Paris is not only one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, but it’s also a great base for discovering France and some of the neighbouring countries as well. If you’re planning to visit Paris and you have a few extra days, consider yourself lucky, as you can find many amazing sights around the city. If you need some ideas, here’s a list about the best day trips from Paris!
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Best Day Trips from Paris
Are you looking for the best day trips from Paris but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, I got you covered! In this article you will find all the best destinations to visit from Paris together with a bunch of useful recommendations about the best things to do in each location and lots of other insider tips. Let’s get into it!
1. Palace of Versailles
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As one of the most famous palaces around the world, the Palace of Versailles makes a great day trip from Paris. The palace can easily entertain you for days with its extended park grounds, smaller residences and beautiful gardens.
The Versailles palace as we know it today was constructed by Louis XIV, better known as the Sun King. After him the most important addition was the impressive opera house you should definitely see during your visit. It was home to the last French king and his wife Marie Antoinette who loved organizing extravagant parties and enjoy life to the fullest. We all know that didn’t end well for the couple during the French revolution.
Versailles is now one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in France. The royal apartments are stunning, the famous Hall of Mirrors is a gem and the smaller residences in the park are a must as well. The park is home to some smaller palaces – the Grand and Petit Trianon – and to a Hamlet created for Marie Antoinette to play dress up as a shepherdess in a surreal idyllic village.
It’s only a 45-minute drive from the Paris city center to the palace, so joining an organized tour isn’t necessary if you have a rental car or Uber app. The nearest train station is Versailles Château Rive Gauche. Train tickets are cheap and the ride takes about an hour.
The palace is open from 9 am, except for Mondays. Note that some park highlights like the Trianon only open in the afternoon. Access to the gardens is free, but a ticket for the palace and the sights at the estate will cost you 20 EUR (23 USD) per person – or more if you book a ticket during specific events like the fountain shows.
2. Disneyland Paris
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Disneyland is one of the most popular day trips from Paris, for a good reason! Even if you’re an adult and you’re traveling without kids, you will enjoy spending your day at one of the parks in Disneyland.
There are actually two different parks located right next to each other: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. It’s possible to visit both parks in just one day if you only try some of the best rides, but you can also decide to visit only one. In this case I would recommend to choose Disneyland Park as it is bigger and more interesting than the other one.
Ticket prices vary based on the number of parks you want to visit and the selected dates. If you want to visit only one park, you can get a ticket between 59-82 EUR (70-105 USD), while visiting both parks will cost you between 79-109 EUR (94-130 USD). Try to visit during the week as tickets for weekdays are cheaper and the parks are a lot less crowded than on the weekends. If you have more time, you can also purchase a multi-day ticket and stay at one of the hotels at Disneyland.
The easiest option to visit Disneyland from Paris is to take the RER A train which departs from Gare de Lyon Paris and goes directly to Disneyland. The journey takes around 1 hour and since Disneyland is located in Zone 5, if you have a Navigo Pass or a day ticket for all the 5 zones, the fare is already included in your pass. If you want to make the train ride even more fun, make sure to check out this Disney Quiz that you can play on the way to Disneyland with your friends or family!
3. Château de Chantilly
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The town of Chantilly makes a great day trip from Paris. Chantilly is located 50 km (30 miles) north of the French capital and it is very easy to reach by direct train from Paris Gare du Nord (it is a 25-minute ride).
Chantilly is best known for the fairy-tale Château of Chantilly, one of the best castles near Paris. Unlike Château de Versailles or Château de Fontainebleau, Chantilly is not a royal castle but its setting is so picturesque and the surrounding gardens so beautiful that it makes a great alternative to the most famous castles.
The current building was commissioned in the 19th century by Henri d’Orleans, Duke of Daumale and grandson of King Louis-Philippe I, to replace a medieval construction which was totally destroyed during the French Revolution. Henri d’Orléans was the greatest art collector of his time and used his new home to showcase all his artworks to the point that Chantilly is today the second largest collection of antique paintings after the Louvre.
