Conflans-Sainte-Honorine is both a town and a suburb of Paris, lying to the north west of the city centre within easy reach of major public transport facilities. It is located on the north bank of the Seine River and the east bank of the Oise River and was originally named Conflans because it lies at the confluence of the two rivers. The ‘Sainte Honorine’ was added in the 13th century in tribute to Saint Honorina and her relics had been stored in the town since the latter part of the 9th century. The town has long been an important part of French shipping, revered as the capital of the inland waterways, something which makes it a natural port of call on a number of Seine river cruises but the main reason people visit is to visit the nearby Palace of Versailles.
Conflans-Sainte-Honorine is home to some exceedingly pleasant streets and intricate barges, making it the perfect place for a laid-back walking tour if you feel like taking things at your own pace.
The principal appeal it holds for the vast majority of river cruisers however, is that it acts as their gateway to Versailles, the western area of Paris that is home to the famed Palace of the same name, a breath-taking castle with stunning design throughout both the building itself and its beautiful gardens. It’s known in France as the Chateaux of Versailles, so it’s important to not get confused that they are two separate buildings. The palace has a long and illustrious history but perhaps its most notable moment was when it became the venue for the famous peace treaty of the same name which ended the First World War. The palace is always an extremely popular place to visit, so it’s important to book an excursion beforehand if you want to experience it for yourself. As you would imagine, the interiors are a gold-gilded delight and utterly befitting of the monarchy. The whole complex is a delight, but particular highlights include the Grand apartments and the king’s retreat, the Grand Trianon.
It’s not just Versailles which is the subject of excursions from Conflans, however. During your time in port, it’s also possible to visit Auvers-sur-Oise, a commune which was the retreat of numerous artists, including Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Cezanne. The Château de Malmaison is another popular choice, a charming country house which was briefly the headquarters of the French government in the early 19th century and the former home of Napoleon Bonaparte.
As most river cruisers who visit Conflans are there on route to Versailles, it is a great place to relax if you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy some time to yourself, soaking up a little authentic French atmosphere.