View of Fountain of Apollo in Versailles, France

Things to do in  Île-de-France

Paris is just the beginning

France’s most populous region, Île-de-France, is also one of its smallest—with no shortage of things to do. Comprising Paris and its surrounding countryside, the area is dominated by the cultural and historical gravity exerted by its capital. But while Paris, with its world-class museums, Michelin-starred restaurants, and millennia of history, is absolutely worth discovering, so is the wider region. From blockbuster attractions like Versailles, Disneyland Paris, and the Palace of Fontainebleau to numerous regional natural parks, Île-de-France promises rural charm, regal opulence, and natural wonder as much as it does urban delight.

Top 15 attractions in Île-de-France

Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower isn't just a symbol of Paris but a symbol for all of France. Erected by Gustave Eiffel to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution in 1889, the 1,050-foot (320-meter) tower once held the title of the world's tallest structure. Despite having been dwarfed by Dubai's Burj Khalifa and The Shard in London, the Eiffel Tower remains one of the most recognizable landmarks on the planet. View the architectural icon from afar, or stop in at the three observation levels for stellar city views.More


Primarily associated with the steady gaze of Leonardo Da Vinci's famous Mona Lisa, Paris' Louvre museum is home to a 35,000-strong collection of paintings and sculptures considered one of the greatest in the world. The contemporary glass Louvre Pyramid heralds the museum's entrance, which millions of tourists flock to every year to feast their eyes on masterpieces that span from antiquity to the 20th century.More

Notre Dame Cathedral

Second only to the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris) is one of Paris' most iconic attractions, a marvel of medieval architecture that was immortalized in Victor Hugo's classic novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Today, the Gothic grandeur and stained-glass windows of the UNESCO World Heritage site continue to reign supreme from Ile de la Cite, an island in the middle of the Seine River.(UPDATE: Notre Dame Cathedral is currently off-limits due to fire damage.)More

River Seine

The lifeblood of Paris, the River Seine acts as a dividing line between Paris’ historically sophisticated and bohemian halves, while providing transportation via riverboat and plenty of opportunity for romantic strolls. The banks of the famous river are a UNESCO World Heritage Site lined with the city’s top landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Musée d’Orsay, Jardin des Tuileries, and the Louvre.More

Orsay Museum (Musée d'Orsay)

Rivaling the Louvre as Paris' favorite art museum, the Orsay Museum (Musée d'Orsay) is known for its impressionist, post-impressionist, and art nouveau works from 1848 to 1914. Equally impressive as what’s inside the museum is its exterior: a former Beaux-Arts railway station with an enviable location on the banks of the Seine River. Both architecture and art buffs will want this museum on their Parisian itineraries.More

Versailles Gardens (Jardins de Versailles)

Louis XIV’s Palace of Versailles takes the award for the most visited château in France, and the magnificent Versailles Gardens (Jardins de Versailles) are world renowned. A series of beautifully landscaped gardens, show-stopping fountains, and tree-lined pathways covering 800 hectares (1,976 acres), the gardens center on the cross-shaped Grand Canal.More


Crowned by the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, historic Montmartre in Paris’ 18th arrondissement is famed for its cobblestone streets, artsy past and present, and central hill. Visitors flock here to imagine what life was like during the Belle Epoque—when artists such as Dalí, Renoir, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Picasso lived and worked in Montmartre—as well as get their portrait sketched in Place du Tertre.More

Place de la Concorde

Situated on the right bank of the Seine River and flanked by the idyllic Tuileries Garden and the grand boulevard of Champs-Élysées, Place de la Concorde is the largest square in Paris. The infamous guillotines of the French Revolution were located here, but today the square is best known for striking monuments, elegant hotels, and elaborate fountains.More

Arc de Triomphe

An instantly recognizable symbol of Paris, the colossal Arc de Triomphe stands at the epicenter of Place Charles de Gaulle, where 12 of the city’s busiest avenues converge. The Napoleon-commissioned monument, adorned with high-relief sculptures depicting sword-wielding soldiers and inscribed with the names of generals and battles, commemorates French soldiers and military victories. The top of the arch, accessible via 284 steps, affords superb views over all of Paris.More

Versailles Fountains (Les Fontaines)

More than 30 fountains dot the gardens of Versailles, the most famous being the Apollo fountain, with its horses and chariot, and the Neptune fountain featuring the god of the oceans with his wife. Built in the 17th century, when water was a scarce commodity, the Versailles Fountains (Les Fontaines) were a lavish show of Louis XIV’s wealth and power.More

Latin Quarter (Quartier Latin)

Paris’ Latin Quarter is a popular, historical area of the Left Bank. Home to the main Sorbonne campus, this dynamic, student-filled neighborhood was once frequented by Ernest Hemingway, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and other revolutionaries. Today it’s distinguished for its buzzing cafés, lively restaurants, and must-see landmarks.More

Pont Alexandre III

One of many bridges that cross the Seine, Pont Alexandre III was officially unveiled in 1900. Widely considered the city’s most beautiful and opulent bridge, it connects the Champs-Élysées and Grand Palais on the Right Bank with Invalides on the Left, making it a popular thoroughfare for tour groups and amblers.More

