Ile de France Travel Guide - A Vagabond Life
Ile-de-France is the most populated region of France with over 11 million people residing in it; it is also the wealthiest region. Paris one of the most famous cities in the world is the capital of the region. It is a historical province of France being the one at the centre of power during most of French history. Today the borders the borders are not exactly as they were historically.
Ile-de-France is home to Paris, one of the most famous and most romanticised cities in the world. Paris has so much to offer and to see, venture outside the bustle of Paris you will find a rural region with pasture land, woods and villages.
Table of Contents
The city of Paris has a great many incredible sites and ‘the best’ is always subjective however here are the most popular.
Eiffel Tower: The icon symbol of Paris or even France the Eiffel tower, named after its builder Gustave Eiffel was built in 1889 for a world trade fair. One can travel the 276 metres to the top of the Eiffel tower to take in a stunning view of Paris. The tower has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second levels. Tickets can be purchased to ascend by stairs or lift to the first and second levels,if you chose to climb. the steps beware it’s 300 steps between levels.
Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame Cathedral: This stunning example of Gothic Architecture sits on an island in the Seine River, the Île de la Cité. It was begun in 1163 and finished in 1345 and features flying buttresses, portals surrounded by ornate carvings and gargoyles on the roof. You can climb 87 steps to the top of the towers for a panoramic view of the area and a close up view of the gargoyles.
Avenue des Champs Elysees & Arc de Triomphe
Avenue des Champs Elysees & Arc de Triomphe: Arguably the most famous street in the world the Champs Elysees extends 1.9 km from the Jardin de Tuileries to the Arc de Triomphe and includes the Place de la Concorde. Originally market gardens it was extended to the Tuileries by Marie de Medici in 1616 and then transformed by André Le Nôtre in 1667 by order of Louis XIV. By the late 18th century the avenue had become very fashionable. The avenue has been the scene of a number of historic military marches the most notable being the infamous march of German troops celebrating the Fall of France of on 14 June 1940, and the two most famous were the marches of Free French and American forces after the liberation of the city in August 1944.
The Arc de Triomphe sits at the western end of the Champs Elysees and honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. It was commissioned in 1806 after the victory at Austerlitz by Napoleon at the peak of his power and completed in 1836. The arch stands 164 feet tall and the viewing platform can be accessed via an underground passage and then 284 steps or a lift.
The Louvre Palace
The Louvre Palace sits on the Right Bank of the Seine and was once a royal palace. The building dates back to medieval times, its present structure has evolved in stages since the 16th century. It was the seat government in France until it was moved to Versailles by Louis XIV in 1682. The Louvre remained the formal seat of government until the end of the Ancien Régime in 1789. Since then it has housed the Musée du Louvre which has a collection of over 1 million works of art, of which about 35 000 are on display, spread out over three wings. The museum has a diverse collection ranging from the Antiquity up to the mid 19th century. Some of the most famous works of art in the museum are the Venus of Milo, the Nike of Samothrake, the Dying Slave by Michelangelo and, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
The Palace of Versaille
The Palace of Versaille is a stunning palace surrounded by formal gardens 20 kms from Paris. Originally built as a hunting lodge by Louis XIII Versaille it was expanded by Louis XIV to become one of the largest palaces in the world. The royal court and government was moved here in 1862. Louis XV and XVI continued to expand and develop the buildings and grounds which included the gardens. When abandoned by the royal family during the French Revolution the much of the furniture and art was sold by the government with only items of artistic of intellectual significance being spared. Versailles is now a museum of major importance in France and one of the most visited tourist destinations in France.
Monets Garden: Take a day trip from Paris to the stunning Monet’s Garden at Giverny where the famous artist lived from 1883 to 1926. Many of his most known paintings were done here including “Nympheas” the water lily scene. The Japanese bridge crossing the famous water-lily pond also featured in Monet’s paintings. Monet’s Garden is 75 km from Paris, you can get there by train and then bus or organise to take a tour. Tours often combine Monet’s Garden and The Palace of Versailles in the same day.
Châteaufort is a small town south west of Paris most notable for with its three 12th century fortified castles.
World Destination Guide
There are 195 countries in the world stretching across seven continents – so there is an awful lot to see.Where to begin? Many people are inspired by a movie they have seen or a story they have heard, or a desire to see the land of their ancestors.
Use the drop-down on the right to explore the world.