Île-de-France, literally “Island of France,” is a compact region immediately surrounding Paris, and includes the far-flung suburbs of the Paris metropolis, along with many large surrounding towns that form part of the larger conurbation. It has a land area of 12,011 square kilometres (4,637 square miles). It is the most prosperous (the fourth-largest economy in the world and the wealthiest and largest regional economy in in Europe) and most populated (estimate of 11,978,363 inhabitants as of 2013) of the 27 administrative regions of France. It is also referred to as the Région Parisienne ("Paris Region" in English) or RP. It is comprised of eight administrative departments: Paris, Essonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Seine-et-Marne, Val-de-Marne, Val-d'Oise, and Yvelines. The climate in Île-de-France is almost the same with England and western Germany, only it has warmer summers and milder winters and receives less rain than England.
What to see & do
It’s a no-brainer that many of the sites worth checking out in the region are concentrated in Paris. Go on a museum trip using the Paris Museum Pass, which allows entry into more than 70 museums and monuments around the City of Lights, as well as the Palace of Versailles. See the city’s well-known landmarks such as Arc de Triomphe, Catacombs, the Eiffel Tower, Grand Arche de la Defense, Notre Dame Cathedral, Chateau de Versailles, Opera Garnier, Pantheon, and Sainte Chapelle, among others. A hidden gem can be found in Avenue du Général de Gaulle. It is called Le Musée Fragonard, a veterinary museum that also functions as a natural history museum, housing numerous medical oddities, mostly of animals, but also of real human specimens. In fact, it holds Fragonard's original human preservation (wax- not plastic) including the famous "horseman of the apocalypse".
How to get around Île-de-France
One thing that travellers going to the region must know is that the public transport fares are set using a system of concentric fare zones radiating from the Paris’ city centre, and are implemented with paper and/or electronic tickets. The prices are determined by the regional autorité organisatrice de transports ("Regional Transport Organisational Authority"). Most of the public transport in Paris is operated by RATP. A network of regional trains crosses Paris, connecting suburbs on opposite sides. Thalys and Eurostar offer high-speed train services several times a day. There are also several cycle lanes on routes into Paris, so biking around is possible, although be careful as there are drivers than can be inconsiderate. If you’re planning on driving a car, know that there are many free Autoroutes and four lane roads at your disposal. Peak hours are between 8:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., and also 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
How to get there
One of the world’s principal aviation centres is located in Paris, the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, also known as Roissy Airport. It is the largest international airport in France. It is served by numerous airlines such as Aer Lingus, Air France, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern Airlines, Delta Air Lines, easyJet, EgyptAir, Emirates, Finnair, EVA Air, Etihad Airways, Iberia Express, Jet Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Livingston, Luxair, Niki, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Saudia, Sunexpress, TAM Airlines, United Airlines, Vueling, WOW air, and Yemenia, to and from various destinations within the country and around the globe.