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What to see around Paris: a guide from Saint Denis to Versailles

Paris cannot be described. Simply loved. And it has always been like this, because over the centuries, while remaining herself, she has been able to change constantly fascinating those who come from far away with her noble and elegant lookhis rich gastronomythe artistic charm and its extraordinary cultural and historical wealth. A city to see and see again and again which, in addition to the center, however, has some slightly distant pearls. Which equally deserve the visit. Yes why the guide to palaces, churches and wonders to see in surroundings of Paris it could have infinite chapters.

Here then is a small taste of what lies from the edge of the city to the treasures thatIle-de-France has to offer. From the Van Gogh’s village she brazen wealth of Versaillesfrom the early Gothic cathedral to Chantilly castle. Because Paris it’s not just one.

What to see around Paris: the painters’ village

To take a dip in the charm of France rural and at the same time discover the legacy of the impressionists in general, and by van Gogh in particular, just go three km north of Paris and get to the village of Auvers-sur-Oise. It is a pleasant village overlooking the Oise River, surrounded by vineyards and old stone farmhouses that tell the long history of the area. But the real magnet is linked to art: here you can take short itineraries that lead to places where impressionist painters, such as Van Gogh, Cézanne, Pissarro, Rousseau, Corot and Daubigny, they set down their easels. Seeing the original model of so many famous works that many think they were born in Normandy. But in reality many have been painted here.

What to see around Paris

The local myth, however, remains Van Gogh: on a hill is the Romanesque church of Notre-Dame d’Auvers which was immortalized in one of the most famous works. Following the thread of this artist to lead us to what to see around Paris we arrive at theAuberge Ravoux, also known as Maison van Goghthe place where the artist lived from May 20, 1890. Now rooms are no longer rented but the restaurant has remained and still looks like one café for 19th century artists. Van Gogh used to sit at a table at the back of the dining room. To pay him a final tribute, go to the village cemetery: the genius of sunflowers rests there after his suicide. And next to it is also the brother’s grave.

Another monument, the Maison-Atelier de Daubigny exhibits paintings by famous artists, including Daubigny, Corot, Daumier and Oudinot while on the outskirts of the village, in a forest, is the Château d’Auvers-sur-Oise from the 17th century, surrounded by charming French gardens. The castle also hosts a multimedia exhibition designed as a special experience to immerse visitors in impressionist art.

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What to see around Paris: the palace of palaces

It’s a symbol of grandeur. And it does not disappoint expectations. The castle of Versailles is located just 16 km southwest of Paris and is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful royal castles in France. Commissioned by Louis XIII in 1624 as a hunting lodge it was transformed into a magical place that exudes opulence at every corner and cannot be missed on a trip around Paris. Before that the king lived at the Louvre: but in 1682 Louis XIV and his court moved here. It is no coincidence that the structure and furnishings of the building were to demonstrate the power of the Sun King. And everything is thought out to excess.

The numbers prove it: the castle has the beauty of 2,100 windows700 rooms, 1400 fireplaces and over sixty stairs in addition to a park of 800 hectares. While some rooms, such as the Hall of Mirrors, have seen pages of history: here was signed, in 1919, the Treaty of Versailles which ended the First World War. Countless works of art preserved inside but also i gardens certainly worth the visit. Remember that the castle is closed on Mondays and that there are convenient transports to get there: you can take them trains from Montparnasse station up to Versailles-Chantier or the RER C line to Versailles Rive Gauche.

Fontainebleau Castle and Marie Antoinette’s boudoir

About an hour’s drive, or 55km, from Paris, Fontainebleau is a perfect destination for a day trip. As it has been for centuries the withdrawal of the French nobility. From Louis VI to Napoleon III700 years later, well 34 sovereigns French chose it as their own refuge and still today 300 thousand people come here every year. Inside you can get lost in front of it to Marie Antoinette’s Turkish boudoir or the sumptuous theater of Napoleon III while outside the gardens extend for 130 hectares. But the surprises never seem to end: declared World Heritage Site by UNESCOFontainebleau has over 1,500 rooms decorated in different styles and inside there are four collections worthy of a museum: that of paintings, that of furniture as well as the collection of Napoleon I and Chinese treasures of the empress Eugenie.

Around the castle they then widen the gardens which are three: the closest to the palace, much loved by Catherine de’Medici it is a triumph of flowers. Then a large French garden extends around it, designed by the same architect who worked on Versailles. Finally the English one where you walk between caves and on the bank of a river. The whole area is then included in the great forest of Fontainebleu which extends over 25,000 hectares mostly covered with woods. Here you can walk, run, ride a horse but also climb rocks: it is considered one of the best natural bouldering sites of the Île-de-France. Around then so much nature: and crossing deer, wild boars and pheasants is very easy.

What to see around Paris: Rambouillet castle

To get there you need to travel about 50 km. But it’s worth it. The prize is to discover the Rambouillet castlean ancient residence of the kings of France transformed into a summer residence of the presidents of the French Republic from 1896 to 2009. The palace is located between Versailles and Chartres.

The castle of Rambouillet was born in the mid-1300s as fortified castle and was gradually transformed by its owners into a resort palace until it was acquired by Louis XVI in 1783. From its origins as a fortress it has retained some details and the 14th century keep and is at the center of beyond 20,000 hectares of forest which once represented the hunting area of ​​the French kings while the park is a splendid French garden crossed by pools and canals. Inside, rooms richly decorated with furniture and tapestries. Don’t miss the Marie Antoinette’s boudoir and the large dining room where Charles X signed his abdication in 1830.

To get there you have to get to the station Paris-Montparnasse the Transilien train – line N – to Rambouillet station; then the R bus in the direction of Bergerie National and get off at Château (journey time 8 minutes).

Things to see around Paris: Saint Denis cathedral

One of the destinations absolutely to be included in the list of what to see around Paris is the Saint Denis cathedrala masterpiece that has several records: it is the first French Gothic church and a casket that contains the history of the country seen that 42 kings, 32 queens, 63 princes are buried here and princesses from Dagobert to Louis XVIII and Marie Antoinette. The basilica stands on the site of an ancient cemetery where the first bishop of Paris was buried, the martyr Denis who died in the middle of the second century after Christ. Then in 1121 Abbot Suger decided where to build the church and in what style: precisely the Gothic that was being born.

There cathedral has a Latin cross plan and develops in height for 28 meters with extreme elegance thanks to the innovative techniques used and is noted for the large rose windows which are among the first to appear in France. A visit inside allows you to retrace the history of the nation: in fact, here are the tombs of kings starting from the Merovingian Dagobert passing through the Carolingian kings like Charles Martel, Pepin the Short and Charles the Bald. Coming to the dynasty of the Capetian while I Bourbon king they have no funerary monuments, but their embalmed bodies are buried in the crypt.

To get there, just take the line 13 of the Parisian metro, cross some gods districts of the city, and get off at the Basilique Saint-Denis stop. A few stops before you can get off at Saint Ouenanother village in the extreme Parisian suburb where the Saint-Ouen flea market, the largest market in Paris and some say in Europe. It is open every weekend and collects more than 2000 specialized traders in furniture, mirrors, lamps and objects as well as unique pieces and works of art.

If you find what interests you, no problem: on the streets there are shipping services able to send the items directly to your home.

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