Are you staying in Paris for a few days? Even though there are many places to visit in Paris within the city, it would be a shame not to go on a trip beyond the city walls!
There are plenty of Paris day trips to enjoy in the surrounding area, whether in the immediate vicinity of the capital, such as the “Château de Versaille”, or several hundred kilometers away, which can be easily reached with the high-speed train. If you are traveling on a budget and do not want to rent a car, the train is the ideal solution! It is a journey into the culture and history of France that these excursions offer you, a short highlight of what you shouldn’t miss on day trips around Paris. So in this post, you will be able to discover the best day trips from Paris by train.
Best day trips from Paris by train
Palaces and castles to visit on day trips out of Paris
It is impossible to bypass this mythical place of French history. The palace of Versailles is not a mere palace, it is a whole city, superb, flamboyant and one of the places to visit near Paris by train. Classified as a World Heritage Site and home of the kings of France, the palace is of a stunning refinement, successively improved and embellished year after year by the many different Kings.
There are 63,000 square meters and more than 2,300 different rooms to discover and explore. It was transformed into a museum of French history that abounds with objects, paintings, and sculptures that testify of yesteryear’s life and the major events that made the history of the kings.
What makes Versailles even more magical is its incredible garden which is symmetrically and geometrically shaped in a perfectly harmonious way. And the view from the garden extends from the castle to the horizon. Walking along its paths and admiring the flower beds and the bodies of water topped by beautiful fountains is an exquisite experience.
Tips to prepare for your day trip to Versailles from Paris
- The Castle is open every day except Monday. It opens every day at 9 am.
- Go as early as possible! The castle is invariably crowded!
- Remember to download the official application that will allow you to get a free audio guide and a map of the area so you won’t have to wait in line!
- Count 20€ for a day ticket. I advise you to buy this time-stamped ticket that allows you to cut the queue! However, the Park and Gardens are free. And if you want to even get the most out of your Versailles day trip, I recommend you go for this guided tour instead.
- Temporary art exhibitions are regularly organized within the castle – consult the official website to keep you informed.
- Prepare something to make a picnic! The gardens are an ideal place for a bucolic picnic.
- Bike rental is possible in the gardens (20€ per day).
How to get there?
Forget the bus, taxi or car. The best way to get to the Palace of Versailles is by train! There are three train stations in the city of Versailles:
- Versailles Chantier, 20 minutes walk from the castle
- Versailles Rive Droite, at 20 minutes as well
- Versailles Rive gauche, 5 minutes walk from the castle
The Versaille Rive gauche station not only offers the advantage of being very close to the castle but also the possibility of reaching from Paris.
- In Paris, you just have to take the “RER C” accessible from several stations in the center of the city such as Saint Michel, Musée d’Orsay, Invalides or Champs Mars Tour Eiffel. Follow “GARE DE VERSAILLES CH TEAU – RIVE GAUCHE”.
- It should take you between 20 and 40 minutes to reach Versailles depending on your departure station
- It will cost you around 4 euros per round trip (think about taking a round trip)
Château de Chantilly
If you want to escape the crowd of Versailles, this day trip from Paris is for you. The Chantilly estate is one of the jewels of French heritage.
Located 25 minutes north of Paris, it is the second-largest collection of classical painting in France after the Louvre. This castle is the work of Henri d’Orléans, son of the very last French king. Henri d’Orléans was an art lover and a great collector. The tradition has been perpetuated until today and the castle has become one of the most important places for art and one of the best chateaux in France.
In addition to the works of art, the decorations are gorgeous and refined. Be sure not to miss the absolutely fantastic old library.
The castle, built in the middle of a lake and in the heart of a forest, is a work of art on its own. Just like Versaille, it is surrounded by magnificent French gardens, but not only that! Different styles are also available such as English and Anglo-Chinese gardens over more than 115 hectares.
At the stables housing the horse museum, an equestrian show is also given throughout the year. Consult the website to find out more about the theme and dates of the performances.
Though this castle is often forgotten by tourists, it is a real marvel to add to your Paris day tours itinerary.
