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!
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.