This Paris Region county (départment), begins just 21 miles to the Northwest of Paris, offering visitors and aficionados Impressionist and Post-Impressionist sites like Van Gogh’s Auvers-sur-Oise. There are of course castles steeped in history, beautiful forests and countryside for an active and safe experience.
Here are some of the top sites:
Auvers-sur-Oise | about 20.5 miles NW from Paris by car | 1hr by train from Gare St-Lazare via Pointoise
According to Time Out Paris: “‘Seriously beautiful’ is how Vincent Van Gogh described Auvers-sur-Oise in a letter to his brother Théo. This small town is a peaceful and charming hamlet of greenery, located only thirty kilometres from Paris. This picturesque destination has seduced other painters, mainly impressionists: van Gogh of course, but also Charles-François Daubigny, Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro who came to draw inspiration from it.” Van Gogh spent his last year in Auvers-sur-Oise and is buried there. The town features the Château d’Auvers and its beautiful ground. The castle also offers the "Impressionist Vision" experience, immersing the visitor into the Impressionist world. One can also visit the location where Van Gogh painting his last masterpiece "Tree Roots" which was found last year.
For more on Time Out Paris’ suggestions in what to see & do in Auvers-sur-Oise, Auvers-sur-Oise, click here
Regional Natural Park of the Vexin français | about 30.5 miles Northwest of Paris
The 71,000-hectare Vexin Français Regional Nature Park (Parc Naturel Régional du Vexin Français) spreads across two départements: the Val-d'Oise and Yvelines. Its picturesque, unspoiled and protected scenery ranges from woods, forests, meadows, fields and hills to marshland, rivers and typical villages, and was a source of inspiration for many Impressionist painters, including Van Gogh, Cézanne and Daubigny. For more, click here
Château d’Ecouen | about 12.5 miles North of Paris
Built in the 15th century for Anne de Montmorency, Royal Constable of France, on the site of a former medieval fortress, the Château d'Écouen, located 20 km north of Paris, majestically dominates the plain of France (Plaine de France) area from the top of a hill. It is the home of the National Renaissance Museum. For more, click here
Regional Natural Park Oise - Pays de France | about 27 miles north of Paris
Its nearly 50,000 acres span across the Val d’Oise & Oise counties. Inhabited up to 100,000 years ago by first the Gauls and Romans on through the Kings of France (a favored hunting ground), this has left an exceptional legacy of architectural and historic sites from Menhirs, oppida, arenas, abbeys, Romanesque and Gothic churches, castles, parks, gardens and remarkable estates. For more, click here
Abbey of Royaumont | about 33 miles North of Paris
Tucked at the heart of the Regional Natural Park Oise, this Cistercian abbey was founded in 1228 by the future Saint Louis, also known as Louis IX and stunningly restored in 2016. For more, click here
The Val d’Oise is also home to the only spa & casino town in the Paris Region, Enghien-les-Bains | about 12 miles North of Paris