Tips to prepare for your Paris day trip to Château de Chantilly
- In high season (March to October) the castle is open 7 days a week from 10 am to 6 pm
- In low season (October to March) the castle is closed every Tuesday
- Annual closing from 6 to 24 January 2020
- Expect 30€ for the full domain ticket + equestrian show
- Free audio guides are at your disposal
- The castle offers visitors various activities such as a boat trip on the lake or bike rides.
- As usual for all visits, remember to book your ticket online! You can buy your skip-the-line ticket for Château de Chantilly from here.
How to get there?
As for Versailles, the train is the best means of transport for a one day trip from Paris to the Château.
- From Gare du Nord in Paris, take the TER (regional express train) towards Chantilly-Gouvieux
- A return train ticket + domain is available for 25 euros. The trip alone costs 7 euros. For more information, please ask at the Paris Nord Station counters.
- Once you arrive at Chantilly-Gouvieux station, you can either walk 25 minutes to the estate or take the free shuttle bus.
- The train journey will take you about 25/30 minutes.
Fontainebleau Castle (and the beautiful forest)
The small town of Fontainebleau, southeast of Paris, is home to a magnificent castle that is a UNESCO classified site and is surrounded by one of the largest forests in France.
Initially used as a small hunting reserve for royalty, the lodge has grown steadily to become a castle and it is the only estate in France that can boast of having welcomed the royal families for 8 centuries! The palace sprawls on a large estate and houses four museums dedicated to art. Don’t miss to see the table where Napoleon signed his abdication before being imprisoned on the island of Elba.
Its style is a perfect example of the architectural genres that have been influential in the history of France. From the original dungeon (dating back to the 12th century), neoclassical decorations of the Second Empire in the “Galerie des Cerfs” (19th century), to the wall moldings which are full of details, Fontainebleau is a site not to miss on out of Paris day trips.
Its iconic large horseshoe-shaped staircase was built in the 17th century and is an architectural prowess without equal throughout Europe as it offers a unique aesthetic to the entrance of the castle.
Surrounded by three sumptuous gardens, Fontainebleau stands out from the castles of Versailles and Chantilly by favoring the “English” style. Rethought and restyled over the centuries, one of the main gardens called “le grand parterre” extends over more than 11 hectares, making it the largest in Europe for its time.
The Fontainebleau Forest surrounding the city is probably the most beautiful forest in the Ile-de-France region due to its diversity and topography. If you like hiking, spend a full day (or more!) exploring it. Visit the city’s tourist office for information on the best hiking trails.
Tips to prepare for your Paris to Fontainebleau day trip
- The castle is open every day except on Tuesdays, January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th. Opening hours are 9:30 am- 5 pm from October to March and 9:30 am to 6 pm from April to September
- The Gardens are open every day.
- The entrance ticket costs 12€ which you can buy from here in advance to skip the line and the rental of the “visioguide” tablet is 4€.
- Guided tours are possible, from 30 minutes to 1h30. If you want to join a group tour, this Half day tour from getyourguide is what I recommend to get the most out of your Fontainebleau visit.
- Many activities are available in the gardens from the carriage ride, bike, mini-train, pony to even a hot air balloon ride that I would recommend you to try!
- Unlike Versailles, the crowd is not very big in Fontainebleau so just take your time!
How to get there?
From Paris, get to Fontainebleau by train from Gare de Lyon.
- Get on board the RER D in the direction of Montargis, Montereau, or Laroche-Migennes, get off at Fontainebleau-Avon station.
- From the city station, a shuttle bus will take you to the castle.
- The train will cost you around 11€ per outward journey.
- It takes 1 hour by train and a few minutes by bus.
The best cities to visit on train trips from Paris
Welcome to the city of Champagne! Less than one hour from Paris by train, the town of Reims is the capital of the Champagne region where most of the famous Champagne is made. But Reims is not only about the little bubbly, but also undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cathedrals in France.
The Cathedral of Reims (called Notre Dame like the one in Paris) in addition to being an architectural wonder, plays an important role in the history of France because it was here that all the Kings of France were crowned for over 1000 years. It is not for nothing that Reims is known as ” the city of the sacred “!
This cathedral, larger than the one in Paris, is listed as a UNESCO site and has exceptional statuary with over 2000 statues that adorn its façade, painting biblical stories, kings’ porticoes, and other gargoyles. It is by visiting the interior that you’ll realize that the imposing size of the building. The original and contemporary stained glass windows add to the already soothing and spiritual atmosphere.
