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The Desert de Retz

The desert de Retz

The Désert de Retz is the best surviving example of the eighteenth-century Jardin Anglo-chinois, or folly garden, and was designed and constructed between 1774 and 1789 by a wealthy aristocrat, François Racine de Monville.

Monville constructed seventeen structures known as follies or fabriques.

Reflecting the 18th century interest in antiquity, these included an ice-house in the form of a pyramid, an Egyptian obelisk, and a temple dedicated to the Greek god Pan. The heightened interest in the Orient led Monville to construct a Chinese house (the first in Europe), and a Tartar tent on an Island of Happiness.

The most remarkable of the fabriques was Monsieur de Monville's Column House.

It was a false ruin 50 feet high in the shape of a truncated section of a gigantic Tuscan column, evoking the glories of ancient Rome.

One of the few examples of 18th century visionary architecture


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Marly-le-roi

Marly-le-roi

Commissioned by Louis XIV in 1681 to Belgian architects in order to provide with water the Estates of Versailles and Marly, the Water Machine was considered at one time as “the Eight wonder of the world".

To learn about the history of the Machine of Marly, you will visit the Musée-Promenade where a room is dedicated to the machine and there is a model.

After the museum, you may follow the "water course" down to the Seine river. See the remains of the Aqueduct built by Jules Hardouin Mansart, with its 36 arches over 650 meters. You may also discover remains of the machine like a canal that is still visible, and the original emplacements of the famous ‘Horses of Marly’, major masterpieces of French sculpture, that are now in the ‘Marly courtyard’ of the Louvre.

The house of Alexandre Dumas is located in Port-Marly, between Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Marly-le-Roi. A walk in the park and a visit of the chateau will allow you to discover the universe of the famous writer of the "Three Musketeers".


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Boulogne Billancourt 1930'S Museum + Garden Albert Khan

Boulogne Billancourt 1930'S Museum + Garden Albert Khan

In the 1930s, Boulogne was one of the most dynamic towns in France.

It was here, just on the edge of the capital, that the film-makers Abel Gance, Marcel Carné and Jean Renoir and the architects Le Corbusier, Mallet Stevens and Tony Garnier came to live or work... It was also in Boulogne that several automobile and aeronautical industries based themselves, including Renault.

The Musée des Années 30, next to the town hall, pays tribute to the countless artists, designers, and architects who lived in the suburb. Here you'll find monumental sculptures, paintings of the Ecole de Paris, including society portraits by Tamara de Lempicka, Cubist gouaches by Juan Gris, ceramics and architectural maquettes. Ruhlmann's Apollo buffet in wood and ivory inlay and a remarkable drinks cabinet by Herbst are some highlights of a superb Art Deco collection.

Art Deco was a popular international art design movement from 1925 until the 1940s, affecting the decorative arts such as architecture, interior design, and industrial design, as well as the visual arts such as fashion, painting, the graphic arts, and film. At the time, this style was seen as elegant, glamorous, functional, and modern.

The movement was a mixture of many different styles and movements of the early 20th century, including Neoclassical, Constructivism, Cubism, Modernism, Art Nouveau, and Futurism.


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Chaalis Abbey

Chaalis Abbey

Chaalis Abbey was a French Cistercian abbey north of Paris, at Fontaine-Chaalis, near Ermenonville, now in Oise. Nowadays the buildings of the abbey houses the Musée Jacquemart-André (Jacquemart André Museum).

It was founded in 1136 by Louis VI of France. There had previously been a Benedictine monastery in the same place. Amid the ruins, a chapel with important frescos by Primaticcio survives intact.

The former abbey is now the location of the Musée Jacquemart-André museum. Like the Paris museum of the same name, it houses a part of the former collection of artworks of Nélie Jacquemart-André. At her death in 1912 she gave it to the Institut de France and asked that a museum was created in Chaalis, where she had spent her childhood.
The museum still presents this very rich collection which features paintings by Giotto, Cima da Conegliano, Luca Signorelli, Francesco Francia, Lorenzo di Credi, Joos van Cleve, Tintoretto, Palma the Younger, Jan Davidsz de Heem, Philippe de Champaigne, Charles Le Brun, Nicolas de Largillière, François Desportes, François Boucher, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, sculptures by François Girardon, Jean-Antoine Houdon, Augustin Pajou, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne.


