Paris is a hustling, bustling city filled with wonder, major attractions, and lots of activity. If you have more than a few days to explore the city, we would highly encourage you to choose one or two of the best day trips from Paris to escape the city and explore what the other areas nearby have to offer. Options to add to your Paris itinerary include beautiful castles, charming villages, historical locations, and wine tasting adventures.
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Paris Day Trips
- Chateau de Chantilly
- Loire Valley
- Mont Saint Michel
- Bruges, Belgium
- Brussels, Belgium
- Chateau de Fontainebleau
- London, England
- Disneyland Paris
- Chateau de Versailles
- Antwerp, Belgium
All of these Paris day trips are accessible by train and many of them as group or private tours if you would prefer a guided visit. A few are best accessed with a rented car for convenience and saving travel time and those are noted below.
Best Day Trips from Paris by Train
Chateau de Chantilly
The breathtakingly beautiful Chateau de Chantilly is located just 50km from Paris which makes it an ideal destination for a day trip from the capital. The stunning chateau and grounds are both peaceful and picturesque which offer some serenity away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Chateau de Chantilly site comprises of a range of buildings and attractions including Le Petit Chateau, Le Grand Chateau, the Musée Condé and the Chantilly Racecourse. The two original Chateaux were built for Duke Anne de Montmorency but the Grand Chateau was unfortunately destroyed during the French Revolution. Thankfully, Henri d’Orléans decided to have the chateau rebuilt in the late 19th century allowing us to enjoy its beauty once more.
Chateau de Chantilly offers a variety of things to do from equestrian performances and garden displays to works of art in the museum and, of course, flat horse racing such as the Prix de Diane which is run at Chantilly. Visitors can also enjoy daily tours of the chateaux and grounds to learn more about the history of the site and the interesting items on display. If you happen to be visiting France in June, you might want to enjoy the “Nuits de Feu”, an international fireworks competition held in the grounds of the Chateau!
Chateau de Chantilly is easily accessible from Paris with train running frequently from Gare du Nord to the Chantilly-Gouvieux station which lies around 15 minutes from the Chateau grounds. From the station the Chateau is well signposted so you can’t miss it.
by Chrysoula from Historic European Castles
Only 200 kilometres away from the French capital, the Loire Valley is one of the best day trips from Paris to experience the best of France. From visiting stunning castles to tasting delicious wines, there’s a lot to do in this UNESCO World Heritage region.
Driving to the Loire Valley or joining a tour is the best option when visiting as a day trip from Paris. Should you wish to use public transport, the train is also a feasible option. It will take you to Tours in 35 minutes, Blois in 1.5hrs and Amboise in 1hrs40. These are all lovely historic towns to explore, but you’ll have to catch a bus or another train to get closer to the most famous castles.
The Loire Valley is mostly renowned for its stunning castles. Chenonceau and Chambord always come first to mind, but there are thousands of others castles in the Loire Valley.
If you are driving, you’ll get to explore the beautiful French countryside. You’ll pass in some lovely villages and reputed towns that will make you feel like you went back in time.
A French experience wouldn’t be complete without wine. The Loire Valley region is also famous for its reputed white wines, such as Muscadet, Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé.
by Eloise from My Favourite Escapes
Mont Saint Michel
From Paris, traveling to Mont St Michel will make for a long, but well worthwhile and unforgettable day trip. The abbey and monastery here, although it gives the appearance of a magical castle, is a world-renowned UNESCO World-Heritage island. The bay adds another layer of mystery to the experience as the whole landscape and abbey access changes with the tide.
The main street, La Grande Rue, in the small village within the walls is charming to walk through as well. After visiting the monastery, don’t miss La Chapelle-Saint-Aubert, as this quaint chapel is a hidden gem within the abbey walls.