After visiting the castle take a stroll around the beautiful French-style gardens. The gardens were designed by André Le Notre, the same landscape designer of Versailles Gardens. The gardens include huge mirrors of waters, many fountains, and classical sculptures.
Château de Chantilly is open every day except Tuesday. The ticket costs 15.30 EUR (18 USD) and includes also the visit to the Great Stables.
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Giverny is one of the most beautiful places in all of France. It was Claude Monet’s final home and he transformed the land into two stunning gardens. The Claude Monet Foundation turned the gardens into a tourist attraction and now they are the most popular (and basically only) thing to do in Giverny.
The gardens are only open from mid-March through November, so you’ll have to strategically plan your trip to Paris if you want to experience them. Admission is only 8 EUR (9.3 USD) if you purchase your ticket onsite at the ticket booth. You can also purchase your tickets online, but there is a 3 EUR (3.5 USD) processing fee on top of the base ticket price.
To get from Paris to Giverny, you simply need to take a 45-minute train ride. Trains to Giverny depart every hour from Saint-Lazare Paris train station. Once you arrive in Giverny, you have to take a short shuttle bus to the gardens. There is always a bus waiting at the train station, so you’ll have no problem finding it.
Monet’s gardens are becoming more and more popular, and they are more crowded now than they were in the past. That doesn’t take away from the experience though! But if you want to avoid the crowds as much as possible, make sure to be at the Giverny train station at 9:15am to get on the first shuttle to the gardens.
Once you’re done touring Monet’s Gardens, consider taking the time to stroll through the village of Vernon. There are a few restaurants to grab lunch at, they’re delicious and a great way to relax before hopping on a train back to Paris.
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Rouen is a beautiful French city located not far from Paris. It’s actually the capital of the northern French region of Normandy, and it’s such a unique place. There are many brilliant things to do in Rouen and the city perfectly blends modern architecture and old town charm to produce a place that’s oozing culture and beauty.
Rouen is located only 1 hour and 30 minutes from Paris via train, and there are around 28 trains per day, making it a perfect day trip from Paris! You could also drive, but that might take a little longer with the typical Paris traffic.
When you arrive at Rouen you’ll have lots to see and do. Start by visiting the beautiful Gothic style cathedral which is free to enter and very beautiful. Then take a trip to the Gothic Church (Church Of Saint-Maclou) which again is free to enter. After that you should wander the cobbled streets and join a historic walking route throughout the old town. You’ll discover lots of charming buildings and historic areas, including the Church of St Joan of Arc.
Rouen is also home to well priced restaurants and beautiful flower gardens. One of the most popular is Jardin des Plantes de Rouen which even has a boating lake and features flowers and plants from all 5 continents.
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For travellers looking for a radical departure from the bustle of the big city in Paris, a day trip to the medieval city of Provins in the Ile de France region presents an opportunity to escape into the small winding lanes and imposing castle walls of a proper medieval town, and the city’s long history of medieval fairs won it UNESCO World Heritage status in 2001.
For many visitors, just strolling through the ancient city streets and into the surrounding countryside will be enough for a fulfilling visit – photographers in particular will be impressed by the almost-original fortifications, which were lightly restored after the Hundred’ Years War and the French Revolution but largely retain their authentic original structures. No wonder that Provins is often considered as one of the most beautiful small towns in France!
Tourists looking for a bit more definition to their wandering might consider the Provins Pass (adult/child 12/8.5 EUR), a multi-site admission ticket that combines entrance fees for the four main historical attractions in town. The 12th century Cesar’s Tower offers panoramic views of the village, the Tithe Barn sets up audio-guided narration that attempts to evoke the everyday lives of the residents of medieval French towns, the Underground Galleries allows visitor a guided exploration of the quarry tunnels beneath the city that were utilized as storage and hideaways and much more, and the local Provins Museum presents local historical artifacts inside a converted medieval house.
Provins is in Zone 5 of the Transilien P train service from Paris’ Gare de l’Est – the trip takes approximately an hour and a half. Popular NAVIGO transport cards that include the Zone 5 tariff are eligible for travel to Provins, or a same-day round-trip individual ticket is available from 12 EUR (14 USD).