Just next to the cathedral is the Palace of Tau, also a UNESCO site. Once the residence of the city’s archbishops, it has been transformed into a museum where the relics of the coronations of kings are kept, such as Charlemagne’s Talisman or the holy oil ampoule that was used to make Clovis’ coronation.
In Reims, champagne is everywhere. Much more than just a drink for special occasions – champagne is enjoyed with friends, family and during parties. A visit to a winery is an absolutely essential stopover to learn more about the beverage, its production, its history, and its secrets.
You can visit all the great names in the world of champagnes such as “Möet et Chandon” or “Veuve Clicquot”. The winemakers are passionate and will be happy to answer your questions.
Tips to prepare for your Paris to Reims day trip
- The cathedral is open every day
- Guided tours are possible for 9€ – you can book your guided tour of Reims cathedral from here.
- Buy this Reims City pass which offers you the opportunity to visit the city’s museums (including the Palace of Tau) free of charge. Intramural public transportation is also included!
- I advise you to visit the city’s monuments in the morning and then a Champagne house in the afternoon so that you can rest on the train when you return. It is difficult to visit the monuments after a wine degustation!
- It is impossible to visit the Champagne region and not go for a champagne tour. You can either opt to book this complete Reims guided tour that comes with a guided tour of the cathedral, the famous Moet &Chandon Champagne house tour, and a visit to a vineyard or this guided tour if you just want to visit a traditional champagne vineyard.
How to get there?
- You can quickly reach Reims from Paris thanks to the TGV from the Gare de l’Est station
- The TGV stops at Champagne Ardennes TGV station, which is rather far from the city centre – consider combining a TER ticket to reach there.
- Prices can vary from 15€ to more than 50€ depending on the time of day and connections
- Book your train tickets on Rail Europe
A European capital and traditional Alsatian city, Strasbourg is a treat to visit and one of the easy Paris day trips by train.
Of course, Notre-Dame Cathedral (same name as in Reims and Paris!) is of phenomenal beauty. Classified as a UNESCO site, it is the oldest Gothic capital in the world! It is a real architectural wonder with unique characters such as its spire, the highest in the world, dating from the 15th century or its astronomical clock.
It is located in the historic centre of the city, nicknamed ” La Grande Île “. The visit to the ” La Grande ile ” guarantees a total exotic experience. The typical half-timbered houses of the area make it very pleasant to walk along the streets. In addition to the cathedral, there are also palaces and luxury hotels that surround the streets as well as numerous small churches.
Take a walk in “La Petite France”, the most picturesque district of the city or stroll through its streets to enjoy the calm and soothing atmosphere. Everything here is photogenic so get your cameras ready!
But Strasbourg is also a modern city and the capital of Europe as it hosts the European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights. The visit to the “European District” is very interesting to learn more about this institution through the use of information panels.
Many museums dot the city, but I would particularly recommend the “Château Musée Vodou”, located in an old water tower dating from the 19th century. It also houses the largest collection of African voodoo objects in the world.
Tips to prepare for your day trip from Paris to Strasbourg
- The cathedral is open every day and the visit is free of charge
- The visit of the platform on the roof of the cathedral is charged (5€)
- The Strasbourg city Pass costs 22€ and offers a free visit to the cathedral’s platform, a boat trip, and many other discounts. You can actually purchase the Strasbourg city Pass from here.
- Visit the cathedral at mid-day, it is at noon that the astronomical clock is brought to life.
- Strasbourg is a very walkable city so do take your time. And if you want to discover all the city’s landmarks, you can book this Euro Guided tour by Segway from Getyourguide.
- In December, the city holds the largest Christmas market in France and Europe. The city which is rather peaceful is overrun with tourists during this period. If you’re visiting in December, then don’t miss out on this Strasbourg Christmas market tour.
How to get there?
Strasbourg is less than 2 hours from Paris thanks to the TGV
- The departure is from Paris EST station
- Strasbourg station is very close to the city centre (10 minutes by foot)
- Use Rail Europe to book and check the rates (count approximately 100€ round trip)
Less than 1h30 from Paris, the medieval city of Provins is a real-time travel machine to the Middle Ages! The city has an exciting history and retains its atmosphere of a ” medieval village “. It hosts one of the largest medieval fairs in France as a tribute to its vital importance during this age.
