a film in Paris. Located at 57 Rue de Babylone, in the southwest of Paris, La Pagode gets its name from its authentic pagoda, which is made from parts imported from Japan, and has been showing films on and off since the 1930s. There are also some exquisite gardens at the site, which are perfect to relax in whilst waiting for a film. Musée Carnavalet Tucked away in Paris' historic Le Marais district, Musée Carnavaletshowcases the history of Paris, housed within two beautiful mansion buildings. Formerly a famous Renaissance hotel, the setting of the museum has its own gardens, and houses a range of collections such as items from the Middle Ages, French furniture, art, and archaeology. The museum is known, but many overlook it in favour of the famous Louvre, and Le Marais is a fantastic district for museum addicts, as it's home to many different galleries and museums. Musee Carnavalet Bab-Ilo Paris has an ever-changing music scene, and one great way to get a glimpse of local culture is to head to a live music venue. We love the Bab-Ilo, a famous jazz club with the Parisian locale. You'll find it in the Montmartre neighbourhood, and whilst this area is packed with busy bars and clubs, Bab-Ilo is tucked away inside an old pub, which serves as a cosy setting within which local jazz musicians perform, as well as Brazilian and Caribbean bands during most nights of the week. Paris' Montmartre neighbourhood is well-trodden, but there are still secrets to uncover Secret eats Chez Ramona Within Paris' charming Belleville district, you'll find Chez Ramona. Serving up Spanish food, this restaurant is popular with locals who want to spend a long evening dining on classic Spanish dishes, whilst enjoying a lot of sangria! It's a little hidden away, and to get to the restaurant space you'll have to venture through the downstairs bakery, before climbing the narrow stairs which take you to the dining room. The décor is fun and typically Spanish, and the prices are very reasonable. Sip sangria and feast on paella at Chez Ramona L'Ebouillanté If you're after some more traditional French cuisine, head to L'Ebouillanté, in a low-key square just beyond the St-Gervais-St-Protais Church. It's technically a café, dishing up pastries, cakes and light meals, and in the evening you can dine on crêpes filled with meat and vegetables, whilst sipping on well-made cocktails. There's an art studio upstairs, so much of the clientele here reflects the bohemian vibes that L'Ebouillanté has managed to uphold in all its years in business. Hidden hotels Hotel Daniel This small, lavishly decorated hotel is perfect if you're looking for a luxury stay in Paris. Located between the Champs-Elysées avenue and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, this hotel is a beautiful home away from home, decorated with comfortable furniture, tasteful artwork and flowers throughout. The hotel restaurant serves up consistently good food, from breakfast through to brunch and teatime, and you have the luxury of having breakfast at any time of day. During the evening, relax in the tasteful bar and enjoy a glass of champagne, or one of the select cocktails on offer. Hidden Hotel This hotel is situated down a peaceful street, near to the Arc de Triomphe. Despite the location, you don't feel as though you're in one of the busiest parts of Paris, as the noises of the nearby hustle and bustle are muted by the surrounding buildings, and the Hidden Hotel'swooden entrance feels like a secret door to another world. Inside you're greeted by an eco-friendly escape. The original building was renovated and replaced with all-natural fittings and materials, and the décor is chic and modern, and incredibly comfortable. Be aware though, that this part of town is very touristy, although the location is convenient if you want to see the main sights. Getting there and around Europe is just a 35 minute journey with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, so it's never been easier to take a city break! Book your journey

Disneyland® Paris Parks Guide

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The magic starts here with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's guide to Disneyland® Paris With two parks to explore, including five magical kingdoms, daily parades, thrilling rides and behind the scenes action, there is something for everybody at this wonderful family resort. Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's guide can help you get the most out of your experience and ensure you don't miss out on any of the magic. Disneyland® Paris is split into two main parks – Disneyland® Park and Walt Disney® Studios Park and you can buy tickets for one or both, with plenty to see in each.           Disneyland® Park This original site, opened in 1992, is made up of five themed lands: Main Street USA®, Frontierland, Adventureland, Fantasyland and Discoveryland. Main Street USA®   Frontierland   Adventureland   Fantasyland   Discoveryland       Frontierland Strap on your spurs and head to Frontierland for some rootin' tootin' Wild West fun. This land includes one of the big thrill rides in the park, Big Thunder Mountain, the fastest wildest train west of the Mississippi.   For family fun exploring,hop aboard one of the park's paddle steamer river boats or take a wonder through Pocahontas Indian Village, where younger visitors swing between tepees while adults enjoy a relaxing riverside view. For spooky thrills the Phantom Manor, which is packed with spooky animated details, from stretching rooms to singing skeletons, this is one ghost hunt which is suitable for the whole family.     Adventureland Adventureland certainly lives up to its name, with swashbuckling pirates, magical genies and a certain whip-cracking archaeologist among its inhabitants.   See the ride that spawned the film with the yo-ho-hoing Pirates of the Caribbean boat adventure, featuring 119 animatronic characters, including monkeys and even skeletons. There's more swashbuckling adventure on the Adventure Isle, where you can cross swinging rope bridges and explore dark caves in search of gold doubloons. There's even an opportunity to sneak aboard Captain Hook's pirate ship, which is moored in the lagoon. For a whip cracking adventure head deep into the jungle to discover Indiana Jones' Temple of Peril (A French take on the Temple of Doom); here you will be whisked off in a runaway mine train, speeding through ancient ruins.     Fantasyland Once you've had your adrenaline fill head to Fantasyland where you will discover Sleeping Beauty Castle, take a closer look to reveal a magnificent stained glass gallery telling the story of Sleeping Beauty, and if you're feeling daring you can tiptoe into the cave beneath to catch a glimpse of the giant dragon who resides there.   Continue into the fairytale, where you can fly with Dumbo the elephant and taking a spin in the Mad Hatter's Teacups. Fairytales really do come to life here, with gentle rides exploring the tales of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and lovable puppet-boy Pinocchio. You can lose yourself (and others) in the twisting corridors of Alice's Curious Labyrinth, though be sure to look out for the Queen of Hearts and make sure that you keep your head!     Discoveryland Step into the future in Discoveryland, where you can blast off to space, fight evil aliens and pilot your own rocket ship. Grab a laser gun and help Buzz Lightyear fight the evil Zurg and his minions in an exciting indoor ride where you could win the title of Galactic Hero.   The bravest space explorers can be shot from a canon into the farthest reaches of the galaxy in Space Mountain: Mission 2 or pilot their own rocket ships on the Orbitron carousel. If you would rather take more of a back seat and watch the action unfold then 3-D movie Captain EO, which returned to the park in 2010 after nearly 20 years away, features Michael Jackson performing exclusive songs and the stunning special effects of movie master George Lucas.     In every area of Disneyland® Park there is always something going on, from spectacular shows to hidden details to seek out. So while it's worth planning what you want to see beforehand, leave some time for the little surprises which are guaranteed to pop up along the way. Book your journey

