The Île-de-France is the compact region immediately surrounding the capital of France, Paris. As such, the region includes the now far-flung suburbs of the Paris metropolis, together with several large surrounding towns that form part of the larger conurbanation. All is not urban sprawl, however: the region is also known for its natural beauties, in the form of parks, forests and river lands.
- Paris - the capital of France and focus of the region
- Fontainebleau - to the south of Paris
- Rueil-Malmaison - a commune in the western suburbs of Paris.
- Versailles - to the west of Paris, site of the famous chateau of Louis XIV
- Disneyland Resort Paris - the European version of the famous American theme park
There are many cycle lanes on routes into Paris, but be careful as you also share the road with motorbikes and cars which can be inconsiderate.
There are several free autoroutes and 4 lane roads for getting round Île-de-France, however on weekdays there is a lot of congestion between the hours 08:00-09:30 and 17:30-19:30, and it is really not advisable to travel then. This congestion becomes a lot less worse the further away from Paris you are.
- Le Boulevard Périphérique: a road ring which marks the limit of "Paris intra muros" (essentially the central city as distinct from its suburbs). This is essentially a motorway as there are no roundabouts or intersections, however it is famous for its traffic jams. Be careful though, as the cars entering onto the road from the right have priority over vehicles already on the Périphérique.
- A13 : (direction Rouen) Western Autoroute
- A6 : (direction Lyon) Southern Autoroute
- A5 : (direction Lyon) South eastern Autoroute
- A86 : Very useful road that nearly completely circles Paris. The recently opened tunnel between Rueil-Malmaison and Versailles is tolled (fairly expensive) and is open to cars only (trucks and motorcycles prohibited).
- A14 : Toll road, fairly expensive.
- N104 La Francilienne: A half circular road around the eastern side of Paris. As it is further out than the A86, there is considerably less congestion.
- N118 : Connect western Paris to A10 and N104.
A network of regional trains (RER) takes you in and out of Paris. The RER has 256 stops in and around Paris, and runs on over 587 km (365 mi) of track. There are 5 lines, (A, B, C, D and E) that cross Paris, connecting suburbs on opposite sides. The stations are marked with blue signs with a white RER. The rest of the regional network, called "Transilien", departs from the main train stations (Lyon for line R, Est for line P, Nord for lines H and K, St-Lazare for lines J and L, Montparnasse for line N) and La Défense (line U). Trains can run up to every 5 minutes during rush hour, and you will never have to wait for more than 1 hour between two trains, even on the least served lines in the evening or on the weekend.
Tickets are only valid for the trip purchased, while passes use a 5-zone system. It may be cheaper for long trips on the regional network to purchase a daily ticket than a return ticket: a round-trip ticket from Paris to Provins costs €22.70, while a day pass (Mobilis) valid for zones 1-5 only costs €16.60. Check when purchasing, timetables, fare information, and maps for both systems can be found in on the English version of the Transilien website.
Trains run from 04:45 to 01:30. Smoking is not allowed in the stations or on the trains.
- Provins — a world heritage listed town about 50km east of Paris famous for its medieval heritage
- Le Musée Fragonard (L'Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire), 7, Avenue du Général de Gaulle (Métro: line 8 (Balard - Créteil) - Station: École Vétérinaire de Maisons-Alfort), ☎ +33 1 43 96 71 72. Closed in Aug; W-Th, 14:00-18:00; Sa-Su, 13:00-18:00. This is a hidden gem. A veterinary museum that doubles as natural history museum. A lot of medical oddities, mostly of animals, but also include real human specimens. Move over Bodyworlds, this museum holds Fragonard's original human preservation (wax- not plastic) including the famous "horseman of the apocalypse." Adults €7.