Located 70km from Paris, the city is divided into two: its upper part which is the oldest part of the city, surrounded by ramparts and medieval tower and the lower part which is the most modern and offers little interest compared to its counterpart. However, many locals prefer to say that the city is divided into three parts: the lower part, the upper part, and the underground part! Because it is miles and miles of underground and crypts dating from the 13th century that lie hidden under the streets of the city.
The upper town is surrounded by large ramparts more than 1000 meters long and about twenty small watchtowers. The highest tower in the city, which is behind the ramparts and just next to the church is the Caesar Tower where you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the entire city.
How to prepare for your out of Paris day trips to Provins
- The train arrives in the lower part of the city, look around and follow the directions ( and the medieval towers) to reach the upper part
- Don’t forget to stop at the tourist office to learn more about the tours and places to visit
- The undergrounds are open to visitors but ask about the schedules for visits in English beforehand.
- Many shows are proposed with eagles or horses
- The Provins Pass allows you to visit the city and museums at reduced prices. It is available at the tourist office and at all monument counters.
- Check the official website for opening hours because in low season it can be tricky
How to get there?
Provins is located in the Ile-de-France, so it is a suburban train (Transilien) that you must take.
- The departure is from Paris EST station
- Aboard a train on the P line (yellow line) terminus Provins
- There’s a train every hour to and from here.
- The one-way trip will cost you 12€
- Buy your tickets at ATMs or at a ticket office
Unique locations to visit on day trips from Paris by train
Monet’s house in Giverny
This small village was made famous worldwide by the impressionist painter Claude Monet. Owner of a small house and many plots of land and gardens, he painted this little corner of paradise relentlessly for almost 40 years.
If you like art, I highly recommend this getaway. Located 80km northwest of Paris, this village is considered to be the cradle of Impressionism.
Monet’s house has retained its old-fashioned charm. It is a journey into the cozy intimacy of the famous painter offered when visiting his studio or his former bedroom. Monet was also a passionate Japanese art lover and most of his collection is still on display.
The breathtaking beauty of the gardens has led it to receive several awards and a walk around them is a fantastic experience that shouldn’t be missed. Walking along the multicolored paths decorated with roses, geraniums, and dahlia, all in the shades of cherry trees and weeping willows will give you the feeling of walking around in one of a master’s paintings! An underpass takes you to the famous Japanese bridge immortalized by his masterpiece “Water Lilies”.
How to prepare for your visit to Monet’s house in Giverny
- I strongly advise you to visit this place in summer or spring, when the gardens are the most beautiful. In winter, they’re a bit sorrier
- The house is open every day from March 22 to November 1 from 9:30 am to 6 pm
- Many museums can be visited in the city of Giverny.
- Plan two hours for a visit to the gardens.
- The price of the ticket for the House and Gardens is €9.50 but you can combine this ticket for a visit with other museums in the city.
How to get there?
From Gare St-Lazare in Paris take a mainline train to “Vernon” SNCF station.
- It takes 45 minutes to travel between Paris and Vernon by train
- Prices range between 8 to 15€ for a one-way ticket
- There is one train per hour in each direction.
- A bus will take you from Vernon to Giverny 15 minutes after the train arrives. It takes 10 minutes to get there.
- But if you want to skip the hustle of looking for a train, then you can buy this ticket. It includes a two-way train ticket, (to and from) and also priority access to Monet’s House and Gardens.
The Mont Saint Michel
Even if it’s a bit of a stretch to mention it on a Paris day trips post, I just couldn’t fail to include it on the list! Mont Saint Michel is, in my opinion, one of the must-see attractions in France – It is simply stunning.
According to legends, the angel Saint Michael appeared to the bishop in the 10th century. The mountain then became an important place of pilgrimage for the religion. The Benedictine abbey is perched on a rocky islet in the bay of Saint-Michel. It is also surrounded by a medieval city teeming with small alleyways and secret passageways protected by high ramparts encircling the entire island.