Walt Disney® Studios Park

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The fastest route to Disneyland® Paris by car Walt Disney® Studios Park was opened in 2002 as a second park on the Disneyland® Paris site. Here you can discover the magical world of cinema and television, with glimpses behind the scenes and a number of entertaining daily shows.           Walt Disney® Studios Park The park is divided into four studio lots – Front Lot, Toon Studio, Production Courtyard and Backlot – and in 2010 Disney® launched a major addition in the form of Pixar characters, including an entire Toy Story Playland. Front Lot   Toon Studio   Production Courtyard   Back Lot       Front Lot The Front Lot is, unsurprisingly, the first area which park visitors encounter upon entering and to get any further you have to step into the night into the impressive Disney® Studio 1.   This huge sound studio is designed to replicate a fantasy Sunset Boulevard, stuffed with ingenious Hollywood and film references for guests to seek out.     Toon Studio Head into Toon Studio, where some of Disney's® most memorable creations come to life and you can even try your hand at being an animator yourself. With the Art of Animation guided tour you can see behind the scenes in the animation process and find out how some of Disney's® most famous characters were created.   You can shrink to the size of Buzz, Woody and friends in the park's latest addition – Toy Story Playland. As well as experiencing all the bright colours and wonderful imagination of the Pixar film brought to life, thrill-seekers can take a ride on RC Racer, while younger visitors can enjoy the Slinky Dog ZigZag spin. If that's not enough for Pixar fans then hop aboard Crush's Coaster for a totally radical rollercoaster ride or get behind the wheel of a rookie racer for the Cars Race Rally.     Production Courtyard In the Production Courtyard you can explore behind the scenes of cinema and TV, including a tram tour through full-scale movie productions (though hold on to your hat when the tour takes a turn into the Catastrophe Canyon film set).   The Stitch Live! show provide some more relaxing sit-down excitement, But once you've rested your feet it's time to take on one of the park's most popular attractions - The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. The towering haunted hotel features hi-tech spooks and a thrilling elevator drop, which accelerates downwards faster than gravity. Prepare for fun frights!     Backlot In the Backlot you'll find big bangs and heartstopping special effects. The Moteurs... Action! Stunt Show Spectacular features car chases, motorbike jumps and spectacular explosions aplenty, to keep you gripped to the edge of your seat.   If you like your thrills accompanied by a hard rocking soundtrack then hop aboard the Rock'n'Roller Coaster, soundtracked by Aerosmith. A day in Walt Disney® Studios Park can really bring the magic of the movies to life, but with so many shows on offer make sure you plan what you want to see so that you don't end up missing out.     Book your journey

Disney® Village

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The magic starts here with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's guide to Disney® Village Just because the parks close for the night it doesn't mean the magic has to end. Head to the Disney® Village, situated between the two parks, for an evening of excitement, entertainment and eating.           Disney® Village Mosey on down to the ranch at Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, where you will be greeted by Mickey, Goofy and pals, before settling in for dinner and a rip-roaring show. While you enjoy your meal you can watch Buffalo Bill, Sitting Bull, Annie Oakley and the Rough Riders as they grab their lassos and six-shooters for a western spectacular.   If you're looking for something a little different then take a ride up in the PanoraMagique balloon, which offers spectacular views across both parks and Lake Disney®. Disney® Village contains a host of eateries to pick from, including a Planet Hollywood, but if you want to get up close and personal with the world's most famous mouse then Café Mickey is the place for you. Book early to avoid disappointment and you could enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner with Mickey and chums, a great bookend to the magical excitement of the parks.     Book your journey

Planning a trip to Disneyland

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When and where to meet characters With two huge parks to explore and so much to see it is advisable to work out a plan for your visit. There is more than enough in each park to occupy a day, so don't try to do them both at once.           Planning Your Visit There are scheduled events which occur daily in different areas of the parks, including parades and stage shows, so try to time your route so that you'll be in the right place at the right time. The park can get very busy and there are plenty of marvellous distractions to enjoy, so leave yourself plenty of time to get from area to area. If you or a member of your party is keen to meet their favourite Disney® hero, you can pick up a timetable of personal appearances, which will let you know where and when to be to get that all important photo.     Book your journey

Accommodation

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Staying on site allows you Extra Magic Hours With Eurotunnel Le Shuttle the magic is not so far from where you are.           Accommodation There are seven official Disney® hotels on site, from the luxurious Disneyland® Hotel, with spa, swimming pool and kids' playroom, to the more fun themed hotels, like the Davy Crocket Ranch, which has individual cabins and its own grocery store.   Staying on site allows you Extra Magic Hours, so you get to be in the park before regular opening time, enjoying minimal queues and ensuring you're first in line when the parks open to all and last to leave at the end of the day. You can book hotel packages to get entrance and meals included. Selected associate hotels can provide an alternative to on-site accommodation, with shuttle buses to take you to and from the park. Find hotels near Disneyland Paris.     Book your journey

