Rich in culture and history, the French capital was originally a small village located on Ile de la Cité island, which gradually developed on both sides of the River Seine. Today, Paris is world-famous for its monuments, buildings and striking museums but also for its magnificent districts all very different from each other, its Parisian brasseries and its old typical cafes, its gourmet restaurants, its operas and theatres, its shops offering an inconceivable choice, and its creativity with Haute Couture fashion.
West of Paris and crossed by the River Seine, the département of the Hauts-de-Seine is well-known for its European business district and its many green spaces. Numerous hiking trails, the banks of the River Seine, and forests, parks and gardens to walk in are some of the main reasons to visit the Hauts-de-Seine.
With its guinguettes (cafés, usually open-air, with a dance floor) on the banks of the Marne, boat trips, parks and gardens, the Val-de-Marne is an ideal destination for those who love leisurely strolls.
A secret garden in Ile-de-France, the department of Essonne, with its scenery of fields, forests, valleys and rivers, has many beautiful parks and gardens which are ideal for a relaxing stroll, like the ones in Courances, Courson and Saint-Jean-de-Beauregard. Discover Essonne by taking a look at its many castles and museums, and don't forget to visit the medieval town of Dourdan, the charming village of Milly-la-Forêt, the Church of Saint-Sulpice-of-Favières and Estampes, Town of Art and History.
The Seine-et-Marne département in the east of the Île-de-France region boasts extensive agricultural land and a rich natural and built heritage, including the celebrated Fontainebleau forest, a paradise for outdoor activities, magnificent parks and gardens, sumptuous palaces such as Fontainebleau and Vaux le Vicomte, the beautiful Grand Morin valley, a favourite haunt of the Impressionists, and medieval fortified towns like Provins, Moret-sur-Loing and Meaux. The Seine-et-Marne is also home to the world-famous theme park Disneyland Paris (in Marne-la-Vallée), a magical experience for kids and grown-ups!
The Val-d'Oise département, located just north of Paris, is crossed by the river Oise, flanked by the river Seine and home to two regional nature parks, the Vexin Français and the Oise-Pays de France. Composed of a variety of picturesque scenery whose charm has inspired many famous artists, the area also boasts much built and cultural heritage of interest, including abbeys, châteaux, typical villages, and museums, and offers a wide range of outdoor activities, from walking, horse riding, cycling and golf to water and aerial sports.
Boasting a rich historic, architectural and artistic heritage, as illustrated by its castles, its abbeys and its royal cities, the Yvelines département is also home to extensive areas of unspoiled countryside. The 70,000 hectares of forests, with its myriad hiking trails, and its beautiful parks and gardens are just some of the features that will delight walkers and lovers of outdoor leisure activities. A great time to be expected!