|Subject: Re: Paris day trips|
The number of day trips depends on how long you are in Paris! We thought we would do more while we were in Paris for three weeks but left out several. We considered Provins but it looked like the main draws were some weekends only.
We were interested in Senlis which is atmospheric, according to comments on newsgroups and Jack's website http://makeashorterlink.com/?W2EE12842
We visited Versailles, Chartres, Giverny and Beaune. After our visit to Giverny we visited the Musee Marmottan in Paris to see some Monet waterlily paintings.
Versailles: Some guide books say that Versailles merits a few hours. We spent all day there. We took a tour when we arrived (the first one on offer) and enjoyed the behind the scenes view of Versailles. By the time the tour was over, the rooms of Versailles were so overwhelmingly busy that it was not enjoyable. We decided to see the rest and come back to the main palace later. The Trianons and Marie Antoinette's Hameau are worthwhile and the garden glades are amazing. They are not visible from the main terraces - they are behind the trees on either side of the lawns. By 3:30, the crowds were more manageable and we were able to enjoy the rooms. We arrived at 10 am and left around 5:30 pm.
Chartres: In Chartres (train from Gare Montparnasse) we took the Malcolm Miller tour of the cathedral (held daily at noon and 14:45.but not Sunday or holidays). The town itself is worth a walk around too. See the old laundries by the banks of the rivers.
Loire Valley: An easy trip but worth it if you have not visited the Loire chateau country. It is easy using the TGV and a shuttle bus service. We took an early TGV to Tours (just 1 hour) and used the services of Acco-Dispo Tours (http://www.accodispo-tours.com) to see several chateaux - Azay Le Rideau, the fabulous gardens of Villandry, Chenonceau, Le Clos Luce (Leonardo's last home) and Amboise castle. The shuttle van takes you to each location and picks you up at a designated time. Pascal got us group discounts to most locations (not Chenonceau). Last stop in Amboise was a free wine tasting. I highly recommend this trip.
Because we had a rail pass, we decided to get our money's worth with a day trip to Beaune. With the TGV, the travel time is about the same as Rouen which is much closer to Paris. It required a train change in Dijon and on our way back, we had a brief walkabout there. The Hotel Dieu in Beaune is amazing and the town has great food and wine, of course!
We had others in our list but did not manage to fit them in. Here are some notes from my database:
Chantilly, Michelin 2**
Fontainebleau day Gare de Lyon to Fontainebleau-Avon 45 mins. Frequent bus from Avon. Michelin 3 ***, forest 3***
Senlis day Gare du Nord to Chantilly. Correspondence by buses SCNF to Senlis. There are 15 trains a day. Duration: a little less than an hour. Michelin 2 ** Rouen from Gare St. Lazare
Auvers-sur-Oise Could see with Chantilly Voyages au Temps des Impressionistes - innovative. Tues-Sun, 10:30-6. Rue de Lery - Auberge Ravoux - #30, Van Gogh decor, 52 rue Gen De Gaulle, 01-30-36-60-60, No din Sun, Mon, res. essential. (Note: after seeing the amazing picture of the church in Orsay museum, I am sorry we did not go to Auvers.)
Vaux Le Vicomte - Michelin 2**, chateau 2**, garden 3*** Candlelit evening visits - from Saturday 4 May to Saturday 12 October 2002: (lit at DUSK) CANDLELIT requires a CAR - taxi from Melun station costs 12.30-15.30# (7 kms) St, Germain en Laye RER-A from Gare de Lyon.Michelin 2**, chateau 2**, musee 2** Elegant town, Dumas# chateau de Monte-Cristo, Chateau de St Germain,
Frances Toronto, Canada