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30+ Day Trips from Paris Every Francophile Must Take!

Last Updated on 20th October 2022 by TSM Media

Paris may be pretty, but there’s so much more to France than just its capital city. So even if you’re only visiting the City of Light for just a few days, there are plenty of Châteaux, adorable French towns, and foodie inspired day trips to take from the city. Here are 30+ day trips from Paris every Francophile must take, as told by a local!

20+ Charming & easy to take Day Trips from Paris that are perfect for your next French adventure. Including artist retreats, seaside escapes, and magical castles, there are the best Paris day trips!

Editor’s note: Though, of course, you can always purchase your train tickets for these Paris excursions on the day itself (which will also give you greater flexibility when planning your schedule), it’s also perfectly possible to purchase your tickets in advance so as to compare the best prices and check whether you want to take the train or bus!

I personally use this website to compare the best prices and deals. Though I recommend taking the train or bus as opposed to renting a car (driving in Paris can be more than a little terrifying!), if you are going to rent a car for these Paris day trips, check this price comparison website to discover the best deals for car rentals!

#1 Senlis, the off the beaten path day trip

Picture perfect, Senlis is a small commune in the Oise department of France. Filled with cobbled lanes and with links to historic French heroine, Joan of Arc, Senlis is the perfect Paris day trip if you’re looking for somewhere a little off the beaten tourist track.

Complete with pretty gardens and several museums, you can’t go wrong by dedicating a couple of hours to exploring the pretty French commune. A trip to Senlis can easily be combined with a visit to nearby Compiegne, a town that has a stunning town hall and its own Château.

Time & Distance from Paris: By car, it takes just under an hour to reach Senlis. Truth be told, you’ll want a vehicle to reach this tiny town as public transport requires at least a couple of changes, and it’s also worth combining a road trip (check out our best road trip tips) to Senlis with a visit to nearby Compiegne.

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Senlis
senlis france

#2 Versailles Town & Versailles Palace

Book now: Versailles by Train Tour From Paris with Skip-The-Line

The best-known day trip from Paris, Versailles, is located just a short train ride away from the French capital. Once there, visitors can expect to find the ornate palace of the sun king, as well as several smaller palaces known as the ‘Grand Trianon’ and the ‘Petit Trianon’.

Within the grounds of Versailles, the Hameau de la Reine is the hamlet where Marie Antoinette would go to play dress up, while it’s even possible to rent a boat on the expansive waterways throughout the Palace grounds during the summer months. Elsewhere in Versailles town, there’s plenty of other wonderful French attractions, including traditional weekly markets and several museums.

Time & Distance from Paris: The easiest way to reach Versailles as a Paris day trip is by RER C. Truth be told, Versailles is the easiest day trip from Paris by train. Just forty minutes away from the city centre on the train, you’ll want to take the train from Gare d’Austerlitz to Gare de Versailles Chantiers. In order to skip the line and save time, purchase your Versailles Palace ticket in advance here.

Hameau de la Reine, Versailles: inside the hamlet and farm where Marie Antoinette escaped the crowds of the palace of Versailles
Hidden Gems & Secret Spots in Versailles You Must Visit in Ile de France, France

#3 Fontainebleau, the ‘alternative’ day trip to Versailles

Book now: Fontainebleau & Vaux-le-Vicomte Châteaux Day Tour from Paris

A great alternative to Versailles, this ‘château without the crowds’ has just as much opulence as its more famous neighbour, just without the sheer number of tourists to match!

Fontainebleau is even home to a horseshoe staircase where Napoleon gave his last formal command to his troops, Papal Apartments, and a lake where you can rent a rowboat by the half-hour, there’s plenty of reasons to check out Fontainebleau on your next French adventure.

Time & Distance from Paris: By car, it takes just over an hour to reach Fontainebleau. Alternatively, it’s very easy to reach the Château and its grounds by train.

Simply take the R GARE DE MONTARGIS towards Gare de Montargis from Gare de Lyon and get off at Fontainebleau–Avon. The journey takes around forty minutes. From the station, it’s another fifteen minutes to reach the forest and mansion. Purchase your Château de Fontainebleau Priority Entrance Ticket in advance here.

