Winter walks

Here are my top five recommendations for daytrips in winter. All are in An Hour From Paris except for Malmaison, which is in Half An Hour From Paris.

Château d’Ecouen

Château d’Ecouen in the snowThe short walk through the forest to the Musée de la Renaissance in the château is particularly magical in the snow, which doesn’t melt as quickly as it does in Paris.

 

 

 

Conflans Ste Honorine

Speedboat ferry to La Goèlette restaurant, Andrésy (Conflans Ste Honorine)La Goèlette island restaurant at Andrésy is reached by speedboat. Optional short riverside walk to the station at Conflans Ste Honorine.

 

 

 

Villeneuve Triage

The patron of the Guinguette Auvergnate at Villeneuve Triage
Jean-Pierre Vic, the patron of the Guinguette Auvergnate

Watch or join the dancers at the Guinguette Auvergnate riverside restaurant. Optional short riverside walk to the station at Choisy-le-Roi.

 

 

 

 

Poissy

L'Esturgeon and old bridge, Poissy
L’Esturgeon restaurant at the old bridge, Poissy

Visit the Villa Savoye built by Le Corbusier in 1929. Optional short riverside walk to the station at Villennes sur Seine.

 

 

 

Malmaison

Château de MalmaisonVisit the home of Napoleon and Josephine, perhaps followed by lunch at the nearby Brasserie du Château.

‘Evenings with an Author’ at the American Library in Paris

Tuesday 18 December 7.30-9 pm at the American Library in Paris, 10 rue du Général Camou, 75007 Paris, métro Alma-Marceau

Annabel Simms’s talk, “How to briefly escape from Paris to France,” will outline her criteria for selecting daytrips in her original guidebook, An Hour From Paris, and its recent sequel, Half An Hour From Paris. She will explain why the Ile de France is one of the most accessible and rewarding regions in the country, still little-explored by many Parisians, let alone foreign visitors. She will illustrate her talk with a detailed look at one of the destinations in Half An Hour From Paris, including some of the experiences that went into writing it. Finally, she will try to assess the future development of the Ile de France, now that it is being rebranded as Le Grand Paris.

https://americanlibraryinparis.org/event/evenings-with-an-author-annabel-simms/

 

 

 

London launch of Half An Hour From Paris on 10 May 2018

London launch of Half An Hour From Paris at Word on the Water

 

Readers, friends and visitors are cordially invited to the launch of

Half An Hour From Paris 

at  Word on the Water, the floating bookshop behind St Pancras International station, London

on Thursday 10 May from 6.30-8.30 pm

Annabel will give a short presentation at 7 pm before signing copies.

Word on the Water, Regent’s Canal towpath, London N1C 4LW
Go past The Lighterman pub to Granary Square and continue down the ramp to the waterside https://goo.gl/maps/Le5wn2i1UXy

Download 10 New Trips An Hour From Paris

10 new trips an hour from Paris by train available separately
Café l’Atmosphère at Coulommiers

Over the last few years I’ve been refining my selection of 20 new trips for the sequel to An Hour From Paris.  Hard work, but very enjoyable. Ten of the shorter new trips will be published in October 2017 as Half An Hour From Paris. The other ten, some with longer optional walks and all taking around an hour from Paris by train,  are available as separate PDFs, downloadable from this website for 3€ each or the full set for 13€.

Each trip follows the same format as An Hour From Paris but includes two colour photos and a hand-drawn colour map. You can download them to your smartphone or print out just the walk and map to take with you.

Click here for the full list  – and a free sample trip to Coulommiers

What is a GR route? French footpath signs explained

What is a GR route? French footpath signs (hiking trails) explained

French footpath signs explained
GR route through Grez sur Loing

It took me years to understand the logic of French footpath signs, finally resolved by attending a weekend course for baliseurs, the volunteers who actually paint the signs. You can read more about this fascinating experience in The Nature of the French. The most revealing thing I learned was that the signs are meant to be discreet. Practical usefulness is all very well, I was told, but aestheticism is more important.  Not all French walkers agree.  A helpful French website explaining how not to get lost when following the signs is http://www.randonner-malin.com/le-balisage-en-randonnee-ce-que-vous-devez-savoir/

The footpath signs were created by the FFRP (Féderation Française de la Randonnée Pedestre, https://www.ffrandonnee.fr/), the equivalent of the Ramblers’ Association in the UK or the American Hiking Society in the US.  Their volunteers are responsible for maintaining the system of letters and coloured markings which help you find your way across country. These waymarked footpaths are shown in red on the IGN (Institut Géographique National) large-scale maps.

On the ground the red and white or yellow markings are deliberately rather discreet, usually painted at eye level on a tree or lamp-post. However, once you start looking for them you will notice them everywhere, including central Paris. It is generally a good idea to follow the FFRP paths, which avoid busy roads as far as possible, sometimes leading to an unsuspected underpass or taking you through a pretty wood.

Footpaths are classified as follows:

GR (Grande Randonnée): Major footpath crossing several regions.  Red and white stripe.

GRP (Grande Randonnée de Pays): Major footpath circling an entire region. Red and yellow stripe.

PR (Promenade et Randonnée): Shorter circular routes taking one to eight hours. Yellow stripe.

French footpath signs explained

Two horizontal stripes mean you are on the right path, a horizontal stripe above a right or left angle means turn right or left at the next fork and a horizontal cross means you will stray off the path if you take this route. More unusually, two horizontal stripes with a vertical line through them indicate that the path is a diverticule, a waymarked deviation from the main one.

French footpath signs explained pdf

Third edition of An Hour From Paris out now!

third edition an hour from paris I’m delighted to announce that the fully revised and updated third edition of An Hour From Paris is out now as a Kindle book (with a clickable Index) from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.fr.

The print edition will be released in April 2017 and can be pre-ordered now from Amazon.co.uk

View the first few pages and a sample chapter here.

I’ve re-organised the chapters by station of departure instead of alphabetically and listed the daytrips in descending order of journey time. So, for example, the quickest journeys from the Gare de Lyon are shown first.  I’ve also added an optional walk and map to the Ile du Martin Pêcheur chapter and completely re-written the Getting around the Ile de France chapter, as so much has changed. One of the best changes is the extension of the Navigo zone for Paris to cover the entire Ile de France, seven days a week, for the same price as the old Paris pass.

Happy exploring!