The Top 5 Forests in Paris Region
In need of nature? The Paris Region forests are the green lungs of our destination! From Fontainebleau to Rambouillet, from Dourdan to Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Montmorency, enjoy a breath of fresh air with our Top 5 nature excursions around Paris.
Fontainebleau Forest: The Paris Region’s natural green lungs
Talk to anyone about vast green areas in Paris Region and the name of Fontainebleau is sure to come up: its forest is the largest natural space in Ile-de-France. The forest is a peaceful paradise so the ideal destination for anyone looking for a restful place to reconnect with nature. Its vast expanses are also great for an array of outdoor activities such as rock climbing, hiking, mountain-biking or even dog-sledding.
Make the most of your trip to visit the Château de Fontainebleau, first a royal then imperial abode which has witnessed whole chapters of French history.
Barbizon, on the edge of the forest, is also worth a visit. Frequented by the precursors of the Impressionist movement who were inspired by its wonderful landscapes, this charming village is not to be missed!
Saint-Germain-en-Laye Forest: A royal forest
Just a few miles from the capital, set out and explore the Saint-Germain-en-Laye forest estate, with its centuries-old trees and must-see historical site
Around the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where Louis XIV was born and which now houses the National Archaeology Museum, there is a 3,500-hectare natural estate ideal for lovely long walks with the family. A real breath of fresh air away from the hustle and bustle of the city!
Let your curiosity be your guide as you discover the fauna and flora, or follow the salamander, the symbol used on one of the waymarked trails.
Rambouillet Forest: Nature and History
Enjoy nature and culture in Rambouillet Forest, a verdant destination set in Haute Vallée de Chevreuse Natural Regional Park, southwest of Paris. In this unspoilt natural setting, come and recharge your batteries in the shade of the trees and beside the tranquil ponds.
Take your experience further at Espace Rambouillet where you can encounter birds of prey and stags and then climb up into the trees for an educational and sensory journey along a suspended boardwalk. Get a real bird’s-eye view!
If you’re looking for culture, head for the Château and follow in the footsteps of illustrious figures such as François I, Napoléon or Marie-Antoinette at Shell Cottage, an architectural gem, and the Queen’s Dairy.
On a family trip? Why not stop off at the National Sheepfold and let the children can say hello to the farm animals?
Montmorency forest: Philosophy as you stroll
Twenty or so kilometres to the north of Paris, Montmorency Forest is the ideal place for a peaceful excursion. At the heart of the forest and its majestic trees, let your mind wander as you recharge your batteries, at one with nature.
Walk or cycle along special themed trails such as the “Philosophy Trail”, following in the footsteps of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The great writer loved getting lost in the maze of tree-lined paths, finding inspiration here in the woods. And in the middle of the forest, take in the wonderful view over the château de la Chasse, or hunting lodge.
Dourdan Forest: Escape into the trees
Situated south of Paris at the gateway to the Haute Vallée de Chevreuse Natural Regional Park, Dourdan Forest was a royal estate in the Merovingian era. It can be reached by train from the capital and is ideal for an escape to the country!
The forest is a great place to visit at any time of year if you enjoy hiking, walking with the family, cycling or, in autumn, gathering mushrooms. Meanwhile, nature lovers will appreciate the rich fauna and flora.
And to round off your trip into the countryside, head for the medieval castle of Dourdan, admire its ramparts and keep, and visit the museum.
Apps for your excursions
Balade Branchée : Download the Balade Branchée app and use it to prepare your next trip to the forest.
Balades Parcs Naturels IDF : This app suggests location-based circuits in the four natural regional parks in Paris Region to help you explore some of the finest natural landscapes around Paris.
Discover the fauna, flora and cultural and historical heritage of the Haute Vallée de Chevreuse, Gâtinais, Vexin Français and Oise-Pays de France natural regional parks, without losing your way or missing a thing! (Free to download on Google Play and App Store)
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- Copyright image: CRT IDF/Tripelon-Jarry