The region

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Coulommiers

Coulommiers: Coulommiers is one of the towns in France that can brag about being famous for a cheese produced there that bears the town's name. At 8 km from the Farm, the town hosts the yearly Rameaux Fair. During the time of a week-end each year, wine and cheese producers from all over France come to Coulommiers for this fair and to present their regional products.

Le parc des Capucins (the Park of the Hares), beautiful, flowered park where the jazz and blues festival is held once a year.

You can take a special boat tour on the Grand Morin River where you will have a remarkable view of the town. The guided tour takes you along the waterway where you will have the chance to discover many remarkable sites such as the old prison transformed into a library, an old orangery, a suspended wash house or even the isle of the birds. This jaunt is made even more interesting by the presentation of old large size post cards exposed along the water bank telling the story of the old wash houses and tanneries.

For more information, contact the Coulommiers' Tourist Office
Tél : 01 64 03 88 09
www.tourisme77.net/

The Historical Commandery of the Knights templar : The Commandery became the property of the monks of the hospital of St John of Jerusalem in the year 1314. You must see the tithing barns, the garret tower, the commander's residence, Saint Anne's chapel and the astonishing medieval gardens lush with over 250 different ancient plants.

The Commandery and Gardens are open Wednesday to Saturday 2 pm to 6 pm and Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm.

The permanent displays and guided tours include:

  • Presentation and history of the Order of the Knights Templar
  • The commandery yesterday and today;
  • Guided visit of the medieval gardens;
  • Guided visit of the buildings and the gardens.
  • Tel : 01 64 65 08 61

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Disneyland Paris

DisneyLand Paris

How could one possibly cross Marne La Vallée without making a stop at Disneyland Paris in Chessy? For almost 15 years now, this 55 ha dream making factory has given each one of us plenty to dream about. Each year more than 13 million people coming from all over Europe make the trip in order to take a wild ride on Big Thunder Mountain or to climb aboard the Indiana Jones express and to witness a pirate attack in a Spanish sea port.

Once you have driven past Disneyland Park and taken the Grand Fosse Boulevard for three kms, you will have arrived at the gigantesque shopping mall: Val d'Europe at Serris. Its astounding architectural structure was inspired by late 19th century wrought iron building works (Baltard and Eiffel). For name brand bargain hunters the Vallee outlet shopping village has grouped together, in a charming environment, prestigious designer name brands such as Kenzo, Gucci or Ralph Lauren. Val d'Europe is also home to the immense marine complex: Sea Life where a great 3500 m2 aquarium holds all the secrets to under water sea life. The Exposition: The strange world of the shell fish explains all about strange and beautiful marine life such as the Japanese spider crab, a 20 kilo 3.5 meter wide marvel.

For more information www.disneylandparis.com - www.lavalleevillage.com

Fontainebleau

The Castle to see: 8 centuries of French history.

In all, 34 monarchs from Louis VI the Gros (The Fat one) to Napoleon III have succeeded each other back to the Middle Ages; Kings, Queens, Emperors, Empresses, all have adored this site and all have left their mark here.

Today, Fontainebleau offers her visitors a set of architectural treasures starting with the décor, the paintings, and the 1001 fascinating and precious objects that are housed there. Fontainebleau is also the name of a Forest classed world heritage site, known for the famous climbing rocks and boulders, the Recloses and Poligny sand quarries, the Loing River banks.

Fontainebleau Tourist' Office
4. rue Royale
BP 24 - 77302 Fontainebleau cedex
Tél : 01.60.74.99.99. / Fax : 01.60.74.80.22.
www.fontainebleau-tourisme.com

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The cheese making company of the Brie region

Is situated in St-Remy de la Vanne and is open for visits Friday mornings or upon appointment. For those who so desire, this is the opportunity to discover all of the cheeses of the Brie region and the cheese making process. The two best known cheeses of this region are the Brie de Melun and the Brie de Meaux both of which hold a controlled appellation of origin and quality.

