A stay in Ile-de-France: metro, hiking, boat

When we think of Ile-de-France, Paris immediately comes to mind. But the region is much more than just the capital and it would be a shame to remain within the confines of the city during your next stay in the region. Whether it is business or pleasure that brings you to the region, Ile-de-France is rich in its diversity. See for yourself.

Who said Parisians were haughty? The opposite comes to mind when we meet Ingrid and Christophe Durand who run the INTER-HOTEL Bagatelle in Goussainville, a 2-star establishment in Val d'Oise. "We met in the cold-room of a gourmet restaurant in Reims," Ingrid explains, laughing. We never left each other's side after that. We have worked at this hotel for 20 years and run it for 19. "Like many people, we had negative preconceptions when we arrived in the Parisian region," adds Christophe. "But we settled in really well. The clientele is eclectic, made up of foreigners and people from elsewhere in France for the most part. It's really interesting."

The Durands bend over backwards for their delighted guests. When their interesting work gives them time, Ingrid and Christophe like to explore their beautiful region.

Paris is obviously an attraction in itself with its famous monuments such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame Cathedral, its museums (the Louvre, Orsay, Pompidou, etc.), its parks and gardens (Tuileries, Luxembourg, Buttes Chaumont, Montsouris), the Montparnasse Tower, Montmartre, Ile Saint Louis and the Opera houses (Garnier, Bastille). In the many city arrondissements, you will discover the charms of the Parisian neighbourhoods. In the 3rd arrondissement, you can visit the Picasso museum or one of the most fashionable parts of Paris, the Marais. In the 9th arrondissement, the Grands Boulevards neighbourhood will appeal to fans of architecture. Don't miss the 10th arrondissement and the famous Place de la République. For those looking to go off the beaten track and to get away from it all, the 13th arrondissement with the village-like Butte-aux-Cailles neighbourhood and Chinatown, is perfect for walks. And further up in the 14th arrondissement, you will find the Catacombs. During your visit, you may choose to explore the bowels of the city in 185 miles of underground tunnels. Finally, have fun exploring the 15th and 17th arrondissements: the Montparnasse Tower and its unobstructed views over the city and the picturesque charms of the Montmartre neighbourhood. Ingrid and Christophe are adamant that their 'corner of Ile-de-France' has its share of riches, which are not restricted to the capital: "We love Auvers-sur-Oise with its castle and forest, and Isle-Adam with its extensive wooded parkland and lake," explains Christophe. We also go for walks in the old town of Cergy-Pontoise and Chantilly.

"The main thing that Ile-de-France has going for it is its huge variety," Ingrid continues. You can visit museums and castles, walk in the parks, see a show and even have fun in world-famous theme parks. Most importantly, we manage to live in a small town where we find peace again. This region has something for everyone."

Stays for business and pleasure

For Paris lovers, INTER-HOTEL has around twenty hotels at the heart of the capital. But we haven't forgotten the inner or outer suburbs. In Seine et Marne, stay in our Villenoy establishment and make the most of the location to explore Meaux. It's a pleasant town with plenty to see: the Bossuet museum and garden, the episcopal residence, the cathedral and old chapterhouse, a Bauve archaeological site, are all nearby.

Ozoir-la-Ferrière near Marne-la-Vallée is a lovely town where our hotel-restaurant serving traditional and gourmet food will delight fans of good food and play host to you following your visit to the theme park of the world's most famous mouse. In Seine-Saint-Denis, the town of Saint Denis la Plaine, on the edge of Paris, is home to the famous Stade de France and a magnificent Basilica, the resting place of the kings of France.

Further afield, in close proximity to the Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle airport and the Paris-Villepinte exhibition centre, Tremblay-en-France is the largest and greenest town in the department. Relax during your stay with a run.

In the east in Hauts-de-Seine, Rueil-Malmaison more specifically, find the time to visit the Malmaison castle which was the residence of Napoléon Bonaparte and Joséphine. 

There is more to Ile-de-France than Paris and the region is a great place for living and exploring. Visiting the departments around the capital will allow you to experience some nice surprises and it would be a mistake to miss out. Especially because – as Ingrid Durand concludes: "You shouldn't be afraid of traffic jams. The region has a very comprehensive public transport network (trains, buses, a tramway, metros, the RER, etc.) and you will not necessarily have cause to use your car once you're settled in."  

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