Welcome to the department of Seine & Marne
There are many natural treasures in the Seine-et-Marne, such as the forest of Fontainebleau, the romantic valley of the Grand Morin, a cultural heritage with prestigious castles, decorated with parks and gardens in bloom, medieval cities and leisure activities with the fabulous Disney Land park. In addition to the above, there are many other interesting places to visit in the region.
As the largest department in Île de France, Seine-et-Marne is famous for the cheese Brie de Meaux, for the castles like Fontainebleau and for the famous attraction park, Disneyland Paris. The Morin valley, the prestigious Fontainebleau forest and the sumptuous parks and castle gardens are all ideal places for relaxing and enjoying outdoor activities.
Which are the top 10 must-see points of interest in Seine & Marne?
First a royal hunting residence in the Middle Ages, then the residence of François 1st during the 16th century and then the favorite place of Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 19th century, the castle still seduces many tourists passing through Fontainebleau nowadays. The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and welcomes visitors from all over the world. During your visit to the Cheval Blanc courtyard, don't miss the magnificent horse-shoe shaped staircase, before wandering through the lovely flower gardens and the carp pond with its small but charming pavilion.
The castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte
A genuine 17th century masterpiece, the castle was built by Louis le Vau for Nicolas Fouquet, Louis XIV's superintendent of finances. It was inaugurated with great pomp on August 17, 1661 in presence of the King Soleil. For being a little too ambitious and having such a beautiful castle built, he was arrested by order of the king 3 weeks later and imprisoned for life. The inspiration for the sumptuous Versailles castle was taken from this castle model. Very well conserved, the castle has an exceptional set of furniture, tapestries and other works of art delicately chosen by Charles Le Brun. The gardens are worth a visit to encourage you to daydream.
Opening its gates on April 12, 1992, the vast tourist complex is an enchanted kingdom for both kids and grown-ups bringing together Disney heroes and heroines in a fairy-tale setting, enough to thrill fans of magic rides and fantasy world. Among the popular attractions are Space Mountain, It's a small world, Pirates of the Caribbean, Phantom Manor, Star Tours or even Big Thunder Mountain. In addition, you can discover the charming Disney Village with stores and restaurants and you can also decide to visit the second Walt Disney Studios park devoted to the movie world. The Disney Parade, a magical and spectacular parade featuring Mickey and all his friends, is a must-see.
The forest of Fontainebleu
The forest of Fontainebleau is a destination for green area lovers, hikers, joggers, mountain bikers and horseback riders, offering 300 km of trails in its 28,000 hectares of forest. Dotted with rock faces, this is a favorite place for rock climbing. Aside from being able to practice many outdoor activities, the forest of Fontainebleau also has many natural sights like the gorges of Franchard, the chaos and the desert of Apremont, the cross of the calvary or the heights of the Solle. In the forest, you will also find a rich variety of flora and fauna, roe deer, wild boar, deer, rabbits, as well as expanses of oaks, beeches, pines, and succulent mushrooms.
The medieval city of Provin
With a remarkably well-preserved historic heart, Provin shelters a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The former capital of the Counts of Champagne is surrounded by medieval ramparts lined by gates and towers conserved, in the historical city center many original houses and monuments such as: the Caesar tower and the collegiate church of Saint Quiriace, the tithe barn, the Hôtel dieux, and more. From the top of the Caesar tower, the imposing keep offers a superb view of the city and the surrounding campaign. Every year in June, the city holds the Medieval Festival, a weekend-long event with shows and street performances that revive the ambiance of medieval fairs in Champagne.
Visit and discover the city of Meaux
Located less than an hour from Paris, Meaux has a remarkable historical and architectural heritage. You can discover it at your own pace by following one of the many itineraries. Heritage totems mark out the territory and allow you to discover Meaux and learn more about the city' s history and its monuments. City of Art and History, the town invites heritage lovers to visit the historic center of the town with the old episcopal city, the gothic cathedral of Saint-Etienne and its flagship monument dating from the 12th to the 16th century. Find out more about the historical show relating the history of Meaux and which gathers more than 500 figurants in costumes!
