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Travel to Ile-de-France, for magnificent Paris

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile
Ile-de-France is a melting pot of French history and heritage which consists of eight departments. At the heart of the region lies the French capital, Paris, and the remaining seven departments which circle are known as the ?lungs of Paris?. This region offers you the magical metropolitan energy of the Paris surrounded by beautiful peaceful woods and three meandering rivers. This rich and varied region makes up the nation's heartland.

Travel guide

As the third largest economic area in the world after New York and Tokyo, the Ile-de-France region is France's true melting pot of history and heritage. Made up of many departments, namely Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Essonne, Val d'Oise, Seine-et-Marne, Yvelines and Paris, the Ile-de-France region, which has been so called since 1976, lies at the confluence of the Seine and several other rivers (the Marne, the Oise, etc.). This smallest of the French regions is the most populated. Its history, strongly linked to the fact that it is home to the country's capital, Paris, and to the favourite haunts of the kings of France, means that art, culture and technology abound here.

Versailles and Fontainebleau, before becoming towns, were châteaux which symbolised royal power, luxury and the talent of the artists who worked on them.

In the collective imagination they occupy a place alongside the Château de Vaux le Vicomte or the Basilica of Saint Denis (the necropolis of the kings of France), both of which were privileged witnesses to a colourful royal history.

The past erects its monuments like chronological markers spread throughout the green landscapes of the region. The medieval city of Provins, the forest of Rambouillet and its Vaux de Cernay Abbey, Maubuisson Abbey and its 20 acre grounds...

Ile-de-France is a perfect mix of culture and greenery, as many great artists realised long ago. Behind the church at Auvers-sur-Oise you will observe the tormented figure of Van Gogh, and the Chevreuse Valley has certainly left its mark on the canvases of the Impressionists, who were shortly preceded by the artists of the Barbizon School.

The historic and artistic Ile-de-France region, the 'capital' region, is constantly evolving. A symbol of the future, the Grande Arche de la Défense looks like an archetypal modern anthill overlooking Paris, which also teeters between its old buildings and its perpetual secrets to eternal youth.

Our Editorial team's advice

If you want to avoid the crowds, it is best not to travel to Ile-de-France in the summertime. Instead, plan to travel in late spring or early autumn, when not only are the crowds thinner, but the weather is also a bit more pleasant. During the summer months here temperatures can become uncomfortably hot and during winter conditions can get very cold and rainy.

Catching a flight is the most efficient way to get to Ile-de-France. As the French capital and a major European city, there are direct flights to Paris from just about every country in the world. But the region is well connected and other travel options include taking a train, car, coach,or boat. These can be cheaper and just as easy.

Once you are in Ile-de-France it is extremely to get around. The metro, over ground trains and buses offers a relatively hassle-free and convenient way to travel around the Ile-de-France. Most destinations in Ile-de-France are easily made as day trips via train from Paris. In Paris it is even possible to hire bikes, known as Vélibs, to get around. If you would prefer, consider renting a car. Rentals are available from Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports in Paris or from various service outlets in Paris itself.

Citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland are not required to have a visa to enter France's European territory.

pros

cons

  • -The continental climate.

Traditions

France is an old nation that has had countless traditions and customs passed down from generation to generation, and as the heart of the country, these are particularly established in Ile-de-France. There's a certain art de vivre here revolving around fashion, gastronomy, art, architecture and music. The French take immense great pride in their nation and government and are typically offended by any negative comments about their country. Visitors can often interpret their attitude toward foreigners as rude.

Perhaps the most useful French tradition, and the one that will get you out of an awkward situation, is knowing how to greet people. The art of the ?bisous? is greeting the French with kisses on the cheek. The number of kisses varies among different regions, but in Ile-de-France a kiss on each cheek will suffice.

Food

The world famous food in France is known for being simple, local and real. Food and wine are central to life in this country and much socializing is done around lengthy dinners. Before your meal it is common to have an appetizer.

Some classic French dishes include boeuf bourguignon, a stew made of beef braised in red wine, beef broth and seasoned with garlic, onions and mushrooms, and coq au vin, a dish made with chicken, Burgundy wine, lardons, button mushrooms, onions and garlic. If you're feeling adventurous, you could even try snails or frogs legs.

Sweet dishes are very popular in his region, many in the form of a pastry. But before dessert you must have some cheese, and with something like 500 different kinds of French cheese, you have quite a choice.

Ideal Weather Search

Find weekly weather forecasts for Ile de France . Different criteria make it possible to predict with precision the best time of year to go to Ile de France . A comprehensive weather score, made up of temperature indicators, bad weather predictions, sunshine levels and wind speeds, will allow you to choose the activities best suited to the weather conditions and therefore make the most of your holiday in Ile de France .

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Souvenirs

Paris is one of the major shopping capitals of the world, with a plethora of luxury boutiques, prêt-à-porter workshops, chain stores and small independent boutiques all within easy reach. From the little fair trade boutiques of the 11th arrondissement to the luxury window displays of the Avenue Montaigne, or even the major international chains found along the Rue de Rivoli and in Les Halles, no fashion enthusiast will have any trouble giving their credit card a thrashing here! Of course, there's far more than clothing on offer here, with a large selection of culinary delights, designer items and literature to tempt you too!

What to see

The Eiffel Tower , View of The Eiffel Tower , France
The Eiffel Tower
Notre-Dame de Paris, Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, Monuments, Paris, Ile de France
Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral
The Basilica of Sacré-Coeur , Getting to Sacré-Coeur , France
La Défense
An architectural pioneer, Basilica of Saint Denis, Monuments, La Plaine-Saint-Denis, Ile de France
Basilica of Saint Denis
Palace of Versailles , The court of Versailles , France
Palace of Versailles
The Louvre , View from the court of The Louvre , France
The Louvre
The Centre Pompidou , The Georges Pompidou Centre , France
The Centre Pompidou
National Museum of Renaissance , The National Museum of the Renaissance , France
National Museum of Renaissance
National Archaeology Museum, Saint-Germain-en-Laye , National Archaeological Museum , France
National Archaeology Museum, Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Museum of Art and History of Judaism , Museum of Jewish Art and History , France
Museum of Art and History of Judaism
The City of Science and Industry , Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie , France
The City of Science and Industry
Golf , One of the 60 golf courses in Île-de-France , France
Golf
Tree-top adventures , Tree-top adventure , France
Tree-top adventures
Climbing in Fontainebleau forest, Climbing in Fontainbleau Forest, Sports and activties, Ile de France
Climbing in Fontainbleau Forest
Fauna , The seagulls of Île-de-france , France
Fauna
Ile de France : Explore