So why not go off on a romantic escapade or take the family for a day out and imagine yourself as a 17th-century squire as you explore the magnificent chateaux in the vicinity of Paris?
Visit the Palace of Versailles, famous for its Hall of Mirrors, gardens and the Grand Trianon, or the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, which inspired Versailles, or the Château de Chantilly with its huge forested estate or the Château de Fontainebleau, along with many other superb historical monuments just a few kilometres from the French capital.
Open throughout the year, they offer Parisians and visitors the opportunity to travel through the history of France and discover the treasures of cultural heritage in the Paris region.
All the offers around the castles in Ile-de-France :
The former hunting lodge of Louis XIII, the Palace of Versailles became the seat of French government in the 18th century. From the time of Louis XIV to the French Revolution, the Palace underwent many refurbishments, carried out by the three subsequent kings.
The splendid Palace gardens, a masterpiece of landscaped design by the king’s landscape gardener André Le Nôtre, the Hall of Mirrors with its 357 mirrors, the Grand Trianon and its little rose-pink palace, and the King’s State Apartments are not to be missed on a visit to this renowned historical site, which was given Unesco status 30 years ago.
Also of note, in summer many special events are held in the grounds of the Palace: the Musical Fountains Show (from April to October) and the Fountains Night Show (from June to September). For these two major events, expect to see an amazing setting and show!
Château de VersaillesÉtablissement public du château, du musée et du domaine national de Versailles78000 VersaillesRER - Versailles - Rive Gauche
All the offers around the Palace of Versailles
Situated to the south of Paris, the Château de Fontainebleau occupies an important place in the history of France. This jewel of French heritage has been occupied by Royal and Imperial courts from the Capetians to the Valois, the Bourbons, Philippe d’Orléans and Napoleon III… Each succeeding sovereign has left the imprint of their time on the Palace, from Italian influences to French tradition, from François I to Napoleon III, from the medieval style to the Renaissance, up to the Second Empire.
Among the highlights of a visit to the Château de Fontainebleau: the 4 museums that have been onsite since the 19th century, the 3 chapels adjoining the Chateau, the exceptional works of art with which it is decorated, not to mention the 4 courtyards and 3 gardens that enhance this huge residence. An escapade full of cultural enrichment!
Château de FontainebleauPalais National77300 FontainebleauSNCF - Fontainebleau - Avon
Château de Fontainebleau - Self-guided tour: €13
A masterpiece of mid-17th century classical architecture, the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte is a grandiose private property that has belonged to the descendants of art collector Alfred Sommer since 1875 and which is a listed historic monument.
Nicolas Fouquet, Superintendent of Finance of Louis XIV, commissioned the most important artists of his day – the architect, Louis Le Vau, the landscape gardener, André Le Nôtre, and the painter Charles Le Brun – to create this gem of French patronage, which provoked the jealousy of Louis XIV and which served as a model for the Palace of Versailles.
During your visit, don’t miss: the private apartments of Nicolas Fouquet, the ceremonial salons, the great kitchen as well as the magnificent 35-hectare French-style garden of sculpted shrubs, expanses of water, splendid multi-coloured flowerbeds …
Château de Vaux-le-VicomteVaux-le-Vicomte77950 MaincyRER - Melun
Lying within the heart of one of the largest forests on the outskirts of Paris, the Chantilly Estate is home to one of the most beautiful chateau and estates in France – the work of the Duke of Aumale, son of the last King of France - as well as the Condé Museum, which houses paintings by artists such as Raphael, Fra Angelico, Poussin, Ingres and Delacroix, the 18th-century grand stables and the Musée du Cheval (Equestrian Museum).
Considered one of the jewels of French heritage, the Chantilly Estate welcomes thousands of visitors every year: people fond of horses, history or of the pleasure of an unforgettable stroll through the 115-hectare Estate.
Château de Chantilly7 rue du Connétable60500 ChantillyRER - Chantilly - Gouvieux
Visit to the Chantilly Estate: €17
Two other castles, managed by the Centre des monuments nationaux, can be discovered.
The château de Vincennes, its keep, its chapel, its fortress architecture...
The château de Rambouillet, its Chaumière aux Coquillage, the Queen's Dairy...