When you head to France for a quick holiday, you may want to build your itinerary around the wonderful Châteaux that are located around the country. Today, we will stay close to the beating heart of l’Hexagone: Paris. Our first destination will be Versailles, before we move south to Fontainebleau and continue on Eastbound to Maincy, near Melun.
Château de Versailles
Everyone knows about this unique castle where the last French king lived, before he was dethroned and put down by the revolution. The first question that comes to mind when you enter the grounds is: How is it possible for one man to possess such a large estate all to himself? It is worth looking into flights to Paris, just to admire the stunning opulence and grandeur of the palace, including the Hall of Mirrors and the King’s Grand Apartments.
But the part that people enjoy the most is usually the beautiful gardens, with their exceptional fountains and sculptures that can be found all around the palace. It was designed by the famous André Le Nôtre and it is a treat to the eyes. It is a great way to learn about French history and to see artifacts and exhibits at the Museum of the History of France, which is also located there. Make sure that you don’t skip Louis XIV’s private estate, the Grand Trianon, and the charming Petit Trianon before you leave.
Château de Fontainebleau
Although Versailles will please visitors by its grandeur, the other Châteaux of France have their own qualities that also remain within tourists once they have walked their corridors and toured their many rooms. The Château de Fontainebleau is mostly known for its stunning architecture which combines classical and Renaissance styles. It played a significant role in the country’s monarchy, but also in its imperial history, since Napoleon Bonaparte made this chateau his residence.
Once again, it would be a pity not to stroll around the beautiful park and gardens surrounding the château, especially since they are free to visit. Taking a day off from Paris to spend some time in Fontainebleau will save you from the crowds, and you will still get to discover an important part of French history. Just hop on one of the flights to France that are available daily and buy your tickets at the door.
You may have never heard about Maincy or Melun, two small cities southeast of Paris, but this will be your third stop today, as we take you to Château Vaux-le-Vicomte, one of the most luxurious castles in France. It was built for Nicolas Fouquet, the Superintendent of Finances for Louis XIV. The beauty and magnificence of the chateau, will certainly surprise you, considering that it was not built for a king.
The famous landscape architect André Le Nôtre was also involved in the construction of the French-style gardens that sits around the property. In fact, it is not the only link to the Château de Versailles, as its architecture and design were a source of inspiration for it as well.