A literary tour of Paris

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In Hemingway's footsteps "If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." Ernest Hemingway was just one of the many writers to find his muse in Paris over the centuries - and whilst many aspiring authors still tinker with their work outside the city's many pavement cafés, just as many tourists are inspired to visit Paris for its rich literary heritage. We've rounded up the best and most interesting bars, restaurants and other destinations, all of which have attracted famous names in French and English literature - just right for a fascinating and evocative city break to Paris. Cafe Procope 13 Rue de l'Ancienne Comédie, 75006 Paris' oldest restaurant, the Procope has been continuously open since 1686 - that's ninety years before America declared its independence! French philosophers such as Rousseau and Voltaire frequently dropped in for an exotic drink of coffee, whilst a few years later the restaurant was popular amongst Robespierre and other architects of the French Revolution. These days, however, the Procope steers clear of civil unrest in favour of hearty traditional cooking in beautiful period surroundings. And if you want to soak up some more atmosphere, Voltaire's own desk - a gift from Frederick the Great - has been preserved in one of the side rooms. Cafe Procope Credit: crizza33 Maison de Victor Hugo 6, Place des Vosges, 75004 Stately and serene, the Place des Vosges is a beautiful spot for a stroll at any time of the day or night. However, the south-eastern corner of the square holds a particular treat for visitors interested in literature - the grandly named Hôtel de Rohan-Guéménée was for sixteen years the home of Victor Hugo, and his apartment has been preserved as a museum. The modest space (which is open Tuesday-Sunday) replicates Hugo's surroundings through the three crucial stages of his life - before, during and after his self-imposed exile during the reign of Napoleon II - as well as preserving the bedroom in which he died in 1885. Two temporary exhibitions are hosted by the museum each year to showcase Hugo's work as not only a writer, but a supremely talented illustrator. Place des Vosges Les Deux Magots 6, Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 75006 Along with its principal rival, the nearby Café de Flore, Les Deux Magots is the archetypal Left Bank café. In its early days it played host to poets including Rimbaud and Mallarmé, but it really came into its own as a hub for two burgeoning inter-war movements in art and philosophy. André Breton presided over the bold young Surrealist artists, whilst existentialist writers gathered under the aegis of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Camus, Picasso and Bertolt Brecht all spent their time and money in Les Deux Magots too, cementing its reputation as a haven for all manner of creative types - although it's no longer cheap and cheerful enough for the current generation of aspiring artists! Les Deux Magots Credit: tonac65 Shakespeare and Company 37 rue Bûcherie, 75005 Sylvia Beach's legendary English language bookshop and lending library on the rue de l'Odéon was a fixture of the Lost Generation. Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein and others all spent time there, whilst James Joyce - whose masterwork Ulysses was first published by Beach - referred to it as Stratford-on-Odéon. The original bookshop closed during the Second World War and was never reopened (according to legend, the final straw was Beach's refusal to sell a German officer her last copy of Finnegans Wake), but its spiritual successor on rue Bûcherie has all the charm of the original and still welcomes penniless writers. Shakespeare and Company Credit: maggiemacgill Père Lachaise Cemetery 16 Rue du Repos, 75020 Paris is the city of love, the city of light… but all things pass, and no literary tour of Paris would be complete without a visit to the final resting place of so many of its great talents. Located in the 20th arrondissement, the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise attracts literary pilgrims from across the world, who come to pay their respects to luminaries including Molière, Marcel Proust and Oscar Wilde (whose tomb is now encased in glass to protect it from the lipsticked kisses of his disciples). Visit the grave of Gertrude Stein and her partner Alice B. Toklas, brave the permanent crowd of Doors fans that surrounds Jim Morrison's simple headstone - and then head back to the Rive Gauche for a restorative drink. It's what Hemingway would have done. Oscar Wilde's tomb Eurotunnel Le Shuttle can whisk you and your car from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes, and from there it’s a gentle three-hour drive to Paris itself. The beauty of taking a car is that you can set your own schedule. And there’s no luggage restriction on Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, so you’ll have plenty of space for mementos - books, paintings or perhaps a case of wine - to help keep you inspired when you head for home. After all, Paris is a moveable feast. Book your journey

Paris Agricultural Show

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Visit the largest farm in France The Agricultural Show is a real family event. Offering new stands and activities every year, the show provides an opportunity to seek out and meet 1,050 exhibitors and to discover around 4,000 farm animals, including horses, sheep, pigs, hens and many others – perfect for animal lovers! From the competition for the biggest cow in France, to wine and cheese tastings, the Agricultural Show is an unmissable event for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in French culture! 330 breeds of animal, all under one roof! First of all, in the area dedicated to "Livestock Breeding Sectors", you will find 330 breeds of animals – some more familiar than others – ranging from cows and ponies to rabbits and dogs, amongst others. A real treat for young and old alike! A world of flavours! Then, why not make the most of the area "Farming and Delicacies from around the World"? This year, more than 18 countries are represented, to the immense delight of your taste buds! Whether it is wine, regional produce or even the dishes on offer from restaurants from France and around the world, we are convinced you will find something to take your culinary fancy! Yum! Growing green… To help you digest all these lovely treats, how about a little breath of fresh air in the "Crops and Plants" zone! There you will find field crops and cereals, and find out about the latest trends for your garden. And, with activities and workshops scheduled all day, you'll soon have all the knowledge you need to help your plants flourish! Learn from the professionals To top off this wonderful day of discovery, the "Agricultural Services and Professions" zone gives you the opportunity to put your questions to French farming professionals. The curiosity of both children and their parents will be satisfied by the various activities on offer. An itinerary for everyone If the above activities don't take your fancy, you could always opt for one of the itineraries recommended by the Agricultural Show itself: Short of time? With the express itinerary, you can visit all the unmissable attractions of the biggest farm in France in just three hours. The "Regional and Quality-Labelled Products" itinerary is just the thing to whet your appetite! There are lots of delicious dishes and taste sensations waiting to be tried. Do you have younger visitors in your party? They'll be beaming from ear to ear with the "Children" itinerary, which has everything you need for an unforgettable experience. You will also get a backpack full of surprises. Getting there and around By car: it takes approximately three hours (299 km) to drive from the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle Calais terminal. International Agricultural Show Paris Porte de Versailles 1, place de la Porte de Versailles Paris 75015 Email: sia_support@leni-france.fr en.salon-agriculture.com To find out more about other trails So, are you ready to discover all that France has to offer? Book your journey