Escape the crowds in Paris: fontainebleau
hallway at fontainebleau

#4 Domaine de Chantilly, the fairytale French Château

Book now: Chantilly skip-the-line entry ticket

Allegedly the birthplace of Chantilly whipped cream, and fine Chantilly lace, today the breathtakingly beautiful palace of Château de Chantilly is home to the second largest art museum in France, being slightly smaller than the Louvre. Other highlights include a hamlet which inspired the Hameau de la Reine of Versailles and some pretty stunning Romantic Gothic architecture.

Time & Distance from Paris: The easiest way to reach Chantilly is by train. Take the Gare du Nord train towards Chantilly and the journey time is just under half an hour. Please note that Chantilly is outside of the Île de France region and so the ‘Navigo’ card won’t work to reach this French town.

In order to truly make the most of your time at the castle and around the town, I recommend an overnight stay (so that you can get up and photograph the château at sunrise!). The best place in town to stay is the Auberge du Jeu de Paume. Check prices and availability here.

chantilly spire france
Chantilly, France

#5 Sceaux

Pretty all year ’round, Sceaux is best seen in spring when the crowds are fewer, the temperatures are warmer, and the cherry blossom is in full bloom. So beautiful is the French château to be found in this tiny town is that it was even used as a filming location for the recent Versailles TV series. Otherwise, other highlights of Château de Sceaux include the stunning permanent collections and the extensive well-manicured gardens.

Time & Distance from Paris: By car, Sceaux takes around an hour, though limited parking and driving around town means that taking the train is definitely the easiest (not to mention cheapest) option.

For those wishing to visit Château de Sceaux via train, simply purchase a ticket and hop aboard the RER B at Gare du Nord. Once on the train, it’s merely a half hour journey to reach the town and mansion.

sceaux in spring cherry blossom

#6 Loire Valley Châteaux

Book now: Castles of the Loire Valley Full-Day Tour

The Loire Valley is home to the largest concentration of palatial mansion houses and French châteaux to be found anywhere in l’Hexagon. Highlights of ‘The Garden of France’ include Château de Chambord (supposedly partly designed by Da Vinci himself) and Chenonceau, the best-known of the Loire Valley Castles.

Time & Distance from Paris: If you want to visit some of the lesser-known châteaux while in the Loire Valley, or simply want to pack plenty into a one day trip, then you’ll probably want to rent a car.

After all, this way it’s possible to see the castles you’re truly interested in and getting around via public transport is often not an option for visiting many of the châteaux.

If a car isn’t an option, then there are plenty of companies who organise day trips from the city to the Loire Valley. Some of the best group trips from Paris to the Loire Valley are this guided tour of the Castles of the Loire, or this day tour from Paris with lunch.

Best castles in Europe: Château de Chambord, Loire Valley, France

#7 Chartres

Book now: Chartres Cathedral and Old Town: 6-Hour Tour from Paris

The gateway to the Loire Valley is the city of Chartres, a place best-known for its wonderful French cathedral, many timber-framed houses, and countless cobbled lanes. Once in the city, some of the best things to do include the ever so unusual Maison Picassiette and the Musée des Beaux-Arts (Museum of Fine Arts).

Time & Distance from Paris: By car, it takes around an hour and a half to reach Chartres from Paris. Otherwise, you can always take the train between the two cities. From Gare Montparnasse in the South of the city, you’ll want to take the direct train to the Gare de Chartres. This too takes around an hour and a half.

Pretty French towns near Paris, France: Chartres

#8 Auvers-Sur-Oise

Book now: Giverny and Auvers-sur-Oise Full-Day Tour from Paris

If you’re looking for a quirky Paris day trip that many miss out on in favour of more famous châteaux, and indeed better-known towns, then you simply must head to Auvers-Sur-Oise.

Located to the North of Paris, this tiny town holds secrets such as many of the locations where Van Gogh painted some of his final masterpieces. The town’s graveyard is the final resting place of Vincent and his brother Theo, while the Château d’Auvers dates back to the 17th-century.

