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We asked travel writers what they think are the best day trips from Paris. Each of these day-trip recommendations is under 4 hours from Paris and can be experienced in a single day, before heading back to your Paris accommodation for the night.
By train or car, bus or motorbike – whichever you prefer, you can easily reach these exciting attractions, towns and cities from Paris.
Paris is a city everyone should experience at some point in their travels. There is so much to see and do that you could easily spend a week exploring Paris itself. If you want to escape the Paris crowds for a day, or simply want to see more of the beautiful landscape nearby, you have plenty of options for day trips from Paris too.
Day Trips From Paris -Within France
Paris may be an incredible city to spend some time, however, there are many other spectacular destinations on its doorstep. Why not take a Paris day trip and see more of what beautiful France has to offer. There are a few places within the greater Paris area that could easily fill a full day trip.
Just over 2 hours from Paris by train
Beaune is the wine capital of France’s famous Burgundy region, and it is a must for any wine connoisseur.
It is also the perfect place for those who would like to learn more about the wine because Beaune is home to Burgundy winery school, which offers short classes or half-day wine tours. These can easily be completed during a day trip and deepen your understating of France’s finest wines.
This is a small town so one day is just enough to explore all of its most interesting attractions. It allows the traveller to make the most of their time and get to know at least one area of this amazing country well.
The area is also amazing for lovers of nature, specifically because of the vineyards. People have a unique opportunity to go on a bike tour of Beaune and its surroundings.
Not only can they stop by any vineyard or winery they encounter on the way, but they can also enjoy the gorgeous nature around them.
In the historic part of the city, travellers can visit the Collégiale Notre Dame, which is a large cathedral in the heart of the city. A trip to the Hôtel-Dieu Museum is also a must – the charming museum has been around since the 15th century, and it is the most famous landmark in the town.
Beaune offers an excellent day trip from Paris is because it is easily reachable by train. The fastest train gets there in a little over 2 hours, and the tickets are fairly inexpensive. Head to the Gare de Lyon in Paris and you can catch direct trains from there.
In need of a break from Paris and its crowds? Drive 2.5 hours and find out Etretat, a small town in the North West of France, in the region of Normandy.
Going to Etretat is the best day trip to have some fresh air and escape the city. Etretat is a coastal city where you can find picturesque country houses, rocky beaches, and huge chalk cliffs that make the city famous.
In Etretat, you can hike on the cliffs or chill on the beach if you want to rest. On a day trip, you can easily visit these most famous cliffs that are a must-see while in Etretat:
La falaise d’Aval
La falaise d’Amont
If you are a seafood lover, Etretat is for you! In Etretat’s downtown area, you can find many restaurants serving seafood dishes. Among them, I recommend La Marie Antoinette, a very nice and cosy restaurant where you can have very fresh seafood of almost all kind.
Giverny is a small village outside of Paris that was the home of the famous impressionist painter, Claude Monet. He spent much of his life living in a small house there, and he painted the house and the gardens many times.
His famous paintings of lilies which now live in Paris’ L’Orangerie museum were painted directly from the lily ponds at the bottom of his garden.
The small green Japanese bridge that spans part of the pond also appears in several of his paintings. It is possible to tour the house, stroll through the gardens and visit his former studio (now the gift shop that you exit through).
Being there and seeing the places that inspired so many of Monet’s famous paintings is an incredible experience.
To get to Giverny, take the train from Saint Lazare Station in Paris. There are several trains a day and the train trip takes about 40 minutes.
From the train station, there are shuttle buses and taxis that will take you to Monet’s house and garden. The shuttle bus costs 10 euros and takes about 20 minutes from the station. The house and garden are open from March to October/ November from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM.
While it is a longer distance from Paris, and perhaps better suited to an overnight stay, Mont Saint Michel is worth a mention. This quaint Normandy village is famously known as the France castle island. As the tides come in, the village is almost entirely surrounded by water each day and thus turned into an island.
Rouen, France makes a great day trip from Paris because of the convenience of train travel, the beauty of the historic area, and the variety of sights it offers.
The city is the capital of Normandy, and in around 1.5 hours, you can be exploring the streets and photographing the Gros Horloge, Rouen’s famous astronomical clock.
The sights of Rouen are hard to beat. The Cathedral is a Gothic gem whose beauty is the subject of a series of Monet paintings. Inside the cathedral, along with beautiful stained glass and a stone-worked staircase I photographed far too much, is the tomb holding just the heart of Richard the Lionhearted.
Rouen was also the location of the imprisonment, interrogation, and execution of Joan of Arc. The heroine of France has her story told through the multimedia-rich Historic Joan of Arc museum, and you can visit the location where she died at Place du Vieux Marché.
