When one thinks of an excursion outside Paris, one naturally thinks of the Palace of Versailles or Chartres Cathedral. But perhaps not everyone knows that the Paris region offers a particularly rich natural and cultural heritage. A suggestion? Go ahead and spend an entire day in Provins, a medieval village of rare beauty, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Surrounded by an impressive walled enclosure, the town reached its peak in the 13th century, when it was the site of important mercantile fairs. Provins has preserved its medieval charm intact and is now a unique testimony to the military, civil and religious architecture of the time. Go ahead and keep your camera handy and capture the charm of the old wooden mansions in the alleys of the village, or stroll the ancient walls to admire the beauty of the surrounding countryside. Provins, located about 80 km south of Paris, is easily reached by regional trains in less than an hour.
Where To Stay
Paris intramuros, as the natives say – the Paris “inside the walls” or, in today’s terms, the six-lane périphérique ring road – features 20 arrondissements, all of which have their own character and their own special charm. It is a great idea to do some research on which district will suit you the best. This should then be the best place to set up camp. For some visitors, it may even be an advantage to find accommodation in an outer arrondissement: this gives you the opportunity to gain rare insights into the lives of the locals and to discover bars or restaurants far off the beaten tourist trail. Paris’s arrondissements spiral out in a clockwise direction from the most important central districts, to both her lively and sleepier suburbs. From the historic, beautiful Marais to the trendy, emerging ‘SoPi’ (South Pigalle), each arrondissement has it’s own unique traits. Choose the perfect arrondissement for you and enjoy a holiday as a real Parisian.