“Wonder of the West” and also classified as a UNESCO Site, the architecture of the place is truly phenomenal. You need to have seen it in real life to believe its beauty.
It is also the place of the strongest tides in Europe. When they come the island is completely surrounded by water. When the water recedes, it is possible to walk around the island but be careful because the tide comes back quickly and it is possible to get trapped!
Once on the island, many interesting visits are possible. I advise you to simply stroll through the alleys and on the ramparts and enjoy the magic of the place to its fullest potential. The visit of the abbey is very interesting if you take a guide. The view from the top is truly breathtaking. 3 museums can be visited on the islands, including the Archaeoscope Museum, which tells the story of the construction of this magnificent monument.
Every year, the place welcomes more than 2 million tourists! So, it is unlikely to escape the crowd even in the low season. But don’t worry, there will be people in the main artery, very commercial, but once you get lost in the alleys, the chances of being completely alone are big!
Pro tip* Although a day trip is possible, I suggest you consider extending your stay. Sleeping on the Mount can be expensive but hotels are available on the bay and the region has so much to offer!
How to prepare for one of the best day trips from Paris to Mont Saint Michel
- Get ready for a very long day! Put on your walking shoes and be sure to be in good shape as there is plenty of climbing to fully explore the island.
- The parking is quite far from the island. You have 3 ways to reach Mont: On foot, which is a 45/50 minute walk along the bridge overlooking the bay with a view of the Mount. With a free shuttle, 12 minutes of travel or in a horse-drawn carriage which is 25 minutes for a ride to the hill – prices vary from year to year.
- Once the Bus has dropped you off, note the place and time of departure before starting your adventure so that you don’t miss it.
- Remember to take cash, there is only one ATM on the island and the last time I checked, it was not working.
- There are two accessible tourist offices – one at the car park and the other at the direct entrance of the Mount.
- Access to the Mount is free but the visit of the abbey costs between 7 to 9€. An audio guide is available for 5€
- The price of museums varies from 5 to 10€
- Bring something to make a picnic! The restaurants on the islands are tourist catchers.
How to get there?
Get ready for a loooooong day!
- The railway company offers a single train+bus fare: 27€ per outward journey
- You can book online, but booking at the counter is safer to be sure to take advantage of the discounted rate.
- Departure from Paris to Montparnasse Station is at 7:38 am – Arrival at 11:24 am
- The last departure from Mont is at 6:06 pm for an arrival at 10 pm in Paris.
The theme parks to visit on day tours from Paris
Do I really need to present the most visited park in Europe? Located about 40 kilometers East of Paris, this Disney park will delight the young and the old alike. There are more than 300 rides ranging from the most frightening to the most enjoyable.
This 4800-hectare site actually houses two distinct parks: the Disney Historical Park and the Studio Park. Each of the two parks offers a different experience and unique rides.
Disney is a master at creating an atmosphere – it is really a magical and enchanting world that awaits you in its parks. Say hello to all your favorite Disney characters for me!
How to prepare your train trips from Paris to Disneyland
- As in all Disney parks around the world, get ready for long queues!
- Remember to take your walking shoes because it’s huge.
- Opening hours vary according to the season, but parks generally open at 10 am and close around 6 pm in winter, but later in summer.
- Concerning the prices, it is difficult to get an overview as the offers are many and varied but expect an average of 75€ for a 1-day/2 park ticket per adult but it can go up much higher! You can opt for this 1-day ticket that goes for 51€
- Check the official website, many passes and prices are available, too many to list them all here. Since there are various Disneyland Paris tickets, you can check the ones below from Getyourguide (a leading tour provider in the world), and book one that suits your needs.
How to get there?
The park is easily accessible from Paris by train because it has its very own train station! It is actually one of the easy day trips from Paris by train
- From Paris, jump on the RER A at the Gare de Lyon station.
- The terminus is “Marne-la-Vallée-Chessy”.
- The parks are 2 minutes away from the station
- You can book from the Disney website, or directly at Gare de Lyon
For those who don’t know, Asterix the Gaul is a humorous and hilarious French comic strip character set in the days of the Roman Empire. Published all over the world in more than 110 different languages, it is a real national institution in France, everyone has read one of its comics! It was, therefore, a natural decision to set up an amusement park in its honor 50km north of Paris!