If you like arts and museums, Rouen has quite the selection. The fine arts museum is known for the quality of its collection of works, and you should especially check out sizeable impressionists exhibit. Or how about an entire museum dedicated to wrought iron works of art?
If your taste runs more to the quirky, try the Museum of the History of Medicine – leech perch anyone?
Or, if you just want to stroll meticulously maintained medieval streets, having your coffee in a beautiful square while you rest from shopping, Rouen is ready for you.
From Paris, take the train toward Le Havre from the St. Lazare station. Rouen will be your first stop, and you can walk to the sights from the Rouen station. Or instead, sit back and enjoy a guided day trip to Rouen from Paris.
The Palace of Versailles is an enjoyable and affordable day trip from Paris. Accessible via the RER and SNCF trains, shuttle bus from the Eiffel Tower or the local bus, getting to Versailles couldn’t be easier.
While famous for many reasons, the hall of mirrors is undoubtedly one of the main attractions within the palace and by far one of the busiest rooms. Unless you get extremely lucky it will be hard to enjoy the room as originally designed.
Nevertheless, the palace is beautifully ornate and wandering through each room taking in the history and art collection can easily take 2-3 hours.
Although the palace is what draws people to visit, the gardens and surrounding park are why people continue to return. Open year-round and free to the public, the gardens are magnificent and my favourite part of the estate.
Be sure to wear your walking shoes if you want to explore the full grounds as there are a lot of areas to cover. Alternatively, there are golf carts available for hire if you find that walking the property is not an option.
The Palace of Versailles is open every day except on Mondays. The park opens at 7 AM, the gardens at 8 AM and the palace at 9 AM. And during the busy season, it is recommended to purchase a timed ticket in advance as the queues to enter the palace can be very long and there is no cover for the line during inclement weather.
If you’re a Disney fan, we recommend taking aday trip to Disneyland Paris. Pack your backpack with a water bottle, snacks, camera, sunglasses and sunblock and hop on the RER A train to the Marne-la-Valleé – Chessy stop. From there it’s only a 2-minute walk to the park gates.
Download the Disneyland Paris App to book rides and make reservations to the Auberge de Cendrillon (Cinderella’s Inn), a fine dining restaurant. You won’t regret it! Other great dining options include Bistrot Chez Remy and Restaurant Hakuna Matata. Stay until the end and watch the fireworks and projection show.
If you’ve been to a Disneyland or Disney World back home, we highly recommend skipping the rides you’ve already been on and going on the ones specific to Disneyland Paris. We love Alice’s Curious Labyrinth and Le Tanier du Dragon.
Tickets to Disneyland Paris are $105 at the time of writing (August 2019), but you can pay $6 USD more to add a shuttle from Paris city centre.
Your average day trips from Paris probably involve wineries, chateaus, maybe some galleries… what about dense forests and world-class outdoor activities?
To get to Fontainebleau it’s only a 45-minute train from Paris and here you’ll find a smorgasbord of exciting possibilities. This region is famous for its forest which is huge, wild and dense – the perfect place if you want to escape the city and to get into the outdoors.
We were drawn to Fontainebleau because it’s one of the best climbing destinations in the world. You’ll find perfect natural rock formations which have professional climbers from all around the world come to test their skills. Bouldering in Fontainebleau isn’t just for the pros though, it’s a great activity and an incredible way to spend the day (or weeks!) and we couldn’t recommend it enough.
Climbing not your thing? There are plenty of beautiful hiking trails that take you through the small villages in town, into dense woodland and scrambling over rocks and boulders. Because of the wooded environment, it’s a really popular place for mountain biking too.
Maybe you’re getting tired just thinking of those activities? You should take a trip to Chateau de Fontainebleau, an extremely lavishly decorated property originally for French Kings and Queens. Nearly all of the building is open to the public and you can marvel at the seriously outlandish architecture.
Top tip!If you go on the last Sunday of each month you can go into the Chateau for free!
Chantilly is a beguiling destination in north Paris. This characterful area has all the elements you should expect for a culture-nature tour. From the timeless Castle of Chantilly to the eclectic museum of Conde which houses the second-largest painting in France. From beautiful park to vivid grape farm, Chantilly does not only offer photogenic chances but also fun-packed activities.
The Chantilly Chateau itself is a good choice to spend the day where you uncover the Reconnaissance architect, strolling along Jardin Francais, visiting the Horse museum and watch a horse competition in the afternoon.
For those who are more active, you can take part in an equestrian journey to traverse the rich Chantilly forest or explore the Vineyard with local experts.
Chantilly is accessible both by train and by car. For the distance of 55km, it takes about 1-hour drive.
