Paris is known to be one of the most culturally active cities. Whether you are a tourist, student, or worker it is impossible not to find something to do. In general in France for students and young people under 26 many cultural events and exhibitions are free, so come on and cheer up… go explore the world!
Some of the day trips taken from Paris are a bit predictable, yet they are worth it. Many of these destinations are easily accessible by train from stations such as Gare du Lyon or gare Saint Lazare with virtually free routes for those with Navigo (Paris metropolitan region transportation pass).
The Palace of Versailles is a grand old residence of the Bourbons of France located in the town of Versailles. The palace was created at the behest of the young Louis XIV to get away from the capital and its citizens, who were feared and considered difficult to keep under control. Versailles remained the seat of political power in the kingdom of France from 1682, when the Sun King moved his court there from the Louvre Palace until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 at the dawn of the French Revolution. The chateau consists of a series of elements architecturally harmonized together. It also features one of the largest and most famous parks in the world with numerous architectural elements including the Petit and Grand Trianon, an Orangerie, and the Pièce d’eau des Suisses that still today are among the most famous elements that characterize the palace gardens. Since 1979 the palace has become a UNESCO-protected property.
2. The Château de Fontainebleau
The Royal Château de Fontainebleau is a château in mainly Renaissance and classical style, located in the center of the city of Fontainebleau. An essential place in the history of France, many kings have left their mark here in the construction and history of the castle, which is thus a witness to the different phases of France’s history from the Middle Ages onward. Surrounded by a vast park and close to the forest of the same name, the castle is composed of medieval, Renaissance, and classical elements. It bears witness to the encounter between Italian art and French tradition, expressed both in its architecture and interior decorations. It was thus that the School of Fontainebleau was born, representing the richest period of Renaissance art in France and inspiring French painting until the mid-18th century and beyond. In addition, since 1981, the chateau has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
3. Giverny and Monet’s house museum
Located on the right bank of the Seine in Normandy, the small town of Giverny is world-renowned for being immortalized in the paintings of Claude Monet, a French Impressionist painter who lived here from 1883 until he died in 1926. The house is inside and out sparkling with vibrant colors that contrast with the interior: the façade is pink, the kitchen is covered with blue-painted tiles, the dining room is bright yellow, and the living room is a delicate blue. All are enhanced by an extensive collection of Japanese prints. In front of the house was a vegetable garden, which he transforms into a vibrant garden of colors, cultivating numerous species of flowers that bloom at different times of the year, resulting in a fantasy of colors that change from season to season. Also located in the famous water garden traversed by the Japanese bridge, which is immortalized in the famous water lily series.
Deauville is a French municipality located in Normandy. It has been famous as a refined seaside and social resort on the Côte Fleurie (“Flowered Coast”) since the second half of the 19th century. The famous fashion designer Coco Chanel lived and worked here since 1913, and in 1966 Claude Lelouch’s favorite film A Man, a Woman was set here. It is the perfect place for a day at the beach from Paris although I recommend going as early as possible in the morning because in the afternoon the sea gets much rougher and the wind is annoying enough that you cannot enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the beach.