You can take a TGV train from Paris’ Gare Montparnasse station and depart at Rennes. Then you can hop on a bus Mont St. Michel outside of the train station on the right. The whole trip will take just over 3 hours each way. If you would prefer to let someone else handle the transportation, there are one-day tours to Mont Saint Michel available.
You may decide to stay the night so that you can experience this beautiful place after the rest of the tourists leave. Evening and morning are definitely the most beautiful places on the island!
by Sierra from Free to Travel Mama
Full of history and beautiful architecture, Rouen is one of my favourite cities to visit in Normandy. I had the pleasure of exploring the city several years ago and would happily visit it again.
From Paris St Lazare station you can catch one of the 29 trains a day, and in just over an hour you’ll find yourself at the Rouen-Rive Droite station. When you depart the station be sure to look back so you don’t miss its architecture.
From the station the historic core of Rouen is within easy walking distance and will take you to all the main sights of the city.
A few “don’t miss” places I’d recommend are:
- The majestic Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen that took over 400 years to construct and has captured artists’ (and visitors’) attention for centuries. Monet painted it numerous times and visitors will love the wonderful views of Rouen from the top.
- Le Gros-Horloge (Great Clock) houses the city bells and is made up of a Gothic belfry, Renaissance archway and a beautiful ornate clock face. You can go inside to learn more about the clock and peek out the windows for great views of the half-timbered buildings in the streets below.
- The Vieux-Marché where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, but today is a pretty area to wander around for shops and cafés and to visit a unique church named in her honour.
For those looking for a mix of Gothic architecture, half-timbered buildings, impressive churches, and delicious food, I’d highly recommend adding a day trip to Rouen to your travel plans. I found it to be just the right size to explore its sights while still leaving enough time for a leisurely lunch of a delicious savoury galette and a mid-afternoon stop for gelato.
by Lee and Stacy from One Trip at a Time
A quick 1h-1h30 min train ride from Paris Gare du Nord, Lille is a charming little city that can be easily visited in a day. The cobbled stoned old town is a delight to visit. It has beautiful Baroque architecture, dating back centuries and amazing squares great for a lazy stroll. If you’re into classical art, Palais des Beaux-Arts is second only to Louvre in size and you can easily spend a good few hours here. But wait until you see the old stock exchange! This building is the highlight of the city and consists of 24 houses organized around a beautiful courtyard. In the courtyard you’ll find chess players, flower stalls, and plenty of joie de vivre.
If you travel with kids, stop by the Parc Zoologique (free entry). This is one of the most visited attractions in all of France. If you like contemporary art, stop by LaM where you’ll be able to admire thousands of works of art produced in the past century or so. Oh, and before you return to Paris, you might want to pay a visit to the house where Charles de Gaulle was born.
Lille is particularly charming at Christmas time, and you’ll find lots of ornate streets and even a beautiful (and delicious) seasonal market here. So if you’re looking for the best Christmas markets in Europe, know that Lille is up there with the best of them and reason enough to visit this French city in December.
by Laura from Travelers Universe
Bruges is a lovely canal city that is almost too charming to be true. Easily accessible from Paris by taking the Thalys train from Gare de Nord with a quick stop in Brussles, you can get here within about 2 1/2 hours.
Approach the cobblestone streets with wonder and hop on a canal boat ride at Rozenhoedkai. No matter how touristy, you just can’t miss this sweet ride through the waterways under bridges and with views of unique architecture and a brief guided history lesson. The location where the canal boats depart is also the most photographed area in all of Bruges. When you see how charming it is, you will agree that it is not overrated!
You can climb the belfry in the center of the Markt Square to get a sweeping panoramic of the city with its colorful buildings and horse drawn carriage rides. Don’t worry, it is only 336 steps and well worth the view! Take a bike ride toward Damme with rented bikes if you have the time. The ride along the canal is peaceful as you make your way toward the beautiful windmills.
