Visiting, exploring, travelling

Castles to visit

Castle of Blandy-Les-Tours

The castle of Blandy-les-Toursis a medieval castle located in the town of Blandy-les-Tours in the department of Seine-et-Marne, 70 km from Paris, and not far from the castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte. This building was built between the thirteenth and the second half of the fourteenth century.This castle now engages in a permanent dialogue between heritage and artistic creation.

Castle of Fontainebleau

The Château de Fontainebleau is a royal castle of mainly Renaissance and classical styles, near the city center of Fontainebleau (Seine-et-Marne), about 60 kilometers southeast of Paris, France. 
 Moreover, since 1981, the castle and its park are part of the UNESCO World Heritage.

Casltle of Vaux le Vicomte

The castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte, located on the territory of the French commune of Maincy (Seine-et-Marne), 50 km southeast of Paris, near Melun is a castle of the seventeenth century (1658-1661), built for the superintendent of finance of Louis XIV, Nicolas Fouquet. It now belongs to a younger branch of the Marquis de Vogüé.


Barbizon, village of painters

Barbizon is a village nestled comfortably against the western edge of the Fontainebleau forest. Stroll the cobblestone streets and push open the doors of the small stores and art galleries!
Barbizon is one of the mythical places of pre-impressionist painting in France.
As early as 1830, what was still a lumberjack's hamlet welcomed at the Ganne Inn all the painters who came to seek inspiration from the unspoiled nature. Later, they shared their stays between Barbizon and Chailly-en-Bière, finding their subjects in the countryside or the nearby forest of Fontainebleau, painting on the spot.

The village of Provins

Provins is a real treasure. With its ancient look, this fabulous medieval city opens the doors of the Middle Ages (Per horus, he per ra!) Half-timbered houses, ramparts, dungeon... Provins is the promise of an enchanting medieval excursion, Jacouille and Messire Godefroy in month.

The village of Moret-sur-Loing

A former stronghold, the picturesque medieval town of Moret-sur-Loing, located on the edge of the Fontainebleau forest and bordering the peaceful waters of the Loing, has inspired many artists and impressionist painters, such as Alfred Sisley who spent the last twenty years of his life here. This postcard-like village is indeed a particularly photogenic picture. 

Samois-sur-Seine, village champêtre

In the south of the Seine-et-Marne, discover a village nestled in the heart of the Fontainebleau forest, along the Seine: Samois-sur-Seine. Built around the river, the village is dominated from its entrance by large villas, built between the end of the 19th century and the interwar period. 


Milly-la-Forêt is a French commune located in the south-east of the department of Essonne in the region Île-de-France.It became from the middle of the twentieth century a resort for Parisians and artists, including Jean Cocteau and Christian Dior. Today it is an important tourist center of the department, the capital of aromatic herbs, with a preserved environment between the provinces and the Parisian agglomeration.


Do you dream of discovering some cultural sites off the beaten track, less than 60 km from Paris, accessible by car, train or bicycle? There are a few unsuspected architectural treasures in Seine-et-Marne that have remained off the beaten track. Among them, the "Affolantes" on the banks of the Seine represent a unique architectural style in the Île-de-France region. Along the Seine, south of Melun, stand majestic buildings with atypical charm, which owe their name to a historian named André Châtelain (1932-2011). The bourgeois of the 19th century took up residence here, before many artists such as Renoir or Rosa-Bonheur found their inspiration here. From Anglo-Norman manors to small castles in the neo-Louis XIII style, an eclectic architectural movement is emerging. The most beautiful Affolantes are accessible on foot from the train stations of Melun or Bois-le-Roi. You can also spend the night in one of them, converted into a guest house and a gite (Apakabar Homestay), which provides all the information required for this discovery.
Discover the 10 most beautiful Affolantes accessible by car, bike or even on foot from the train stations of Melun and Bois-le-Roi. Have a nice walk!
To go further :
Laborde MF and Camus D., 2015. Les Affolantes des bords de Seine. Editions du Puits Fleuri, 223 p. (out of print but available at Apakabar Homestay)

1. Le Mesnil, La Rochette (Apakabar Homestay)

Address : 37 avenue du Général Leclerc, La Rochette - 8 min walk from Melun train station
Located at the exit of Melun on the national road leading to Fontainebleau stands an atypical house that evokes Grimm's fairy tales or Snow White's house. Built in 1934 by the Parisian architect A. Dumesny, this Neo-Norman style house was named Le Mesnil.
It was designed on the model of the other "Affolantes" on the banks of the Seine: a first floor in cut stone, raised by a few steps, supports a half-timbered second floor in the color of wine, while the three rooms on the second floor were built under the converted attic. The complex silhouette of the ensemble makes the house picturesque, especially the small turret that surmounts the imposing main entrance richly decorated with flowers in the summer.
After having served as a medical house, "la maison du Docteur Jougleux", the building was completely renovated in 2018 to be transformed into a guest house and gîte. Le Mesnil was thus renamed Apakabar Homestay (, this strange word meaning "How are you?" in Indonesian. The mistress of the place is indeed Javanese and welcomes you in an exotic atmosphere with the colors of Bali, Java or Borneo.