Getting around Paris

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Escape the tourists and travel like a local in Paris Along with London, New York and a few other global cities, Paris is a must-see destination regardless of your interests. Everybody is either desperate to visit or desperate to go back. But despite its enviable reputation as a hotspot for culture, shopping, architecture, nightlife and sport, the prospect of visiting a capital city can be daunting - especially if you don't speak the language or aren't used to getting around this urban area. Not only is Paris one of the most interesting and beautiful cities in the world - it's also one of the easiest to navigate. Getting around in Paris requires nothing more than a Paris Visite pass, this is a metro map which gives you an idea of where you want to go. Whether you're looking for high fashion in St-Germain, street culture in the Marais or an incredible view from Montmartre, the Paris public transport network will be your first port of call. Getting a ticket For people visiting Paris the best option is a Paris Visite pass, which is either available online or from train or Metro stations. These offer unlimited travel in either Zones 1-3 (central Paris and the inner suburbs) or Zones 1-5 (for those wishing to head further afield or travel to the airport). You can choose a pass valid for 1, 2, 3 or 5 days to suit your stay. If you're planning a longer and more travel-intensive trip, the Navigo card grants you unlimited travel for either a week or a month - prices start at approximately €20, plus €5 for the card itself, and you'll also need a passport-sized photograph Ways to travel in Paris Metro Like the London Underground, the Paris Metro network is formed of underground train lines that criss-cross the city. Unlike the London Underground, the Metro is fast, cheap and uncomplicated, making it the perfect option for savvy travellers. Composed of fourteen main lines and two small branch lines, the Paris Metro map is surprisingly easy to follow. Each line is simply numbered, and the direction of travel is described by the terminus towards which the train is travelling. Many of the stations are worth a visit in themselves - the Jules Verne-inspired Arts et Métiers, with its gleaming brass and rivets, is especially memorable. Bus There are fifty-eight bus lines operating in Paris, and with the recent introduction of new bus-only lanes on many of the city's busier roads it's a very convenient way to travel. Most bus services run from around 5:45am until 12:30am, with a few night buses covering the early morning. Generally speaking, it's best to be within walking distance of your hotel by midnight if you're relying on public transport. Taxi If you prefer a little privacy while getting around Paris, look no further. The city has more than 15,000 taxis, and with journeys costing around €1/km (depending on time of day) it's an inexpensive way to explore Paris. You can easily spot available taxis when the roof light is switched on and when travelling this light is then dimmed; go ahead and hail one, or ask the reception staff at your hotel to call a taxi firm if you prefer. If you're out and about and can't see a free car, the central taxi switchboard (+33 (0)1 45 30 30 30) is available 24 hours a day. RER If you're staying in an outlying district or fancy getting out of central Paris, the RER network runs larger trains deep into the suburbs. There are five lines named A to E, all of which connect up with the Metro once you're back in the centre. A, B and D all pass through the busy central station of Châtelet - Les Halles, which is a useful starting point if you're planning a Metro journey once you get to town. Vélib Paris is perfect for cycling, and the popular Vélib scheme means you don't have to worry about fitting bicycles onto your roofrack. Vélib, which inspired the similar cycle hire scheme in London, lets you pick up a sleek, unisex three-speed bike from one of hundreds of plug-in points, ride it to your destination and drop it off for the next rider. The first 30 minutes of each journey are free, but if you're planning on riding a lot then a one day pass is just €1.70 and a weekly pass is €8. Top Paris sights to visit by public transport Musée du Louvre Home to France's masterpieces, the Louvre is one of the most richly endowed museums on earth. You can fight through the crowds around the glass pyramid in the Cour Carrée - or travel by Metro and skip straight into the heart of the museum. Head to the Palais Royal Musé du Louvre stop (lines 1 and 7) and you'll see a passageway leading directly to the palace - no crowd-dodging necessary. Basilica Sacré-Coeur If you're feeling energetic, the hill leading to one of Paris' most memorable churches has more than 300 steps - it's the perfect way to justify a glass of beer or a cappuccino at the summit. Otherwise, hop on the Montmartre funicular railway to speed up to the Sacré-Coeur in under a minute, enjoying the view as you climb. Any Paris travelcard will cover your journey. Eiffel Tower, Pont de l'Alma, Place de la Concorde... If you fancy feeling like a real Parisian for an hour or so, catch the 42 bus towards Gare du Nord from the Eiffel Tower. It's a fraction of the cost of a tourist coach tour, and passes by many of Paris' most memorable sights. Keep an eye out for haute couture on Avenue Montaigne, the perfectly appointed Tuileries gardens and the gold statues atop the Opéra. The French Connection Paris is an incredibly well-connected city; but if having the flexibility to make your own plans is important to you, then the ease and accessibility of Eurotunnel Le Shuttle make it an ideal choice. It takes just 35 minutes to transport you and your car from Folkestone to Calais, which is less than three hours from Paris by car. Simply take the A16 autoroute, conveniently located less than two miles from the Eurotunnel terminal, and follow it all the way to the outskirts of Paris. On your way you'll pass through the idyllic Caps et Marais d'Opale natural park and the cathedral city of Amiens - there's plenty to see, don't forget that Paris is waiting for you! Book your journey

