Weekend Getaways for Study Abroad Students in Paris

Senior Writer at findingDulcinea

After a long week of studying and sightseeing in the City of Lights, study abroad students looking for a quick retreat from Paris have many options. Whether you decide to rent a car or take advantage of that Eurail Pass, you’ll find the call of France irresistible. From chateaus and gardens, to cultural institutions and natural features, here are some ideas to consider for your side trip from Paris.

Fountainebleau

An alternative to the stately Palace of Versailles, Fountainebleau combines woodsy flair with an over-the-top chateau of its own, the Château de Fontainebleau.

Fontainebleau is a fanciful escape from Paris

Fontainebleau is a fanciful escape from Paris

Situated in Île-de-France, Fountainebleau is designated as a commune, is steeped in history and is a favorite weekend escape for Parisians—it’s just a 50-minute train ride from Gare de Lyon. Among the area’s enviable attractions is the memorial to Napoleon’s 1804 encounter with Pope Pius VII, and the chapel of artist Jean Cocteau, La Chapelle St. Blaise des Simples. Then, of course, there are the woodlands, whose size is equivalent to three Manhattans, according to The New York Times. Further information for a weekend trip to Fountainebleau is available in the Times’ article, including the scoop on Barbizon, a village of artists nearby.

Real Travel suggests a few potential excursions from Paris, each with a distinctly different atmosphere. We’ll highlight two in the Normandy region.

First up, the Emerald Coast of Brittany, which extends for more than 360 miles. You’ll see historic Battle of Normandy beaches, and find ample opportunity for outdoor exercise on hiking trails. Real Travel suggests cycling along the coast, stopping at various chateaus and small towns along the way. Secondly, the village of Giverny is known widely as the birthplace of Impressionism, and could be an appealing jaunt for art students or enthusiasts.

Claude Monet's home and gardens draw visitors to Giverny

Claude Monet's home and gardens draw visitors to Giverny

Claude Monet lived in Giverny, and visitors can tour his home and the gardens that served as inspiration for Water Lilies, Monet’s series of more than 200 oil paintings.

Finally, WhyGo Paris, expert in all things Parisian, suggests a quirky side trip to Chateau Montpoupon, a Loire Valley castle named for a Germanic tribe. The Chateau has been rebuilt and restored several times, and now boats a Renaissance style. What sets Montpoupon apart from France’s wealth of castles is its private ownership. Plus, there is an intriguing hunting museum with early 20th century wares adjacent to the main building.

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Gulliver helps students Study Abroad. Our blog covers: current issues in Study Abroad; featured posts by Study Abroad students; and Gulliver updates, news, and behind-the-scenes peaks. Thanks for reading!

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