Paris, the City of Light, is renowned for its iconic landmarks, world-class museums, and vibrant cultural scene. However, beyond its bustling streets and historic architecture lies a wealth of natural beauty waiting to be explored. Just a short distance from the city, a variety of lush forests offer the perfect escape for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts alike.

These verdant landscapes provide a serene contrast to the urban environment, allowing visitors to reconnect with nature and enjoy outdoor activities in a tranquil setting. Whether you are looking for a peaceful day trip or a rejuvenating weekend getaway, the forests around Paris offer an ideal retreat.

In this blog post, we will guide you through seven of the most captivating forests near Paris. Each of these natural havens boasts unique features and attractions, from picturesque walking trails to abundant wildlife and scenic picnic spots. Join us as we embark on a journey to discover the hidden gems that lie just beyond the city limits, offering a refreshing breath of fresh air and a chance to embrace nature’s tranquility.

So, pack your hiking boots, prepare your picnic basket, and get ready to explore the magnificent forests that surround Paris. These natural treasures are perfect for family outings, providing an opportunity to create lasting memories while enjoying the great outdoors. Let’s delve into the beauty and serenity of the forests that await just a stone’s throw from the heart of Paris.

Top 7 Best Forests to Visit with Family Around Paris

Forest of Fontainebleau

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The Forest of Fontainebleau, located approximately 60 kilometers southeast of Paris, offers a stunning retreat from the urban hustle. Renowned for its vast expanse and diverse landscapes, this forest is an ideal destination for families looking to immerse themselves in nature. Spanning over 25,000 hectares, the forest boasts a variety of terrains, including rocky outcrops, dense woodlands, and intricate gorges, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

One of the most iconic areas within the Forest of Fontainebleau is the Gorges de Franchard. This picturesque spot is characterized by its dramatic rock formations and scenic trails, providing excellent opportunities for hiking and rock climbing. Families can enjoy a leisurely walk or a more challenging trek, all while taking in the breathtaking views and unique geological features.

For those keen on panoramic vistas, the forest offers several viewpoints that should not be missed. The Tour Denecourt, a historic observation tower, provides a sweeping view of the forest canopy and the surrounding countryside. Another notable viewpoint is the Rocher Cailleau, which offers a similar vantage point with equally stunning scenery. These spots are perfect for family picnics, allowing visitors to relax and soak in the natural beauty.

The Forest of Fontainebleau is also a biodiversity hotspot, home to an array of flora and fauna. Nature lovers can spot various species of birds, mammals, and even rare plants. The forest’s rich ecosystem makes it an educational experience for children and adults alike, offering a chance to learn about the region’s natural heritage.

Whether you’re interested in hiking, rock climbing, or simply enjoying a peaceful picnic, the Forest of Fontainebleau provides a serene and captivating escape from city life. Its diverse landscapes and rich biodiversity make it a must-visit destination for families exploring the natural wonders around Paris.

Meudon National Forest

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Foret Domaniale de Meudon The 7 Forests to Visit with Family Around Paris                              Shutterstock

Situated merely a stone’s throw away from Paris, the Meudon National Forest stands as a cherished retreat for city dwellers yearning for a swift escape into the lap of nature. Spanning approximately 1,100 hectares, this expansive forest offers a verdant refuge where families can indulge in leisurely walks, invigorating hikes, and delightful picnics.

One of the forest’s most notable features is its intricate network of trails, which cater to a variety of outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you are an avid hiker or prefer a gentle stroll, the well-marked paths provide an ideal setting for exploring the natural beauty of the area. Among these trails, the Route des Gardes offers particularly scenic views, guiding visitors through dense woodlands and opening up to picturesque clearings.

Adding to its allure, the Meudon National Forest is steeped in historical significance. The forest is home to the renowned Meudon Observatory, an emblem of France’s rich scientific heritage. Established in 1876, the observatory has played a pivotal role in astronomical research and continues to be an active site for scientific inquiry. The structure itself is an architectural marvel, seamlessly blending with the surrounding natural landscape.

Furthermore, the forest harbors several historical landmarks, including remnants of ancient fortifications and manor houses that hark back to bygone eras. These sites offer a window into the past, allowing visitors to appreciate the historical tapestry that characterizes the region.

For families seeking a tranquil yet enriching escape from the urban hustle and bustle, the Meudon National Forest provides an ideal destination. Its blend of natural beauty, historical intrigue, and recreational opportunities ensures that every visit is a memorable experience. Whether you are basking in the serenity of its wooded trails or delving into its historical landmarks, the forest promises a rejuvenating retreat for all.