New Year`s Eve in Paris

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What better way to celebrate the year coming to a close and launch yourself into 2018 in style than heading to France for New Year's Eve? When it comes to celebrating in style the French do it best, so charge your glasses and let the countdown begin with our Eurotunnel Le Shuttle guide to the places to be, come midnight on December 31. Tradition New Year's Eve in France is known as la Saint-Sylvestre, in honour of 4th Century Pope Sylvester I, who was buried on December 31 335. However, that is where any religious connotations end and most French people see the day as an opportunity for some good food, fine wine and a cheery celebration with family and friends. It really is nothing but the best to see out the year in France - the traditional food of choice is oysters and foie gras and raised glasses should be filled with wonderfully fizzy Champagne, or at the very least a sparkling wine of choice. A toast should be made with one of France's most famous exports. When the countdown reaches its climax get ready to know your neighbour that little bit better, as kisses are exchanged (on the cheek) and everybody wishes each other an enthusiastic 'bonne annee', or 'happy new year'. For the French the celebration period continues until January 6, so be prepared to receive (and return) happy New Year's wishes for several days following.  New Year's Eve in Paris With its iconic scenery and fun-loving populace Paris turns into one giant street party on New Year's Eve every year. The city of light celebrates the New Year in style Before the celebrations begin in earnest ensure that you dine in style by booking a restaurant table. Paris has numerous seafood restaurants where you can enjoy the traditional oysters and Champagne as you wait for the midnight hour; some of the best can be found along the Rue de Montparnasse near the famous Montparnasse cemetery. The French don't like to rush their food (or their service), so ensure you book early enough to be back outside before midnight, as the street is the place to be when the clock strikes. Street vendors will often sell cheap bottles of sparkling wine (be sure not to call it Champagne within earshot of any French people) and a chorus of popping corks can be heard across the city when the time comes. The views from Montmartre are regarded as the best in Paris. One of the best places to get a great view of the festivities is the Esplanade du Trocadéro, across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower, this gives the classic view of the monument and its surrounding gardens and is the perfect spot to view the traditional fireworks. If you're looking for a wider view why not climb the steps to the Sacré-Cœur Cathedral plaza, in Montmatre? From here you can look out across all of Paris and watch the celebrations unfold beneath you. Getting there Paris is a 3 hour drive from the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle terminal at Calais. New Year's Eve in La Rochelle If you're looking for a real New Year's Eve party then the faded seaside glamour of La Rochelle may be the place for you. Although traditionally quiet over the Christmas period, the town's bars and restaurants come alive on December 31, as residents and visitors gather together to raise a glass to the end of the year. The historic port is quieter over the New Year period. Head to the Vieux Port, or Old Harbour, to find the finest in fresh seafood and the liveliest bars, with an unrivalled view out across the bay. Getting there: La Rochelle is 7 hours 10 minutes' drive from the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle terminal at Calais. Book your journey

Paris Marathon

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With 40,000 participants, Paris's annual marathon is one of the five biggest marathons in the world and is on equal standing with New York, London, Berlin and Chicago. For participants, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity allows them to take in the sights of Paris while completing one of the top 26-mile courses in the world. Starting at the Champs-Elysées, diverting through the Place de la Concorde and finishing at Foch Avenue. The course is dotted with a wealth of things to do for the average runner and spectator, with Paris hosting a running expo a few days before the big event. Held annually on a Sunday in April, it's best to get planning early to make the most out of the occasion.  The Paris Marathon is held annually on a Sunday in April. History In 1896 a large crowd gathered to watch 191 runners participate in the first ever Paris Marathon. A distance of 40km was covered over a course that is slightly different from its modern day cousin, but invariably set the standard for the famous race we know today. The first race encouraged competitor spirit by awarding all those who finished in less than 4 hours a commemorative medal. Over a hundred years later and the race remains almost the same. The distance has been altered to match that of the London Marathon (42km) and the course has changed somewhat from its origins. Instead of running from Paris to Conflains-Sainte-Honorine via Versaillies, runners now get to take in the scenery from the Champs-Elysees to Foch Avenue. Sights Runners in this marathon have noted how beautiful the surroundings are. Starting out at the Arc de Triomphe, runners get the honour of running en masse down the broad Champs Elysées, a rare opportunity as it is usually packed with traffic. The route continues on from here and passes through two Parisian woods as it follows the banks of the river Seine. Once you're past the Champs Elysées, the first landmark you're going to encounter is the Arc de Triomphe, one of the most famous monuments in France which sits on the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle. This is the crutch of the Axe Historique (Historic axis), a sequence of monuments and thoroughfares that extend from the centre of Paris towards the west. Further along the route and you will come across the Place de la Concorde. This major public square is the largest within Paris and hosts a famous equestrian statue of King Louis XV, made of a combination of lime and blue stone and leading on towards the beautiful fortress Bastille. The race begins on Champs-Elysees. The course loops back on itself and soon you'll be running right next to some internationally renowned buildings. Of note are the Tour Eiffel and the Cathedral Notre-Dame. Both magnificent in their own right, but combined with the thrill of cheering crowds they become spectacular markers on your marathon and let you know that you'll soon be finished. The finish line is situated at Porte Dauphine. Thanks to the race organisers you'll also be able to enjoy a glass of wine to celebrate. Facilities and Tickets It's good to note that the marathon itself is open to all athletes of any nationality born before 1991 and that a medical note is required before you can compete. Once you've received your race number you can sort out your travel arrangements with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. Runners take in scenery such as the Eiffel Tower and Cathedral Notre-Dame. On the race day itself you'll find that there are refreshments provided as you run. Raisins, oranges, water and energy drinks are all provided at intervals of the race. First aid help is also available if requested. The aforementioned running expo is a great place to pick up tips and equipment and meet fellow runners before the big day. Make sure you have a rough estimate of your race timings as you'll be divided into time groups at the beginning of the race. Get there early if you're expecting to finish within 4 hours so you can join the leading group. This forever growing event is one that will be marked in thousands of people's calendars and should be in yours too. Even if you're not competing, experiencing the marathon buzz within the centre of Paris is something that occurs rarely and is a unique spectacle to witness. Are you reading to take on the Paris Marathon? Whether it's your first, second or tenth, book a ticket with us now to take advantage of the best fares. Book your journey 

