The northern and eastern suburbs have more than their fair share of cités (high-rise housing estates), but are punctuated by distractions. At St-Denis, the impressive Gothic basilica was the wellspring of the Gothic style, and the burial place of almost all the French kings; these days, it stands proudly at the centre of a fascinating multi-ethnic suburb. Whether the various suburban museums deserve your attention will depend on your degree of interest in the subjects they represent: French prehistory at the Château of St-Germain-en-Laye; air and space travel at Le Bourget; and the authoritative collection of china at Sèvres.
All of the attractions listed here are easily accessible by train, RER, métro and bus. For other attractions in Île-de-France, the tourist office (Espace Tourisme d'Île-de-France, www.paris-ile-de-france.com) in Paris is a good source of information.
Pages in section ‘Surroundings’: Versailles, Fontainebleau, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Artist's haunts, Chantilly, Marly-le-Roi, St-Germain, Malmaison, Chatou, Auvers-Sur-Oise, St-Denis, Le Bourget, Meudon, Chartres.
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