10 days out in the sunshine

Follow our suggestions for a great day out in central Paris or further afield...

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Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

When the sun shines over Paris, get your dose of vitamin D by exploring its nooks and crannies on foot or on two wheels. The city's largest parks – Bois de Vincennes and Bois de Boulogne – are idyllic destinations for a day out in the urban countryside. Or jump on a train: a world of handsome history awaits beyond the capital, in sumptuous royal palaces and some of the world's finest gardens. Here are our top ten suggestions

Days out in Paris

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Pack a picnic and a good book or two, and spend a lazy day in this magical park, with its waterfall, sinuous trails, romantic belvedere and hip café, Rosa Bonheur (open till midnight).

Pass through Passy

A day is easily whiled away in Passy, one of the city's lesser-known quarters, in the 16th. It's great for strolling, shopping and wine tasting in the Musée du Vin.

Vintage Paris on a Vespa

If parklife's not your forte, hire a Vespa (we suggest Left Bank Scooters) and get mobile with this vintage shopping itinerary. Bardot and Belmondo eat your heart out!

Bois de Vincennes

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A boating lake, cycle paths, a farm and even a racetrack keep you occupied for hours in this former royal hunting grounds. Once you've done the park, head to Château de Vincennes to explore Europe's tallest dungeon.

Bois de Boulogne

Take in a race at the famous Longchamp and Auteuil tracks, or race the kids around the Jardin de l'Acclimatation funpark, before heading to the Jardin de Shakespeare for a rendition of one of the Bard's works.


Days out further afield...

Château de Versailles

Hop on RER C to spend a day at the Sun King's palace in Versailles. It's easily the most sumptuously clad château in the world, a brilliant, unmissable cocktail of extravagance with gardens to match.

  1. Place d'Armes, 78000
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Château Vaux Le Vicomte

This is the château that inspired Versailles – an opulent 17th-century affair by architect Le Vau. The Le Nôtre-designed gardens are especially lovely in the evening, when you can visit them (and the castle) by candlelight.

  1. Domaine de Vaux Le Vicomte, 77950
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Giverny

Jump on a train at Saint-Lazare, and 50 minutes later you're in one of the world's most beautiful green spaces – Monet's garden at Fondation Claude Monet in Giverny. Tiptoe through the tulips to the famous lily ponds, which are seemingly unchanged by time.

  1. Giverny, Normandy

Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau is about more than just its castle: the green expanses surrounding the château and town centre are plum destinations for hiking, cycling and picnicking.

  1. Fontainebleau

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres

An hour from Paris awaits one of the world's finest cathedrals – Notre-Dame de Chartres – surrounded by a chocolate-box medieval town, criss-crossed by a tangle of narrow streets.

  1. Place de la Cathédrale, 28008
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