Paris on a shoestring

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It’s easy to let your budget run away with you on holiday Often paying for things in a foreign currency can feel like not spending real money at all. This can be particularly difficult in a big city such as Paris, where it seems that everybody is selling something. However, the savvy traveller can survive on the most meagre of budgets while still experiencing the best that France’s magnificent capital has to offer. So give your credit card a break and let Eurotunnel guide you through the best way to see Paris on a shoestring. Getting around The centre of Paris is surprisingly navigable on foot, wide avenues mean that you rarely feel hemmed in and the ever-visible Eiffel Tower means that you always have a point of reference to get your bearings by. There will be times however when you find it necessary to use the Metro. In this case it is advised to get a Carnet (10 tickets for €11.60) which saves you money compared with buying individual tickets at €1.60 each. Palais du Louvre Nine hundred years in the making the Palais du Louvre is more than just somewhere to keep the Mona Lisa. It will cost you €9 to get inside the extensive former lodging for France’s royalty (before all the unfortunate business with the guillotines) and view the extensive museum collection, but if you find your funds falling short then there is still plenty to see from the outside. The buildings themselves are a triumph of constant development, with extra wings being added throughout the centuries, right up to the infamous glass pyramid, constructed in 1989. Once you’re done admiring the architecture, why not take a stroll in the Jardin des Tuileries? Open to the public since the 16th Century these gardens feature several casts of statues displayed within the museum and a funfair during Summer. Once through the gardens you can continue your stroll up the spectacular Champs-Elysées, known in France as ‘The Most Beautiful Avenue in the World’. At the other end you are rewarded with the iconic Arc de Triomphe, which towers above the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and its eternally burning flame. Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris There’s much more to this impressive Gothic landmark than just running around with a jumper stuffed up the back of your coat shouting “The bells! The bells!” (though that is fun). In fact the creator of everybody’s favourite Hunchback did more than just popularise the cathedral; Victor Hugo led the successful campaign for its restoration during the 19th Century. Today the cathedral is a stunning must-see landmark on a small island in the middle of the Seine. Entrance is free so it won’t hurt your budget, though if you do want to splash the cash it will cost €8 to go up the towers. Cimetière du Père-Lachaise and Cimetière du Montparnasse Hanging around in a cemetery may not be your first pick for a day out, but Paris’s two great graveyards, Père-Lachaise and Montparnasse, should not be missed. Both are free to enter and feature some wonderful examples of elaborate and artistic gravestones and tombs which show that in Paris even the dead have style. And if the ornate carvings and sculptures are not enough then both cemeteries feature a host of famous names, both French and international, for the keen dead-celeb spotter. In Père-Lachaise the biggest draw for British tourists is probably split between former Doors front man Jim Morrison’s final resting place and the magnificent Sir Jacob Epstein-designed tomb for Oscar Wilde, which visitors traditionally adorn with lipstick kisses. Other big names buried there include Édith Piaf, Marcel Marceau and Pissarro. In Montparnasse you can find the graves of Jean-Paul Sartre, Serge Gainsbourg and Samuel Beckett amongst a host of other famous and influential names from the annals of history. Jardin des Plantes For something with a bit more life in it, why not head to this charmingly dishevelled botanical garden on the left bank of the Seine, just a small walk from Notre-Dame? With more than 10,000 species of plants this garden was started in 1626 and provided a model for the foliage of painter Henri Rousseau’s famous jungle pictures. Entrance to the gardens is free, though if you’re willing to shell out €8 there’s also a small zoo (menagerie) on site. Basilique du Sacré-Cœur The skyline of north Paris is dominated by the majestic dome of the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur. Constructed between 1877-1914 it can be found at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city. Its height can really be appreciated by visitors after you’ve climbed the winding flights of stairs which lead up to the Basilica, affording a spectacular panoramic view of Paris. If your surroundings seem familiar it may be because the area is a popular filming location for both film and television, having made appearances in the movie Amélie and music videos for U2 and Savage Garden. Entry to the Basilica is free and visitors can view the spectacular pipe organ and elaborately tiled interior. Once you’ve experienced the religious atmosphere of the Basilica you can take a short walk around the corner to see a very different Paris landmark in the shape of the infamous Moulin Rouge. Galeries Lafayette A department store may not seem like the ideal destination for the cash-strapped tourist, but Galeries Lafayette has to be seen to be believed. Marvel at the magnificent glass dome which dominates the main shop and wander up and down the fabulous art deco staircases while feigning interest in whatever products are on offer nearby (which could be anything from fashion, cosmetics and jewellery to books, music, and electronics). Eiffel Tower If there’s one place where you’re guaranteed value for money it’s with a trip up the Eiffel Tower. An absolute must for any visitor to Paris, you can enjoy incredible panoramic views of the whole city and the satisfaction of standing on top of one of the most recognisable monuments in the world. It will cost you €13 to get all the way to the top, but it is worth every cent. Book your journey

