The region of Ile-de-France is composed of eight departments: Paris, Seine-et-Marne, Yvelines, Essonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne and Val-d'Oise.
Newcomers to Paris are advised to take a leisurely stroll, drink in the atmosphere, and take in a famous sight or two. The initiated, of course, will want to explore their favorite haunts of the Capital. In and around Paris, whatever the season, there is something to delight young and old. Ile-de-France is the region surrounding Paris within a radius of about 50 miles. Its name comes from the rivers that form its boundaries.
Through this area travelled Charlemagne, Saint-Louis, Joan of Arc, Louis the XIV and all the kings of France, not forgetting Napoleon, all leaving their marks on the region. One is drawn to the magnificent cathedrals, beautifully preserved medieval abbeys and splendid châteaux architecture unsurpassed anywhere in France.
For the weary city-dweller and the nature lover, Ile-de-France offers peaceful valleys, forests and wildlife. On route for Versailles, you enter the prettiest countryside in Ile-de-France : the Vallée de Chevreuse. Picturesque villages abound, Châteaufort with its 12th century fortress, Saint-Rémy-les-Chevreuse, Saint-Lambert, Dampierre, the site of a 16th century château, and Les Vaux de Cernay, one of the loveliest valleys in France.
On the way from Fontainebleau, just on the edge of the forest, lies Barbizon, made famous as an artists' colony in the 19th century by Honoré Daumier, Constant, Musset, and the writer George Sand. You can also visit Rousseau's house on Grande-Rue, just behind the Monument aux Morts. Ile-de-France is the combination of culture, history, and nature.