The medieval town of Brie-Comte-Robert
A relaxing destination at the gates of Paris, the city in addition to its medieval vestiges, has a great number of green areas suitable to relaxation. The ancient capital of the French Brie region retains many traces of the past, including three listed historical monuments: the feudal castle, the Saint-Etienne church and the Gothic façade of the Hôtel-Dieu. In the castle you can see the beautiful walls and towers surrounded by moats, the church has a beautiful rosette representing Christ, the apostles and the 12 months of the year. The Heritage Center, which is located in the seigneurial dwelling, relates in detail how the castle was built and its history, through the objects found during archaeological excavations.
The city of Coulommiers
Along the Grand Morin valley, in the historical region of Brie, lies the city of Coulommiers. Although it is best known for its cheese, it offers a very welcoming setting, with monuments, bridges and walkways spanning the canals, along with the pleasant Parc des Capucins. Within the gardens are the remains of the Duchess de Longueville's castle and the Capucins' chapel, currently serving as museum. Don't miss the 12th century Templar commandery, the gothic chapel, the commander's house, the tithe barn, the chapter house, the cellar and the dovecote. A boat trip on the Grand Morin is available in the summer.
Medieval castle of Nemours
The medieval castle-museum of Nemours is an ancient fortified castle located in the commune of Nemours in the natural region of Gatinais and in the extreme south-east of the département of Seine-et-Marne. Located midway between Fontainebleau and Montargis, on the left bank of the Loing, it is surrounded on 3 sides by the river, offering a natural protection. It is the only town castle in Île de France to have been preserved to this day in a very good condition. During the first weekend of July every year, the medieval festival brings people of all ages on a wonderful trip through time with a mediaeval marketplace and street entertainment.
Located near the site of the Marne battle, the Great War Museum is the largest museum in Europe dedicated to the First World War, was inaugurated on Armistice Day, November 11, 2011. The museography is quite well conceived and provides a trip back in time, so as to better understand the conditions of life during the war, and our world today. Thanks to interactive tools, each visitor can be an actor of his visit. A new construction of 7,000m² designed by architect Christophe Lab, on 4.5 ha of land between Meaux and Varreddes. The display, exhibitions and reconstructions, are installed on 3.300m², organized on 3 floors with educational rooms, auditorium and a library of more than 6.000 books.
Which are the 4 main culinary specialties of the Seine & Marne
Genuine cheese made of raw cow's milk, a soft cheese with a bloomy rind, 45% fat content, matured for 4 to 8 weeks, drained naturally for Brie de Meaux and drained slowly for Brie de Meulin, salted in dry salt. In 774, Charlemagne was seduced by the Brie cheese when he visited the abbey of Rueil-en-Brie. In 1815, Brie was crowned "king of the cheeses" at the Vienna Congress, and became a D.O.P. product in 1980.
Related to the history, it appears in the middle ages in the area and was mainly produced in the farms where it was consumed. Only over time, we find it on the great tables of France. With a diameter of about 9cm and a thickness of 3cm, its fine cream-colored crust is covered with a soft white down. Its soft pale yellow paste is shiny and smooth with a sweet smell of fresh mushrooms.
The mustard of Meaux is well known in the whole France due to its small varnished stoneware pot covered by a cork stopper sealed with red wax. This condiment has first appeared in Meaux in 1632 and was magnifactured by the canons. Since 1760, Pommery inherited this recipe and started to produce mustard, then passed on to the Briards establishments since 1949. Today, it is exported worldwide.
The niflette is a bakery speciality coming from Provins, sold by dozen, these delicious pastries hide a voluptuous pastry cream subtly flavoured with orange blossom under their flaky pastry. As a local and long-standing tradition, in the Middle Ages and on All Saints' Day, these were distributed to the orphans at the exit of the cemetery. The confectioners of Provins are keeping this tradition alive.