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Le Mont de St Siméon

Île de France, France

Five Great Walks in the Île de France

Posted by Luci Ackers on Mar 25, 2015
Eiffel Tower in France
Eiffel Tower in France

Explore the fantastic Île de France region by walking in some of the rural areas and taking in the sights of peaceful countryside and quiet villages. Visit some of the top cultural areas too and learn why this region is so popular.

Bear in mind that the routes below are guides that are best followed on a map. Read the route description here and then plot your walk on a map or even on google so that you can be sure you definitely won't get lost!

 

Local Circuit

For a gentle ramble through countryside, start in the village of St. Siméon and take the main road out, along the Avenue du Mizande, which should be part of the Grande Randonnee 14. You'll leave the road on a broad track through woodland. Continue along here, through fields until the junction that is signposted with the Grande Randdonnee left, follow this. You should keep going along here and it will turn into the G.R11. You will pass open farmland and patches of woodland and eventually get to a T junction. Go left again. Keep walking, heading into the woodland and, when you're out the other side, you'll have views over St. Siméon. Walk through the hamlet of Le Grand Mont until you hit the main road, turn right onto the Avenue du Mizande and retrace your first steps back to St. Siméon.

Paris

Paris is one of the most famous cities in the world and is so jam-packed full of culture, it would be a shame not to do a walking tour. Luckily, a large amount of the most well known sights are located around the banks of the Seine, so a reasonably simple walk will cover the top ones (or a river tour will do just as well, if you can't face a walk). Start at the Notre Dame, on the Île de la Cité, cross the river and head west along the bank of the Seine until you reach the Rue Robert Esnault-Pelterie. Turn down here to pass Les Invalides, with its golden dome, which now houses a military museum and the tomb of Napoleon. Then a right turn along Av. De Tourvill and make your way back towards the river via the Eiffel Tower. 

Admire this iconic monument and take a trip to the top if you can face the queue. Cross the Pont d'léna bridge and go straight through the Trocadéro gardens, stand at the top of the steps and take a fantastic photo of the Tower perfectly framed by the fountains. Then carry on up the flights of steps, between the elegant buildings and to the roundabout with the horse monument. From here it is roughly 25 minutes to the Arc de Triomphe. Take the Avenue Kléber and keep walking. There are several cafés and restaurants en route for a pick-me-up. You'll end up emerging at the Arc by one of the many roads that radiate out from it. Now turn and head down the Av. des Champs-Élysées, enjoying the shops along the way. Cross the Place de la Concorde to wander through the Jardin des Tuileries, enjoy the flower beds and the fountains and eventually end up at the Louvre. And you're done! This is a long route so be prepared to be out all day – but it is well worth the effort to enjoy these top Parisian highlights.

Park and Gardens of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles was the principal residence of the French Kings from Louis XIV to Louis XVI. Reputedly declaring the gardens were equally as important as the palace itself, Louis XIV commissioned André Le Nôtre for their development in 1661. Working with a team of other people, this took 40 years. The stunning Park covers 800 hectares of land and, palace aside, encloses several famous sites such as the Grand Canal, the Orangerie and the Estate of Marie-Antoinette. Wander these magnificent grounds and admire incredible fountains, great basins and elegant statues of marble and bronze. Explore the finely landscaped woodland areas and the classic French-style formal gardens and see why this enchanting place has become part of the Versailles UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Orly-sur-Morin

This lovely circuit can be a bit of a struggle, but boasts excellent scenery. It climbs both sides of the Petit Morin valley and winds you through picturesque agricultural land and woodland on small, quiet lanes and tracks.

Head out of Orly-sur-Morin on the Rue des Picards, past fields and into the trees. Hit the main road and turn right. When it curves to the right, there's a minor road on the left, take this and keep following it. You'll come to a small T junction where you'll turn left again. This takes you through forest until the first offshoot to the right. Take this and follow the woodland until you come out at the road again. Right turn and follow it as it curves to the left (so there should be some houses on your right). A sign will welcome you to St. Ouen sur Morin. 

Keep going till you hit the main junction for the D31. Turn left onto it, then follow it until it curves left. Here you want to go right instead, onto the D68 which is signposted to Rebais. This road, too, curves to the left and you want to take the smaller right turn to Courcilly. This track will take you into the woodland again. The second small turn on the left will take you through the trees, eventually bringing you into Les Nuillis. Walk through the tiny little town and out the other side, through the fields. When you get to the junction turn left and walk through the centre of the village Bois Baudry. Keep following the main lane through this village. Straight over the junction, down the road signposted La Tretoire. Take the little road through the fields on the left and you'll reach a patch of woodland. 

As the road bears left, take the small grass track through the trees on the right. When you rejoin the road turn right, then left down another grass track. Again you'll rejoin the road and turn left onto the track through more woodland. Keep your eyes peeled for a tiny pathway on the right. This will lead you through woodland, next to a meadow, back to the minor road. Go left and you will be walking alongside the Petit Morin river for a small section, turn right to cross the river. You are now back on the road leading into Orly. In total this walk is around 7 miles.

Forest of Fontainebleau

This forest, just to the south of Paris, surrounds the commune of Fontainebleau and a number of the small nearby villages. It is protected as a National Reserve and covers 25000 hectares of land. Once a royal hunting park, the forest is filled with dense and varied flora and fauna and is popular with walkers and cyclists. It is also well renowned for its interesting and abundant rock formations, with a number of unusual boulders, and so is a popular place for climbers too. If you fancy a ramble in this interesting place, there are more 1600km of routes and pedestrian trails to explore, and this includes 300 km of signposted trails.

Discover these amazing locations for yourself and stay in our traditional properties in the village of St. Siméon. Find out how by clicking the link below.

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Luci Ackers
Author: Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.


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