Luxury holidays in Bonnelles

A leafy commune in the northern region of Île-de-France, Bonnelles is made up of rolling meadows, thick forest and rustic villages – all within an hour’s drive of Paris. In fact, its proximity to the capital made it one of the aristocracy’s preferred retreats – a place where they could escape the city and host lavish hunting parties that would last weeks at a time. Back then, the prime attraction was the bounty of the Rambouillet forest, an oak- and elm-filled sprawl home to stags, fallow deer and wild boar. Today, the forest is as beautiful as ever, but you’re more likely to pass walkers and bikers than galloping groups of nobles. There are plenty charming mediaeval villages and stately châteaus to wander round, and if you’ve got a car with you, Versailles is just a 40-minute drive away.

When to go

Bonnelles was traditionally a place for the Parisian elite to build their summer residences, but these days it’s a year-round destination. The leafy forest and flower-spotted meadows com alive in the summer, but they’re just as charming in late autumn or under a dusting of snow.

Getting there

  • Planes

    Paris Orly is the closest of the capital’s airports, just 35 minutes’ drive away. You can fly directly from London Heathrow, Manchester and Birmingham. If you’re coming from elsewhere, you’ll probably touch down at Paris Charles de Gaulles; from there, it’s around an hour’s drive to most places in Bonnelles.
  • Trains

    Catch the Eurostar from St Pancras International to Paris Gare Du Nord, then hop onto Metro line 4 (the blue one) to Montparnasse-Bienvenue, where you can take regional services to Rambouillet (the neighboring commune).
  • Automobiles

    If you don’t mind driving yourself, a car will come in handy: there’s plenty to see in the surrounding countryside and public transport’s pretty thin on the ground. The Smith24 team can arrange your hire.