Friday, January 16, 2015

Quaint villages in the Ile de France

While being close to Paris is convenient for travelling by public transport to see the sites, museums and just wander around the streets of Paris, it also means we have the opportunity to visit some lovely little villages in the Ile de France region. Some of them I have already mentioned such as Giverny, Auvers sur Oise and Rouen.
Fellow bargees from New Zealand, that we have met since arriving in France, are wintering in the delightful village of Moret sur Loing. This picturesque village inspired painters such as Monet, Renoir and Sisley. The town is also known for its barley sugar, apparently a secret recipe developed by the benedictine nuns in the 16th century. Needless to say these days that connection is exploited for the tourism industry.
We had a delightful lunch in a very old restaurant/bar just outside the old town walls. It was obviously a popular spot with many locals eating here as well - but then that could have been because there weren't too many other places open!!

On our journey back to Paris we decided to take a slight detour into Fontainebleau and visit the gardens next to the chateau. This gave us a different view from the usual.

Not far from us on the Oise river is the village of L'Isle Adam. I am sure we will revisit this town on our barge once spring arrives but it was a pleasant 20 minute drive (apparently 3 or 4 hours by boat!!). We also savoured one of the best pain au chocolat here as well.
The little mermaid gives an indication of water levels on the Oise River. If she is no longer visible then the island (visible in the photo behind the mermaid) and the Place de Patis will flood. This has happened several times in the last 20 years.

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