Lastly, don’t forget to top off this fairy tale Paris day trip to Bruges with tasty Belgian treats, like french fries (with mayo!) from the cart under the belfry, Belgian chocolates from one of the many chocolatiers that line the streets, and of course a waffle from Fred’s topped with ice cream and strawberries!
by Sierra from Free to Travel Mama
Colmar, in the heart of the Alsace region of France, is an easy day trip from Paris. Hop on a train at Paris Gare de Lyon and you can be in Colmar in 2h 51mins. Try to get a direct train as these are quicker. Alternatively, change at Strasbourg for a longer journey, but then perhaps visit both cities in one day? Trains are frequent, leaving approximately every 20 minutes.
From Colmar’s charming train station, it is an easy ten-minute walk to the Old Town. Starting by taking a stroll around La Petite Venise (Little Venice), Colmar’s beating heart. Half-timbered buildings line cobblestoned streets, their candy colours reflected in the canals that lace through this area of the city.
Stop for lunch in Colmar’s 14th Century covered market ((Marché Couvert). One of the highlights of this region of France is its cuisine, so why not try a Tarte Flambée – “Alsace Pizza” – washed down with local Pinot Noir?
After lunch, take a 30-minute boat ride along Colmar’s canals. Buy your ticket from La Krutenau restaurant where Rue Turenne meets Quai de la Poissonnerie. The embarkation point is adjacent to the restaurant.
For the art-lovers amongst you, don’t get the train back to Paris without checking out Martin Schongauer’s masterpiece, Madonna of the Rose Bush (1473) in the Dominican Church.
Finally, if you are visiting in late November / December, shop for festive souvenirs and drink mulled wine in one of Colmar’s Christmas markets, among the finest in Europe. In 2019, these open for business on 22nd November and close down on 29th December.
by Bridget from The Flashpacker
The best thing about travelling in Europe is that distances aren’t very large, meaning you can easily travel from Paris to Brussels, another European capital, in just one hour’s time. That is if you take a (rather expensive) high-speed train, but even by bus or car you can cover the distance quickly in a total time of about 3 hours. When researching the cheapest way to travel between Paris and Brussels, you’ll find that buses usually offer the best deals, followed by car-sharing option like BlaBlaCar.
So what makes Brussels a great day trip from Paris? First of all, it’s the capital of Belgium, so that’s another country you can tick off your travel bucket list. Secondly, it’s a city that’s teeming with interesting places to visit. Most of them are situated in the city center within walking distance of each other. You could easily draw up in itinerary connecting Grand Place, Galeries Royales, Place Sainte-Catherine, Manneken Pis, Mont des Arts and the Royal Palace and walk from one place to another. Thirdly, Brussels has some of the best food and drinks. While exploring the city, make sure to try some waffles, fries and chocolate, then wash it all down with a delicious Belgian beer!
by Sophie from Bitten by the Bug
Chateau de Fontainebleau
Everyone knows Versailles and its magnificent palace, but have you ever heard of Chateau de Fontainebleau? Like Versailles, it is one of the most beautiful castles in France, but it is also less crowded with tourists and still a little off the beaten path. Fontainebleau is 55 kilometers from Paris. You can get to Fontainebleau from Paris in less than one hour by taking a train from Gare de Lyon.
The main attraction in Fontainebleau is, of course, its castle. Already in the 12th century, there was a fortified castle in Fontainebleau. In the 15th and 16th centuries, modifications and embellishments were carried out, which made this castle a beautiful Renaissance Château, where many kings stayed. Make sure to admire the beautifully decorated Gallery of Francis I and the throne room (which used to be the bedroom of the kings of France). The castle has also been an important location in history. You can visit the table where Napoleon signed his abdication before he went into exile to Elba and Napoleon’s apartments.
Although you can easily spend half a day in Fontainebleau, you can also combine the castle with a trip to Forêt de Fontainebleau, which is one of the most beautiful forests in the region. Perfect if you want to escape busy Paris.
by Sanne from Veni Vidi
Chateau de Versailles
Many visitors consider a day trip to the Palace of Versailles a must on their first trip to Paris. The royal grandeur of the Palace, the exquisite symmetry of the gardens, the stunning view and notable history of the Hall of Mirrors are all reasons to make sure Versailles makes its way into your itinerary.
