Paris: Beyond the city limits

Outside the city walls, the pace of life drops, but the array of venues still dazzles.

Les Fontaines
Les Fontaines

Escape the busy streets of Paris with a jaunt to one of the beautiful surrounding towns and villages to discover a slower pace of life and another layer of France's rich history.

The most well known landmark in Paris' immediate vicinity is the Chateau de Versailles, located 15 miles south-west of the city. Corporate groups can purchase hospitality packages, organise a private tour of the palace or dine in the opulent Galerie des Batailles.

Fans of impressionist painter Van Gogh should visit the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, 16 miles north-west of Paris. This is where the great artist lived and painted in the months before his death. La Fayette's de Fontenay has taken groups up here for team-building activities. "Groups are given a canvas and have to paint the monuments in Van Gogh style," he says.

Less than an hour's drive north of Paris is the pretty town of Chantilly, with its own stunning chateau and picturesque forest. "The Chantilly Estate is one of the gems of French heritage, both for the richness of its collections and the diversity of its park," says Paris Convention & Visitors Bureau C&I marketing manager Corine Bernadou.

For accommodation, the Chateau Mont Royal Chantilly is an elegant 18th-century hotel in the heart of the forest, popular with HSBC among others. There are 109 rooms - five of which are suites - and ten meeting spaces.

Alternatively, Les Fontaines, a 19th-century mansion built by the Rothschild family, is a residential conference venue with a 500-seat auditorium, three amphitheatres, 42 meeting rooms and 300 rooms. For downtime, this Capgemini-owned property also has a fitness centre, 128-acre wooded park with fitness trail, as well as spa facilities.

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