Tips and Inspiration for your European holiday

There's no shortage of impressive architecture, museums, gardens and more to see in Paris but it also makes a great base for day trips to some of France's other popular attractions and regions. 


Loire Valley ChateauChateau de Chaumont-sur-Loire is one of the Loire Valley's many chateaux. Image © scaliger / Adobe Stock Photo 


In this article you'll find a list of some of the best day trips from Paris which are all reached easily by train or car from the French capital in a couple of hours or less.  Whether your interest is in gardens, chateaux, theme parks, wine or just in discovering a part of France outside of Paris, this selection of Paris day trips is sure to please.

Day trip from Paris to Chateau de Versailles

The grandeur of the Chateau of Versailles, built by King Louis XIV, has to be seen to be believed. The huge palace, which is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, was the royal court and home of the government from 1678 until the French Revolution. Louis spared no expense when the palace was built and the 70-metre long Hall of Mirrors is a fine example of this.


Outside the palace, allow plenty of time to wander around the massive gardens which feature topiary, pools, statues and some impressive fountains.


TIP: Ticket queues for entry to the palace can be extremely long. I suggest you pre-purchase your ticket prior to arrival - click here to buy online - or by purchasing a Paris Pass which includes travel on public transport and entry to over 50 of Paris’s monuments and museums (including the Chateau of Versailles) in a given period of time.


Getting from Paris to Chateau of Versailles by train

Journey time is approximately 45 minutes on RER line C from St. Michel metro station in central Paris. Disembark at Chateau Versailles/Rive Gauche station. The Chateau is about a 5 minute walk from the station and is well signposted.


Day tours from Paris to Chateau of Versailles

A number of companies offer tours from Paris to the Chateau of Versailles. They generally last around four hours and include a guided tour of the palace and free time to wander the gardens. Click here to check details and prices.


You can also join a tour that visits both Versailles and Giverny - click here to check prices.


Versailles, FranceThe sheer size of the Palace of Versailles is amazing.


Read more about the Chateau of Versailles here >>


Day trip from Paris to Disneyland Resort Paris

If you are travelling to Paris with children, chances are they will want to visit Disneyland Resort Paris. Located close to Paris, Disneyland is easy to get to by public transport.


Whilst it is much smaller than the original Disneyland in Anaheim, the park still features all the famous attractions of the Californian version including Pirates of the Caribbean, It's a Small World and Big Thunder Mountain, but all with a slight French influence.


Disneyland Resort Paris tip: ticket queues can be extremely long, particularly on weekends and during school holidays so I highly recommend you pre-purchase your entrance ticket before you arrive. Click here to buy your Paris Disneyland tickets.


Getting to Disneyland Resort Paris by train

Journey time is approximately 35 minutes on RER line A from Gare de Lyon station in Paris. Disembark at Marne-le-Vallée station. The main entrance to Disneyland is a few minutes’ walk from the station.


Day tours to Disneyland Resort Paris

Whilst not a guided tour as such, it is possible to purchase a package which includes return coach travel to/from Disneyland and a one day Disneyland Paris pass. Coaches depart central Paris at around 8am daily and return around 8pm. Click here for details about pre-booked transport and entry tickets to Disneyland Paris Resort.

 

READ MORE ABOUT VISITING DISNEYLAND PARIS RESORT HERE

 

Day trip from Paris to Monet’s House and Garden at Giverny

Regarded as one of the prettiest gardens in France, Claude Monet’s former house and garden at Giverny is well worth a visit, and it’s within easy reach of Paris.


Visitors can stroll through the lovely gardens and see the famous Japanese bridge and lily pond that inspired many of Monet’s paintings. His former home is now a museum and is furnished as it was when the artist lived there.


Getting to Giverny by train

Travel time is around 45 minutes from Paris St. Lazare station. Disembark at Vernon and then catch a shuttle bus from the station to Monet’s House and Garden at Giverny (a further 10 minutes away).


Day tours to Giverny

Coach tours from Paris take you directly to Monet’s House and Garden at Giverny and include fast-track entry - click here for details. The five hour Giverny tours allow time to explore the house and garden as well as the pretty village of Giverny with its art galleries and boutiques.


Note: Monet’s house and garden are open from April 1 to November 1 each year.


Read about my visit to Monet’s House and Garden at Giverny here >>


Monets GardenThe Japanese Bridge at Monet's Garden is much photographed.


Day trip from Paris to Chateau Fontainebleau

Just east of Paris is Chateau Fontainebleau, the only royal castle to be continuously inhabited for seven centuries! The opulent Renaissance building is now on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and whilst it would be impossible to see the entire castle in one day, a guided tour gives you a good overview.


You’ll see the beautiful ceiling frescoes and 15th Century furniture, as well as hearing tales of the life of the French royals who once lived here. The gardens, too, are spectacular with manicured lawns and ornamental lakes.


Getting to Fontainebleau by train

Journey time is 40 minutes from Gare de Lyon station. Disembark at Fontainebleau-Avon station. To reach the Chateau, catch Bus #1 (direction “Les Lilas”) from the station. Journey time is approximately 15 minutes.


Day tours to Chateau Fontainebleau

A tour visiting both Chateau Fontainebleau and Vaux-le-Vicomte, the Baroque castle which is said to have been the inspiration for the Palace of Versailles, is a great day trip from Paris.  Click here for more information and prices.