Time & Distance from Paris: Truth be told, the easiest way to reach Auvers-Sur-Oise is by car, considering that in order to reach the town by public transport requires both a bus and train. From Paris, it takes just over an hour to reach the off the beaten tourist track town.

offbeat paris destinations: day trip to vincent van gogh's resting place

#9 L’Isle-Adam

Home to a beach, charming river, and plenty of waterside cafés and bistros, a visit to L’Isle-Adam can easily be combined with a visit to nearby Auvers-Sur-Oise (the two towns can be found just a fifteen-minute drive from one another).

Otherwise, you should know that L’Isle Adam is where all the Parisians come on vacation so as to escape the city during the summer when the sun is shining and the weather is warm, making this little town the perfect day excursion from Paris.

Time & Distance from Paris: Much like nearby Auvers-Sur-Oise, the easiest way to reach L’Isle-Adam is by car. Indeed, should you wish to visit via public transportation, the journey requires two different trains, though only takes an hour and twenty minutes. Meanwhile, the journey takes around an hour between Paris city centre and L’Isle-Adam.

l'isle-adam val d'oise france day trip from paris

#10 Rueil-Malmaison

Somewhere between Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Paris proper, Rueil-Malmaison is a fairly substantial town which is home to its own shopping complexes, supermarkets, and every other amenity you would expect to find in a fairly large town.

This pretty French town is also where you’ll find the Château de Malmaison, a pretty Renaissance-era building which was once the residence of Empress Joséphine de Beauharnais.

Time & Distance from Paris: So as to not have to worry about parking, the easiest way to reach Rueil-Malmaison is by bus or train. This French commune is located on the RER A and during peak hours, trains depart from the city centre every ten minutes or so. From Paris, it takes around twenty minutes to reach Rueil-Malmaison. It’s then a further ten to fifteen-minute walk to reach the Château de Malmaison.

Pretty French towns near Paris: Rueil Malmaison

#11 Meaux

Home to its own brand of brie and even its own type of mustard, Meaux is one of those Paris day trips which is often overlooked in favour of more popular ones like Chantilly or Versailles.

However, that isn’t to say that you should overlook this pretty French town, especially if you’re a foodie or love history (there are several museums in town, including the largest WWII museum in the world).

Time & Distance from Paris: By car, it takes around an hour to reach Meaux (all depending on the traffic)! I personally visited Meaux as a day trip from Paris via the train and couldn’t have found it easier to get between the two destinations. Regular trains depart from Gare de l’Est and the journey time takes around forty minutes.

Pretty French towns near Paris: Meaux

#12 Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Complete with its own Château, and a small museum dedicated entirely to one of the town’s most famous residents, Chopin, you won’t want to miss out on one of the prettier day trips from Paris.

Other highlights of Saint-Germain-en-Laye include fantastic views of the surrounding landscape and an archaeological museum that’s easily one of the best in the Île de France region.

Time & Distance from Paris: The easiest way to reach the beautiful town of Sain-Germain-en-Laye is via Paris public transportation. The commune is situated at the end of a branch of the ReR A (the red line) and trains depart on a regular basis from the city centre.

saint germain en laye main town square

#13 Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte & Blandy-les-Tours

Book now: Fontainebleau & Vaux-le-Vicomte Châteaux Day Tour from Paris

Before there was Versailles, there was Vaux-le-Vicomte, a château so sumptuous that the King of France confiscated it for himself and locked up the owner for life. Well worth a visit on any trip to France, this is easily one of the best castle day trips from Paris.

Nearby, the wonderful Blandy Les Tours dates back to the Middle Ages and has been renovated and reconstructed in a way so as to look how it might have done during Medieval times.

Time & Distance from Paris: By car, it takes around an hour to reach Vaux-Le-Vicomte from Paris. Unfortunately, during the off-season, there’s no easy way to reach the French mansion house via public transportation. However, during the late spring, summer, and early autumn, there are regular shuttle buses between Verneuil l’Etang and the Château. Full details can be found here.

Read more: Before Versailles, there was Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte…

Chateau de Vaux le Vicomte: a beautiful French mansion and an easy day trip from Paris, France

#14 Mont Saint Michel

Book now: From Paris Full-Day Mont Saint-Michel Guided Tour

A little further away from Paris than some of the other Paris day trips listed in this article, Mont Saint Michel is a stunning conically shaped tidal island which is home to a breathtakingly beautiful abbey.