Traveling to Versailles is a quick train ride from Paris. About 45 minutes after boarding the RER C, you will depart the station and follow the crowds on a 10 minute walk to the Palace gates.
If you wish to avoid the lines at Versailles, I highly recommend booking the King Louis XIV’s Apartment Tour for an additional 10 euro over the regular Passport entry ticket. By doing this, you will enter through another entrance and avoid the long security line. You will enter from the Ministers North Wing in the Courtyard of Honour on the right when you spot the A & B entrances. After the tour, if you continue to tour the Palace and then go the gardens last, you can avoid going through the long security line completely.
The gardens are one of the highlights of the day, and certain days of the week provide musical fountain shows throughout the day. Don’t skip the Queen’s Hamlet in the Trianon. It was our favorite part of the grounds and a perfect peaceful spot to soak in the beauty of the area and the history of the royal family!
by Sierra from Free to Travel Mama
Less than a two hour train ride from Paris gets you into central Lyon and you can easily take a taxi or Uber into the old medieval district.
The old town is well preserved with historic buildings, large squares and a grand cathedral with stunning views of the entire city and river. It is a beautiful area and photogenic site along with areas along the riverfront area and even the other side which contains grander boulevards, squares and walking promenades through other historic areas of the city. Lyon is a manageable version of Paris with rivers, fantastic architecture and historical monuments along with wonderful promenades and the incredible lifestyle in this very livable city.
For more inspiration and images, check out this post on a first impression of Lyon here for more details and planning your day trip to Lyon, France.
by Noel from Travel Photo Discovery
If you want to take relief from the noisy and crowdy French capital, one of the best day trips from Paris for you will be visiting a small village located around 35 km from the city – Auvers-sur-Oise.
We might say that this tiny town looks like ordinary lovely French suburbs. But Auvers-sur-Oise has it’s mystery. The mystery of last weeks of Vincent Van Gogh’s life.
The painter spent his last summer in Auvers-sur-Oise, taking relief from psychiatric treatment under the watchful eye of his trusted doctor. Unfortunately, he died unexpectedly from a gunshot wound in the stomach. We used to believe it was a suicide but some historical facts indicate an unfortunate accident.
No matter if it’s true or not, Auvers-sur-Oise is a town worth visiting. There, you’ll face real scenes from Van Gogh’s paintings by following a dedicated path. The trail is marked with metal medallions fitted in the ground. It’ll lead you from the auberge where the painter used to live, through his painting spots, up to the cemetery among the golden fields where you’ll find his tomb.
This meaningful trip to Auvers-sur-Oise will be a great extension to your Parisian experience. The town is easy to reach via train H from Gare du Nord during around 1-hour trip (Google Maps will give you precise directions).
The Van Gogh’s trail in the town is free of charge, and the entrance to his tiny room where he passed away costs 6€, including a short movie show and a tour guide telling the story of the painter’s life. If you’ll be lucky and the auberge downstairs will be open, you’ll have the possibility to try Van Gogh’s favorite meals. Visiting Auvers-sur-Oise is kind of mysterious experience which you’ll never forget.
by Dominika from Sunday in Wonderland
Visiting London from Paris as a day trip is completely feasible thanks to the Eurostar trains. Trains from Paris Gare du Nord station to London St Pancras are quite frequent and take an average 2 h 16 min.
A great time to do a day trip is in the winter, as Christmas in London is so magical. There are a lot of pop up events and attractions, that you can only experience in the festive season. However, of course, London has a lot to offer any time of the year.