Shopping in Paris

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Paris, the perfect place for shopping. Paris is synonymous with shopping. With its high fashion, street chic, the finest foods and fine art antiques, you may want to take a spare suitcase when you visit, because there's no way you're leaving empty handed. Whether you're looking for a gift for the family or a whole new wardrobe, let Eurotunnel Le Shuttle help you find the shopping district which best suits you. Avenue Montaigne and Champs-Élysées The Champs-Élysées will be the first stop for many tourists looking to experience the shops of Paris. Running in one long glorious sweep from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde, the avenue is known in France as 'La plus belle avenue du monde' – 'the most beautiful avenue in the world'. However you feel about its looks, the Champs-Élysées offers a mixture of big brands and high quality. A special committee, formed 150 years ago, oversees the avenue and lobbies to keep unwanted shops out (in 2007 they successfully banned H&M from opening a branch there), meaning that retailers work hard to maintain the highest standards and give you the best possible shopping experience. At the east end of the Champs-Élysées turn off onto Avenue Montaigne for a more exclusive shopping experience with many of the big fashion labels. Here you can pick up exclusive clothing and jewellery while also acquiring a terrifying credit card bill, but then you are on holiday. BEST FOR: Big name shops – Adidas, Benetton, Disney Store, Nike, Zara, Cartier, Bel Air Fashion, Toyota, Gap, Sephora, Virgin Megastore, Dior, Chanel, Valentino, Ralph Lauren, Bulgari and more. PARKING: Parking Claridge, 60 Rue Ponthieu, €27 per day. Vinci Park Services, 18 Avenue Champs Elysées, €3.30 per hour. Q Park, 79 Avenue Marceau, €3.10 for one hour. Boulevard Haussmann This tree-lined avenue running from the 8th to the 9th Arrondissement is dominated by two of Paris's largest and oldest department stores; Galeries Lafayette and Au Printemps. Galeries Lafayette began as a haberdasher's in 1893 and today occupies three buildings on Boulevard Haussmann. The main building, Lafayette Coupole, is worth a visit for the grand architecture alone, standing ten storeys high and dominated by a magnificent glass dome. Once you've finished marvelling at your surrounding you can find anything from fashion, cosmetics and jewellery to books, music, and electronics. Just down the street Au Printemps offers similar architectural wonders, with a stunning stained glass cupola sheltering diners in the store's restaurant. Again, the shopping is spread across three buildings, with a variety of big name fashion brands, from Chanel to Calvin Klein, and home furnishings. BEST FOR: Everything you need in one place, clothes and home furnishing. PARKING: Vinci Park Gestion, 45 Boulevard Haussmann. Parc Stationnement, 164 Boulevard Haussmann. Haussmann Galeries Lafayette, junction of Rue Mogador and Boulevard Haussman. Le Marais The hip heart of Paris lies in Le Marais, a district spread across the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, populated with fashion boutiques, antique shops and cafes scattered amongst historic buildings and sights. The Rue des Francs-Bourgeois is one of the few places in Paris to ignore France's strict Sunday closing law, so is a perfect destination for the weekend visitor. The long road has numerous fashion boutiques crammed between magnificent traditional hotels. And when you're done shopping the Paris History Museum is just round the corner. More top fashion shops can be found on the Rue des Rosiers, the heart of the city's Jewish quarter. Here you will find a mixture of kosher boulangeries, charcuteries and restaurants mixed in with independent fashion boutiques. BEST FOR: Small boutiques, antique shops, putting the legwork in to find a bargain. PARKING: Parc Baudoyer, Place Baudoyer, €28 for one day. Vinci Park France, 48 Rue de l'hotel de ville. Hotel de Ville, 3 rue de la Tâcherie, €26 for one day. Les Halles and Rue de Rivoli If food is your thing then Les Halles is the district for you. Not only does the area boast the biggest indoor shopping mall in central Paris, but it also has a plethora of bakeries, fish stores, cheese shops, wine shops, produce stands and flower shops, many of which can be found on the Rue Montorgueil. The mall (Forum des Halles) has five floors, mostly underground, and a wide variety of shops and restaurants, from small boutiques to well known brands and even a cinema. The nearby Rue de Rivoli is another of Paris's most famous streets, though less exclusive than the Champs-Élysées. As well as leading tourists to some of the city's biggest museums (including The Louvre) Rue de Rivoli features shopping opportunities ranging in size from department stores to book stalls. BEST FOR: Food, shopping in bad weather. PARKING: Parking Rambuteau and Parking Berger, access from the tunnels of the rue des Halles, rue de Turbigo, the rue Coquillière or rue du Pont-Neuf, €15 for one day. Louvre-Tuileries and Faubourg Saint-Honoré Faubourg Saint-Honoré has been dubbed 'the most fashionable street in Europe' thanks to the presence of nearly every major fashion house in Europe. This is the perfect place to splash out on that exclusive outfit to be seen wearing in a chic Parisian nightspot. The surrounding area hosts the world-famous Louvre museum and Tuileries gardens and is host to numerous cafes where you can give sore shopped-out feet a break while enjoying the scenery. BEST FOR: Exclusive fashion – Lanvin, Hermès, Lancôme, Dalloyau, Dior, Roger Vivier, Vogue, Givenchy, Salvatore Ferragamo and more. PARKING: Parking du Carrousel, Avenue du Général Lemonnier. Getting there and around Paris is the perfect place to make some shopping! Just a few hours drive on the motorway from Eurotunnel's Calais Terminal. Book your journey

