View Map

Overview

Wheat fields stretch to the horizon of the Île-de-France region – it’s the center of French grain production – and miles of its gently rolling landscapes are covered by the great forests of Ermenonville, Compiègne, Chantilly and Saint-Germain-en-Laye. It’s hard to believe that these bucolic towns of the Île-de-France are so close to Paris. But surround the city they do, and scattered among the trees and fields are the scenes of events that shaped France’s history. For here, too, are the great royal palaces and castles, including Fontainebleau and Versailles. One of the loveliest palaces in Europe, Fontainebleau was renovated by ...

Wheat fields stretch to the horizon of the Île-de-France region – it’s the center of French grain production – and miles of its gently rolling landscapes are covered by the great forests of Ermenonville, Compiègne, Chantilly and Saint-Germain-en-Laye. It’s hard to believe that these bucolic towns of the Île-de-France are so close to Paris. But surround the city they do, and scattered among the trees and fields are the scenes of events that shaped France’s history. For here, too, are the great royal palaces and castles, including Fontainebleau and Versailles. One of the loveliest palaces in Europe, Fontainebleau was renovated by Francois I during the Renaissance, and restored by Napoleon, who bid his troops farewell from its beautiful horseshoe staircase. The Seine winds through the region on its way from Burgundy to the sea, and the landscapes of its valley inspired and were painted into world memory by the impressionists. The Barbizon artists – Corot, Millet and their companions – imortalized the rural landscapes and activities near Fontainebleau. Often called the birthplace of the Gothic style, Île-de-France claims the first truly Gothic church, Cathédrale royale de Saint-Denis, the burial church of nearly every king from the 900s to the 1700s. The entire region is peppered with churches and cathedrals; the famed Chartres lies just outside its boundaries. Sights in the Île-de-France are easily reached by public transportation from Paris.

Juliette Rogers
About the Expert

Juliette Rogers is coauthor of the guidebooks Eating New England: A Food Lovers Guide to Eating Locally, Secret Providence and Newport, and two Thomas Cook guides on France.

view full overview

Juliette Rogers for Triporati

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The territory of Ile de France is covered by the Paris aire urbaine (or "metropolitan area") which extends beyond its borders in places.
  • Language: French
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring and fall are the best seasons.