Perched on a hilltop overlooking the Seine and surrounded by the Saint-Germain forest, the grandiose Château de Maisons is a remarkable example of French baroque and classical architecture and is renowned as one of the most important of its era. Built in the 17th-century for René de Longueil and often used as a hunting lodge by Louis XIV, the residence was designed by royal architect François Mansart and inspired the much-celebrated chateaux of Vaux-le-Vicomte and Versailles.
Today, the chateau is preserved as a National Historic Monument and visitors can explore its opulent interiors, including the grand open staircase, the King's apartments and the Comte d'Artois' dining room. Additional highlights include the landscaped gardens and castle grounds, and a museum devoted to the history of horse racing, which began in the region.
The Chateau de Maisons in Ile-de-France, around 20km northwest of Paris, and is open daily except Tuesdays, mid-Sept-mid-May 10am-12.30pm and 2-5pm, mid-May-mid-Sept 10am-12.30pm and 2-5pm. Adult admission at the time of writing is €7.50.