Architectural Digest (UAE)



Chances are, if you’re planning a trip to Paris, virtually everyone you know has sent you a list of their favorite restaurant­s, shops, and museums in the City of Light. But if you need a momentary escape from the Paris attraction­s, there are quite a few sights to see just a quick drive or train ride away. Whether you prefer a leisurely promenade through André Le Nôtre’s mazelike gardens at Versailles, a visit to the studio where Monet painted his famous water lilies, or a glimpse of the leopard-print room that Madeleine Castaing devised for her friend Jean Cocteau, there’s a day trip to tickle every fancy. And you’ll return to Paris feeling refreshed and ready to resume your urban itinerary.


The quintessen­tial day trip from Paris, Versailles is a must-see. The extravagan­t palace—just a short train ride from the city—was home to the royal family, from Louis XIV in 1682 until 1789, when Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, were forced to return to Paris. Highlights include the dazzling Hall of Mirrors, Marie Antoinette’s mini-château, the Petit Trianon, and André Le Nôtre’s elaborate gardens, now enlivened by an installati­on of contempora­ry art each summer. The experience is every bit as swoon-worthy as you would imagine



If you’d rather skip the crowds at Versailles, the Château de Fontainebl­eau is a great alternativ­e. The palace, dating from the 12th century, was continuous­ly inhabited for seven centuries and is where Napoléon famously abdicated his throne before being exiled. Be sure to explore the château’s verdant grounds and small pond, where you can rent a pedalo on a sunny day. If you’re up for a second stop, take the short drive to Milly-la-Forêt to see the quaint home of illustrato­r and writer Jean Cocteau.



Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye in Poissy, on the outskirts of Paris, is a modernist’s dream. Built between 1928 and 1931 as a country retreat for the Savoye family, it serves as an architectu­ral manifesto of the 20th-century French talent. Embracing the five tenets Le Corbusier attributed to his new architectu­ral style—elevated from the earth, with a functional roof, an open floor plan, long windows, and a freely designed façade—it came to symbolise a new architectu­re. It is a 40-minute drive from Paris and accessible by the RER.


Get an inside look at the world of Impression­ist Claude Monet by visiting Giverny, his home just over an hour's drive (or a 45 minute train ride) from Paris. Visitors can tour Clos Normand – the water gardens, house, and studio – where he painted his famous water lilies series, now operated by the Fondation Claude Monet. For a further art fix, the nearby Musée des Impression­nismes Giverny highlights the Impression­ist art movement, with an evocative array of priceless paintings. It’s open from March 22 to November 11.

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