Pierrefonds Castle, an architectural madness

Some 14 kilometres away, the castle, which looks like a fairy tale, magically appears on the road leading to Compiègne.  
This fortress, built at the end of the 14th century for Louis de Valois, brother of Charles VI, suffered its first devastating siege at the beginning of the 17th century. On Richelieu's orders, this den of the nobility hostile to the cardinal's policy was dismantled. For two centuries, it had an edentulous silhouette, the result of the meticulous destruction of its defensive system.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Romanticism found the charm of the ruins and the memory of the Gothic splendour. Napoleon III, as a Compiègne neighbour, fell in love with the place and commissioned Eugène Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879) to restore it in 1857. The architect of the great national restorations was at the end of a glorious career that was to establish his authority deeply in the French architectural tradition. Nevertheless, it was as a young man that he approached this site where he led a final demonstration of modern architecture.


Climbing to the tree, an adventurous and acrobatic course, hung on hundred-year-old oaks. A few kilometres from Pierrefonds, in the Compiègne national forest.  
From about 4 years old (it depends on the height of the child's outstretched arms...), children's tours accompanied by adults. Discovered or confirmed teenage adult tours. Please check in advance.  Note: routes that can be used in rainy weather, be equipped accordingly. 

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An ideal place to recharge your batteries, live and share your passion.

La Ferté Milon & le Port aux Perches

About ten kilometres away, you can discover this small town located along the Canal de l'Ourcq, at the foot of the magnificent ruins of its unfinished castle. Jean Racine's homeland, a small museum, located at 2 rue des Moulins, occupies the house of Marie Desmoulins, Jean Racine's grandmother. 
The Ourcq Canal flows superbly between rows of trees and as you go up the river, you will discover a small bridge built by Gustave Eiffel when he was still young and unknown. 
Just next to the bridge in the city centre, you can hunt at the Cité des Arts boutique, friendly owners and an eclectic place. 
A few kilometres away, Le Port aux Perches offers you cruises with lunch (3h30) or a walk (2h). Pleasant when the weather is fine. Bucolic setting where grey herons, moorhens and mallards come as neighbours. Please check beforehand. 

And some other suggestions...

The Autumn Valley:

from Largny sur Automne to Saint-Vaast-de Longpont you can follow the meanders of the Autumn River (what a pretty name!) that span old bridges of soft stone and cross a string of villages gathered around their medieval churches. More than 35 bell towers, including that of Vez (see also the keep), the Lieu-Restauré (unusual place), Fresnoy.... At the bend of the road, a few manors will amaze your escapade. 

Morienval Abbey:

5 kilometres south of Pierrefonds, on sunny days, you can visit the rose garden, an enchanting setting and perhaps buy roses created by David Austin. It is the first official rose garden in France dedicated to the repertoire of the famous English rose gardener. Inquire before travelling. (also organization of weddings) 

Longpont Abbey and its in :

12 kilometres from Villers Cotterets, you can stop in this very charming village for its amazing Cistercian abbey which can be visited (find out more), its magnificent fortified gate, and lunch or dinner at the Hôtel de l'Abbaye restaurant (tasty local cuisine to the rhythm of the seasons, warm atmosphere and on sunny days you can have lunch outside - remember to book)

Visit to the farm:

If you want to bring back some dairy products, drop by the village of Bargny, a short 15-minute drive through the woods and such a beautiful countryside. At the entrance to the village, the Garnier family welcomes you to their farm and the shop sells raw milk, fresh cream, cottage cheese and homemade yoghurts. A short visit to the calves and cows will please the children. Closed on Tuesdays and Sundays. And part of the summer. Call 03 44 44 87 23 57.

  • Walking or cycling tours: several simple or more difficult tours are at your disposal on the site of which here is a selection (pdf maps to download by clicking on the name of the tour)
    • By bike on the trail of the musketeers (departure Villers Cotterets) - 22 or 44 kilometers
    • By bike the wall of the park by mountain bike (departure from château Villers Cotterêts) - 26 kms - technical and physical 
    • Family walk : le Parc de Mon Plaisir (park of the château de Villers Cotterêts) - 2,9 kms ​
    • Walking tour : La cave du diable Coyolles (check the departure) - 5 kms - easy
    • Walking tour : La Salamandre (departure park of Villers Cotterêts) - 9 kms - quite difficult) 
    • Walking tour : A forest bigger than Paris - Retz forest - 6,4 kms - quite difficult. 
    • As the forest is only at 500 meters from the castle, you can easily enjoy a nice and easy walk, following the map I can lend you. 

    Image with text

    A picture is worth a thousand words. Use this space to focus on the thing which make you great.

    Image with text

    A picture is worth a thousand words. Use this space to focus on the thing which make you great.