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The Most Beautiful Villages To Discover North of Paris
Do you want to swap the big streets of Paris for small winding and colorful alleys for a day or a weekend? We can only advise you to go and see the Val d’Oise and the Oise, which are full of small villages, each more beautiful than the next. Whether or not on the banks of the Seine, these five villages in Oise and Val d’Oise all have their own charm and are sure to give you a change of scenery!
Saint-Jean-aux-Bois, time suspended
This small village, nestled in the Compiègne forest, exudes an irresistible charm with its quaint little stone houses. Little known to tourists, it nevertheless offers a very pleasant country walk leading straight to one of the oldest oaks in France (over 800 years old!). In any case, we fall for its old abbey and its row of colorful houses on the rue des Abbesses. As an anecdote, the few inhabitants are called “Solitaires”, due to the isolation of this village which is nicknamed “Solitude”. It was also in Saint-Jean-aux-Bois that the song “Mon amant de Saint-Jean” was composed, sung by Edith Piaf. A gem for lovers of peace and quiet!
Vétheuil, idyllic village on the banks of the Seine
Located in the Vexin regional natural park, Vétheuil is a little corner of paradise on the banks of the Seine. Monet set his sights to live there for three years with his family (you can visit his house) and has painted more than 200 works there, now exhibited all over the world. This small, bucolic village is distinguished above all by the harmony contained in its roofs and alleys, the presence of water, and by its beautiful church in the center of the village. Vétheuil by Claude Monet, 1879
Pierrefonds and its imposing fortified castle
Recreated by Viollet-le-Duc on the orders of Napoleon III, the Château de Pierrefonds is the archetype of the ideal castle in the Middle Ages. It stands on top of a hill with the village at its feet. Formerly a spa town, Pierrefonds also has a large lake dotted with water lilies where it is good to stroll and do a little pedal boat. Finally, you can admire another castle – Jonval, more discreet but no less beautiful, on the hill on the other side of the lake. Instagram @esprithautsdefrance
La Roche-Guyon, an artists’ paradise
A landmark for painters and writers, many have cited La Roche-Guyond in their works! Victor Hugo, Lamartine, La Rochefoucauld… All of them have fallen under the spell of the calm and serenity emanating from this village on the banks of the Seine. Camille Pissarro, Paul Cézanne, Auguste Renoir and Georges Braque, to name a few, have come here to seek this special light that lands on the hills. Only the keep remains of its original medieval fortress, linked to the current castle by an impressive secret passage carved into the rock over 100 meters long.
Gerberoy and its postcard decor
Ideal for a spring or summer stroll, this incredibly charming village has everything you need for an exotic, colorful day off the beaten path. We stroll through its cobbled streets, marveling at its half-timbered houses, the oldest of which “la maison bleue” – dating from 1690 – looks like a doll’s house. A delight! Original article by Pariszigzay.fr