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Compiegne is a calm and charming city in the north of France, easily reachable for a day trip from Paris. You can take a train from Gare Du Nord in Paris and it takes only 45 minutes to reach Compiegne. Some of the best things to do in Compiegne are to visit the Chateau (the imperial palace), hike the many trails of the forest and visit the location where the French Armistice was signed for both World Wars.
The Chateau de Compiegne used to be the summer residence of French royalties, and one of the favorites of Napoléon. Nowadays, 3 museums can be visited within the Palace: The imperial apartments, the Museum of the Second Empire and the National Car Museum. Adjacent to the palace is a gorgeous 700 hectares park, crossed by the Beaux-Monts alley, a 5km (3.1 miles) uphill promenade leading to a spectacular view over the city. There are kilometers of well indicated trails through the forest, ideal for nature lovers.
Another interesting site to visit is the Clairiere de l’Armistice, a clearing in the forest with an historical train wagon. This is where in 1918 the French signed the Armistice, ending the 1st World War. The symbolic significance of the location wasn’t lost on Hitler, who chose the same location to impose his terms on the defeated France. The train carriage is now a memorial to both events.
Back in town, check the Hotel de Ville, the UNESCO World Heritage Saint Jacques Church, or spend some time in the very cute Jardin Des Remparts. The center of the city is quite small, so everything is doable on foot, but if you want to wander further the city’s public transports are free.
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Strasbourg is the capital of the Alsace region of North Eastern France and it’s undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in France. If you’re looking for an amazing day trip from Paris, Strasbourg is a great choice as it can be easily reached in 2 hours from Paris on the TGV.
Strasbourg is a city with strong influences from both France and Germany, having belonged to both countries numerous times in history. Today most people head to Strasbourg to visit its old town cobbled streets, world-famous cathedral and picturesque La Petite France district.
A boat ride on the canals of Strasbourg will introduce you to the amazing wooden coloured old-world houses of Strasbourg. The Strasbourg Cathedral was once the tallest building in the world – make sure you climb the Cathedral tower for the best view of the city! During the Christmas period, Strasbourg plays host to one of the most famous and popular Christmas markets in Europe.
The food and wine is a must when visiting, make sure you try the regional special called Flammkuchen, it is an Alsace version of pizza and wash it down with a local Gewürztraminer wine. A day trip to Strasbourg with teens, couples or singles is a must!
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Colmar is another popular destination in France’s Alsace region. The city is almost 500 km (310 miles) away from Paris but with the efficient train system in France,it can easily be reached in less than 3 hours – that’s why this picturesque city is among the best and popular day trips from Paris! Located in North-Eastern France, on the border with Germany, this town is one of the fairytale towns in France. It’s also right in the heart of France’s Alsace region, known for its vineyards and fine wines.
One of the best things to do in Colmar is strolling along the cobbled streets of its charming old town and marvel at the half-timbered houses. The Old Town, in particular, looks straight out of a movie set. With romantic little bridges or tree-lined streets, nearly every spot is picture-perfect. Colmar’s Old Town is an architectural goldmine, and these giant masterpieces greet you at every turn. Explore more and you’d find more medieval and early Renaissance structures all over town, such as the quirky Maison Pfister.
Walk along with the riverfront neighborhood of Little Venice, and enjoy the colorful fairytale-like scenery. Located near Quai de Poissoniers, this area is one of Colmar’s best attractions and dates back to the 14th century. With all the conflict, revolution, and wars that France has suffered, Little Venice remains unscathed. Make sure to also check out the impressive Gothic architecture of St. Martin’s Collegiate Church.
To get here from Paris, you can take a train to Strasbourg first. The train from Paris to Strasbourg takes only 2.5 hours and from Strasbourg to Colmar, you can take another train for only half an hour. You also have an option to take a bus but it will take an hour. The train fare might cost you between 80-90 EUR (94-105 USD) for a one-way fare. There are also several day tours that leave Paris to Alsace Region which includes Colmar and that might be an ideal alternative if you want to visit more places and it’s also cheaper.