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Barbizon

Barbizon

Come and feel the creative atmosphere of the Barbizon School, an artistic current that opened the door to Impressionism.

The Barbizon School originally began as a movement among landscape painters, such as Rousseau, Millet and Corot, that came to find inspiration in the neighboring forest of Fontainebleau.

L'auberge Ganne, which at the time housed the painters, is now a museum. The museum has re-created the warm atmosphere  of the inn.  In addition to the major paintings  «Peintres dans la Forêt de Fontainebleau» (Painters in the Forest) of Jules Coignet, Jean-François Millet and Narcisse Diaz de la Peña, the site also boasts furniture decorated by the artists. Discover how the painters of Barbizon lived and worked in the 19th-century, in a video on the subject.

The home and workshop of Theodore Rousseau is just a few meters from the Inn, and regularly presents temporary exhibitions


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France Miniature

Special kids : "France Miniature"

Castles, ports and stations linked by an enormous rail network - France Miniature has succeeded in placing 130 top French monuments on a map of the country laid out over less than 13 acres.

The attention to detail is incredible. With a map in hand you can take a trip round France in less than a day, a one-off experience which both adults and children will enjoy. Put your foot down, climb, glide or fly - the park also offers attractions which guarantee laughter and thrills.
The Ronde des Zotos, reserved for four-10 year olds, deserves a special mention: children weave round the course behind the wheel of miniature electric cars, in a 900m2 indoor track! Those seeking reflection can meanwhile admire a bird's eye view of France from the top of a very special carousel...


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Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Saint-Germain-en-Laye

A château housing the finest treasures from Antiquity - for complete immersion in the lives of the first humans.

This former residence of the kings of France is surrounded by magnificent gardens created by Le Nôtre - the designer of the gardens of Versailles - and attached to the building is a gothic chapel featuring very high windows.

Inside, the royal furniture has been replaced by jewelry, craftworks, weaponry and other items dating from the origins of the Gallo-Roman world. These notably include the "first human face", the famous "Venus of Brassempouy", an ivory sculpture dating back to 21,000 BC.


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France Miniature

Ferrières

Built between 1853 and 1861 by Joseph Paxton for James de Rothschild, the castle of Ferrières remains one of the most significant dwelling of the Second Empire.

The castle is surrounded by a beautiful park.

Museum of the Imagination.

Completed by collectors and private sponsorship, this work has low media coverage hence the interest of this museum whose mission is to promote the art form entitled "Achieving Fantastique". Each room has been attributed to an artist, who intends to expose his work for a few months before the entry of the opus into commercial galleries and fairs.

This exposure has the advantage of creating a museum constantly evolving allowing successive visits without trace even works. Ferrières Castle, situated in green, form a visionary unity in perfect harmony with the introspective exhibitors world.

This magical place where there are fairies, trolls, monsters, dreamlike visions enter into counterpoint with the statues, ceilings and columns of the building. The museum, located under the "Marie-Helene and Guy de Rothschild Foundation" has been achieved thanks to the "chancellerie des Universités de Paris".


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Provins

Special kids : Provins

Ramparts, dungeons and knights. Provins has remained intact since the Middle Ages. Discover this amazing site, classified a world monument by UNESCO.

A 13th-century fortress that simulates real battles with brave knights in costumes, music, acrobatics and horses. Performances staged around the art of war in the Middle-Ages, with all of the weapons of the time. Not to mention the spectacular flight of the birds: eagles, vultures, owls and falcons dance in the air like the ballet dancers on the stage, to the delight of the visitors.

After the show, stroll through the tiny cobblestone streets to admire the Tudor houses. Inside, the local craftsmen will let you discover the art and the gastronomy of the Middle-Ages. Culinary specialties made from the famous Provins 'rose': jams, nougats and syrups will leave a sweet taste in your mouth.


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