2. The Pavillon de la Croix Saint-Jacques, Dammarie-les-Lys

Address : 649 Rue Rousseau Vaudran, Dammarie-les-Lys - 15 min walk from Melun station

This imposing building is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful Affolantes in the region. Called a pavilion when it has the size and all the elements of a real castle, this building was built in 1887 by the widow of Prosper Hochet, secretary to the Council of State. It was bought in 1909 by another widow, the newly bereaved widow of the owner of the castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte, the sugar industrialist Alfred Sommier.

Multiple additions to the original building make each of the facades of this stunning building look different. The high brick roof houses two floors of attic space forming heavy gables (the high, triangular part of a wall, between the two sides of a roof). The balconies, verandas and half-timbering were added to the original building by Georges Lisch, a great specialist in Anglo-Norman architecture, who was the son of Juste Lisch, a renowned architect who designed the Le Havre train station in the late 19th century.

The building is located in a very large and beautiful park. After having belonged for a long time to a religious congregation, the estate has just been bought by real estate developers who will transform it into a senior residence.

3. Villa Boussaingault, Melun

Address : 1 place Chapu, Melun ; 10 min walk from Melun station

Owned by the department of Seine-et-Marne until recently, this imposing villa is located just before the bridge upstream from Melun on the left bank of the Seine. Facing the small square of Place Chapu, it turns its back to the river, unlike the other Affolantes.
This building is part of the Augereau housing estate, which was created in 1907 by the city of Melun on the ruins of former barracks. The house was built a year later on a 1000 m2 plot by a wood and coal merchant, Arthur Boussaingault.
The complexity of its large flat tile roofs gives this two-story villa a picturesque look, complemented by a varied treatment of the walls: tower covered with bricks and false pan de bois, millstone and limestone rubble embellished with red brick courses. The accesses to the property are surmounted by porches covered with tiles. The house has been divided into several apartments.

4. The Villa Raulin, La Rochette

Address : 8 rue de la Forêt, La Rochette ; 33 min walk from Melun station

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5. Le Clos-Barbeau, Bois-le-Roi

Address : 3 quai de la Ruelle, Bois-le-Roi ; 12 min walk from the station of Bois-le-Roi

Built in 1905 by the famous architect Louis Périn, then enlarged in 1912, the Clos-Barbeau is one of the most beautiful houses on the banks of the Seine. Located on the left bank of the Seine near the bridge leading from Bois-le-Roi to Chartrettes, it seems to have been built near a site of which one finds a trace until the year 626, according to an inscription engraved on a stone at the entrance of the building.
The name Barbeau comes from a local legend that tells of a fisherman who pulled up a barbel (a fish) from the Seine at this place, inside which he discovered a diamond, or according to other versions, a precious ring that Saint Loup, archbishop of Sens, dropped into the Seine near Melun.
The first floor, whose walls are made of ashlar, has two large arched bays that light up a large room. The second floor is half-timbered, with woodwork that has been repainted in red by the architect Michel Frénot, giving this dreadful house a singular appearance. A remarkable feature of this building is the wooden footbridge that leads from the main building to another hexagonal building located further back. Today it is divided into 13 condominiums.

6. Chantemerle, Bois-le-Roi

 Address : 5 quai de la Ruelle, Bois-le-Roi ; 13 min walk from the station of Bois-le-Roi

At the beginning of the 20th century, the architect Louis Périn transformed a pre-existing house with a medieval-style turret by adding various elements. He installed his studio under the roof. This house with mixed medieval and Art Nouveau references now houses a rest home.

7. Le Vieux-Logis, Bois-le-Roi

Address : 22 quai de la Ruelle, Bois-le-Roi ; 15 min walk from the station of Bois-le-Roi

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8. Les Roches, La Rochette

Address : quai de Seine (Chemin de Halage), La Rochette ; 40 min walk from Bois-le-Roi station