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Travel to Ile-de-France, for magnificent Paris

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.
  • Ile de France, France, Ile de France, France, Ile de France, France, Ile de France
    © Giuseppe Castrovilli / 123RF
  • Ile de France, France, Ile de France, France, Ile de France, France, Ile de France
    © iStockphoto.com / Nikada
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination France

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.

Ile de France: the key figures

Surface area : 4638.0 km2

Population : 11694000 inhabitants

Time difference : GMT +1

  • The continental climate.

Ile de France: what to visit?

Monuments

  • View of The Eiffel Tower, The Eiffel Tower, Monuments, Paris, Ile de France
    The Eiffel Tower
  • Notre-Dame de Paris, Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, Monuments, Paris, Ile de France
    Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral
  • La Grande Arche de la Défense, Paris, La Défense, Monuments, Paris, Ile de 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
  • Palace of Versailles , The court of Versailles , France

Arts and culture

  • 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 Museum of Ceramics in Sèvres , The National Museum of Ceramics in Sèvres , France
    National Museum of Ceramics in Sèvres
  • National Archaeology Museum, Saint-Germain-en-Laye , National Archaeological Museum , France
    National Archaeology Museum, Saint-Germain-en-Laye
  • Museum of Jewish Art and History, Museum of Art and History of Judaism, Arts and culture, Paris, Ile de France
    Museum of Art and History of Judaism
  • Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie, The City of Science and Industry, Arts and culture, Paris, Ile de France
    The City of Science and Industry
  • Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie, The City of Science and Industry, Arts and culture, Paris, Ile de France

Sports and activties

  • 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
  • Canoeing and The Kayaking Club of France , Canoë-Kayak Club de France (the Canoeing and  , France
    Canoeing and The Kayaking Club of France
  • Canoeing and The Kayaking Club of France , Canoë-Kayak Club de France (the Canoeing and  , France

The fauna and flora

  • Fauna , The seagulls of Île-de-france , France
    Fauna
  • Flora , The underwater flora of Île-de-France , France
    Flora
  • Pigeons , The Parisian pigeon , France
    Pigeons
  • Admiring the Parisian flora , A touch of green in the capital , France
    Admiring the Parisian flora
  • Admiring the Parisian flora , A touch of green in the capital , France

Night Life

  • Au Bureau , At The Bureau , France
    Au Bureau
  • Le Pin Parasol
  • Le 138 , France
    Le 138
  • Dida, D'ici D'ailleurs
  • Le Baron Rouge , France
    Le Baron Rouge
  • Connolly's Corner
  • B.I.A Breakfast in America , France
    B.I.A Breakfast in America
  • O'Sullivans , France
    O'Sullivans
  • O'Sullivans , France

Activities and leisure

  • France Miniature, it's France...in miniature!, Miniature France, Activities and leisure, Ile de France
    Miniature France
  • Ile-de-France on foot and by bike , Cycling in Paris , France
    Ile-de-France on foot and by bike
  • Symphonic Orchestras , Subdued lighting to match the gentle music , France
    Symphonic Orchestras
  • City of Music , The Cité de la Musique , France
    City of Music
  • , L'Aquarium de Paris, Activities and leisure, Paris, Ile de France
    L'Aquarium de Paris
  • , L'Aquarium de Paris, Activities and leisure, Paris, Ile de France

Enogastronomy

  • Brie de Meaux , A tower of Brie , France
    Brie de Meaux
  • Moutarde de Meaux mustard , The famous mushrooms of Paris , France
    Moutarde de Meaux mustard
  • The Paris mushroom , The famous mushrooms of Paris , France
    The Paris mushroom
  • Provins Rose Petal Preserve , France
    Provins Rose Petal Preserve
  • Provins Rose Petal Preserve , France

Ile de France: what to buy?

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!

Ile de France: what to eat?

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.

Ile de France: what are the cultural particularities?

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.

Ile de France: travel tips

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.

Ile de France: Latest hotel reviews
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