Chateau FontainebleuChateau Fontainebleu. Image © XtravaganT / Adobe Stock Photo


Day trip from Paris to the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is home to some of the most impressive chateaux in the world. With famous chateaux like Chenonceau, Chambord and Cheverny to visit, the biggest problem you’ll have on a day trip to the Loire Valley is deciding which ones to visit! Tours is the major town in the region and is serviced by frequent trains from Paris.


Getting to the Loire Valley by train (to Tours)

It's just 1 hour from Paris Montparnasse station to Tours by TGV. The Tours Tourist Office, which is located opposite the railway station, offers mini bus excursions to visit the Chateaux (pre-booking is recommended).


Day tours to Loire Valley

Guided tours to the Loire Valley from Paris are a hassle-free way to visit the chateaux. Most tours leave Paris at 7.15am and return around 7.45pm. Click here to check prices.

 
Chateau ChenonceauThe impressive entrance to Chateau Chenonceau. Image © milosk50 / Dollar Photo Club


Day trip from Paris to Reims

North-east of Paris in the Champagne region is the beautiful city of Reims. The city is home to some of the world’s most famous Champagne houses including Mumm and Taittinger, where you can take a tour and enjoy a tasting.


Not to be missed in Reims is the stunning Gothic Cathedral de Notre Dame, one of the city’s three UNESCO World Heritage sites, where every French king since the 11th century was crowned.


The Palace of Tau and Saint-Remi Basilica are the other two UNESCO-listed buildings. If the local Champagne houses haven’t quenched your thirst, head out to Epernay where you can take a guided tour of the caves of Moet & Chandon, Krug or Veuve Clicquot, to name a few.


Getting from Paris to Reims by train

Journey time is 45 minutes from Paris Est station.


Day tours from Paris to Reims

Tours to Reims and the Champagne region are available from Paris for those who prefer a pre-arranged visit - complete with tastings! (Click here for more info and prices.) Tours depart Paris at 8am and return around 6.45pm.


Reims Cathedral at nightReims Cathedral at night. Image © Natalia Bratslavsky / Adobe Stock Photo


Day trip from Paris to Strasbourg

Capital of the beautiful Alsace region, Strasbourg is a cosmopolitan city that combines its German history and modern French influences with ease. Essential to any visit is a stroll through the Old Town and, in particular, the area known as Petite France.


Quaint bridges cross the canals and old mills stand proud in the former tanners’ quarter. Alongside, you can’t fail to be impressed by the medieval timber buildings, many of which are now home to cafes, restaurants and shops.


Also impressive is the Cathedral Notre-Dame, an enormous church whose construction began in the late 11th century. The Astronomical Clock, the rose window and the viewing platform, which offers great views over the city, are just some of the Cathedral’s features.


One-hour boat cruises along the canals of the Old Town are highly recommended, too.


Getting to Strasbourg by train

Strasbourg is 2 hours 15 minutes by TGV from Paris Est station. Before arriving in Strasbourg, you might like to arrange a guided market and gourmet tour of Strasbourg.


Strasbourg FranceColourful timber buildings line the canals in Strasbourg.

 
Planning a visit to France?  My other articles about France might be useful including 3 days in Paris: What to see and do


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Comments   

# Carolyn 2015-05-04 15:40
Quoting Mary Gow:
My favourite day trip out of Paris is the trip to Bruges on one of the coach companies that operate from near the Louvre. It's a very interesting trip and you see a lot of the countryside on the way. In Bruges there is just so much to do and see the day goes so quickly. I've done this trip twice now and my favourite shop is the one that sells Christmas decorations. They are exquisite and bring back such lovely memories each year as you put them up on the tree. I've also bought tapestry runners which have been very good quality for a reasonable price. Most people of course buy chocolates. There are so many shops that specialise in chocolate and chocolate products that it is almost impossible to choose.

This sounds like a fabulous day trip, Mary. I've never been to Bruges but everyone that has raves about it and you've now made me keener than ever to get there. The fact that I'm a chocoholic has nothing to do with that, of course!! Thanks for commenting.
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# Mary Gow 2015-05-04 14:47
My favourite day trip out of Paris is the trip to Bruges on one of the coach companies that operate from near the Louvre. It's a very interesting trip and you see a lot of the countryside on the way. In Bruges there is just so much to do and see the day goes so quickly. I've done this trip twice now and my favourite shop is the one that sells Christmas decorations. They are exquisite and bring back such lovely memories each year as you put them up on the tree. I've also bought tapestry runners which have been very good quality for a reasonable price. Most people of course buy chocolates. There are so many shops that specialise in chocolate and chocolate products that it is almost impossible to choose.
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# Carolyn 2015-04-26 17:47
Quoting Malinda @mybrownpape:
There is so much to do in and around Paris. Of all of these I have only done Versaille and I had to reluctantly cross a few of the others off my itinerary due to time constraints. But there is always next time!

Thanks for joining in my #wednesdaywanderlust travel link party this week.

Versailles is one of my favourites, Malinda, so I'm glad you were able to visit. Hopefully next time you'll be able to include a couple of the other places in your itinerary.
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# Malinda @mybrownpape 2015-04-24 19:14
There is so much to do in and around Paris. Of all of these I have only done Versaille and I had to reluctantly cross a few of the others off my itinerary due to time constraints. But there is always next time!

Thanks for joining in my #wednesdaywande rlust travel link party this week.
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