Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Chateau de Champs-sur-Marne

If you need to get away from the crowds in Paris for a while, you should leave the city and visit the suburbs instead. Here you'll find many less known tourist attractions and experiences. Unlike places like Versailles you avoid the big crowds and long lines to get in. It can often be just as impressive and it is usually a lot cheaper or completely free.

Chateau de Champs-sur-Marne is one of the well kept secrets. The castle itself isn't very big or old, but the park and gardens surroundings are wonderful no matter when you visit them. The gardens are considered one of the finest in the entire Ile-de-France region. I've only seen Versailles as more impressive alone due to it's size.

What makes Chateau de Champs-sur-Marne better in my mind is that you can actually walk through the entire park and see everything over the course of a few hours without having to strain yourself. I have visited Versailles twice and still not seen all there is to see in the parks alone. Another advantage to Chateau Champs-sur-Marne is that it is free to visit and there's usually not many people.

The park is a sort of miniature of the big gardens at Versailles, so you'll get a nice idea of how the great French gardens are. The beautiful classical French garden is from 1710. There are a lot of geometric patterns, special tapestries, a beautiful view over the park towards the Marne river, fountains, statues inspired by different ages, an English inspired park, buildings and so on. There is a lot to explored without it becoming too much.

You feel it as if you've stepped back in time and all that's missing is the great gowns and wigs. And if you're lucky, you'll see rabbits jump through the vegetation, just something for the kids.

Worth knowing:
  • Chateau de Champs-sur-Marne was completed in 1706. The park is considered one of the finest in the Ile-de-France region.
  • The castle has been location for many films, eg Dangerous Liaisons (1988) which received an Oscar for best d├ęcor, and Marie-Antoinette (2006)
Practical information:
  • The castle is temporary closed for maintenance, but the park is open most of the year during daylight hours and entrance is free.
Transport:
  • From Paris take the RER A towards Disneyland.
  • Get of at Noisiel and take bus no 220 towards Bry sur Marne.
  • The stop is named "Maison de Retraite", 6th stop from Noisiel.
  • The bus-ride costs two normal metro tickets (t+ tickets, which are the same as you use in the metro in Paris).
  • A ticket from Paris to Noisiel with RER costs 4,10€ one way.
  • The travel time is about 45 min.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your so complete information !
It was very helpful , I 'll go to with my kids tomorrow