Rambouillet Forest

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Foret de Rambouillet The 7 Forests to Visit with Family Around Paris                      Shutterstock

Located southwest of Paris, the Rambouillet Forest stands as a historic hunting ground, now transformed into a serene environment perfect for family outings. This forest, sprawling over 200 square kilometers, offers an idyllic escape from the urban hustle, making it an excellent destination for those looking to reconnect with nature.

Visitors can explore several well-marked trails, ideal for both walking and cycling. These trails meander through diverse landscapes, providing a picturesque setting that is both inviting and calming. Along the way, families can encounter a variety of flora and fauna, offering children an educational experience while enjoying the great outdoors.

A highlight of the Rambouillet Forest is the Château de Rambouillet. This historic castle, dating back to the 14th century, provides a glimpse into France’s regal past. The château is surrounded by meticulously maintained gardens, which are perfect for leisurely strolls. Guided tours are available, offering insights into the château’s storied history and architectural significance.

Additionally, the forest is home to several lakes and wildlife reserves. These natural reserves are ideal for bird-watching enthusiasts and those interested in observing wildlife in their natural habitat. The Etang de la Tour, one of the more popular lakes, provides opportunities for fishing, picnicking, and simply enjoying the serene waterside atmosphere.

For those seeking more structured activities, the Espace Rambouillet offers an immersive experience into the forest’s ecosystem. This wildlife park allows visitors to see local species such as deer and wild boar up close, making it a hit among younger family members. The park also features educational programs and interactive exhibits aimed at fostering a deeper understanding of forest ecosystems.

Montmorency Forest

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Nestled to the north of Paris, Montmorency Forest stands as a verdant oasis, offering a perfect escape from the urban hustle. Renowned for its rolling hills and dense woodlands, this forest provides an idyllic setting for a range of outdoor activities, making it a prime destination for families seeking adventure and tranquility.

One of the forest’s most captivating features is the Lac de la Chasse, a serene lake that invites visitors to pause and appreciate the natural beauty around them. The area surrounding the lake is ideal for leisurely walks and picnics, providing a peaceful retreat where families can unwind and connect with nature.

Montmorency Forest is also a haven for hiking enthusiasts. With an extensive network of well-marked trails, hikers can explore the diverse landscapes, from lush woodlands to open meadows. The terrain is varied, offering routes suitable for all levels of hikers, from beginners to seasoned adventurers. Horseback riding is another popular activity in the forest, with several equestrian centers offering guided tours, allowing visitors to experience the forest from a unique perspective.

The forest is home to a rich biodiversity, including a wide array of flora and fauna. Bird watchers will find Montmorency Forest particularly appealing, as it is inhabited by numerous bird species, from common songbirds to more elusive raptors. The forest’s ancient oak trees, some of which are centuries old, add a sense of timelessness to the landscape, standing as silent witnesses to the passage of time.

Whether you are looking to embark on a vigorous hike, enjoy a peaceful horseback ride, or simply immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, Montmorency Forest offers a wealth of opportunities. Its rich biodiversity and unique features make it a must-visit destination for families looking to escape the city and embrace the tranquility of the natural world.

Carnelle Forest

Foret de Carnelle The 7 Forests to Visit with Family Around Paris

Foret de Carnelle The 7 Forests to Visit with Family Around Paris                                  Shutterstock

Nestled to the north of Paris, the Carnelle Forest offers a picturesque escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. This enchanting forest is renowned for its scenic landscapes, featuring a harmonious blend of wooded hills and serene ponds, making it an ideal destination for family-friendly activities.

One of the most popular activities in Carnelle Forest is hiking. With a network of well-maintained trails, families can explore the rich biodiversity of the area, encountering a variety of flora and fauna. The trails vary in difficulty, catering to both casual walkers and more experienced hikers. Along these paths, visitors can enjoy the calming sounds of nature and the refreshing scent of pine and oak trees.

Fishing enthusiasts will find the Carnelle Ponds particularly appealing. These tranquil bodies of water are not only perfect for a leisurely day of fishing but also offer picturesque spots for picnicking. The ponds are well-stocked with fish, making it an excellent spot for both novice and seasoned anglers. Families can bring their own equipment or rent from local vendors to enjoy a peaceful day by the water.

In addition to its natural beauty, Carnelle Forest is steeped in historical and cultural significance. The ancient quarries within the forest are a fascinating point of interest. These quarries, once a source of millstone for the region, now serve as a reminder of the area’s rich industrial past. Walking through these historical sites, visitors can imagine the bustling activity that once took place here.

The forest also holds a cultural allure with its connections to local traditions and folklore. Throughout the year, various events and festivals are held in and around the forest, celebrating its heritage and natural splendor. These cultural gatherings provide a unique opportunity for families to immerse themselves in the local customs and enjoy a variety of recreational activities.

