How To... Avoid The Hordes
We simply adore Louis XIV’s OTT weekend crash pad, Versailles, and no visit to Paris would be complete without an open-mouthed gander about its glitzy palais and manicured environs. But if you’re after something a little more subtle, try Vaux-le-Vicomte. This baroque château, a mere 50-minute scoot out of town, to the southeast in Maincy, offers the same architectural grandeur and sprawling clipped lawns, plus a certain frisson français. Created by landscape architect André le Nôtre, architect Louis Le Vau, and painter Charles Le Brun, it was in fact, the original inspiration for Versailles, and comes with significantly fewer fanny-packs. Also not to be missed are Saturdays in summer, when you can dine in the candlelit grounds.
Sure, the Eiffel Tower is a skyline icon, but rather than lining up with the coachloads to shuffle around inside its steel corset, why not take a step back and slip into Les Ombres, where you can gaze up through the restaurant’s geometric glass roof for sparkly views of the tower... ? So close you can blow a kiss to Tonya tourist at the top. Mwah!
Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte / 77950 Maincy / +33 1 64 14 41 90 / 10am-6pm daily / vaux-le-vicomte.com
Sainte-Chapelle / 4 blvd du Palais, 1st / +33 1 53 40 60 80 / Mar-Oct 9.30am-6pm, Nov-Feb 9am-5pm / closed daily 1-2pm / sainte-chapelle.fr
Les Ombres / 27 quai Branly, 7th / +33 1 47 53 68 00 / lunch & dinner daily / lesombres-restaurant.com