10 days out in the sunshine
Follow our suggestions for a great day out in central Paris or further afield...
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
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).
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.
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!
- Critics choice
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.
Days out further afield...
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.
- Place d'Armes, 78000
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.
- Domaine de Vaux Le Vicomte, 77950
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.
- Giverny, Normandy
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.