Avenue des Champs-Élysées

The Arc de Triomphe looks down upon the grand tree-lined boulevard that is Avenue des Champs-Élysées: one of Paris’ most memorable sights and one of the world’s most famous avenues. It’s not just the striking architecture that captivates visitors—the shopping street is lined with designer boutiques, luxury hotels, and fine restaurants.More

Tuileries Garden (Jardin des Tuileries)

Designed by landscape architect André Le Nôtre—whose other creations include the Palace of Versailles gardens—in the mid-17th century, the UNESCO-listed Tuileries Garden (Jardin des Tuileries) is Paris’ most visited public park, with a spectacular setting between Champs-Elysées Avenue and the Louvre, on the banks of the Seine River.More

Grand Palais

The Grand Palais is one of Paris’ most beautiful and recognizable structures. Debuted in 1900 in time for the World’s Fair, the architectural marvel is famed for its colossal nave, Beaux-Arts architecture, and immense glass roof. Today, the Grand Palais houses several gallery areas and also hosts tournaments, Chanel fashion shows, and other major events.More

Top activities in Île-de-France

Paris Seine River Dinner Cruise with Live Music by Bateaux Mouches
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Skip-the-Line: Louvre Museum Masterpieces Fully Guided Tour
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Eiffel Tower Skip The Line Summit with Host
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Versailles Palace & Garden Tour w. Skip The Line Entry from Paris
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Paris Eiffel Tower Guided Tour with Access via Lift
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Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Gourmet Dinner & Sightseeing Cruise
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Louvre Museum Paris Exclusive Guided Tour With Reserved Entry
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Eiffel Tower Reserved access Tour with Summit Access by Elevator
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Loire Valley Castles Day Trip from Paris with Wine Tasting
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Versailles Palace Priority Access Guided Tour - Pickup from Paris
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All about Île-de-France

When to visit

Summer is undoubtedly the busiest time in Île-de-France. National holidays like Bastille Day see cities and towns light up with fireworks and celebrations; the Tour de France brings out the cycling fans; and festivals like the Fête de la Musique prompt revelry. But if you’re looking to escape the crowds, aim for autumn instead. Versailles and Disneyland Paris won’t be quite so hectic, harvest is taking place in the region’s vineyards, and Paris is most moodily romantic.

Getting around

As Île-de-France’s central hub, Paris is very well-connected. Its three principal airports, Charles de Gaulle, Orly, and Beauvais, link it with international and domestic destinations, as do its six major train stations (Gare du Nord, Gare de Lyon, Gare de l’Est, Gare Saint-Lazare, Gare d’Austerlitz, and Gare Montparnasse). The Métro, RER trains, and various bus lines crisscross the city and to destinations beyond the Périphérique, while Seine River cruises provide a less conventional way to explore.

Traveler tips

Love cheese? You’re in the right place. Île-de-France is home to the town of Meaux, which gives its name to Brie de Meaux: one of the country’s most popular (and geographically protected) cheeses. It’s less than an hour by direct train from the Gare de l’Est to Meaux, where you can head to the Maison du Brie de Meaux to learn about its history and production (and then venture to a local restaurant or cheesemonger to do some sampling).

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People Also Ask

What is Île-de-France best known for?

Île-de-France is best known for being the home to Paris. The small but densely populated region contains the French capital and surrounding countryside. But beyond Paris’s charms, Île-de-France also boasts highlight attractions like Disneyland Paris, the Palace of Versailles, the Palace of Fontainebleau, medieval towns like Provins, and much more.

Why should I visit Île-de-France?

It’s worth visiting Île-de-France for Paris, for starters: the French capital is home to world-famous museums like the Louvre, icons like the Eiffel Tower, and its endlessly diverting culture and cuisine. But you should also visit Île-de-France for palaces like Versailles, Disneyland Paris, and Saint-Denis’s landmark Gothic cathedral.

What is the difference between Paris and Île-de-France?

Île-de-France is one of the 18 regions of France, located in the north-central area of the country. It is home to Paris, France's capital city, but its boundaries extend beyond the city's borders. Beyond Paris, some of the region's highlights include Versailles, Fontainebleau, and Disneyland Paris.

What is the climate like in Île-de-France?

The Île-de-France region has a temperate, continental climate. It is generally mild and wet throughout the year, though the region can experience occasional powerful heat waves in the summer. In the winter, the weather in Île-de-France is typically overcast, though temperatures usually remain above freezing, and snow is relatively unusual.

Is Île-de-France a town?

No, Île-de-France is not a town. Its name translates to “Isle of France,” one of France’s 18 regions. Île-de-France is best known for containing Paris, the French capital. However, its boundaries extend beyond the city and encompass the surrounding countryside (plus landmarks like Versailles and Disneyland Paris).

Is Île-de-France good?

Yes, Île-de-France is an excellent place to explore. The area is home to Paris—one of the world's most popular and most visited cities, with an enormous wealth of cultural and historical attractions—and comprises highlight destinations like the Palace of Versailles and Disneyland Paris, plus picturesque countryside.

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