When you arrive in London, I suggest going straight to Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station if you are a Harry Potter fan. It is only a short walk from the station where your train arrives. If this is your first time in London, you will probably want to see the most famous attractions, like the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, London Eye and the Parliament. A good thing is that you can cover quite a lot in London despite its huge size. These landmarks are all close to each other and you can easily walk, take the tube or hop on a famous double-decker bus.
There are lots of other things to do, which are off the beaten path in London. Sky Garden is the perfect place to get 360 views of the city. You will need to book tickets ahead online, but they are free. Primrose Hill is another hidden gem in the city with lovely views. You can walk to Camden Town after that for some delicious street food. It is a very unique place in the city, which is well worth a visit.
By Eniko from Travel Hacker Girl
A Disneyland Paris day trip from Paris is a really easy day trip with kids. The cheapest method of getting to Disneyland Paris from Paris is to catch the direct RER train from central Paris to the Disneyland stop at Marne la Vallee!
If you can purchase tickets in advance it is advisable as it will save you queuing on arrival. Top Disneyland Paris tip: Please note that there are actually two parks at Disneyland Paris and if you only have one day I would recommend sticking to one park only! Even if you have visited other Disney parks around the world it is worth visiting from Paris as there are lots of unique and very French attractions – from riding Ratatouille in the Studios Park to visiting the dragon under the castle at the main park! There’s something new at this park even for the most ardent Disney fan!
Be sure to grab your fast passes on arrival to help you make the most of your day as some of the queues can get pretty long. Be sure to stick around for the parade and, if possible, for the amazing illuminations that come on at park closing!
By Leona from Wandermust Family
Strasbourg is one of the most beautiful cities in France, and it’s possible to travel by train from Paris in less than 2 hours. The high-speed train takes you to Strasbourg in just 1 hour and 46 minutes, and tickets can be bought directly at the station.
There are many reasons to visit Strasbourg, and it’s a popular university town as well as one of the capitals of the European Union. The historic town center has also been designated the status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Petite-France is very picturesque and charming with old traditional half-timbered houses. The oldest house is known as Tanner’s house and dates back to 1572. The whole area of Petite-France is very well-preserved and it’s lovely to see the old buildings.
Another feature of Strasbourg is the many canals that you can stroll around. The summertime is the best time to visit, but there are things to do all year round. It’s easy to walk around the town, and you can reach the historic quarter in some 15 minutes by foot from the train station.
Palais Rohan and the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg are two of the most impressive buildings, and should definitely not be missed while visiting Strasbourg.
by Alex from Swedish Nomad
Epernay, home to the Avenue de Champagne, is perfect day trip from Paris. Located just 130 kilometers from France’s capital, Epernay can be easily reached from Paris by train in just over 1 hour. Once in Epernay, the Avenue de Champagne is a literal street of the who’s who in Champagne, and a short walk from the Epernay train station. One after another, some of the world’s most famous Champagne houses line both sides of the Avenue de Champagne and top Champagne producers like Moët & Chandon can be visited by pre-booking a guided tour. But it’s not only big producers that you can visit – small, family-run Champagne houses like Janisson-Baradon et Fils are also worth a look for a contrasting view of how major vs. small producers do things differently.
Guided tours of Champagne houses take guests for a look into the cellars where France’s famous sparkling wine ferments and ages inside the bottles to give Champagne the oh-so-delightful bubbles the world has come to love. It’s fascinating to discover how the wine is fermented and turned into sparkling wine, before finally finishing the visit with a tasting. Jennifer and Tim, American expats who call France home, recommend planning to visit two Champagne houses, having lunch and taking time for a little walk around the town of Epernay for the perfect way to spend a day in Champagne.
by Jennifer and Tim from Luxe Adventure Traveler
Normandy Landing Beaches
If you are interested in history, especially WW2, you need to visit the D-Day landing beaches in Normandy. This is one of the most popular day trips from Paris but also a long day with many stops. That’s why we recommend doing the Normandy Beaches day trip with your own car or through a guided tour. The latest usually comes with a knowledgeable English speaking guide who makes your experience even more interesting.