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The beautiful city of Metz is located in the Northeast of France, near the borders of Germany and Luxembourg. On a day trip from Paris you will have the chance to explore many lovely places in that town: picturesque gardens, a historic old town, the many delicious French restaurants and noble boutiques are just a few of the top highlights on any trip to Metz.
This charming town is settled directly on the marvelous Moselle River, where bridges connect to the island of Saulcy, a charming area with many buildings from the 18th century. On warm summer days, people love to stroll along the riverbanks, having a picnic or taking a romantic boat ride on the beautiful river.
The main attraction and an absolute must-visit is the Metz Cathedral – Saint-Étienne – one of the most beautiful and largest Gothic church buildings in France. Also interesting is the Opéra-Théatre de Metz Métropole (Opera House), which is one the oldest opera house in Europe. Another highlight is the Place Saint-Jacques, which is well known by locals and tourists for its many lovely cafés and restaurants whose terraces are popular in summer.
All in all, Metz is truly amazing and with lots of historic charm and plenty of wonderful attractions for sure one of the best villages to visit in the area around Paris.
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If you are in Paris and wish to visit a place with remarkable and attractive sites along with rich culture and history, then Luxembourg is an ideal place. Luxembourg is located in Western Europe bordered by Germany, Belgium, and France.
Paris from Luxembourg is a mere 2 hours 15 minutes journey through a TGV train that covers approximately 288 kilometers from Paris. There are around 19-20 trains that run directly from Paris to Luxembourg every day. The earliest train of the day departs at 7:27 from Paris and the last train comes back at 20:40 from Luxembourg, which gives you a full day to explore the city.
Usually tickets for the journey can be booked for 12 months in advance but in case if the booking is not open yet, there is an option to set an alert so that you can receive a mail whenever the booking starts. The cheapest journey from Paris to Luxembourg can take place at 33 EUR (39 USD) if tickets are booked in advance. Tickets booked 30 days before the journey will cost around 100 EUR (117 USD) while booking done within 7 days will cost 61 EUR (71 USD).
A must visit place at Luxembourg is the Old Quarter which is a world heritage site recognized by UNESCO. One can admire the culture displayed at the National Museum History of Art that includes coins, historical documents, and weapons. Other things to do at Luxembourg include a visit at Bock Cliff known for fortifications and cannons, explore Berdorf and enjoy a spa at Mondor-les-Bains. The Bock Casements and Grand Ducal Palace are also must-watch landmarks with picturesque beauty.
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Since the opening of the Euro Tunnel, the trip from Paris to London has become one of the most popular and frequently used routes. The Eurostar has made this day out very easy and comfortable for all the family. Setting off from Paris Gare Du Nord, you will arrive at Kings Cross, in the heart of London in under 2hrs 20mins.
With 14 trains a day, it is best to get the first train just before 8am, arriving at 9am and heading back to Paris on the last train just after 9pm. Booking in advance is highly recommended to avail the best price for the journey, usually costing around 88 EUR (103 USD) each way.
After arriving to London, two places that are a must visit to get a feel of the history evident within the city are Buckingham Palace and Marble Arch, Oxford Street. Buckingham Palace is home of the most famous monarchy in the world, and conveniently located in the famous Hyde Park. Try to arrive at the palace by 10:45am, to get a glimpse of the famous changing of the guards ceremony. From Kings Cross, Buckingham Palace is easy to access via the underground, to either Hyde Park Corner or Green Park station.
Before indulging in a bit of retail therapy down the famous Oxford Street, start the walk at Marble Arch. Designed in 1827, used as a grand entrance for royal visits, this huge arch is a perfect instagrammable spot! Marble Arch, marks the start of Oxford Street and easy to access by walking through the park to its corner. Oxford Street is always bustling and buzzing, filled with locals and tourists, it is definitely a must visit for every trip to London.
I hope you liked this post about the best day trips from Paris and you will be able to visit some of them on your next trip. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email, I always love helping you out! Do you know some other locations that would make a great day trip from Paris? Let me know in the comments!
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