First founded in the middle ages, today the Normandy ecclesiastical building has since become a symbol of France. If you’re looking to tick off your French bucket list, then you simply must head to Mont Saint Michel!

Time & Distance from Paris: By car, Mont Saint Michel is approximately four hours away from Paris each way, meaning you should only truly visit as a Paris day trip if you’re really desperate to see the abbey and are incredibly short on time! For those with a few more days to spare, I highly recommend taking a little more time to explore the region.

If you’re short on time, then you should know that a Mont Saint Michel day trip from Paris will take an entire day, comprising of both trains and buses. Trains leave from Montparnasse and reach Rennes.

From there, you’ll need to take a bus to reach Mont Saint Michel, making this, in part, a bus trip from Paris. For much less hassle and effort, you can always book a guided tour to visit Mont Saint Michel from the French Capital.


#15 Provins

The pretty medieval town of Provins is around an hour or so from Paris via train and is best visited in the late spring or early autumn just outside of peak season! Highlights of this city, which was ever-so-prominent during the Middle Ages, include a 14th-century watchtower and medieval ramparts you can still wander along.

For those with a little more time, the underground Provins tunnels are well worth paying to visit via guided tour. Otherwise, you should know before you go that rose flowers are synonymous with this medieval city, to the extent that you can even purchase beer with rose flavours! At Christmas time, one of the best Paris Christmas Markets can be found held in Provins itself.

Time & Distance from Paris: The easiest way to reach Provins is by train, which takes around an hour and twenty minute from the city. Simply hop on the Transilien P from Gare de l’Est. Otherwise, if you want to visit by car, then you should know that it also takes around an hour and twenty minutes to reach Provins from Paris.

Medieval town of Provins, home to the historic 'Champagne Fairs' of the middle ages. Provins, 1.5 hours from paris, France

#16 Rouen, the timber-framed capital of Normandy

Book now: Day Trip to Rouen and Honfleur

As the capital of the Normandy region of France, Rouen is home to many a museum, as well as an impressive gothic cathedral. The final resting place of Richard the Lionheart, as well as the place where Joan of Arc was allegedly burned at the stake, this timber-framed filled city is well worth a visit. Otherwise, Rouen’s main attractions include a museum of fine arts and one of the oldest clocks in France.

Time & Distance from Paris: By car, it takes well over two hours to reach Rouen. In the case of this Paris day trip, it’s certainly much quicker to reach the city via public transportation. Direct trains between Paris and Rouen only take an hour and a half and depart from Gare Saint Lazare on a regular basis.

rouen cathedral in the daytime

#17 Étretat, the seaside escape from Paris

Book now: Étretat & Le Havre Small Group Day Trip

While England has the Cliffs of Dover, France has the chalky coastline of Etretat. Best visited during an overnight escape from Paris, so as to make the most of your time in the pretty resort town that so-inspired artists such as Monet, some highlights of Étretat include pebbled beaches, endless coastal walks, and plenty of Normandy architecture.

Time & Distance from Paris: By car, it takes just over three hours to reach Étretat (provided that the traffic and weather conditions are good and that you use toll roads). Otherwise, public transportation will take you well over four hours, meaning that you should probably select a shorter day trip from Paris, thus allowing you to maximise your time for exploring!

Most beautiful towns in Normandy, Northern France: Étretat

#18 Vincennes, the easy Paris day trip

Book now: Château de Vincennes entrance ticket

On the fringes of Paris, at the end of metro line 1, Vincennes is home to one of the largest parks the city has to offer. Not only that, but Vincennes also boasts one of the only other Sainte Chapelle churches in France (the most famous being that of Sainte Chapelle on Île de la Cité in central Paris). Other than these attractions, Vincennes also has a medieval and fortified château that’s well worth a stroll around.

Time & Distance from Paris: The most convenient way to reach Vincennes Château and woods is by metro. Hop on line one (yellow) in the heart of Paris and head to the end of the line. Once at Vincennes, it’s easy to wander around the major attractions to be found there on foot.