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Provins and the splendor of medieval France

ville de Provins

At 80 kms from Paris, Provins offers an exceptional heritage of 58 historical monuments from the 12th and 13th centuries. In those days, the town was the capital of the Counts of Champagne, and was host to one of the greatest county fairs in all of Europe. The fair was held once a year between the peoples of the North and from the Mediterranean region in the South. Although the town can be visited all year round, it is in the month of June that one can admire the famous rose beds brought in from Syria after the crusades.

Classed world heritage site
Since December 13, 2001, the little town of Provins has been named World Heritage Site for Humanity. For the first time in all of France, it is an entire town that has been classed by UNESCO in its registers. With the right mix of medieval flavor and sense of good hospitality, Provins is a destination, ideal for the week-end, and right at Paris' back door. It beholds many shows celebrating the medieval times: the tournament of the knights, the eagles of the ramparts and more. One should not miss the Great Wall of France, the Tithing barn, Ceasar's tower and the underground passageways.

For more information, contact the Provins' tourist office. : Tél. : 01 64 60 26 23, fax : 01 64 60 11 97. www.provins.net

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Vaux-le-Vicomte castle

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

Masterpiece of 17th century French architecture

This chateau is located in the commune of Maincy in the Seine and Marne region and is quite near Melun. Constructed by the powerful Fouquet beginning in 1656, Vaux-le-Vicomte can be considered, along with the Versailles chateau, as one of classical architecture's most prestigious structures. Louis le Vau helped to draw up the original plans; Le Notre made drawings for the gardens (1656-1661); and Le Brun was in charge of the décor. Sumptuous parties were held here, notably one on August 17, 1661 attended by Louis XIV. The Sun King being jealous of the luxuriousness of the chateau, had Colbert draw up a set of charges against Fouquet, the superintendent of Finance. Arrested, then condemned to exile in 1664, Fouquet was subjected, in the end, to the rigorous detention conditions at Pignerol Fortress. The Versailles chateau was build using Vaux-le-Vicomte as a model and the same artists were commissioned.

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

Well worth seeing:

The carriage museum: Fouquet's ancient stables house a magnificent collection of carriages permitting the visitor to discover how different means of transportation evolved over time.

The fountains: The fountains in the gardens are turned on each second and fourth Saturday evening every month from April to October (except September 10). .

Permanent events: Open-air theater, Open-air opera, The great century pageant.

The castle, the grounds and the carriage museum are open to the public from March to November from 10 am to 6 pm.

For more information:
Tél : 01 64 14 41 90 http://www.vaux-le-vicomte.com

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Meaux

ville de Meaux

City of History and Art

The Cathedral of Saint Steven: begun in the 12th century and completed in the 16th: this cathedral is a jewel of gothic architecture.
The ancient town center of Meaux is marked by the presence of the Episcopal city, one of the rare ones in France that have remained intact. All around the City is spread the fabric of the old Town whose charm resides in its picturesque little streets, its medieval times set-up, its 17th and 18th century private hotels, the American monument: Liberty weeping, a Frederic  Mac Monnies sculpture given to France in 1932 to commemorate the bravery of the French soldiers during the first battle of the Marne (September 1914).

The Bossuet Museum: This museum is housed in the old Episcopal palace and displays a permanent collection of 16-19 century paintings and sculptures with temporary collections in the lower floor rooms.
The Bossuet gardens: design attributed to le Notre: these gardens reach out from the door of the museum with a multitude of flower beds and rows of linden flower blossoms. The Gallo-Roman ramparts run over by gardens close off this particular part of the Episcopal city.
One can visit the gallo-roman architectural site at la Bauve (1.5 kms from town center), architectural dig sites of a gallo-roman sanctuary taking up over 2 hectars of space.

Gastronomy and the products of the soil: Brie from Meaux: exposition showing a set of traditional tools and a video clip teaching all about the making of this famous cheese. One can also partake of a tasting session. Meaux mustards.
Great nighttime historical pageant: a sound and light show tracing back 1000 years of adventure (special effects, 500 figures displaying over 3600 costumes).

For more information : : www.ville-meaux.fr

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