Welcome in the Val de Marne
This region is very pleasant, for perfect leisure activities, the banks of the Marne and the Seine, boat cruises, as well as wonderful parks and gardens, enough to delight strollers and lovers of green and peaceful landscapes. Stroll along the Marne or the Seine, go to a guinguette, get deep into the heart of the countryside, penetrate the universe of modern art or even follow the tracks of street art or simply share great moments with your family. Here is what the department proposes for your free time during your stay in the region or even for a weekend.
What are the experiences and discoveries in Val-de-Marne?
It is possible to discover the department through different experiences to suit each individual's preferences. There are various themes which can seduce you, the lovers of knowledge will lean towards heritage and local crafts, while the culture lovers will rather choose museums or street art, those who are curious will discover the local know-how and the ones who prefer nature, parks and gardens, will have fun and enjoy it all.
01 - Patrimony in Val de Marne
Several castles in the region, little jewels of French art, take us back in time. Those former royal residences are open to the public for free or audio-guided visits in function of the sites. You can discover the unavoidable castle of Vincennes and its fortified castle look, as well as the castle of Grosbois or the more modest one of Sucy en Brie or of Ormesson.
03 - Street Art, the art expression on the wall
A true open-air museum of street art, internationally renowned artists and locals express themselves on the walls of the cities in the Val de Marne. One of the best displays of street art, at the gates of Paris, is undoubtedly Vitry-sur-Seine, which has become world famous. But other towns of the 94 region also have beautiful street art works, like Ivry-sur-Seine, Fontenay-sous-Bois or Vincennes.
02 - Riverside walks
Nicknamed the "department of water", the Val-de-Marne offers many possibilities for waterside walks, following the rivers, and the warm atmosphere of the famous Parisian "guinguettes", where it's a pleasure to spend time. Having been a source of inspiration for authors, painters, singers and filmmakers for ages, the banks of the Marne and the Seine are still privileged places for pleasant and relaxing leisure.
04 - Leisure activities
To take advantage of nature just a step from Paris, a multitude of activities are available on the Val-de-Marne area, such as water sports, promenades, hiking, horseback riding or diverse parks and gardens, for every age and taste. So to get some fresh air and relax with your family or friends, go for a walk in any of the several gardens and parks or go for a hike, take a walk or a bike ride, an original way to explore the Val-de-Marne.
The top 6 must-sees in the Val de Marne
There are many things to see and do in the Val de Marne, but if you want to discover the most important places for a weekend, for instance, here are some tips on how to make sure you don't miss out on any important local sights!
The emblematic banks of the Marne
Since the 19th century, the loops of the Marne have always been a privileged place. The environment is perfect for strolling, walking or cycling along the riverside to observe the fauna and flora, or even taking a boat trip on the Marne, or paddling or kayaking for the more sporty. These walks are ideal for a closer look at the islands of the nature reserve, and a stop in a guinguette will take you back to the frivolous ambiance of the past.
The dungeon of the Château de Vincennes watches over the territory from its 50 m high, it is the emblematic monument of the department, a unique testimony of a medieval royal residence until today. The dungeon was even used as a prison for Henri de Navarre, the well-known Marquis de Sade. Just a door away and go for a walk in the Bois de Vincennes, home to the zoological park of Paris, the floral park, lakes and also the very famous hippodrome of Vincennes.
A stroll through the garden of this conservatory of ancient roses, created in 1899, was the first garden entirely devoted to roses. The Roseraie is an exceptional place with an international reputation. The best time to visit this environment of scents is during June, when it will reveal the most fragrance. The rose garden presents a panorama of the evolution of the rose over time, with 16,000 roses divided into 13 collections, more than 2,900 varieties are presented. The rose garden is accessible from May to September, and guided tours are proposed to the visitors.
A unique experience in contact with animals, accompanied by a world tour of ecosystems and biodiversity. Located in the Bois de Vincennes, the zoo covers 14 hectares spread over 5 distinctive "biozones". It shelters some 2.000 animals among 180 species, which are the representatives of the wild fauna. They live in zones that recreate their original ecosystems and are part of an approach to the preservation of animal species. The tour is about 4 km long and will lead the visitor in exploring successively the ecosystems of every animal in function of its worldwide origins.
Over time, some of the department's city streets have become an open-air museum that displays works by artists from around the world on the city walls. Graffiti is sometimes wild and other times respectful of the place and the environment, fully highlighting the work of each artist. So Vitry is still at the top of the list, but the city of Evry also has the advantage of showing works of art decimated in the city, more shyly Fontenay-sous-Bois and Vincennes, which is more focused on its castle heritage and the green spaces.
Enjoy the experience of visiting an original place, and get to know the people who animate it every night. Okay, you have to be ready at 4am, but it's worth it! The wholesale market of Rungis (MIN), is the largest market of fresh products in the world and spreads over 232 hectares. You will go from pavilion to pavilion (seafood, meat, dairy products, fruits and vegetables as well as cut flowers) in order to get immersed in the dizzy effervescence of this market. Then, a brunch will be waiting for you to start the day in good shape. This market is for professionals only. Individuals are not allowed to make any purchases.
Some green family outings in Val de Marne
Nomade Escape at the Parc Floral
Life size escape games, from 5 to 99 years old, by team of 2 to 5 players, in a yurt or a tepee. You will be immersed in the world and the history of the nomadic populations, the goal is to escape as quickly as possible, by finding the solution to the enigmas posed, through an exchange of clues among players.
Leisure park of Tremblay
The 73 ha park is located in the town of Champigny-sur-Marne, and it offers you to combine rest, relaxation and sports with a dozen of free access activities, some others are regulated. The park is open all year round at 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. in winter, up to 9:00 p.m. in spring and autumn, and the evenings go on until 10:00 p.m. in the summer months.
Nautical base of Champigny
Specialized in teaching water sports activities, from April to October, it also organizes discovery trips to the nature reserve of the Marne islands, in canoe, kayak, etc. The appointment is fixed every Sunday morning, at 9 am to the base, and the return is fixed at 11:30 am, the activity is accessible, on the condition of knowing how to swim, as of 10 years to the children accompanied by parents.
Educational farm of Maison Alfort
This farm is located within the park of the Museum of Maisons-Alfort at the Château de Réghat. It features emblematic animals, a vegetable garden and an orchard as well. Since it opened its doors in May 2016, more than 40,000 children and adults have come to learn about the rural world and it contributes to better knowledge of nature and the animal world.
Accrocamp on the island of Créteil
The park is located in the heart of the island of Créteil, it offers several courses of accrobranche adapted to the beginners as to the confirmed ones, with furthermore nautical and terrestrial activities. The place is perfect to spend a day of activity in family, or a nature outing with friends. It is open daily in the summer between June and August, from 10am to 8pm.
Hikes and nature walks
There are many possibilities for outings and walks or bike rides, adapted to any level. An opportunity to discover the richness of the territory and the diversity of its natural, cultural, landscape and architectural heritage. There are 45 suggested circuits available on the department's website, so you can find the one that suits you best.