Paris, the city of lights and the world's most romantic city, also capital of the Ile-de-France
The region is the historic heart of France and a distillation of its spirit and creative 'élan'. Like a jewellery case, it offers some of the finest examples of what France has to offer.
From l'Arc de Triomphe (off the Champs Elysées) to the Tour Eiffel, from the Louvre to the Château de Versailles, from the Musée d'Orsay to the Saint-Denis basilica, from the Château de Fontainebleau to the medieval city of Provins, both listed on the UNESCO World Heritage register, Ile-de-France is the loveliest museum in the world.
As for its natural attractions, the historic gardens laid out by Le Nôtre in the 17th century, the grand, romantic, English-style parks and the contemporary designs of the best landscape gardeners provide Ile-de-France with a thousand splashes of colour.
Its three regional nature reserves offer dozens of footpaths, and its 667,200 acres of forest provide the setting for dozens of sporting activities. Everywhere you go there are thematic circuits suitable for cycling or horse riding. For more peaceful pleasures, take a stroll by water, along part of the 700 kilometres of rivers and canals, which flow across the region.
Surprise the younger ones by taking them to the fairytale world of Disneyland or Parc Astérix, both in easy reach from the capital by tube or motorway. Ile-de-France also knows how to be innovative, and never fails to dress itself in the colours of the time.
The Arche de la Défense, the Georges Pompidou Centre, the Louvre pyramid, the Grande Bibliothêque François Mitterrand, the new towns and the galleries of contemporary art are just a few examples of the ground-breaking architecture and modern art to be found here today.
And finally, there are the festivities - the shows and international events which put Ile-de-France, more than ever, in the spotlight. Events like the unforgetable football World Cup in 1998, the world athletics championships in 2003. For all these meetings and pleasures that await you, welcome to Paris Ile-de-France, it has it all, and so much more!