"Close to Paris but Really French" Senlis by hquittner

Senlis Travel Guide: 24 reviews and 86 photos

A French Town

Not on a rail line and only 45 km from Paris going north on N17 from the Porte de la Villette, Senlis hugs around its ancient cathedral (started in 1153, 10 yrs before Notre Dame and only 6 yrs after St. Denis). The town has some Roman walls and sustained some damage in WWI & II, but readily recovered. Known to certain music lovers, it has an Institute (founded by Georges Cziffra, the legendary Liszt performer) devoted to the continued performance of piano works by Franz Liszt, with special concerts that fill the town. On our solo first visit outside of Paris we arrived in Senlis by a bus that connects to the SNCF trains at Chantilly. We walked from the bus (the old train) station through a memorial park with a statue to where we would spend the night (the Hostellerie de la Porte Bellon; Logis de France 2*). From this base we visited Senlis on that day and Chantilly the next. Stimulated by the experience, we thoughtfully planned our future French sojourns, so that we could avoid Paris, using a rented or leased car, so that we could enjoy the surrounds of Paris that most travellers miss. In furtherrvisits to this area, we stayed in a little village 8km east of Senlis, called Fontaine-Chaalis (at the Auberge de Fontaine , also 2* Logis de France). The food at the Auberge is really something and brings us back for repeat visits.

Walk the Town

The town of Senlis is not a bedroom community of Paris, althoough I am sure that many of its residents work there. It has much to see from Roman antiquities to an old town and an ancient chateau. Above all the its ancient beautiful and important Gothic Cathedral.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Try small towns instead of Paris
  • Cons:It takes more planning
  • In a nutshell:It is worth the effort
  • Last visit to Senlis: May 1998
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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