One hour from... Paris

Click to follow
The Independent Travel

There are plenty of artistic and architectural delights in the beautiful Ile de France region, around the capital.

There are plenty of artistic and architectural delights in the beautiful Ile de France region, around the capital.

Barbizon

This sleepy hamlet attracted painters preoccupied with peasant life and landscape. They formed the Barbizon School and paved the way for Impressionism. The most famous residents were Rousseau, Corot, Daubigny and Millet. Highlights include the Musée de L'Auberge du Père Ganne and Maison et Atelier Jean-Francois Millet.

By car: A6 towards Lyon. Take the Fontainebleau exit (N37) and follow signs to Barbizon; approx 1 hour. By train: take RER D from Gare du Nord to Melun, then taxi; approx 50 mins.

Chantilly

Chantilly is famous for its château, horses, racing and cream. The imposing chateau looks Renaissance but is largely 19th-century, surrounded by glorious gardens, a vast forest, a canal system and lakes. The artificial hamlet, where the ladies played at being dairymaids, quite by chance produced the sweet cream. Don't miss the Champ de Course (racecourse) and Great Stables living museum. The forest is a favourite picnic spot.

By car: N6 north to Chantilly; journey time approx 35mins. By train: half hourly from Gare du Nord; approx 30 mins.

Versailles

It is best to arrive early or late to avoid the queues at the most famous château in France. There are also numerous attractions in town including the Jeu de Paume, the church of Nôtre-Dame and the Musée Lambinet. The Hotel Palais Trianon serves a fabulous afternoon tea.

By car: autoroute A13 and follow the Versailles exit; approx 30 mins. By train: SNCF trains from Gare Montparnasse to Versailles-Chantiers; approx 20 mins.



Cresta Holidays (0870 161 0920 for Eurostar and 0870-161 0901 for flights) offers 2-nights B&B at the 3-star Hotel Fertel Etoile from £182 a person, including return journey on Eurostar or from £188 per person, including return flights from Heathrow, Manchester or Birmingham. Hertz (0870-848 4848; www.hertz.co.uk) offers three days' car hire from £83.

Comments