Whether you’re a local in Paris or just passing through for a French culture fix, these top locales from Versailles to the Champagne region to Normandy are rich in history and only a quick train ride away from the French capital.
Pack a weekend bag and get ready for an inspiring sojourn, whichever address you choose to call home.
The Waldorf Astoria Trianon Palace, Versailles
Experience the royal treatment when checking in to the Waldorf Astoria Versailles – Trianon Palace, neighboring the park of the Château de Versailles. Spread over eight bucolic acres, this neoclassical palace dates back to 1910. Each of the 85 plush rooms and 15 spacious suites looks out onto the idyllic gardens. Dining options include the elegant La Véranda Brasserie serving up French favorites and the Michelin-starred Gordon Ramsay restaurant for a taste of haute cuisine. Breakfast is served with a side of history in the ceremonial Clemenceau salon. It was here where the Treaty of Versailles was drawn up in 1919. Following a visit to Versailles, dip into the hotel’s pool and head for an unforgettable facial or body treatment at the Spa Guerlain.
Auberge du Jeu de Paume, Chantilly
Set upon the grounds of the historic Domaine de Chantilly, L’Auberge du Jeu de Paume combines elegance and heritage within an intimate setting. Many of the 92 palatial rooms and suites at this Relais & Châteaux property open up to views of the Château de Chantilly’s perfectly manicured gardens, just a stone’s throw from the castle itself. While this town is where the famous Chantilly cream originated, it’s at La Table du Connétable that you’ll find the most appetizing dishes, both sweet and savory. Chef Clément Le Norcy will see to it. The more casual Le Jardin d’Hiver with its snug neighboring bar also serves up a feast in style. Don’t miss a visit to subterranean Spa Valmont with its signature products and Moroccan-inspired indoor pool.
Domaine de Primard, Guainville
In case you aren’t on Catherine Deneuve’s guest list, you can now visit the place she once called home, part of Les Domaines de Fontenille. The noble 18th-century Domaine de Primard set upon 40 lush hectares, includes gardens dreamed up over 35 years ago by notable landscape designer Jacques Wirth. Highland cows, sheep, donkeys plus a veritable vegetable garden are among the treasures to be discovered when not lounging by the swimming pool, paddling around the lake, or unwinding at the spa following a protocol by Susanne Kaufmann. In between siestas in one of the 40 artfully eclectic rooms and suites, dine at Chef Romain Meder’s gastronomic restaurant Les Chemins or opt for a more casual affair at Octave, where dishes echo the seasons.
Domaine les Crayères, Reims
You’ll feel like a member of the royal family when checking in to the majestic 5-star Domaine Les Crayères in the heart of Reims, the capital of the Champagne region. Each of the 20 rooms and suites pays tribute to French classicism at this mansion dating back to 1904, once home to the De Polignac family. The intimacy of the seven-hectare property is felt from the first sip of champagne at the stately bar La Rotonde to Chef Philippe Mille’s well-orchestrated 2-Michelin-starred dinner at famed restaurant Le Parc. Take a break from formality at Mille’s open kitchen brasserie Le Jardin, set within a cozy terrace. From Domaine Les Crayères it’s a quick stroll to the cellars of Veuve Clicquot and Ruinart, both well worth a visit and a tasting.
Les Etangs de Corot, Ville d’Avray
A rustic address beloved by the impressionists and named for impressionist painter Camille Corot, Les Étangs de Corot invites you into a world of rest and relaxation with an artful twist. With each of the 42 rooms looking out upon the serene ponds of Ville-d’Avray, you’ll quickly forget that Paris is less than an hour away. This 4-star Relais & Châteaux property sets a gourmet table at Michelin-starred restaurant Le Corot and a more casual menu at bistro Le Café des Artistes, both helmed by Chef Rémi Chambard. If weather permits, stop by 19th-century guinguette Les Paillotes for a creative cocktail. The theme of ‘country chic’ continues at Le Bains de Corot spa where the all-natural facial and body rituals include private outdoor baths.
Hôtel Barrière Le Normandy, Deauville
Often referred to as the Parisian Riviera, the upscale seaside resort town of Deauville boasts long stretches of sandy beaches, a star-studded boardwalk, and countless cafes. When the who’s who of the cinema world isn’t gathered for the Deauville American Film Festival in early September, the town is dotted with sun-seekers in search of respite from bustling city life. Settle into one of 271 recently restyled rooms and suites at Hotel Barrière Le Normandy and inhale the salty air and scenic beach views. Dinner at the convivial restaurant La Belle Époque crafted with Norman specialties from the sea and accented with porcelain and dazzling chandeliers will rouse the rest of your senses. With former guests of Hotel Le Normandy including Kirk Douglas and Claude Lelouch, you might even run into a celebrity, on or off-season.
Lead photo credit : From the Auberge du Jeu de Paume, take a stroll in the grounds of the Chantilly castle
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