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Out of Paris Visits

1.Forget Versailles with 24,000 visitors a day but visit what inspired Louis XIV in the first place the wonderful Chateau of Vaux Le Vicomte built by his proud, vain and  ambitious Finance Minister Nicholas Fouquet ,who would spend the rest of his life in prison for trying to outshine the Sun King . Open every day.

2. Chateau of Fontainebleau – much older than Versailles and used by most Kings of France from Francis the  First ,patron of Leonardo da Vinci and other Renaissance artists until Napoleon III- basically from 1515 till 1870. Closed Mondays.

3. Chantilly Castle and Stables. Entry to the Castle 10 Euros. Stables 9 Euros. Both Closed Tuesday. The Czar of Russia complimented  the owner of Chantilly by saying what a wonderful Castle and the Duke of Condé gave the famous reply “Sire,this is not my Chateau but my Stable block” ,which gives you some idea of the sumptuousness of both !

4. Giverny –Claude Monet’s House and Gardens. In 2009 Giverny is now open everyday from 1 April to 1 November from 09H30-18H00.  Monet lived here from 1883 until his death in 1926. See the famous Water Lily Garden and then see the original paintings back in Paris at the Orangerie Museum, the Marmottan Museum and the Musée d’Orsay.

5. Be brave and take the fastest high speed TGV train to Rheims in just 45 minutes. This special line opened in 2008. Be  one of the first to go on the TGV Est. From the Gare de L’Est.

6. Take the train to Chartres. One hour away is the wonderful  medieval Cathedral of Chartres from Montparnasse Train Station. An easy walk from the Train station to the Cathedral. Catch a tour by Malcolm Miller, the English guide here since 1957 and get him to autograph his book on Chartres.