Things to do around Paris: 10 must-see sites to visit
Head off on an adventure around Paris and discover the region’s many facets. Visit the great royal estates, symbols of French history, enjoy the attractions at Disneyland® Paris, wander through the medieval city of Provins, pick up that unique item at the Saint-Ouen flea market or visit the backstage area of the Stade de France… There are countless visits and experiences easily accessible by public transport to really make your stay unforgettable.
Versailles, a château showcasing the glory of Louis XIV
The Château de Versailles was the pride of the Sun King! Admire the magnificent decor of the Hall of Mirrors and the royal apartments before strolling through the French gardens designed by Le Nôtre and the estate of Marie Antoinette. This enormous palace is only 30 minutes west of Paris and is served by several train stations.
Disneyland® Paris, the land of Mickey Mouse and his friends
Disneyland® Paris is unique of its kind in Europe. With its two parks and their many attractions, its 7 hotels and its numerous restaurants and shops, it’s a must-see source of entertainment and fascination for young and old. The magical world of Mickey Mouse and his friends, the characters from Star Wars and the Avengers await you, just 40 minutes from the heart of the capital by the RER A suburban rail service.
The Stade de France, the largest arena in France
North of Paris and accessible by the RER D suburban rail service, discover the Stade de France, the largest sports and cultural venue in France, which can accommodate up to 80,000 spectators! For an hour and a half, follow in the footsteps of athletes and artists as you retrace their journey from the changing rooms to the pitch. A guided tour rich in anecdotes to help you relive the excitement of the greatest sporting events, from the Six Nations Tournament to the 1998 Football World Cup. And soon to host the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris!
The Château de Fontainebleau, 800 years of French History
As royal hunting lodge in the Middle Ages, the residence of François I in the 16th century and then a favourite haunt of Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 19th century, the Château de Fontainebleau was inhabited continuously for more than eight centuries and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is accessible from Paris from the Gare de Lyon railway station, as is the Fontainebleau forest, the region’s “green lung”, known worldwide for its climbing spots.
The medieval town of Provins, a UNESCO World Heritage masterpiece
Served by the Gare de l’Est railway station in Paris, the town of Provins may be nearly 100 km from the capital, but this medieval town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is well worth a visit. Its ramparts, half-timbered houses and cobbled streets will take you on a journey back in time. And every year in June, you can relive the glory days of this merchant city during the “Médiévales” event. Knights, troubadours and acrobats will accompany you on your voyage of discovery!
The Saint-Ouen flea market, the place to be for all things vintage
Lovers of rare and unique items head for Saint-Ouen, north of Paris, for the world’s largest antiques and bric-a-brac market. The Puces de Saint-Ouen flea market, with its 11 specialised markets and nearly 2,000 merchants, has been offering visitors the best of vintage at the edge of Paris since 1870. It’s all there waiting for you at the Porte de Clignancourt, on line 4 of the Paris metro.
The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, the château that inspired the construction of Versailles
The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte is an architectural masterpiece by Louis Le Vau, while its gardens provide an impressive demonstration of Le Nôtre’s talent. It is best admired in the summer by candlelight or by the light of the garlands during the end-of-year celebrations. Take line R from the Gare de Lyon railway station to Melun station (25 minutes) and then complete your journey by taxi (about 10 minutes). “Chateaubus” shuttle services are available during the high season.
The Basilica of Saint-Denis, the final resting place of the kings and queens of France
Located to the north of Paris and accessible by metro line 13, the Basilica of Saint-Denis is a masterpiece of Gothic art and the last home of the kings and queens of France. With more than 70 medieval recumbent effigies and monumental Renaissance tombs, the basilica houses the largest collection of funerary sculptures from the 12th to the 16th centuries.
The Château de Vincennes, the highest medieval keep in Europe
At the entrance to Paris, on line 1 of the metro, and on the edge of the wood bearing the same name, the Château de Vincennes with its keep standing more than 50 metres high, is a magnificently preserved example of the capital’s medieval military architecture. Be a hero and climb the 250 steps to the top!
The Grande Arche de la Défense, a breathtaking view of Paris and the business district
Accessible by metro line 1, the rooftop of the Grande Arche de la Défense and its 100-metre long promenade bridge offer you an open-air area at a height of more than 110 metres and a breathtaking view of the most beautiful monuments in Paris, including the Louvre, the Arc de triomphe or the Eiffel Tower… and the business district of La Défense down below.
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- Copyright image: CRT IDF/Tripelon-Jarry