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Trip to the Paris-Saclay territory in six stages

The Monthléry tower offers a 360° panorama as far as Paris / @ Alain Béguerie – Paris-Saclay urban community

About twenty kilometers from the ring road, the territory of Paris-Saclay, which notably houses the agricultural area closest to the capital, is to be discovered in 6 stages.

In partnership with Destination Paris-Saclay and Essonne Tourism

A breathtaking 360° view

Erected between the XIe and the XIIIe century, the Château de Montlhéry is strategically located between Paris and Orléans. In other words, it aroused the interest of Capetian kings, many of whom stayed there. Louis VII, Philippe Auguste or even Saint Louis could have signed the guestbook (if it had existed at the time). In 1591, Henri IV had the fortress destroyed; which gives the place, strewn with ruins, a rather astonishing atmosphere of Gothic romance. Nevertheless, the dungeon is still standing, and even accessible. After climbing 138 steps, you are perched 30 meters high with a panoramic view of the Eiffel Tower, the Orge valley, the national rugby center, the TDF tower in Romainville… The wind is blowing, but it’s mostly the breathtaking 360° view! Back in town, you can continue your medieval escapade with the Church of the Most Holy Trinity, founded in the 12the century. To the left of the building, take a look at the Hôtel-Dieu and its portal decorated with sculpted heads representing leprosy and burning sickness. The Heritage House is also worth a look, especially since the back of the building conceals the prisons of the Provostship, which date from the 13the century. The opportunity to learn that, in the Middle Ages, justice was not the most lenient and that an executioner was paid one crown and 20 soles to immerse a person in boiling water. It cools down a bit… An immersion in The name of the rose not far from the capital, who would have thought?

Practical information: The Montlhéry tower, rue de la Poterne, Montlhéry (91). Open from April 16 to October 30 every Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Price: €2. Free for children under 6 years old. More info on / les preasons of the Prévôté, Heritage House, 27, Grande Rue, Montlhéry (91). Open Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to noon and 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday 8 a.m. to noon.

A little corner of Italy

Prejudices are bad, we know that. However, when we were asked to go and try an Italian restaurant in a small village in Essonne, we couldn’t help but have our doubts. Because we’ve seen it, carbonara pasta with fresh cream in the sauce (heresy!) and Herta bacon. We came across tiramisus that could have been used as a coating as they were so compact… Well, none of that at Rugantino in Montlhéry. At the helm is Andrea Cavallari. “I come from a small town near Romehe says. In Montlhéry, I find a bit of the same atmosphere. » At his house, the pizza dough is Roman style, thinner and more crunchy than the Neapolitan, with a very pleasant slightly grainy side. Apart from locally sourced vegetables, “99% of the products come from Italy”, confirms Andrea proudly. Hence the welcome presence of guanciale (part from the pork’s jowls) in the carbonara. Pasta, gnocchi, raviolieverything is done on site and gives rise to a tight menu where the words jostle fior di latte, pecorino and San Daniele. From Italy in bar. Even the drinks come from the Peninsula: the wines, of course, but also the Molecola, the Italian coke, or the Crodino, a herbal soda. Leaving our momentum, we decided, for dessert, to test the profiterole which, in 90% of Italian restaurants, turns out to be a real disaster. Not at Rugantino! To tell the truth, we have rarely tasted such good, generous and slightly tender cabbage on the inside. In short, an address that really kicks us a lot!

Practical information: Rugantino, 1, rue du Docteur-Ogé, Montlhéry (91). Open Tuesday to Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Such. : 01 69 80 60 50. More info on Facebook

Along the Barley

This Essonne trip will give you the opportunity to discover the Barley, this river whose trace is found in the name of many municipalities in the area. And that’s good because the start is in Saint-Michel-sur-Orge (Essonne). From there, on the way for a beautiful loop of 13 km which will allow you to walk along the banks of the river and its basins, but not only. The tower of Montlhéry (see above) will offer your eyes its imposing silhouette, while in Longpont-sur-Orge you will discover at the basilica Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Garde an important collection of relics – the most important of France after that of Saint-Sernin in Toulouse, just that! Before returning to the station, a final stop is essential at Lormoy park. Its placid ponds should recharge you to fullness before returning to the city.

Practical information: 13 km loop from and to Saint-Michel-Sur-Orge (91). Access: Saint-Michel-sur-Orge station (RER C). Duration of the walk: about 3 hours. Itinerary available on

The panorama from the Monthléry tower / @ Joséphine Lebard for Enlarge your Paris
The panorama from the Montlhéry tower / © Joséphine Lebard for Enlarge your Paris

From Massy to Versailles through the natural landscapes of the Saclay plateau

It is the closest agricultural area to Paris, only about fifteen kilometers as the crow flies from the ring road. The Saclay plateau (Essonne), which served as a water tower for the gardens of Versailles, offers a succession of little-known landscapes that our 24 km walk invites you to discover.

Practical information: read in the Walks section

On the peaks of the Yvette

Located 30 minutes from Paris by RER B, the village of Bures-sur-Yvette (Essonne) smells of the countryside. And, as if its charm were not enough, it is also home to some of the most beautiful trails in Île-de-France. During 4h30, you will go from the forest of Gif-sur-Yvette to the forest of the Round Head, also taking the time to walk along the crest of the Yvette valley. In short, you will be amazed and will have plenty to spend on the slopes, as steep as they are numerous.

Practical information: download the hiking topoguide for free on Helloways

Discovering the Fauvettes viaduct

This walk will take you to the heights of Gometz-le-Châtel and Bures-sur-Yvette (Essonne). You will discover calm and wooded landscapes as well as the magnificent Fauvettes viaduct, an old railway bridge that has been rehabilitated. Used today as a training site for rock climbing, it also offers views of the entire valley. As the walk involves a bit of elevation, bring a good pair of shoes.

Practical information: download the hiking topoguide for free on Helloways

The warblers viaduct / @ Destination Paris-Saclay
The Fauvettes viaduct / © Destination Paris-Saclay

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