There are many excellent day trips from Paris that you can easily do independently, by public transportation or car, or on a guided tour. All it takes is deciding where you want to go, and how.
While there are many places to visit in Paris, getting out of the city is actually a great way of experiencing a completely different atmosphere. So, once you are done visiting the Louvre, taking in the views from the Eiffel Tower, walking around Montmartre, don’t miss the chance of visiting the surroundings of the city. Getting out of town is very easy. The city is well connected via a web of trains and buses, so no place is truly out of reach.
Curious to discover some great places to visit that are close to Paris? Continue reading!
The Best Day Trips From Paris
Known as the place where all the excesses of the French Monarchy took place, Versailles castle was originally a hunting lodge which was enlarged and embellished upon wishes of Louis XIV, who moved his court there from Paris in an attempt to keep everyone under his control.
The castle is a series of beautifully decorated rooms – you get to see the King’s and the Queen’s apartments, the famous Hall of Mirrors, and the princesses’ apartments too. Each room is decorated with fine paintings, sculptures and furniture, though most of it is reproductions and the originals are now kept at the Louvre.
Together with the palace, you can visit the magnificent gardens – a real work of art with the beautiful fountains. The Trianon Estate can be easily reached from the park. The Grand Trianon was the residence of Napoleon and the Petit Trianon was Queen Marie Antoinette retreat away from Versailles.
Versailles Palace is open every day except Mondays from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. The gardens are open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Get your ticket to Versailles here.
The easiest and cheapest way to get from Paris to Versailles is by RER C. Buy your return ticket directly at the train station in Paris as there often are impossible lines at Versailles station.
Disneyland is the most obvious place for a day trip for families with children – but wait, it is a fun place to visit even for adults!
The park is massive, and actually divided in two parts – Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. It is impossible to go on all rides – you need multiple visits for that. One that you don’t want to miss for a proper adrenaline kick is the Rock’n’Roller Coaster Aerosmith ride – it’s the fastest ride in the park.
Disneyland is located in Marne-la-Vallée, at little over 30 km (18.6 miles) from downtown Paris. You can get there by RER, getting off at Marne-la-Vallée where you will find plenty of signs pointing you in the right direction. Get your Disneyland Paris 1 day ticket here.
Rouen is a perfect place for a day trips. It truly is a charming place to explore – the kind where you can get lost in the narrow alleys, admiring half timbered buildings and the gorgeous cathedral that was painted by Claude Monet. You will be discovering a city that has inspired many an artist; and where Joan of Arc was executed. Make sure to also climb the clock tower for stunning views of the city.
Rouen is located an hour and a half north of Paris, in the region of Normandy. There are two trains per hour leaving from Gare Saint Lazare.
Together with Versailles and Disneyland, Mont Saint-Michel is one of the most popular places for day trips from Paris. This small island is located one km (0.6 miles) off the coast of Normandy. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can go in search of historic buildings, cute little alleys and more. The tides on this coast are massive, and the island can be surrounded by water at certain times of day – either way, it is a gorgeous sight.
Make sure not to skip the Abbey – it is a mighty sight. You can book a self-guided tour of the Abbey here for just €11.
It takes more than 2 hours to get to Mont Saint-Michel from Paris, but it is totally worth it. Take the earliest train available from Gare Montparnasse, get off at Rennes and from there hop on a bus to Mont Saint-Michel. Alternatively you can opt for a day tour departing from Paris such as this one or this one.
Eparnay and the region of Champagne
Can you really go to France and never drink Champagne? You can’t and you shouldn’t! Eparnay and the region of Champagne is an area where you can admire a truly idillic landscape, quaint towns and villages and – most importantly – drink copious amounts of this wonderful drink.
Eparnay is a great place to go as all you need to do is a walk along the central avenue to discover the many tasting rooms.
There are 5 daily trains connecting Paris to Eparnay departing every two hours from Gare de l’Est. The journey takes little over one hour. However, I recommend a guided tour so that you don’t have to worry about driving across the vineyards (there are many) and getting lost, and even less about drinking and driving. You can book it here.
Home of the gorgeous Notre-Dame Cathedral, Reims is the most important one in the Champagne region. Its Cathedral is a real work of art – take care to notice the magnificent stained glass and the intricate interiors. Not far from it, you will find the Palace of Tau, which was the residence of the kings-in-waiting for centuries and now houses the collection of crown jewels. Make sure to also go to Mumm Cellars, one of the most iconic Champagne houses.
The easiest way to get to Reims is by train from Gare de l’Est station. The trip takes around 45 minutes.
World War II and all history geeks will want to visit Normandy. This is actually a very scenic region of France – though very famous for the tragic events of D-Day. A visit will allow you to walk along the famous Omaha Beach, and to visit the Normandy American Cemetery.
The easiest access point to the places of historical significance in Normandy is Bayeux, which can be reached from Paris St. Lazare station in just over 2 hours. The city is a nice place to explore in and of itself, with a beautiful Gothic Cathedral. It takes about 20 minutes to get from Bayeux to Omaha Beach.