Sénart Forest

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Located to the southeast of Paris, Sénart Forest is a serene retreat for families seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Spanning over 3,000 hectares, Sénart Forest offers an expansive area of woodlands interspersed with open meadows, providing a picturesque setting for a variety of outdoor activities. Whether you are an avid biker, a passionate jogger, or simply enjoy leisurely nature walks, this forest presents the perfect backdrop for your endeavors.

One of the distinctive features of Sénart Forest is the Sénart Arboretum. This carefully curated collection of trees and shrubs showcases an impressive diversity of plant species, ideal for botanists and nature enthusiasts alike. Visitors can explore the arboretum’s numerous trails, each offering educational insights into the flora and fauna native to the region. The rich biodiversity of the forest is further highlighted by its abundant wildlife. Numerous bird species, small mammals, and insects thrive within this natural habitat, offering ample opportunities for wildlife observation and photography.

Additionally, Sénart Forest is equipped with well-maintained paths and trails that cater to different levels of physical activity. Families can enjoy easy walks on flat terrain, while more adventurous visitors might opt for the challenging trails that wind through the forest’s deeper areas. The forest also features several picnic areas where families can relax and enjoy a meal amidst nature. These spots are ideal for taking a break and soaking in the tranquil atmosphere.

For those interested in local history and culture, Sénart Forest is home to several heritage sites, including ancient trees and historical landmarks that tell the story of the region’s past. These sites provide a unique educational experience, making a visit to Sénart Forest both enjoyable and informative. Overall, Sénart Forest is an excellent destination for families looking to reconnect with nature and enjoy a variety of outdoor activities in a peaceful, natural setting.

Forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Foret-de-Saint-Germain-en-Laye The 7 Forests to Visit with Family Around Paris

Foret-de-Saint-Germain-en-Laye The 7 Forests to Visit with Family Around Paris                            Shutterstock

Located to the west of Paris, the Forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye is an exceptional destination for families seeking a serene escape from the bustling city life. This forest, historically a royal hunting ground, has transformed into a recreational haven that offers an array of activities and picturesque landscapes.

The Forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye spans over 3,500 hectares, providing ample space for family outings. The extensive network of trails is ideal for hiking, cycling, and leisurely strolls, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the natural beauty that surrounds them. Numerous picnic areas are scattered throughout the forest, making it a perfect spot for a family meal amidst nature.

A significant highlight of the forest is the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, a historical monument that adds a touch of grandeur to the area. Originally built in the 12th century, this château was a favored residence of French kings for centuries. Today, it houses the National Museum of Archaeology, offering a fascinating glimpse into France’s rich historical past. Families can spend a day exploring the château and its meticulously maintained gardens, gaining insight into the royal history that shaped the region.

The Forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye is also known for hosting various special events and activities throughout the year. Seasonal festivals, guided nature walks, and educational workshops are some of the events that families can enjoy. These activities are designed to engage visitors of all ages, ensuring a memorable and enriching experience in the heart of nature.

Whether you are looking to explore historical landmarks, enjoy outdoor activities, or simply relax in a tranquil setting, the Forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage. It is an ideal destination for families seeking to escape the urban environment and embrace the serenity of nature.

Discover Nature Near Paris

Paris, while renowned for its cultural vibrancy and urban allure, offers an array of nearby forests that provide a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Each forest presents unique opportunities for families to reconnect with nature and each other, creating lasting memories in tranquil settings. The enchanting Forest of Fontainebleau boasts diverse landscapes and historical landmarks, making it a perfect destination for both adventure and education. The expansive Rambouillet Forest offers lush greenery and wildlife, ideal for those seeking a deeper connection with nature.

The verdant Chantilly Forest, with its picturesque surroundings and rich history, is a haven for leisurely walks and picnics. Meanwhile, the Marly Forest, with its historical significance and scenic beauty, provides an excellent backdrop for a peaceful retreat. The scenic Forest of Montmorency offers a mix of natural beauty and recreational activities, perfect for family outings. The Saint-Germain-en-Laye Forest, known for its royal connections and expansive trails, invites visitors to explore its majestic paths. Lastly, the Forest of Sénart, with its serene atmosphere and accessibility, ensures a convenient and rewarding escape into nature.

Spending time outdoors with family not only promotes physical well-being but also fosters emotional bonds and creates cherished memories. Whether it’s a day trip or a weekend adventure, these forests around Paris offer a refreshing break from urban life. Reconnecting with nature allows for mindfulness and relaxation, enhancing the overall quality of life. So, take a moment to plan your visit to these natural havens and embrace the tranquility and beauty they offer. By doing so, you will not only enrich your appreciation for the natural world but also strengthen familial ties in the most wholesome way possible.


Paris Insiders Guide For Family | Making Your Trip Unforgettable

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