Château de Vincennes day trip from Paris, France: sainte chapelle

#19 Goussainville (le Vieux Village), the forgotten ghost town

A ghost town on the fringes of the city, the settlement of Goussainville was once a thriving town with its own set of shops, attractions, and even a grand mansion. However, the expansion of nearby Charles de Gaulle airport put pay to Goussainville’s time as a quiet and secluded town in the French countryside.

So noisy were the planes that many villagers left Goussainville, leaving behind plenty of abandoned homes and a crumbling church. Though townspeople are slowly returning to Goussainville, it still remains very much a ghost town. Of particular note is Goussainlivres, a charming bookshop in the heart of town.

Time & Distance from Paris: In order to reach Goussainville via public transportation from Paris, you’ll need to take the RER D from Gare du Nord. From the Goussainville train station, it’s around a fifteen-minute walk to reach the old part of town (i.e. the ‘Vieux Village’). Otherwise, in order to reach Goussainville via car from Paris, it will take around an hour.

Librairie Goussainlivres: A Quirky Second Hand Bookshop in a Suburban Parisian Ghost Town, Ile de France, France

#20 Giverny

Book now: Half-Day Trip to Giverny from Paris

For any art lover, Monet’s work probably needs no introduction. Towards the end of his life, Monet moved to Giverny, where he cultivated his gardens and painted the water lilies to be found within the green grounds. Today, you can explore Monet’s former home and gardens. Just make sure to bring your camera- it’s that picture perfect!

Time & Distance from Paris: By car, it takes around an hour and a half to reach Giverny, which can be found to the North West of the French capital. Otherwise, Monet’s gardens and home are pretty difficult to reach via public transportation! As such, you’ll want to rent a car or book a guided excursion from Paris.

photo on a phone of monet's waterlilies

#21 Deauville & Trouville-sur-Mer

Book now: Full-Day Small Group Tour to Honfleur

The pretty as a postcard former fishing towns of Deauville and Trouville-sur-Mer lie side by side alongside the Côte Fleurie. Home to an abundance of seafood-inspired restaurants, timber-framed houses, and all of the sandy beaches you could hope to enjoy on a day out from Paris, these Normandy towns are well worth a visit.

Time & Distance from Paris: By car, it takes a couple of hours to reach Deauville from Paris along the A17, making Deauville an easy side trip from Paris. Though it takes the same time via train, you’ll likely want to take the train as this avoids the traffic! The train between the two French towns takes around two and a half hours and departs on a regular basis from Saint Lazare in Paris.

Most beautiful towns in Normandy, Northern France: Deauville

#22 Beaune: the wine city of Burgundy

Book now: Burgundy: Full-Day Wine and Medieval Tour from Paris

Though a little further away from the French capital city than some of the other Paris day trips in this article, Beaune is still well worth a visit if you’re looking to enjoy the rich reds of Burgundy.

Situated somewhere between the mustard city of Dijon and the foodie capital of Lyon, Beaune is filled with wine merchants, the chance to sample the local tipple, and plenty of traditional Burgundy architecture.

Time & Distance from Paris: Considering that Beaune is three hours from Paris by car, you’ll probably want to take public transport. From the French capital city, you can take two trains that will take just over two hours from the City of Light each way.

Beaune, France travel Guide: Best things to do in Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy (Bourgogne). Here’s where to stay, best attractions, and the best wine locations in Beaune, which is a timber-framed town filled with museums, eateries, and churches

#23 Dijon, a foodie lover’s day trip from Paris

For those who are searching for an off the beaten path day trip from Paris, you need to look no further than Dijon. Situated to the South East of Paris, highlights of Dijon include plenty of beautiful Burgundy architecture (think timber-framed houses and hexagonal towers), as well as the chance to sample the local delicacy: that of mustard.

Time & Distance from Paris: Though not at the top of everyone’s bucket lists when it comes to France travel, Dijon is well worth a visit if you’re looking for a (literal) taste of Burgundy. There are plenty of direct trains running between Paris Gare de Lyon and Dijon and the journey takes around an hour and three quarters each way.

La Maison Sans Toit (the house without a roof), Place Bossuet

#24 Sens, the refuge destination of Thomas à Becket

I first visited the highly underrated French city of Sens and was immediately pleasantly surprised by this small city to the South of Paris. And as the gateway to Burgundy (otherwise known as Bourgogne in French), Sens is surprisingly underrated in comparison with other Burgundy destinations.

