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A palace to be proud of

The capital of the Yvelines department is glorious Versailles, steeped in royal history and of course, home to the Palace of Versailles. Three million visitors come to see France's grandest chateau every year, although arriving early in the morning should allow you to beat the queues. The palace was designed to display the monarchy's immense power to enemies, both foreign and domestic. It failed to impress the revolutionaries, however, when they stormed Versailles in 1789 and arrested King Louis XIV.

Pre-revolutionary nostalgia

Away from the Palace you'll find a much more relaxed pace of life. The Hotel Palais Trianon has some wonderful tearooms where the terms of the treaty of Versailles were finalised. Yvelines is evidently a comparatively wealthy area which prides itself on its long-standing association with the Palace. This reflects the fact that many of the last vestiges of the French aristocracy continue to make their homes here.

Explore the nation

For those with young families in particular, some light-hearted and educational fun can be had at France Miniature, just to the south-west of Versailles. Many key parts of France have been replicated here in intricate detail for you to explore from a giant's viewpoint. There are 150 different French landscapes set over a staggering 12 acres of land.

Fit for a President

Rambouillet, in the south of the department, is the official retreat of the French President and has been visited by leaders such as Mikhail Gorbatchev to George Bush Snr. It has an attractive chateau with a grand park situated among protected forestry. When the world's rulers aren't in residence, Rambouillet is opened to the public. The nearby town of the same name has a population of 25,000 inhabitants, who have benefited from having the President and his security forces as their neighbours. The local crime rate is practically zero.

A relaxing retreat

Long before the first brick was laid at the palace in Versailles, St-Germain-en-Laye was a fortified, strategic stronghold for Louis VI. The chateau, one of the oldest in France is well worth a look around. Today it is a popular resort and a considered a relaxing place for those working in Paris to live. The town is named after a Parisian Bishop, while 'laye' translates as 'forest path'.

How to get there

There are two airports in Paris, Charles de Gaulle and d'Orly which both offer regular services to and from the UK. However, the latter is the closest to the Yvelines. Alternatively, you could take the Eurostar from London direct to Paris via the Channel Tunnel. If you'd rather take the car, however, Dieppe and Le Havre are the closest ferry ports.

Yvelines property prices

The Yvelines is a wealthy department close to Paris so property prices are high. There are now, however, cheaper properties to be found in Versailles. You can get a small house here with a garden for around the same price as an apartment in Paris.

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Yvelines AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Yvelines?

The Yvelines is located in the west of the Ile De France region.

Yvelines Property Map

IN THE REGION OF ÎLE-DE-FRANCE

Île-de-France Guide

Île-de-France Property Map

IN RELATION TO THE REST OF ÎLE-DE-FRANCE

GUIDES TO THE TOWNS/CITIES IN Yvelines

Maisons Laffitte Guide

Versailles Guide

AGENTS WITH PROPERTY FOR SALE IN Yvelines

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