Bonjour Île-de-France! We all know Paris is always a good idea. An even better idea is to extend your city trip and visit other parts of the beautiful region Île-de-France. We went on a mini road trip and visited Paris, the Palace of Versailles, stayed 3 nights at boutique countryside hotel Le Barn in the Rambouillet forest and we went to Giverny, the village of Claude Monet, to explore his beautiful house and garden with the famous water lily pond.
You probably know the drill in Paris. Here are just some of my tips from our last visit.
Food and drinks in Paris
Boot Café - For a coffee, tea and cake in small size coffee shop inside of a former cobbler in Le Marais.
Café Hugo - Catch the last rays of sunlight at the end of the day on this terrace overlooking Place Des Vosges. Art galleries and La Maison de Victor Hugo are next door.
Restaurant Sauvage - Good quality, freshness and authentic tastes at his neighbourhood restaurant. The wine bar is across the street.
Street art in Paris (if you care ;)
Banksy - 15 Rue Beaubourg, 75004, Paris, France (on the back of a parking panel)
Book stores in Paris
Librairie 7L - Karl Lagerfeld's curated bookshop ranging from art and design to landscape photography and fashion books.
Librairie Delamain - The oldest bookstore in Paris, founded in 1700.
Librairie Galignani - The first English bookshop on the continent since 1801.
Maison Assouline - Famous Parisian publishers who revolutionised the meaning of coffee table books with beautiful flagship concept stores in Paris, London and Dubai.
Shakespeare & Company - Famous independent bookshop on Paris's Left Bank, formed out of two independent English-language bookstores. Touristy but worth a visit.
Galleries in Paris
Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France
This doesn't need explanation. A must see! Palace of Versailles gets busy, really really busy. My number one tip is to book your tickets in advance. It's worth adding the no queue and state apartments to your ticket. We really enjoyed the private tour in the morning. Try and go as early as you can; one reason being to avoid as many tourists as possible, the main reason being there is so much to see that you can easily spend at least half a day exploring the grounds. If you don't have a car you can easily catch a train from Paris (~/~ one hour).
Le Barn Hotel, Bonnelles, France
Do I need to say more? We had a fantastic three night stay at this beautiful countryside hotel in the forest of Rambouillet, only 45 minutes from Paris. Perfect for a romantic getaway and some slow travelling. Read more or watch the video about our stay at Le Barn Hotel.
Fondation Claude Monet, Giverny, France
Exploring the beautiful house and flower and water garden of Claude Monet was on the list for a long time. Monet lived in Giverny for forty-three years, from 1883 to 1926. The little village thrives on this Master of Impressionism. Try to ignore all the Japanese and Chinese tourists and school classes and you will have a wonderful time. Combination tickets with the Garden, House and Museum are available for 9.30am or 14.00pm.
For more information about Île-de-France
Visit the websites of Yvelines Tourisme
Visit the website of The Region Ile-de-France