Once in the town, there’s a wealth of attractions to explore, including a cathedral where Thomas à Becket once took refuge and a fantastic Les Halles (covered market) where you can purchase fresh fruit and vegetables. Elsewhere in Sens, there’s some stunning architecture to enjoy and several well-priced restaurants serving authentic French fare.

Time & Distance from Paris: From the French capital city, it couldn’t be easier to hop on a train and reach the city of Sens (the train station is just a ten to fifteen-minute walk from the historic city centre). Simply hop on a train from Gare de Lyon or Bercy and you’ll be in Sens in under an hour and a half.

Sens Cathedral, Burgundy, France

#25 Louveciennes, an off the beaten path Paris day trip

If you’re in search of an off the beaten path trip from Paris, then the sleepy town of Louveciennes is a typically French settlement with little by way of attractions. Perfect to enjoy on a lazy Sunday afternoon, the best time to visit is during the spring when the entirety of the main town square is filled with stunning cherry blossom flowers.

Time & Distance from Paris: The easiest way to reach Louveciennes from Paris is a half-hour drive, being located just over 20 km away from the city centre. Alternatively, you can catch a train from Paris Saint-Lazare to Louveciennes. The journey time takes around half an hour each way and couldn’t be easier.

Louveciennes: A Guide to a Charming French Village Not far from Paris, France

#26 London, UK

Of course, no list of the best day trips from Paris would be complete without a quick nod to the UK’s capital city. After all, thanks to easy transport links from Eurostar, getting from city to city is a mere matter of hours. So, if you’re pressed for time and want to visit both capital cities, then take a trip to London for the day!

Time & Distance from Paris: In order to get to London from Paris, you’ll want to take the Eurostar. Journey time is a couple of hours each way and while it’s worth dedicating at least a few days to exploring the UK capital, if you’re short on time then a day trip between the two cities is perfectly possible.

If you’re wondering “how far is Paris from London?”, then from the journey from St Pancras International to Gare du Nord takes under two and a half hours. For more information, be sure to check out our guide on how to take a day trip from London to Paris.

Meandering the mews streets of London: St Lukes Mews, London, England

#27 Antwerp, the Belgian day trip from Paris

Also known as Anvers in French and Antwerpen in Dutch, the bustling port city of Antwerp is less than two hours away from Paris via train. Home to delights such as a traditional low countries Beguinage, plenty of beautiful Belgian architecture, and all of the beer sampling opportunities you could possibly imagine, Antwerp is easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Belgium.

Time & Distance from Paris: In order to reach Antwerp as a Paris day trip, you’ll want to take the train. By car, the journey takes well over four hours each way and is most certainly not worth it! However, if you take the high-speed train between the two cities, the journey time is simply two-hours each way!

Antwerp Guide: Best things to do in Antwerp, a busy and bustling port city in Northern Belgium, Europe. Middle Ages old town, lots of historic churches, and shops. Gastronomic city with lots of traditional Belgian beer and fries

#28 Disneyland Paris, the magical Paris day trip

Book now: Disneyland Paris 1-Day Ticket

Of course, no article about the best day trips from Paris would be complete without mentioning Disneyland Paris. The magical Kingdom is fun for all ages and some of the park has even been recently refurbished. During certain times of the year, events and seasonal festivals are held, including festivities at Halloween and at Christmastime.

Time & Distance from Paris: As one of the most popular day trips from Paris, it should come as no surprise that it’s very easy to reach Disneyland Paris! In fact, you simply need to hop on the RER A in central Paris at the Gare de Lyon station.

From there, the journey time is under an hour and you’ll want to disembark at the Marne-la-Vallée — Chessy station. As Disneyland is quite far from central Paris, you’ll need to buy a metro ticket that encompasses zones 1-5.

disneyland paris

#29 Epernay Champagne day trip from Paris

Book now: Full-Day Private Day Tour to Champagne from Paris

There is perhaps no French tipple quite as famous as that of Champagne. This sparkling wine can only be called ‘Champagne’ if it’s been produced in the French region. For a taste of the Champagne region, be sure to take a Paris day trip to Epernay, a town surrounded by swathes of vineyards and well worth a visit on any trip to l’Hexagone.

