Après-Midi Recap

Annabel Simms, Paris – November 2023

Annebel Simms

Despite the tight quarters, the session worked very well and the café was very accommodating.

Annabel Simms was born in England, of Hungarian parentage. She has lived in Paris since 1991, when she arrived from London on a year’s sabbatical from her job as a college lecturer in English…and never left.

Her interest in the region around Paris dates from that first year, when she began to spend her Sundays exploring the nearest countryside accessible by train from Paris, while teaching English during the week.

Armed only with the Michelin green guide and the suburban train map, she gradually discovered small medieval towns and villages, country restaurants, hidden châteaux and museums, parks, forests, canals and rivers and worked out the most enjoyable ways of accessing them by train and on foot.

Finally, realizing that this gentle provincial world less than an hour from Paris by train was unknown to many Parisians, let alone foreign visitors, she decided to write a guide to it herself. She illustrated her selection of favorites from the scores of places she had discovered with her own photos and maps, based on her experience of visiting them on foot.

An Hour From Paris, her guide to 20 little-known daytrips around an hour from Paris by train, first appeared in 2002 and is in its third edition (2019). Half An Hour From Paris includes ten more day trips that take about half an hour from Paris by train, and was first published in 2018.

Watch the session in its entirety.

And note the following new recommendations from Annabel:

Recommended winter day trips in Half An Hour From Paris

  • Neuilly-sur-Marne Guinguette for lunch, music, dancing. Optional 5 km canalside walk to different station. 15 minutes by train from Châtelet-Les Halles
  • Château de Malmaison, home of Napoleon and Josephine. Optional walk through park to historic town and church where Josephine is buried, traditional brasserie. 25 minutes by bus from La Défense
  • Parc St Cloud Musée Céramique de Sèvres in 17C park with panoramic views of Paris. Scenic return to Paris by bus along the Seine. 39 minutes by Métro from Châtelet
  • Château de Vincennes, 14C royal castle and tower in Bois de Vincennes and traditional brasserie nearby. Optional walk through Bois to Jardin Tropical and different station. 17 minutes by Métro from Châtelet

Recommended winter day trips in An Hour From Paris

  • Villeneuve Triage, guinguette for lunch, music, dancing, optional riverside walk, 14 mins by train from Gare de Lyon
  • Conflans Ste Honorine, island restaurant at Andrésy accessed by speedboat, optional riverside walk, 35 mins by train from Gare St Lazare
  • Château d’Ecouen, short woodland walk to Musée de la Renaissance in16C château, 22 mins by train from Gare du Nord
  • Parc de Sceaux – Musée de l’Ile de France in 17C park designed by Le Nôtre and optional walk to Chateaubriand’s house, 13 mins by train from St Michel-Notre Dame

Both books are available at Smith & Sons and Shakespeare & Co in Paris, and on Amazon More info and more day trips are on Annabel’s website and blog, or you can email her: [email protected]

Your feedback to Annabel is very welcome!

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