France 2017 – Exploring Provins, a UNESCO world heritage medieval village in the Île-de-France region

Having been to UNESCO heritage villages before, I really wanted to see what Provins was like.

Getting there

I bought a return ticket from Gare d’Est station and waited almost an hour for the train to arrive.  The trip in itself will stop at a few villages before arriving at Provins.

Walking to the village centre

Outside the station, you’ll be on the edge of the village which is both retail and residential.  Cross a small brook and walk along its narrow streets and you’ll eventually make your way to the village centre.

There is an option to take a taxi or to catch a small tourist bus.  But I think that this ruins the experience of walking through the small town.

I didn’t have a chance to walk around the village that much.  But, there is an amazing French patisserie place that’s opposite the city hall.  They have this amazing chocolate dessert that had chocolate ‘pop rocks’, and inside some chewy caramel bits and just full-on chocolate.

Getting your bearings

Eventually, you’ll notice the towering cathedral and keep.  There is also a bell tower near the village centre which I used as a visual guide to get my bearings.

Making your way to the medieval church and keep

Eventually, you will see some signs alluding to this area.  Just follow them.  There is a steep uphill walk though.  When it’s time to walk down, it’s worth walking downhill from the road that runs around the church (not the road leading out from the keep).  In this way, you will see some wonderful sights above the village.

Medieval church and keep

The church is free to enter, but the keep has an entrance fee. After some exploring, there is a small business from one of the side streets between the keep and the church.  It’s catered to tourists, but has the best local Provins rose jam!

France 2017 – Exploring Versailles and Château de Fontainebleau


Make sure to go antiques shopping in the village of Versailles

Before going to the palace, make sure to have a walk through the city first. There are some wonderful antiques stores in Versailles, as shown in the photos below:

Visiting the Palace of Versailles

When we arrived at 11am, we were greeted by a very long line.

We decided to head out to the Gardens of Versailles first, which ended up being a good idea as during this time it was fairly sparse and you could enjoy the Gardens with very little people about. We went down the Gardens from the right hand-side, walked to the Grand and Petit Palace, then walked back up to the Palace through the Gardens on the left-hand side (by then, it was busy).

By the time we finished the tour of the Gardens and the surrounding areas, it was around 2pm and there was virtually no line into the Palace. We head out for lunch nearby then went back in again to explore the Palace of Versailles, with no line and less people about, until it was closing time.

Château de Fontainebleau

I’ve been watching all two seasons of Reign which is a Netflix show around Mary, Queen of Scots. I was really excited to visit the Château as it was featured in the show. It also contained a lot of French history and does not have the same number of visitors and hype as Versailles.

The palace was originally a 12th century medieval palace, and later turned castle for the likes of Louis VII, Napoleon III, Henry II, Henry IV, Catherine de Medici and more.

Many of the rooms inside were probably more luxurious than inside the rooms of Versailles. My favourite area was Gallery of Francis I, originally constructed in 1528, containing woodwork and paintings.

There is also a garden with a small lake that visitors can hire a boat in outdoors.


I arrived in Sighișoara in time for lunch and was there overnight with an 11.30 am train.

You can spend an afternoon in this village, but I went with more ‘favorable’ public transport times.

Again, I was with Romanians – this time, the locals. So on one hand, I did the tourist stuff – checking out the small museums, wandering around the citadel, and the stalls. But also had some drinks at one of the outside bars/cafes and also went to Bella Vista Sighișoara.

Sighișoara medieval citadel


The view above Bella Vista Sighișoara medieval citadel