Time & Distance from Paris: Truth be told, the easiest way to visit Epernay is via a guided day trip from Paris like this one. This way, you can enjoy the locally produced champagne without having to worry about public transport back to Paris. Otherwise, the train between Paris and Epernay takes under an hour and a half each way.

Epernay France

#30 Reims, Champagne

If you wish to see one of the most beautiful cathedrals in France, you simply need to head to the city of Reims. Rather confusingly pronounced more like ‘rince,’ this destination can be found in the very heart of Champagne. Picture perfect and straight out of a storybook, highlights of Reims include the medieval Basilica and the Musée des Beaux-Arts fine arts museum.

Time & Distance from Paris: Though Reims may not be on the top of everyone’s France bucket lists in the same way as Versailles or Mont Saint Michel, a visit to Reims is still well worth a trip on any voyage through l’Hexagone. Simply book a guided tour or hop on a train from Paris Gare de l’Est and you’ll be in Reims in under an hour.

Médiathèque Jean Falala top floor view, Reims, France

#31 Brussels, Belgium

Though a little further from Paris than some of the other excursions cited here, thanks to easy transport links, from Paris to Brussels by train, the journey is much quicker than you might expect. Once in Brussels, there are a plethora of things to do in the Belgian capital city.

Visit the many museums has to offer, snap photos of the unique architecture in Brussels, and even try some local Belgium cuisine (waffles, French fries, etc!). Thanks to a fantastic Christmas market scene in the wintertime, Brussels is one of the best day trips from Paris in winter.

Time & Distance from Paris: If you’re looking to take day trips from Paris to other countries, then Belgium is undoubtedly the closest country to visit from the French capital. Paris to Brussels by train takes approximately two hours from Gare du Nord, though can take as little as an hour and a half if you opt for a fast-train!

Secrets of Brussels. Looking for the most unusual things to do in Brussels Belgium? here's your ultimate guide to hidden gems and secret spots in Brussels!

#32 Bayeux, Normandy

As one of the most unusual towns in Normandy, it’s clear to see that this historical-focused excursion from Paris is a must-see for all of the history buffs out there.

Once in Bayeux, it’s possible to visit the WWI battlefields, as well as see the Bayeux Tapestry, a 15th-century masterpiece which depicts the events prior to the Norman Conquest of England in the 11th-century.

Time and distance from Paris: The easiest way to get to Bayeux from Paris is by train. The journey takes under an hour and a half from the French capital if you opt to take the fast train from Gare Saint Lazare. The journey by car takes over three hours, and so this is one French side trip that you’ll want to take public transportation for!

Bayeux Tapestry, Bayeux, Normandy

#33 Strasbourg, Alsace

Though a little further away from Paris than some of the other French capital city day trips to be taken, there’s no mistaking the magic of the Alsace, a region of Eastern France that’s been part of Germany and a part of France during various points in its history.

Today, the city is self-proclaimed to be the ‘capital of Christmas’ thanks to just under a dozen festive markets, as well as twinkling lights across the city. Other highlights of the largest city in the Alsace include an astronomical clock whose roots date back to the Middle Ages and the many canals that surround the historic city centre.

During the winter time, there’s a Christmas Market that’s so special that Strasbourg is often dubbed ‘the capital of Christmas’ on account of its amazing vibe and market stalls. If you’re looking to get more familiar with the city, then be sure to check out our self-guided Strasbourg walking tour.

Time and distance from Paris: If you book a high-speed train, then it’s possible to reach Strasbourg from Paris in just under two hours, meaning that a day trip is perfectly possible. Most trains from Paris depart from Gare de l’Est and stop only at Metz en route.

How to Visit Strasbourg Astronomical Clock in Strasbourg, the Alsace, East of France

#34 Vaux-le-Vicomte & Blandy les Tours

Book now: Fontainebleau & Vaux-le-Vicomte Châteaux Day Tour from Paris

Before there was the Sun King’s Palace of Versailles, there was the magnificent mansion of Chateau de Vaux le Vicomte. A property so lavish, and so luxurious that the King of France himself grew envious of its owner and threw him into jail for the remainder of his life. 

