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Welcome 2 France Newsletter January 2015
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Our Featured Paris Apartments

Saint Germain des pres - Bac Bon marché

With the perfect blend of classic elegance and modern luxury, this apartment is right next door to a host of Paris' best museums. Able to sleep 8 adults in pure comfort, you can take advantage of the huge balcony that runs the length of the considerable living room.

Trocadero - Luxury Poincaré

A giant, luxurious apartment right on the doorstep of the Place du Trocadero, this 5 bed apartment is perfect for up to 10 guests, offering all the conveniences you could ever wish for right at the heart of the opulent 16th district.

Champs Elysées - Ponthieu II

Just one block from the Champs Elysees, this petite apartment is located on the top floor, offering great views across the Paris skyline. Perfect for couples looking to explore the Paris streets, the apartment offers all the modern conveniences in a cozy, modern style.

Almost Paris

While Paris' city centre may get all the plaudits, there is more to life in the French capital than the core. In fact, most Parisians live in the suburbs, and this 'almost Paris' contains many hidden gems tucked away from the usual tourist haunts.

The most famous Parisian suburb is probably Versailles, home to the the Palace that was the center of political power in France for more than a century until the French Revolution, as well as the treaty that ended World War 1. Yet that is only one of the many wonders to be found on the RER, Paris' suburban railway.

From Saint-Denis to Neuilly, and Boulogne-Billancort to Aubervilliers, there's something for everyone, but what exactly?

The Suburban Palaces

The biggest attractions outside of Paris are the palaces and castles dotted in these suburban towns. One of the more impressive of these is the Chateau de Vincennes, to the east of Paris. This palace is most famous for its Donjon tower, the tallest in Europe at the time. Yet it also has an interesting history behind it.

The Marquis de Sade was imprisoned here between 1777 and 1784 (except for a month in 1778, when he escaped). De Sade was imprisoned for 32 of his 74 years thanks to what was considered sexual deviancy at the time. In fact, the words sadism and sadist come from his name.

The town itself is also home to the Zoo de Vincennes, the only zoo in Paris, as well as the Service Historique de la Defense, where the records of the French Armed Forces are kept.

The castle, where King Henry V of England died in 1422, was given to Paris by Napoleon III, along with the Bois de Vincennes park. This park alone is worth a trip, with its four lakes, hippodrome, velodrome and the Parc Floral de Paris, one of the four parts of the Botanical Garden of Paris (the Arboretum de l'École du Breuil, also located in the Bois de Vincennes, is another).

All in all, Vincennes is definitely worth a visit on its own.

A bit further afield you can find the Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte. About an hour's journey, this chateau is one of the most important architecturally. The chateau was the first collaboration between Louis Le Vau, André le Notre and Charles Le Brun, marking the start of the Louis XIV style. Poussin was the most famous painter from this period, but Le Brun himself wasn't far behind.

It's the namesake of a French painter who's most attached to Vaux-le-Vicomte, though. Nicholas Fouquet was a French politician and patron of the arts. He bought the chateau in 1641. It was he who commissioned the grand expansions, demolishing 3 villages to create the grounds. Shortly after he held a party where Moliere's play Les Facheux debuted, Fouquet was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment...

...but why?

Well, because he displayed greater wealth than the King. So, after arresting him, the King set about making a grander palace for himself. At Versailles...

Versailles Palace was home to the Royal court between 1682 and 1789. Expanded over and over again by Louis XIV, the giant palace is a great attraction, but there's more to Versailles than the famous.

The palace is definitely worth a visit, as are the gardens (both are UNESCO heritage sites), but the city has more to offer. Bands such as Phoenix, Air and Daft Punk all have ties to the city. As well as modern culture, you can pay a visit to the Royal Stables, where you can see a horse show, if you arrive at the right time.

Not just about the Chateaux

Of course, there's more than just old country houses in Paris' suburbs. As well as the bustling commuter towns, there are a few hidden gems out there that just demand a visit, even if just for half a day. One of these is Meudon.

Home of Rodin, this gem of a town doesn't just offer art buffs a point of reference, but amazing views and a scientific heritage.

First up, we have to talk about the master sculptor. Rodin was the creator of probably the most famous statue of all time, The Thinker. Born in Meudon, his country house, the Villa des Brillants, was renovated in 1997 and turned into the Museé Rodin. Now, visitors can roam the former home of Rodin and meet some of his best work, including his The Gates of Hell and The Burghers of Calais works.

The estate is split into 2 buildings, the hotel Biron and the chapel, with selected works present in both.

The gardens of the estate are also a delight, full of hidden sculptures placed there by Rodin. There is a large ornamental garden, a relaxation garden and two thematic walks, perfect for thinking: you could even strike a pose.

There is a delightful, if basic, little cafe in the gardens, too, perfect for an afternoon snack.

Also in Meudon is an observatory, overlooking Paris. This forms part of the Grand Terrasse, a stretch up on the hill offering unparalleled views of Paris. There are plans to renovate the whole terrasse to become a real tourist attraction, so if you want to beat the crowds, now's the time to go.

A break from Paris

If you're after a break from Paris without actually leaving the city, then Saint Maur has a treat in store for you. Located out of the way, close to the Saint Maur-Creteil RER station is a little island on the Marne river, the Ile Brise-Pain.

There is a delightful walk taking in nature and a wide selection of French architecture, from traditional villas to impressive modernist homes. The walk definitely offers a break from the city itself.

From the RER stop, walk south along the Rue du Pont de Creteil until you cross the Marne. There, you'll find a small footbridge onto the island. From here you can explore not only the Ile Brise-Pain, but neighboring Ile de la Gruyere and Ile Saint-Catherine, both of which offer the same charms.

Calendar of Events


Christmas Market & Ice Rink at Trocadero
Until January 7th 2015
11 Place du Trocadero et du 11 Novembre

Art and Exhibitions

Allegro Barbaro, Bela Bartok and Hungarian Modernity 1905-1920
Until January 5th 2015
Musee d'Orsay

Niki De Saint Phalle
September 17th 2014 - February 2nd 2015
Grand Palais
3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower

Libération de Paris
Carnavalet Museum
16 rue des Frances-Bourgeois

Hans Op de Beeck: Personages
November 23rd 2014 - March 29th 2015
Domaine départmental de Charmande
38 rue du Commandant-Arnoux

Pierre Jahan: in the shadw of kings, lights and photography games
December 5th 2014 - March 5th 2015
Musée d'Art et d'Histoire
22 bi rue Gabriel-Péri


Queen and Adam Lambert
Monday January 26th 2015
Le Zenith de Paris
211 Avenue Jean Jaures

Tuesday January 27th 2015
28 Boulevard des Capucines

Thursday January 29th 2015
Le Zenith de Paris
211 Avenue Jean Jaures

Above and Beyond
Saturday January 31st 2015
Le Trianon
80 Boulevard Rochechouart

Schumann Marathon
January 22nd - 23rd 2015
Maison de Radio France
116 avenue de Président-Kennedy


Cuisine and Confessions
December 9th 2014 - January 3rd 2015
La Cigale
120 Boulevard de Rochechouart

Flashdance - The Musical
September 23rd 2014 - March 7th 2015
Théâtre Gymnase
38 Boulevard Bonne-Nouvelle

We highly appreciate our readers help in making this newsletter as interesting and helpful as possible.
If you have any comments or suggestions, they are quite welcome on our

Comments and Suggestions Page

Thank you for your interest and best regards,

The Welcome 2 France team
Tel. 1 (650) 267-4328
(free local call number in U.S. or Canada)

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