Visit Paris

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Paris for visitors of all ages Paris, the international capital of art, fashion, style and romance remains the number 1 destination for UK travellers. However, for those of us who would like to get away from the hustle and bustle of this vibrant capital, the Ile de France region is ideal. Offering history, art, culture and nature, all within easy reach of the bright lights of Paris. The region offers an ideal compliment, or alternative, to Paris for visitors of all ages. Top 5 Countryside: The Ile de France region is rich in picturesque countryside and forests all within a short distance of the Peripherique. It boasts 3 National Parks and 4 National Forests that allow you to get away from it all and enjoy the natural beauty of France and the pace of French country life. Stunning scenery, idyllic towns, peace and tranquility and abundant wildlife await visitors in the 270,000 hectares of forest that cover this region. The perfect settings for a drive in the country, an invigorating walk or lunch in the open air. Find out more   Top 5 Riverside Spots: The banks of the Seine in Paris are classed by UNESCO and offer visitors an unforgettable experience. However, this isn't the only place in Paris Ile de France where you will find inspiration on the riverbank. The region is crisscrossed by rivers (hence the word Island in its title) and offers 440 odd miles of navigable waterways as well as many more miles of footpaths and historic sites along its beautiful rivers and canals. Whether on foot or aboard a boat it is a fantastic way to experience the region. Find out more   Top 5 Children's Sites: Although Paris tends to tends to be seen as a destination for lovers, there is an enormous amount to do in the Ile de France region for children of all ages. From interesting towns that offer spectacles and shows, to modern interactive museums that make learning fun and a whole range of theme parks that are sure to be a big hit. On top of all this there is Disneyland Resort Paris with all its magic. Paris Ile de France isn't just for grown ups! Find out more   Top 5 Countryside: Le Vexin Français National Park located in the north west of the region and home to some of its most memorable art sites. Mantes la Jolie inspired Turner and Corot, Vetheuil and the cliffs of the Seine inspired Monet and the town of Auvers sur Oise is where Van Gogh is buried. Wonderful scenery, wildlife and many places to enjoy the local farm brewed beer, the famous Biere du Vexin. Le Vexin National Park   Forest of Fontainebleau Surely the most famous forest in Europe and listed by UNESCO. This was the preferred game forest of the Kings of France and still today its 22,000 hectares abound with wild boar and dear, amongst others. The perfect place for a drive, cycle, walk or picnic, it is also an international centre for rock climbing. The variety of landscapes it offers (dense forest, cliffs and desert landscapes) as well as the majestic wildlife make it a must for artists and photographers. Forest of Fontainebleau   Forest of Rambouillet 30,000 hectares of picturesque forest surround the Royal town of Rambouillet, a royal residence since the XIV Century. Since 1896, it is now the summer retreat of the President. The Espace Rambouillet in the heart of the forest also offers visitors a chance to see the native wildlife up close. The whole area around the forest, the Haute Vallee de Chevreuse national park, is dotted with chateaux such as Breteuil and Dampierre and the Abbey of Vaux de Cernay and its steep valleys offer spectacular views. Forest of Rambouillet   Le Gatinais In the south of the region lies this national park that borders the forest of Fontainebleau. Famed for its production of honey that was served at the court of Louis XIV. The market in the wonderful town of Millet la Foret is the best place to buy this delicacy. One of the oldest markets in France and also home to the National Conservatory for Medicinal Plants. Also nestled between the national park and the forest is the artists village of Barbizon. A thriving community of artists in the most wonderful countryside location. Le Gatinais The Château de Courson The XVII Century château and its wonderful English style gardens are a must for plant lovers. The variety of rare species that thrive in the grounds are staggering and in October and May of every year the site plays host to the Journees des Plantes. 200 international exhibitors descend on Courson to show off thousands of exceptional plants to the public in this most appropriate and inspiring of locations. The Château de Courson   Top 5 Riverside Spots: Les Guinguettes de La Marne The nearby suburbs of Nogent-sur-Marne and Joinville-le-Pont seem like any other. However, in the XIX Century this was the retreat of choice for chic Parisians and artists alike. Today some of the riverside bistros, or Guinguettes, that drew such crowds are still there and still offering visitors a good time. Traditional French food, live music and energetic dancing, all with a river view. A marvellous way to experience what the French call « L'art de vivre ». Nogent-sur-Marne Tourist Office   Joinville-le Pont Tourist Office   Moret-sur-Loing The medieval town of Moret lies within the forest of Fontainebleau on the banks of the winding river Loing, a tributary of the Seine. Its rich medieval heritage is still very evident to this day and this history, allied to its picturesque river and weir, inspired the great impressionists of the time. Monet and Renoir visited regularly, but their English counterpart Alfred Sisley set up home here. Moret-sur-Loing   Château de La Roche Guyon In the beautiful town of the same name, this château has been situated on the impressive chalk cliffs of the Seine valley for 1000 years. Rommel's HQ during the war, its troglodyte galleries, underground stairways and XVIII Century salons are open to the public. As a bonus, the cliffs of the Seine nearby offer some of the most stunning views in the region and were impressive enough to inspire one Claude Monet while he lived in nearby Vetheuil (a great place to view them from).You can also see them by taking the riverboat or by strolling along them. Château de La Roche Gouyon   Auvers-sur-Oise On the edge of the Vexin national park the town sits on the banks of the Oise river and attracted the biggest names of the impressionist era. Daubigny had his studio there and this is open to visitors, but the town belongs to Van Gogh. The artist settled there and is buried alongside his brother in Auvers. Visitors can see his home and that of his patron, and see some of the famous landscapes he painted first hand. The Château d'Auvers also offers an interactive journey through the world of Impressionism. Château of Auvers   St-Germain en Laye Versaille's next door neighbour is sometimes overshadowed but it is a wonderful royal town and the reputed birthplace of the Sun King himself, Louis XIV. Built by Francois I it was embellished by Louis XIV whose fondness for the town and château lead him to commision the legendary landscaper Le Notre to build superb gardens and a sweeping terrace that overlooks the Seine Valley. St-Germain en Laye   Top 5 Children's Sites: Parc de La Villette The largest urban park in Paris (55 hectares) this is home to the superb interactive Museums, the Cite des Sciences and the Cite de La Musique, and the 3D cinema La Geode. As well as this, there are many children's playgrounds and gardens that are modern and innovative in design. With year round events, festivals and concerts, the Parc de La Villette is a marvelously modern destination for the whole family. Parc de La Villette   France Miniature This 5 hectare park is taken up by an enormous map of France that visitors can explore on foot. The major cities, monuments and landmarks of the country are represented in miniature (it even has its own tiny TGV railway running through it) in this wonderful park, that lies a stone's throw from Versailles. France Miniature   Spectacle de l'Académie Equestre The ornate stables of Louis XIV lie in front of the Château de Versailles (UNESCO) and house one of the most exciting projects in the region. Guaranteed to thrill visitors young and old, the Equestrian Academy resides here and visitors may see the horses, watch them train and attend demonstrations and rehearsals that show off the spectacular skills required to practice this art. The horses here will perform across the world and it is a unique opportunity to see them up close and learn the secrets of their training. L'Académie Equestre   Château de Thoiry This XVI Century château and its sumptuous grounds cover 450 hectares in the south west of the region. Far from being just another château it is a safari Park where creatures such as tigers, giraffes and even white crocodiles roam free. Thanks to the special design of the park visitors can get up close to them by car or on foot. A wonderful experience in a stunning setting. Château de Thoiry   Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace Established in 1919, this museum at Le Bourget in northern Paris is the world's oldest aeronautical museum. The history of air travel is told comprehensively through a tour of over 150 aircraft, prototypes and space objects as well as replicas of rockets. Some of the most memorable features of this museum are the Concorde 001 and the opportunity to take a complete tour of a Boeing 747. Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace   Getting there and around Paris, International capital of art, fashion, style and romance! Just a few hours drive on the motorway from Eurotunnel's Calais Terminal. Book your journey

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