Not all of France's treasures are located in the heart of Paris. Even an hour away from the city lay a plethora of unbelievable sights and sounds. Take a scenic drive to any of these destinations for an unforgettable trip.
Visiting Sun King Louis XIV’s Chateau de Versailles is a must when in Paris. From 1682 up until the French Revolution in 1789, the magnificent 17th-century masterpiece was the country’s seat of power. A prime example of French classical art with the opulent Hall of Mirrors as a highlight, it is especially beautiful in the summer. The palace’s meticulously trimmed jardins à la française with its ceremonious fountains and Grand Canal running down the middle are considered the epitome of perfection.
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Spend the day sampling the world’s most renowned champagnes in Reims, the capital of the Champagne region. It is here that most maisons, from Veuve Clicquot to Ruinart, have their cellars, namely ‘crayères,’ an impressive underground network of limestone quarries open to visitors. Stop for lunch or dinner at the five-star Les Crayères restaurant Le Parc.
Idyllic Giverny, an hour northwest of Paris, was the home of the celebrated French painter Claude Monet for over 40 years until he died in 1926. An unparalleled creation and veritable labour of love, his gardens, home and studio are the second most visited site in Normandy after Mont Saint-Michel. One not to miss when in Paris this season.
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With the iconic Château de Fontainebleau as its main attraction and only a 45 minute train ride from Paris, this day trip destination is a must. Explore the breathtaking opulence of the Château's many rooms for a glimpse of the grandeur of the past. Then, embrace the outdoors with a hike, climb, or hot air balloon ride through Fontainebleu Forest (or skip the naturewalk to cozy up in spa Les Bains de Marrakech).
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Satisfy your yearning for a beach vacation and your inner history buff with a venture to the beaches of Normandy. Though a farther trip from the city, these beaches are the scenic site of the D-Day landings and have a rich history. Visit Omaha beach to view the battlefield grounds, memorials, and more, before sampling the French-style seafood of Le Bistrot d'a Côté just a few miles away.
For more unforgettable destinations, visit our Paris guide.