Dourdan, located in the Essonne department, is a charming medieval town in France with a rich history and a relaxed way of life. Whether you’re looking for a quiet getaway or an adventure-filled weekend, Dourdan can offer something for everyone. Here is a guide on how to get there and make the most of your stay.
Getting to Dourdan is easy by train. SNCF, the French national railway company, operates regular services to and from the town. You can book tickets on the SNCF website or mobile app, or through resellers like Omio, Trainline, Raileurope, or All Aboard. While booking your entire trip with a reseller is the fastest, easiest option, it usually costs 5-15% more than booking with the operator directly.
If you’re a resident of an EU country other than France, you can travel to and from Dourdan with an Interrail pass. Interrail is available to all EU citizens, and it offers a flexible and affordable way to travel. You can purchase your Interrail pass online or at a participating travel agency.
Once you arrive in Dourdan, you’ll find that the town is small enough to explore on foot. The highlight of Dourdan is undoubtedly the Château de Dourdan, an impressive castle from the 13th century. The castle has well-preserved ramparts and towers, a dungeon, and a great hall. The castle is open to visitors year-round, and guided tours are available.
Dourdan is also a great place to enjoy nature. The Parc des Larris, a large park that surrounds the castle, is perfect for picnicking, jogging, or taking a romantic stroll. You can also visit the Bois des Gâts or the Forêt de Dourdan, two nearby forests that offer hiking trails, wildlife spotting, and birdwatching.
For those interested in history and culture, Dourdan has a few museums and galleries worth visiting. The Espace d’art contemporain Camille Lambert exhibits contemporary art in a beautiful 19th-century building. The Musée Paul Delouvrier, located in the castle’s former stables, displays local history, archaeology, and art.
Foodies will appreciate the local cuisine, which is based on fresh ingredients from the surrounding farmland. Try the brie de Dourdan, a creamy and flavorful cheese made in the area. The town has several restaurants and bistros serving traditional French fare, as well as bakeries and patisseries offering delicious pastries, bread, and cakes.
Finally, if you’re looking for some entertainment, check out the town’s events calendar. Dourdan hosts several festivals throughout the year, including the Festival de la Goyère, a music and dance festival in July, and the Fête Médiévale, a medieval festival in September. You can also attend concerts, theater plays, and movie screenings at the Espace d’art contemporain Camille Lambert.
In summary, Dourdan is a picturesque and peaceful destination that offers a glimpse into French history and culture. Whether you come for the castle, the parks, the museums, or the food, you’ll find plenty to enjoy in this charming town. So pack your bags, hop on a train, and discover Dourdan for yourself!