To reach the site by train from Paris, pick the train RER D – in the direction of Creil from the city. You can embark on the train at Gare Du Nord, one of the main stations in Paris. To disembark, take the station of Orry La Ville. From here, you simply walk to the Castle.
If you wish to take some relief from Paris’ crowds, but still want to enjoy chic French architecture, you should visit Orléans.
This charming town is located 130 km to the South from Paris. It’s easy to reach by rented car but also by train from Paris Austerlitz station. The train journey takes around 1 hour and you can purchase tickets with no reservation directly before the train leaves.
And why you should visit Orléans? First of all, it’s an important historical spot. Here had the place a great battle between the French and British army.
The French soldiers were led by a famous military character – Joan of Arc, also known as The Maid of Orléans. Her devotion to God and the country helped her gain respect and become one of the most recognizable women warriors of European history.
Besides this, Orléans is a wonderful city with a graceful architecture mixing medieval and modern influences (yet mostly rebuilt after WWII). This is one of the most popular cities on the Loire river with the beautiful cathedral in the centre.
If you were disappointed by the colossal number of tourists ruining your experience in Notre-Dame de Paris, you should visit the Orléans Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
And if you are lucky enough to visit it in the morning or late evening hours, you can be there alone. Enjoying the silence and calm of the huge monument will be an unforgettable memory. It can make it one of your best day trips from Paris.
Auvers-Sur-Oise is located in the Northwest suburbs of Paris, 30 km from the city centre. The artist Vincent van Gogh spent the last 2 months of his life here.
It’s lovely countryside and unsurprisingly, has been home to many artists aside from van Gogh. Notably, Paul Cézanne, Charles-François Daubigny, and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. Vincent van Gogh moved to Auvers to be treated by a local doctor, who later became the subject of two of his portraits.
Van Gogh died here, shooting himself in the chest, and you can also see his final resting place in the village cemetery. Do not forget to visit the Absinthe Museum afterwards.
To get there, take a direct train from Gare du Nord in summer; they run on weekends and start at 9:38. Alternately, start from Saint-Lazare or Gare du Nord, direction Pontoise and change at Pontoise for Persan-Beaumont. Get off at Auvers. Journey time is approximately 1 hour.
One of the best things about Europe is that you can easily duck over the border of another country or 3 for a day trip. Living in Australia, the only place we can do that to is New Zealandand it’s still at least 3 hours or more each way by plane! So if you have some extra time in Paris for day trips abroad, why not take a trip to an international city instead of just within France? Might as well!
Just over 2 hours from Paris via Eurostar train
If you’re planning to visit one of the world’s biggest cities, how do you even begin to plan it all in one day! With the ease of Eurostar that can get you there in just over two hours, a day trip to London is a perfect option for day trips from Paris.
So where to start? If you haven’t been to London before, you will no doubt have to fit in all the classic sights. Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace will probably take up a good chunk of your day.
If you’re looking for something more leisurely, jump on a boat trip down the Thames and spot some of the iconic sights from the water as the city buzzes around you.
For the foodies, you can’t miss the Borough market. You could spend hours exploring the mesmerising array of goodies on offer. Or perhaps pick one of many Michelin star haunts to pick up a bargain set lunch for £30-40.
Then finish off your day by the canal in King’s Cross, with a glass of wine or cocktail from one of the excellent bars dotted around there, just a few minutes from St Pancras.
Start with a visit to the Grand Place and the little statue of the famous peeing boy nearby. Keep an eye out for comic book murals and stuff your face with all the scrumptious Belgian waffles you can humanly eat in such a short time.
If you’d like to see the seat of the European Council, head to the European Quarter. The modern glass and steel Europa building gracefully combines with old Art Deco facade and it’s quite a sight to see.
The quickest way to get from Paris Nord to Brussels Midi is by high-speed Thalys train. It takes only 1h and 22 min. There are several trains daily.
-Laura from Travelers Universe
Around 2.5 hours by train and 3.5 hours by car from Paris
Another great day trip from Paris into Belgium is a visit to Bruges, which is around 3.5 hours from Paris by car or 2.5 hours by train. Wander along cobblestone streets and marvel at the Medieval architecture.
Visit Markt Square where the 13th-century belfry is located. Plus you can also go up the 83-metre tower to enjoy panoramic views.
There you have it – the best day trips from Paris. Or if you have the time, start planning the perfect weekend trips from Paris instead! There is no shortage of incredible Paris day trips and each of them is easily reached by train or car!
Make sure you take the time to explore the city itself as well and don’t miss any of these must-do Paris experiences. Save this to Pinterest for later and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for travel photo inspiration and stories.