City living is great but every now and then, you just need a breath of fresh air. Fortunately, escaping to the countryside is a piece of cake, even if, like me, you don't have a car. Yesterday, I spent the day hiking in a big circle starting and ending in Ozoir-la-Ferrière, a town technically suburban but feeling quite rural, some 20 miles southeast of central Paris. Within minutes of disembarking from the RER E, we were deep in the woods and walking along paths laid out for bikers, hikers, and those on horseback. Every now and then, the forest cleared and a crossroads appeared.
We saw some deer, a frog, a snake, geese, a mole, and maybe an otter during our walk but very few people. And even more remarkably, after lunch, we came upon a bona fide chateau, built by the Rothschild family in the mid 19th century.
And that's how you know, even though the flora and fauna are reminiscent of places I've lived in the U.S, that you are not in Kansas anymore.