Chartres cathedral

3 Beautiful Countryside Destinations Near Paris

No matter how many times you visit Paris, the bustling city does not seem to run out of this to see and experience. While it would be tempting to spend all your time exploring its streets and alleys to discover its hidden gems, a side trip to the Parisian countryside is something you will not want to miss. From stunning natural scenery to iconic cultural landmarks and attractions, here are some of the best destinations outside the heart of Paris worth making a day trip for.

1. Auvers-sur-Oise
Auvers-sur-Oise chateau
Why you should go: Auvers-sur-Oise is a picturesque small town that is just a little over thirty minutes away from Paris. It is best known for the deep attachment the iconic painter Vincent Van Gogh has with the place. Van Gogh, who wanted to be near his brother who was living in Paris, stayed in the charming town and fell in love with it. He painted a lot of his works there and in nearby areas. Auvers-sur-Oise is also a popular destination for other painters not just in the past but also today. Some of the town’s must-see sights are the Château d’Auvers, Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption, musée de l’Absinthe, van Gogh’s tomb, and l’auberge Ravoux (Maison de van Gogh) among others.

2. Chartres
Chartres cathedral
Why you should go: Located roughly 90 kilometers from Paris, the town of Chartres is home to one of the oldest churches in France — the beautiful Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres. In just an hour or a little over an hour of travel by train, you can reach the town and admire the awe-inspiring medieval Gothic architecture of the cathedral, dazzling stained-glass windows, the prayer labyrinth, and many other mesmerizing attractions. Other unmissable attractions in Chartres include Église Saint-Pierre, the historic centre and Rue des Écuyers, the town on the banks of the Eure, Maison Picassiette, Centre International du Vitrail (International Stained Glass Centre) and more.

3. Versailles
Château de Versailles
Why you should go: Versailles is located less than an hour away by train from Paris. This makes it one of the easiest and cheapest day trips you can take to enjoy the enchanting sights away from the hustle and bustle of the City of Light. Home to the world-famous and stunning Château de Versailles, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Versailles offers plenty of breathtaking attractions like the Gardens of Versailles, the Hall of Mirrors, Grand Trianon, the Royal Opera of Versailles, and Notre-Dame de Versailles to name a few.

St James Park

5 Must-Watch Videos That Will Inspire You to Slow Down and Enjoy Life

If you are a TED Talk fan, you know how inspiring a lot of its talks can be. But if you are among those who have not watched it even once, it is never too late to start. Here are some of the best videos about slowing down that will inspire you to do just that and enjoy life.

Andy Puddicombe: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes

Everyone goes through days when slowing down seems like an impossible feat. But as mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe shares in this video, taking 10 mindful minutes is all you need to do nothing and simply enjoy the present moment. He talks about how spending at least 10 minutes not using your phone, thinking, or talking with someone can go a long way in improving your life.

Carl Honore: In praise of slowness

Many people are no stranger to living life in the fast lane. You just have to look at people during rush hour in cities to see how hectic everyday life has become. But for journalist Carl Honore, a life focused on speed could diminish people’s quality of life. He talks about why a growing number of people are now choosing to slow down and its potential benefits to one’s life.

Matthieu Ricard: The habits of happiness

Matthieu Ricard is a biochemist who became a Buddhist monk. In this video, he shares about the powerful impact of training the mind to build habits that promote wellbeing. He talks about meditators or people who spend a lot of time in meditation and mind training. Fun and enlightening, this talk will make you rethink how you spend your time every day and how you can create a more tranquil and fulfilling life.

Paolo Cardini: Forget multitasking, try monotasking

Designer Paolo Cardini puts multitasking in perspective and presents a much better alternative – monotasking. He then talks about how focusing on one task at a time can be a transformative experience.

Pico Iyer: The art of stillness

Everyone gets overwhelmed at some point. Constant activity and the wide array of distractions often add to the frenzy of everyday life. In this talk, travel writer Pico Iyer shares about the art of stillness and the positive effects it can have in one’s life.