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Visiting l'Ile de France

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For lovers of nature

If you want to relax in a verdant setting or in the woods, you will be surprised to discover in the Yvelines department, just a few kilometres from Paris, the real countryside of the Vallée de Chevreuse, the Forêt de Rambouillet or the Parc animalier de Thoiry and France Miniature.

The Vallée de Chevreuse

You don't need a car to discover the superb Vallée de Chevreuse. The Baladobus will take you from Easter Sunday to mid-October (except in August) to visit the region from the RER B stop. It will take you through the most beautiful spots of this valley, the Châteaux de la Madeleine, de Dampierre and de Breteuil, and the Musée National des Granges in Port-Royal-des-Champs.

But the Vallée de Chevreuse, where Jean Racine lived, is also some 250 kilometres of footpaths and of numerous routes that you can follow on foot, by bike or on horseback.

The Maison du Parc Naturel Régional has published a guidebook on the Vallée de Chevreuse. You can find it in the valley or order it on, a telephone number from which you can also obtain further information.

Forêt de Rambouillet

The Forêt de Rambouillet, a favourite spot for hunters from the region, will allow you to relax during a walk along its many footpaths and pass the animals that live there. The wild boar, roe deer, stags and rabbits are indeed present among the hundred-year-old trees and natural copses. If you are very watchful, you should be able to see them close to the footpaths.

You will need a vehicle to get to the Forêt de Rambouillet, as buses do not go here.

Parc de Thoiry (réserve animalière)

For the young and curious, the Parc Animalier de Thoiry is open every day of the week. Drive past the animals in partial freedom in this immense safari park, a real African reserve, and visit its botanical and zoological gardens, the Château de Thoiry and its gardens.

The Parc de Thoiry is located at: Château de Thoiry 78770 Thoiry-en-Yvelines. It is recommended to have your own vehicle for this trip: Thoiry is 40 km from Paris, and it will be more useful for the safari.

For further information, consult 24h a day, the recorded message of the Parc, which will give you the opening times and the prices.

This exceptional and magical visit will delight both children and adults - we highly recommend it!

La France Miniature

Still in the Yvelines department, you can visit France Miniature, «the genuine little world which makes you grow».

You will discover the whole of France in reduced size. 160 reproductions of the most famous French monuments will make you want to prolong your holiday to discover the rest of France.

To get there by car from Paris, take the A13, then the A12 or the A86, following Elancourt (about 25 km from Paris).

France Miniature can be reached by public transport: take the train from the SNCF station La Défense or Paris Montparnasse. Get off at La Verrière station then take bus line 411 (paying), getting off at France Miniature station.

The exact address of France Miniature is 25, route du Mesnil - 78990 - Elancourt.


Parc Zoologique de Saint - Cloud

In the Hautes - Seine department (92), right on the edge of Paris, you can visit the Parc Zoologique de Saint - Cloud.

It is very easy to get there - you get off at metro station Pont de Saint - Cloud (terminus of line 10), or else go by bus, getting off at the terminus of line 52.

You can visit the over 460 hectares of this very green zoo on foot or by bike. Children will be delighted with the puppets on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. You can also visit the pedagogical farm. A pleasant day out for all the family!

And finally, find here some real nice pieces of advice for Driving in France.