Located 24 kms west of Paris on the River Seine and bordering the royal forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, lies the fortified town of Poissy. An important religious centre in the Middle Ages, it was also a royal city and the birthplace of Kings Louis IX—later sanctified as Saint Louis—and Philippe III, and today known as the location of one of the landmark buildings of the 20th century, the World Heritage listed Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier.
When we think of great things to see and do in Paris, our first thoughts often go to the world famous monuments, incredible museums, fantastic range of food and some of the best shopping in the world. Often overlooked are the wonderful green spaces, all of which contribute to all these unforgettable experiences.
This picturesque medieval town lies along the banks of the tranquil waters of the river Loing, a tributary of the Seine, just a little over 9 kms from the south–east edge of the forest surrounding the Chateau de Fontainebleau. The town is postcard pretty, offering many opportunities for keen photographers. It also inspired many Impressionist painters such as Monet, Renoir and in particular Alfred Sisley, who spent the last 20 years of his life there.
Just 50 kms southwest from Paris, Chartres is within easy reach if you’re visiting the capital. Notre-Dame de Chartres looms over the surrounding countryside and its tall spires are clearly visible as you approach the town. Its inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979 describes it as being “the high point of French Gothic art”. After recent restoration to both the interior and exterior, Chartres and its delightful town is a must-visit for all lovers of medieval architecture.
The history of Versailles is inextricably linked with Louis VIV, although there had been a residence there for centuries before he ascended the throne. As Dauphin, Louis XIV had loved to hunt in the forests surrounding the small chateau that his father Louis XIII had rebuilt from the original brick and stone hunting lodge. These works were ongoing until 1634, which laid the basis for the chateau we know today.