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Prieuré island in L’Isle-Adam
Val d’Oise, Île-de-France

Serenity, fulfilment, and relaxation define the oasis of greenery which has shaped Prieuré, one of the three inhabited islands of L’Isle-Adam, on the Oise River, and an inspiration to so many Impressionists. Inhabited since the year 1000, the island is now home to a public garden that is conducive to dreaming and contemplation.
© François Benedetti

Prieuré island in L’Isle-Adam Val d’Oise, Île-de-France 15
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The town which Balzac called his “heaven on earth” is located 30 km from Paris. It is called L’Isle-Adam. With bucolic, romantic landscapes, the small town on the banks of the Oise River is a refuge of charm, peace, and gentle living. L’Isle-Adam castle, which used to be on Prieuré Island, crowned the town’s historic heritage. Over time, it has belonged to several powerful families, such as the Adam, to whom the castle owes its name, the Villiers, the Montmorency, the Condé, and the Conti. The land was consequently covered in beautiful properties and manors, turning L’Isle-Adam into the bourgeois town that attracted so many artists in the 19th century.But most unexpected is the presence of France’s largest riverside beach.Designed in the 19th century by Henri Supplice, under the direction of his architect, Eugène Du Pinet, it starts near the train station. White and green cabins, renovated in 2015, are dotted around the beach and its two swimming pools. Today, this small town between the Oise River and the forest continues to draw Parisians in pursuit of tranquillity.