After a long ride from Paris, the trip usually starts in Caen, a city which was badly damaged during the Caen Battle. In Caen, there is a beautiful memorial and museum (Caen Memorial) which tells the history of the conflict, WW2 and the post-war consequences. In the museum, there’s a room dedicated to the D-Day landing and also visitors can watch a short documentary on it.
Usually, the next stop is Pointe du Hoc, one of the spots which saw more victims. This is a beautiful and wild place on the cliffs of Normandy, heavily transformed by the bomb holes and underground bunkers. Finally, there are the D-day landing beaches. The beaches are 5 in total: Utah, Omaha, and Gold (used by Americans) Juno beach (the Canadians’ target) and Sword invaded by the British. Along the way, it is also possible to visit small museums and even some remains from the WW2 like tanks or bunkers. Finally don’t miss the American cemetery, near Omaha beach. This is the most emotional part of the trip.
Contributed by Elisa from France Bucket List
Giverny is a beautiful day trip from Paris. This cute small town is located in the region of Normandy at less than 1 hour drive from the capital.
In Giverny, there is the house-studio of the impressionist painter Claude Monet, where he lived and worked the last years of his life. While the house was for the use of all Monet’s family, the painter used the studio to work and isolate himself. In the studio, he also received potential clients or important guests to show them their work.
The buildings are surrounded by beautiful gardens, with a water lilies pond. These gardens were designed and entertained by the painter himself and they were Monet’s source of inspiration and object of some of his most famous masterworks. Monet’s gardens are worldwide known and thousands of people visit Giverny every year mainly to see these beautiful gardens.
Monet’s house and gardens are open from 22 March until 1st November. The easiest way to go from Paris to Giverny on a day trip is by car (68 Km, 48 minute drive) but it is also possible by public transportation. From Gare Saint Lazare in Paris 8 take a train to Vernon (48 min ride). At the exit of Vernon train station, there’s a bus shuttle which takes visitors to Monet’s house.
Contributed by Norbert from World in Paris
Only two hours away from Paris lies the beautiful riverfront city of Antwerp. While Brussels might feel too big and Bruges too picture perfect (yes it is charming, but try dodging the thousands of tourists), Antwerp is the most amazing mix of a stunning tourist destination and a multicultural
down-to earth lived in city.
When you hop off the Thalys take some time to admire the Central Station. This impressive building from 1905 has a steel platform covering and was crowned ‘the most beautiful station in the world’ several times. Once you head outside, don’t bother hanging around the station neighbourhood too
long. Walk straight ahead until you reach the pedestrian shopping lane De Meir. If you don’t feel like hitting up some big brand stores, keep walking towards the old city center or take a detour in the Rubens Museum. The area between the Groenplaats and the Grote Markt is the historic center and you’ll love exploring the small cobblestone streets (don’t forget de Vlaeykesgang, a hidden passage that will transport you right back into the Middle Ages).
Once you’ve filled up your thirst for history, it’s time to head towards your next destination. You can either choose to discover the area around Het MAS. Wander around the docks, take a look at the boats and get up to the rooftop of the Museum (it’s free!) for a nice view of the city. Alternatively, head towards the pedestrian Sint-Annatunnel and walk underneath the river De Schelde towards Antwerp’s left bank where you can find a green area with playgrounds and walk all the way to Sint Anneke Strand.
Don’t forget to pick up some Belgian presents (chocolates!) before you travel back to Paris.
by Babs from Travel Gear for Kids
Paris Day Trips
The options for Paris day trips are numerous whether you choose to take the train, rent a car and drive yourself, or take a guided tour. Choose from relaxing along a canal, getting lost in charming village streets, experiencing the culture of a nearby European country, sipping wine in a French vineyard, or taking in the grandeur of a palace. Take the time to fit one or two into your Paris itinerary, and I promise you won’t regret it! Au Revoir!
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