Picture the Marne valley. Landscapes which Pissarro, Cézanne, Utrillo and Pinal immortalised in their paintings. But nowadays much of the Marne valley east of Paris is unremittingly urban, with the huge new city of Marne-la-Vallée spreading across the floor of the valley and creeping up the hillsides beyond.
There is one obvious reason why the traveller from afar might head for Marne-la-Vallée. For it is home to that most distinctly un-French of destinations, Eurodisney, where devotees of fast food, American make-believe and quick thrills can enjoy an expensive escape from the reality of suburban Paris. Few of the visitors to Eurodisney bother to explore Marne-la-Vallée itself, which is a pity, for the city has some landmark buildings.