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68Regional Information - France68Parisand the Champagne RegionPlaces Of Interest & Things To SeeIle de FranceOften forgotten by those visiting the capital, thefascinating region of Ile de France surrounds theromantic city of Paris. Walk in the footsteps of famousartists, stroll through pretty forests and villages, orbecharmed by the long list of fascinating culturalsites and palaces, such as Versailles, Fontainebleauand Chantilly.ChantillyMainly associated with horses and host to manyimportant racing events, Chantilly is a small eleganttown 40km north of Paris. The château, both romanticand graceful, is open to visitors all year, althoughunlike the beautiful park, not daily.VersaillesThis beautiful château stands in all its glory,welcoming visitors through its doors and into itsstunning grounds (closed on Mondays). 23kmsouthwest of Paris, the Palace of Versailles wasdeveloped through the centuries as the epitomeofroyal indulgence.FontainebleauSituated in the middle of a forest, the chateau atFontainebleau (closed on Tuesday) was built in the12thCentury, effortlessly evolving with the centuries.ParisWith so much to do and see, Paris is a vibrant city.Highlights include...Eiffel TowerThe Eiffel tower is the very symbol of Paris; it is 320mhigh and is made with over 6,000 tonnes of iron. Itwas built in 1889 to celebrate the centenary of theRevolution. Three levels of the tower are open tothepublic so you can get the lift to all platforms or,toavoid queues, take the escalator to the 1st and2ndplatform.Arc de TriompheWalk down the Champs Elysées and you won't missthe Arc de Triomphe, the largest traffic roundabout inthe world. It was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806to commemorate his imperial victories. You can walkup the 284 steps to the viewing platform which is wellworth the climb for views of the surrounding area.Notre DameThe Notre Dame Cathedral is a true masterpieceofFrench Gothic architecture and dates back fromthe13th Century. It has spectacular stained glasswindows, stunning interiors and the famoussculptured gargoyles.Sacré CoeurThe Basilica of the Sacred Heart has some of thecity's most impressive views. You can climb the 234spiral steps to the top where you can get a bird's eyeview of up to 30km away on a clear day. It was builtin1873 with contributions from Parisian Catholics. Musée du LouvreThe museum building was built as a fortress duringthe early 13th Century but was turned into a nationalmuseum in 1793. It houses many famous worksincluding Da Vinci's Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.Pompidou Centre Quite a unique building built in 1977, the PompidouCentre is a museum built out of glass and steel.Ithouses works by Matisse, Picasso and Miró andPollock amongst other artists and street performersentertain visitors in the Piazza outside.Fun For All The FamilyDisneyland®Resort Paris Twenty miles to the east of Paris and a million milesaway from reality, the theme park incorporatesswashbuckling pirates, fairytale favourites, runawaytrains, shops, and a daily parade along Main StreetUSA. You can experience the thrills of a high speedrollercoaster or take a walk around the stunninggardens. Watch out for the superb night-timeextravaganzas. La Villette Park, ParisThe highlight of this 35 hectare park is the Children'sScience Village, it is split into three age groupswherechildren can take part in imaginative scienceexperiments, and there is also a unique electricityexhibition. Cité des EnfantsThis is a science and nature interactive museumspecifically designed for children 3-11 years old. Anaquarium contains 200+ species of fish, crustaceans,mollusks, and seaweed. Nearby is the Cité de laMusique, a complex devoted entirely to music andhome of the Conservatoire National de Musique.Grévin Wax MuseumThe museum contains not only life sized figures offamous people, but also historical scenes from Frenchhistory. Children will enjoy the 'fun house' mirrors thatdistort their reflections.Parc AsterixThis unique amusement park has the theme oftheAstérix comic characters of Gauls and Romanconquerors. Astérix is the hero and has a sidekicknamed Obelix. In addition to the rides and exhibits inthis adventure theme park there are activities for thewhole family to enjoy that will fill more than a day.The Rue de Paris mimics a medieval square hometoacrobats, jugglers and restaurants.Things To DoRiver Cruises - You can travel along the River Seineadmiring the views and taking in the city.City Tours - You can catch one of