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Parisian countryside

Given it's proximity to Paris, you'll be amazed at just how rural and peaceful this corner of the Ile-de-France is. There are over 1000 km of marked trails in the Essonne, most of which are to be found in the Gatinais Français Regional nature park in the east of the department. This 64,000 hectare park was only created in 1999 and protects 57 settlements in total.

A glimpse of the future

Evry, a new town that has been constructed on the outskirts of Paris, is the departmental capital. The town provides an eclectic display of modern architectural styles. One of the most controversial buildings is the town's cathedral, which was built in 1991. The circular structure is crowned with lime trees on its roof.

A reminder of the past

Make sure you visit Milly la Forêt, a traditional market town in the Essonne. Milly la Forêt is well known for its splendid local produce, its ancient medicinal remedies and its unique antique dealerships. If you explore deep into the heart of the surrounding forest you'll discover Cyclops, a giant mechanical sculpture that has fuelled the imaginations of visitors and locals over the years.

Inventions galore

The Essonne is the birthplace for some of the world's most significant technological inventions - hardly surprising given that the CNRS Scientific Research Centre, the Atomic Energy Agency and the national Helicopter Aviation museum are just three of the scientific organisations based here.

Snippets of Europe

In the south of the department you'll find Etampes, a small town known as 'Little Venice' due to its many waterways. It could also, however, be described as 'Little Pisa' as it also has its own leaning bell tower. There are four churches in this small town, evidence that it was once an important resting point on the route taken by pilgrims to Compostela. Etampes was once designated a Royal borough and still retains a majestic feel thanks to its many grand old buildings.

How to get there

The Essonne is well-served by Paris' two airports, d'Orly and Charles de Gaulle, both of which have regular flights to and from the UK. If you want to take your car, the nearest ferry ports are Dieppe, Le Havre and Calais. Alternatively, you can take the Eurostar from London to Paris.

Essonne property prices

Property prices in the Essonne are much higher than the national average due to the department's proximity and easy access to Paris.

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WHERE IS Essonne?

The Essonne is located in the south of the Ile-de-France region just south of Paris.

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