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Ile-de-France is rife with places to visit. You could spend your entire vacation in Paris and still not see everything that only that city has to offer. But Ile-de-France is much more than just the City of Lights. As home to many of France's kings and queens, the region is rich with historical sights that you may have read and daydreamed about in history class. A few of the highlights of the Ile-de-France region include:
Paris -- vast pages could be written here about what to see and what to do. Whilst the Louvre may be its most famous museum, Paris is also home to a variety of other art museums, with houses of art dedicated to Monet, Rodin, and just about any other French artist you can think of. Other 'of-course!' places to see and things to do include the Tour Eiffel, Arc de Triomphe, Hotel des Invalides, a stroll down the Champs-Elysee, a walking tour of the roof of Notre Dame ... the list goes on and on. For a comprehensive listing of all-things Paris, check out the Inside Paris pages.
Versailles -- located 16 km (10 miles) west of Paris, the sights of Versailles are breathtaking -- both inside and out. Chateau Versailles, home of Louis XIV and Marie-Antoinette, is both ostentatious and awe-inspiring at the same time. Admission to Versailles is dependent on which part of the grounds you wish to visit and the time of year. (admission is more expensive during the summer high season). If you've gone into bling overload whilst inside the palace, be sure to spend some time wandering the 250-acre grounds of the Parc de Versailles, which surrounds the palace.
Chartres -- located 19 km (12 miles) west of Maintenou, Chartres is home to Chartres Cathedral. The current cathedral, built during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, is a stunning example of Gothic architecture. The cathedral is open to visitors from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily. Tours of the crypt occur daily during the summer. Check for times at the Cathedral. The price for a crypt tour is 2.30 Euro.
Giverny -- you have seen Monet's paintings, now see where he was inspired, as Giverney is home to le Maison et Jardin Claude-Monet. The best time to visit Giverney is May or June, when the garden blooms are at their peak. Monet's house and gardens are open to the public April through October, Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.Admission to the gardens and home is 5.50 Euro, to the gardens only is 4 Euro.
Fontainbleau -- located 61 km (38 miles) southeast of Paris, the Chateau de Fontainbleau was the home to a long line of royalty, beginning with Francois I in the sixteenth century. Over the years each proceeding member of the royalty added his or her own touches to the sprawling palace. Fontainbleau is open daily (except Tuesday) year-round, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. October through May and 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. June through September. Cost of admission is 6.50 Euro for adults and free for those 18 and under. There is an additional 3 Euro fee to visit Napoleon's apartments.