the open top busesto geta quick tour of the whole city.Musée Vivant du ChevalVisit the amazing Horse Museum located at thestables ofChantilly château.GivernyNear the town of Vernon, outside Paris itself, you'llfind thehome where Claude Monet once lived calledGiverny. See the artist's inspiration for yourself; thelittle pond, Japenese bridge with the azalea andwaterlilies.Local Specialities. Parisian cafés serve the likes of tea, coffee, simplesnacks and meals such as salads, filled sandwichrolls and omelettes.. Shellfish and snails . Foie Gras and rillettes - similar to pâté. Andouillette - tripe sausage. Crème Caramel. Grillades - grilled fish and Information - FrancePlaces Of Interest & Things To SeeThe Monastery of Mont St MichelAn impressive fortified monastery dating fromthe8thcentury, Le Mont St Michel is one of thegreatest spectacles of Europe. The steep cobbledclimb up the Grande Rue to the abbey is lined withhalf-timbered buildings making it hard for visitors notto be tempted to enter the souvenir shops, cafés andrestaurants. But be careful when you choose to go asyou could be cut off by the sea which surrounds thetown at high tide!CarnacThe Carnac area is rich in menhirs (stones) anddolmens dating from Neolithic times between5000and 3000 BC and is also home to the 'Tumulusde Kercado - The oldest megalithic structure intheworld.BénodetBénodet is the largest of several family beach resortswithin the region. It has much to offer from stunningviews across the harbour, sandy beaches, watersports,promenade cafés and boat trips along the rivertoQuimper.This is a modern beach resort that really comes aliveat night. So if you are a bit of a night owl thenit iswell worth a visit.ConcarneauThis 12th century walled city is home to one of thegreatest fishing ports of Europe, it is France's thirdmost important trawler port.It also has a fishing museum which shows the historyand techniques of fishing from around theworld.RennesCapital of Brittany since its incorporation into Francein the 16th century Rennes is a beautiful oldtownwith many stylish boutiques and pavement cafés.If you are after some culture, housed in the city'solduniversity building is the 'Musée des Beaux-Arts'.St. MaloSt. Malo is both lively and pretty. Situated at the RiverRance, it is famed for its walled city with many narrowcobbled streets and nearby beaches. There is a popular aquarium near the walled townwhich features large shark tanks.DinanDinan is a preserved medieval town, with its grandcastle and a pretty little port, cobbled streets, timberfronted houses and weavers workshops there is muchto see.If you like going shopping then you must visit onaThursday, as this is market day.DinardThis is one of the most stylish and exclusive ofseaside resorts, with a fine beach.It has many grand villas, sheltered sandy beachesandcoastal walks situated along the estuary of theRiverRance.QuimperQuimper is considered the cultural and artistic capitalof the region and even hosts an international folkmusic festival. With its cobbled streets, half timberedhouses and waterways it provides much inspiration forartists. This old trading city is also famous for hand-painted pottery. 'Cathédrale St-Corentin' embracesmany Breton elements including an equestrian statueofKing Gradlon on the western façade.VannesVannes is the largest town in the area and datesfrommedieval times and still has some of its ancientwallsintact. You will find the streets are narrow andwinding with timbered and gabled houses withoverhanging storeys. The old town ishome to the massive 13th centuryCathedral StPierre which holds the tomb of StVincent Ferrier. Whilst Vannes offers a great deal forhistory lovers it provides for lovers of nature as wellwith an aquarium and a butterfly centre.Fun For All The FamilyOceanopolis AquariumSituated in Brest, here you can learn about the manysecrets of the ocean from the thousands of varietiesof fish and sea life. The research centre located at theaquarium is the main one in France for marine life. Armoripark Amusement ParkSituated at Bégard, it is always a hit with the kids.Things To DoBeaches to visit:Dinard has fine sandy beaches which are safeforchildren.Blue Flag beaches: . Pleneuf Val Andre. Trevou-Treguinec. Ploemeur. ErdevenLocal Specialities. Crêpes et galettes - The Bretons are famous forthese. . Locally produced cider - Crêperies serve ciderinpottery type cups.. Seafood - Breton oysters, shellfish, barnacles, crab,lobster, and mussels.. Wafer biscuits and butter biscuits.. Gâteau Breton - A rich cake with butter, eggyolksandsugar.Brittany