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Northern France and the Paris Region Travel guide

Wheat and colza fields in the Vexin Nature Park Monks' Hall, Cistercian Abbey of Vaux de Cernay Kitesurfing on Wissant Beach on the Côte d'Opale Northern France and the Paris Region Northern France and the Paris Region
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Northern France and the Paris Region : Michelin's recommendations

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On your trip through France, why not start with the North, a stone’s throw from England and Belgium, and gradually make your way down to Paris?
Long perceived as a cold and dreary industrial region, Northern France will enchant you with its legendary hospitality and local specialities (mussels and chips washed down with beer), not to mention the Baroque architecture in cities such as Lille and Arras. The Gothic cathedrals of Beauvais and Amiens are among the finest in France, and the cliffs on the Côte d’Opale near Calais are as spectacular as those in Etretat in Normandy.
Heading down towards Paris, take a drive through Compiègne Forest, for centuries the beloved hunting ground of France’ kings. Compiègne Castle was also one of the favourite residences of Napoleon I and Napoleon III.
Fontainebleau Forest, farther to the south, is an enchanting landscape full of sand and boulders. It sustains over 600 deer and is crisscrossed with marked trails conducive to cycling and horseback riding. The nearby village of Barbizon was the cradle of Impressionism, where Jean-François Millet, Théodore Rousseau, Diaz and Corot first advocated outdoor painting.
Other essential visits closer to Paris include the banks of the Marne, immortalised by Renoir, and the castles of Vaux-le-Vicomte and Versailles which must be seen at least once in your life.

Northern France and the Paris Region - See all cities and regions

Northern France and the Paris Region : Must-see towns and regions

  • The name Chantilly conjures up a chateau , a forest, a racecourse and the horsing world. The Montmorency family, the Condé family and finally the duke of Aumale have made this town proud with the chat...

  • Compiègne

    Initially a royal residence, Compiègne was later the home of Napoleon III, who held lavish receptions here. Visitors can plunge back in history by visiting the château, a vast palace built in simple a...

  • Fontainebleau

    Une des plus belles forêts de France, aux paysages variés et accidentés, dans laquelle le palais est comme enchâssé et une ville sans doute bourgeoise, un peu guindée, mais qui se révèle un excellent ...

  • Versailles

    Versailles, symbol of the absolute monarchy and the apogee of classical arts in France, was the residence of the court and the seat of government from 6 May 1682 until 6 October 1789. The three large ...

  • Amiens

    Amiens, the capital of Picardy, is home to the largest Gothic cathedral in France, which is twice the size of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. The city is also famous for its charming marsh gardens (hor...

  • Boulogne-sur-Mer

    An old Roman city, Boulogne is the largest port for fresh fish in Europe, as well as an important port for trade and passenger traffic, enjoying strong links with Britain. Although the town has a fair...

  • Lille

    Northern France is not just gloomy plains and sad towns and Lille is the proof of this. By turns, Flemish, Spanish and then Austrian, this is a town rich in history that only fell into Louis XIV's poc...

  • Saint-Germain-en-Laye

    This town is at one and the same time a residential city and the target for many tourists attracted by its chateau, the terrace and the forest. It was the old royal residence since Louis VI the Fat es...

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