What to see and do outside of Paris

Cycling at the Château de Chambord

Want to discover the sites of the Paris region? Food museums, hot air balloon rides and garden festivals are just a few of the attractions on offer.

Related articles: Day trips from Paris: Champagne region, artists’ villages and more
Where to stay and eat outside of Paris


Champagne region
Visit the village of Hautvillers, where, according to legend, the now world famous Dom Pérignon first discovered champagne, just a few hours’ drive from the capital. Meanwhile, the famous Epernay champagne houses – including Mercier, Bollinger, Lanson, Taittinger and Moët et Chandon, which invites to explore its network of underground cellars – are just 10 minutes away.

For more information visit ot-epernay.fr

Treat your taste buds and enjoy a history lesson at the Brie Museum
Treat your taste buds and enjoy a history lesson at the Brie Museum © Gilles Puech

Brie Museum, Meaux
If you have always appreciated the melting and creamy texture of Brie, this museum dedicated to cheese and its legendary taste sensations is a must. Only 45 minutes from Paris, it invites diners to discover the manufacturing process and to enjoy tasting sessions, as well as anecdotes about how members of the royal family liked to eat theirs (Henri IV a preferred spread on toast).

For more information visit tourisme-paysdemeaux.com

The secret underground world of the Cave des Roches mushroom growers © David Darrault

Visit of a mushroom cave
The Loire Valley is perhaps most famous for its fairytale castles, but it also has hidden depths, like the underground world of Cave des Roches, which exploits 40% of the world’s supply of blue foot mushrooms. A staggering 100 tons are produced here each year and a tasting in this 72 mile maze is the ultimate foodie adventure. Don’t forget to stop by the store to stock up on mushroom goodies.

For more information visit le-champignon.com


Visit of the hounds at the Château de Cheverny
These magnificent Frenglish hunting dogs – a cross between the English Foxhound and the French Poitevin – have been creating a spectacle at the chateau for years, with daily feeding sessions drawing animal lovers for miles around. The castle also offers boat trips to see ancient oak trees.

For more information visit chateau-cheverny.fr

Feeding the many hungry dogs in Cheverny
Feeding Cheverny’s many hungry dogs is quite a spectacle © Wikimedia Commons

Balloon rides
You’ll have to start early in the morning – and for maximum comfort, we recommend spending the night in the area – but a dawn hot air balloon flight to see the sun rise over the famous Loire Valley castles is an experience. magical. Soar high in the sky, toast glasses of champagne, then purchase video footage of the experience to remember years to come – and show it to your family!

For more information visit www.loire-et-montgolfiere.com


Art workshops
If walking in the footsteps of great artists such as Van Gogh and Monet has whetted your appetite to capture the beauty of the region on canvas yourself, why not join an Impressionist art workshop in the region? The local tourist office in Auvers-sur-Oise can advise you on the latest available for arty travelers to try.

For more information visit tourisme-auverssuroise.fr

Tombs of Vincent and Theodore Van Gogh
Tombs of Vincent and Théodore Van Gogh © Héric Samson, Wikimedia Commons

Visit Van Gogh’s Tomb
The Dutch Impressionist painter is now a legend around the world, but despite having lived at 38 addresses during his short life of 37 years, his place of death, Auvers-sur-Oise, was by far his favorite spot. Take a poignant journey to his grave, where he rests alongside his brother, Theo, to pay homage to a tortured genius.

For more information visit tourisme-auverssuroise.fr


Great War Museum
The Meaux region is often under-represented on tourist routes, although it is home to an excellent Brie museum and enjoys a location just 20 minutes from Disneyland Paris. However, to delve into a more serious subject, visit the largest museum in the world devoted solely to the events of WWI.

For more information, visit museedelagrandeguerre.com

Garden lovers will want to head to the Château Chaumont garden festival
Garden lovers will want to head to the Château Chaumont garden festival © Chloé Govan

Garden festival
Each year, the fairy tale Chateau de Chaumont, which inspired Cinderella’s Chateau, hosts a world-class garden festival that lasts for several months. Garden designers around the world compete to create the best themes, even incorporating hidden meanings and secret messages into their shrubs. Keep your eyes open!

For more information visit domaine-chaumont.fr

The Roads of the Castles by bike
There are many ways to experience the land around France’s most famous castles, but cycling is one of the most rewarding. More than 500 km of cycle paths and country roads have been marked, making it possible to travel entirely by bicycle between the castles. In addition, Chambord is surrounded by a beautiful forest – perfect for communing with nature and for exercising too!

For more information visit fr.francevelotourisme.com

From France Today magazine

About Bernice D. Brewer

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