What to see in France

Seine-et-Marne, a change of scenery on a campsite near you

Jardin du château de Fontainebleau
Jardin du château de Fontainebleau


Representing 50% of the surface area of Ile de France, the Seine et Marne is a department that takes its name from the Seine and Marne rivers. Only a few kilometres from the capital, it is an immense agricultural territory that offers an important built and natural heritage with the forest of Fontainebleau for example or the medieval city of Provins... an area to discover thanks to the numerous campsites that it shelters.

Campsites in Seine-et-Marne

Camping just outside the capital? It's possible! There are more than 40 campsites in Seine-et-Marne to choose from. Here are three to help you choose: Camping Fredland **** in Tournan en Brie, in the middle of greenery and 20 minutes from Disney, has an indoor swimming pool and three water slides, as well as a bar and restaurant. Camping Ile de Boulancourt *** in Boulancourt, an ecological park close to the Fontainebleau forest, where you will find modern cabins and mobile homes. Les Prés ** campsite in Grez sur Loing, ideally located 10 minutes from the Fontainebleau forest, you will enjoy 133 pitches, some of which are in "bivouac" areas with communal barbecues.

The must-sees of the Seine-et-Marne

Famous for its theme park for 30 years, Seine-et-Marne offers Disneyland Paris, a sort of enchanted kingdom, from 7 to 77 years old, but Seine-et-Marne also has many other sites to discover.

Fontainebleau, its forest and its castle

Formerly known as the Brière forest, the Fontainebleau forest attracts the whole world for having inspired, among others, the impressionist artists of the 19th century. Covering more than 2,300 hectares of organic forest, it was the first forest to be awarded the Forêt d'Exception label in 2013. What a pleasure and what a change of scenery it is to walk in this majestic place where you can explore the Solle, the Franchard gorges, the Apremont desert or the chaos. For hiking enthusiasts, 300 km of marked trails are available, to be explored by mountain bike, on horseback or on foot. A real paradise for nature lovers, this is an area where the fauna and flora are important because it is full of trees, various plants, flowers as well as wild animals such as wild boars, rabbits, roe deer and many others. A nice outdoor excursion near Paris, to do with the family.

Known as a jewel of French art, the Château de Fontainebleau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the residence of François I after having been a royal hunting ground in the Middle Ages and before being the favourite place of Napoleon Bonaparte in the 19th century. A visit to the castle reveals the luxuriously decorated royal flats as well as the Great Apartment and the Francis I Gallery, the fireplace in the ballroom and the baroque-style Trinity Chapel. On the way out, the superb 17th century horseshoe-shaped staircase must be admired. The visit to the castle continues with the gardens. The Carp Pond, the English garden, the parterre designed by Le Nôtre and the Diana garden with its beautiful fountain. The tour ends with the huge park where you can have a picnic in the shade.

Fontainebleau Castle
Fontainebleau Castle© IStock

Provins, a medieval city with 58 listed monuments

Former capital of the Counts of Champagne, Provins is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated on the Briard plateau, it became the third most important city in France after Paris and Rouen, and was home to the most important fairs in the region. The upper town is home to the incredibly well-preserved ramparts made up of towers and gates that encircle it. Passing through the Saint-Jean gate, you arrive in the medieval part of the town with its pretty half-timbered houses, the collegiate church of Saint-Quiriace, the Caesar tower, which offers a superb panorama from its top, the former Hôtel-Dieu, the Romanesque house, the tithe barn and the cellar of the Holy Spirit. Every year in June, the Médiévales, a very festive medieval fair, takes place with street entertainment, historical re-enactments and medieval shows. Mark your calendars!

Ramparts of Provins
Ramparts of Provins© IStock

Château de Vaux le Vicomte, envied by Louis XIV

Located in Maincy and remarkably well preserved, this architectural masterpiece of classical style belonged to Nicolas Fouquet. Louis XIV is said to have built the Château de Versailles to dethrone that of Vaux le Vicomte. Here you can admire the King's bedroom, the dining room, the grand salon and the salon des Muses. The visit also includes the superb framework at the top of the dome of the château and the magnificent kitchens where the famous Vatel was chef. The garden park is one of the places to be admired, with its waterfalls and basins, its parterres de broderies and its grottoes... designed by Le Nôtre, they are inevitably reminiscent of those at Versailles. The outbuildings house a fascinating museum where you can discover the carriages and other carriages of the period and finally, the castle and the gardens illuminated by thousands of candles is an enchanting moment to discover every Saturday evening between May and October.

Vaux-le-Vicomte castle
Vaux-le-Vicomte castle© IStock


The Feline Park, unique!

Located in Nesles-la-Gilberde, it is an animal park in which there are 26 species (out of 36 existing in the world), 160 felines and 300 animals in all. You can discover Babette's Farm with goats and other domestic animals, the island of Lemurs where you can find 60 primates in freedom. A 4D cinema and a train that offers a guided tour are among the activities to discover in this unique park. An exotic interlude close to the capital that will delight children and their parents.

Moret-sur-Loing and Barbizon the typical charm

They have in common that they are both located on the edge of the Fontainebleau forest and that they have inspired many painters such as Sisley, Corot and Millet. The village of Moret-sur-Loing is a former stronghold on the banks of the Loing. Wander through the narrow streets and explore the historic centre with its half-timbered houses, the house of François I, the fortified gates, the church of Notre Dame and the town hall, all of which are treasures to be discovered here.

Barbizon allows you to kill two birds with one stone with Moret-sur-Loing when walking in the forest of Fontainebleau, a practical side that should not be neglected on holiday... It was the impressionist landscape painters of the 19th century who made the village famous. The Auberge Ganne is a landmark place where artists used to meet, as are the studios of Rousseau and Millet, which will appeal to art lovers. A village also appreciated for its tranquillity and the beauty of its nature.

Moret-sur-Loing© IStock



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