Less known to tourists but just as appreciated by the locals, the Asterix Park has nothing to envy to Disney. To let you know, I even prefer it to Mickey’s Park because its thrilling attractions are such a great thrill!
The atmosphere is friendly and the scenery is really cool – taking you back to the Roman era while keeping the distinctive style of the comic strip.
Just like Disney, you can meet on your way all the characters who made the comic book a success. From Asterix himself, of course, Obelix, Panoramix to Falbala!
In addition to being much more affordable than Disney, it is also less frequented and the queues are much shorter. It is not uncommon to be able to do the same ride several times, something almost impossible at Disney!
How to prepare for your trip from Paris to Asterix Park
- The park is not always open! Check the official website to be sure.
- The typical day runs from 10 am to 6 pm.
- During Halloween, the park organizes nocturnes until 1 am
- The full price Adult ticket costs 51€. Many discounts are possible but make sure to visit the official website for more details. You can also get a discounted price if you buy your full-day entrance ticket from here.
How to get there?
Two solutions are proposed, the first one by Train:
- From Paris, reach CDG airport via RER B
- Get off at the “Charles de Gaulle 1 Airport” stop (NOT the TGV stop)
- Go to the “Parc Astérix” ticket office or you will be directed to a shuttle bus leading to the Park.
- The train will cost you around 10€ and the shuttle 9€.
- You can opt for this private transfer (to and from) which comes with a full-day entry ticket to the park as well.
The second one is by long-distance bus:
- Two companies are recommended: OuiBus and FlixBus
- Departure to Paris Bercy for both companies
- Count one hour of travel time
- The cost varies between 6 and 10 euros
- Book your ticket online.
Thoiry Zoological Park
About 40 km west of Paris. The Thoiry “safari” zoo takes place within the estate of Thoiry Castle. Why “safari zoo”? Simply because its main attraction is the visit to the zoo in your car, like a real safari in Africa. There is also a traditional walking tour and a magnificent 120-hectare botanical park.
The park covers 150 hectares and is home to more than 750 different animal species. The Safari section is 6.5 kilometers long and divided into two areas: The African area where you can observe the large African herbivorous mammals and the North American area to see bears, wolves, bison, and other rare Eurasian species.
If you don’t want to rent a car to visit the park, don’t worry, the park offers collective “bush truck” tours from 1h30 to 2 hours for an extra cost of 8 euros in addition to the entrance ticket.
The Walking tour is also very interesting as it will allow you to admire several carnivores such as cheetahs, snow leopards, lynxes and tigers, protected by a glass tunnel for total immersion. Two aviaries can also be visited to admire the most beautiful birds such as wild vultures and Rüppel vultures (in critical danger of extinction) or multicolored parakeets and Lorickets!
If you feel too small in front of the elephants, tigers and other lions of the zoo, you can switch roles and visit in the “arch of the small animals”. Visit the many amphibians and invertebrates in the vivariums created especially for them – frogs, mygales, newts… They’re all here!
How to prepare for your visit to Thoiry Zoological Park
- Safari and Zoo open from 11 am to 5 pm in Winter but close later in the summer.
- Admission ticket: 29€
- Many activities and games are available such as zip-lining (above the animals!), a natural labyrinth and playgrounds for children.
- 3 restaurants are at your disposal, or take a picnic for a gourmet break in the botanical park.
How to get there?
By car; the ideal solution:
- From Paris, take the A13 motorway at Porte d’Auteuil.
- At the junction, take the A12 motorway and then the N12 towards Dreux.
- Take the Thoiry exit, follow the D76 and then the D11 towards Thoiry.
- It takes 45 minutes to drive
- Free parking
- From Paris Montparnasse station, take the “N&U” line towards Dreux
- Get off at the “Villiers Neauphle Pontchartrain” station
- Take bus 78, 20 minutes drive to the park. Ask at the station ticket office.
- Plan 30 minutes by train between Paris and Villier for 7,60€
Now that you know all the best day trips from Paris by train, I hope you spare some time and visit at least one of these places near Paris. Have you been to any of these day trips outside of Paris? Let me know which one was your favorite or where you plan to go the next time you’re in Paris.
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