The best way to visit Normandy from Paris if you want to make sure you explore all places of historical significance is on a guided day trip. You can book it here.
It’s weird how Chantilly doesn’t get more visitors – it is a truly darling place and very easy to reach from Paris.
The castle and the gardens are truly worth visiting. You can spend the day wondering around the park, floating on the placid lake and visiting the castle. True, it lacks the grandeur of Versailles – but you will be able to enjoy it without any of the crowds. Once you are done exploring the interior, make sure to go outside to see the castle reflected in the lake.
There is a lovely restaurant inside the castle, but if the day is sunny and warm I actually recommend eating in the park!
The quickest and cheapest way to get to Chantilly is by train from Gare du Nord station. There are multiple trains every day and the trip takes no longer than 30 minutes. You can get a ticket to visit the Castle here.
This is a lovely destination for day trips from Paris. It is where the Palace of Fontainebleau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981, is located. Once a medieval palace, this was completely rebuilt and has been a favorite residence escape for many French kings and has also been used by Napoleon.
The palace is absolutely stunning, with beautifully decorated rooms where much of the original furnishings are still in place. There isn’t much else to see in the city but you can combine your visit with that of Vaux-le-Vicomte.
You can easily reach Fontainebleau by train from Paris Gare de Lion station. The journey takes around 40 minutes.
You can get tickets to the Fontainebleau Castle here. For a combined tour of Fontainebleau and Vaux-le-Vicomte from Paris, you may want to consider this one sold on Get Your Guide: it comes with excellent reviews and it is very budget friendly considering the amount of places visited, the fact it includes transportation and a guided tour.
This incredibly scenic village was where Claude Monet lived until his death in 1926. He had a lovely house with a well kept garden that inspired him for his paintings. Needless to say, Monet’s house and studio will be the highlight of your visit. You should be able to also see the Japanese bridge that he often featured in his work.
The easiest and cheapest way to get to Giverny is by train from Gare Saint Lazare. Get off at Vernon. It may be a good idea to join a guided tour to make the most of this marvelous place. You can book it here.
Chateaux Chambord and Chateaux de Chenonceau are two of the most beautiful castles of the Loire Valley that can be visited on day trips from Paris. The region is incredibly scenic and when visiting you will also pass by some lovely vineyards where you can go in for wine tasting.
Though you can easily get to the Loire region by train (trains run regularly and the trip lasts between one and one and a half hour), I actually recommend joining a guided tour that will take you around the region and the various castles and with a guide that will explain you the detailed history, so you can truly make the most of it. For more information, click here.
Provins is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites that can be found near Paris. It is a lovely, lesser visited city that once was the most important in the region of Champagne. You can have fun walking along the ramparts, visiting the underground tunnels and the Tour Cesar, which dates back to the 12th century. If you have time, make sure to also visit the Grange aux Dimes market.
Regular trains to Provins depart from Paris Gare de l’Est station. The journey takes around 90 minutes.
If you feel like you can push yourself a bit further, Bruges is a nice place for day trips from Paris. The city is so pretty and unique that it’s been UNESCO enlisted. You can wonder around the well kept historical center, where some buildings date back to the 12th century.
Trains to Bruge depart from Gare du Nord. The journey takes around 2 and a half hours. If you’d rather go on a guided day trip departing from Paris, you can book this one here. Once in Bruges, you can opt for a guided tour. You can book it here.
Brussels is an interesting city with a lot to offer and you won’t have time to get bored during your visit. Make sure to visit the Notre Dame du Sablon church, which dates back to the 14th century, the Atomium, the Grand Palace and the Palais Royal. I also recommend trying some local specialties – fries are really delicious here, and you won’t have a hard time finding literally the best chocolate in the world.
Thalys trains to Brussels leave from Paris Gare du Nord. The overall journey is around one hour and 40 minutes.
London is such a big city that I am honestly reluctant to recommend it as a place for day trips from Paris. But if you have limited time in Europe, you may as well go and make the most of it.
You won’t have shortage of things to do and places to visit in London. Among the attractions I recommend there are the London Eye, which will give you incredible birds-eye view of London, the Tower of London and the nearby Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey and / or St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The Eurostar leaves from Paris Gare du Nord and leaves you in London Victoria Station. The first one goes at 6:00 am so try to take that to ensure that you have enough time to explore the city. The last train from Victoria departs at 8:00 pm.
Make sure to read my other posts about Paris and its attractions:
- The Best Paris Travel Tips
- A Week In Paris Itinerary: What To See And Do
- A Wonderful Itinerary For 5 Days In Paris
- A Fantastic Itinerary To See Paris In 4 Days
- Paris In 3 Days: A Great Itinerary To Make The Most Of It
- A Fabulous Itinerary For 2 Days In Paris
- The Perfect Itinerary To See Paris In A Day
- A Guide To The 5 Best Cities To Visit In France
- Eight Incredibly Smart Ways To Get Musee D’Orsay Tickets And Skip The Lines
- How To Avoid The Most Common Paris Scams
- Where To Get The Most Impressive Views Of Paris
- How To Get From Charles De Gaulle Airport CDG To Paris