Today the magnificent Château of Vaux le Vicomte is a fantastic day trip from the city and offers an insight into the original French Baroque.

After all, it was on this project that the trio André le Nôtre, Charles le Brun, and Louis Le-Vaux, first joined forced. Nearby, the reconstructed fortress of Blandy les Tours is well worth a look at!

Time and distance from Paris: Unfortunately, especially so in the off-season, the easiest way to reach Vaux-le-Vicomte from Paris is actually by car. If you’re visiting via public transportation, then the best time to visit is during the summer months when there are regular shuttle buses. Please note that as of 2021, there are no longer shuttle buses to Vaux le Vicomte due to current world events.

Take line P in the direction of the medieval town of Provinsaris’ Gare de l’Est to Verneuil l’Etang (the nearest metro station to the château).

During the summer months, there is a bus that will pick you up from the station and take you directly to Vaux le Vicomte (bring cash to pay for the bus). The same bus will also take you to Blandy-les-Tours.

Vaux-le-Vicomte panoramic view

#35 Chevreuse

Chevreuse. It’s the kind of town you see in the movies. And the type of place you’d think no longer exists. But the town of Chevreuse indeed does. And it’s totally worth your time.

The fairytale town is located in the Île de France region, south of Paris and is overlooked by the haunting ruins of a medieval château. In the town itself, you’ll find plenty of cafés, historic streets and a gently flowing river perfumed by the scent of a thousand flowering blooms. Oh so French!

Chevreuse Guide: Things to do, history and a medieval château in a fairytale French town, Yvelines Department, Île de France region, France

#36 Conflans-Sainte-Honorine

Of all the small towns near Paris that are worth visiting, Conflans-Sainte-Honorine is one of the most beautiful. Lying lazily alongside the River Seine, the charming settlement boasts a medieval past, a charming port, and several fantastic eateries.

By far the best thing to do in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine is to go on a tranquil walk alongside the River Seine. If it’s the summertime during your visit, then you might also consider taking a picnic along with you to enjoy your lunch out in the open air.

Otherwise, other highlights of the town, which is named for its position on the confluence of the Rivers Seine and Oise and a saint from Normandy, include a medieval tower, a handful of museums, and plenty of interesting architecture.

#37 Crécy-la-Chapelle

A quiet and secluded town to the east of the French capital, even many Parisians likely haven’t heard of the existence of Crécy-la-Chapelle, a sleepy town situated around 40 km from Paris and self-proclaimed to be the ‘Venice of Brie’ on account of its many ringed moats.

Highlights of Crécy include a Gothic collegiate church dating back to the 13th-century, some darling architecture, and the vestiges of historic ramparts which were constructed during the Middle Ages. If you’re looking for an off the beaten path day trip from Paris, this is the place to head to.

Collegiale Notre-Dame de Crécy-la-Chapelle

#38 La Vallée Village

La Vallée Village is the most successful designer outlet in France and is the perfect place to visit for those who want to go on a shopping day trip from Paris. La Vallée Village is a shopping outlet that comprises of over 110 stores, including plenty of designer French brands.

As well as ‘accessible’ designers such as Sandro, Maje, Levi’s, and Guess, there are also high-end designers such as Gucci, Balenciaga, Prada, and Burberry. La Vallée Village is part of The Bicester Village Shopping Collection Villages.

How to Visit La Vallée Village Paris Shopping Outlet

#39 Lille

Around an hour on the TGV from Paris’ Gare du Nord station, visitors can travel to Lille, a French town that lies close to the border with Belgium and has been highly influenced by Flemish design and culture.

Though this is one of the largest metropolitan areas in France, Lille’s main attractions and old town are fairly compact, meaning that most of the Lille’s highlights can easily be seen over the course of a day. Be sure not to miss the Grand Place, the rather modern cathedral, and the chance to sample local beers.

visit lille

#40 Parc de la Vallée aux Loups

One of the lesser known and off the beaten path things to do in Paris during the fall is to head to the south of the city and visit a pretty and unique park. The Parc de la Vallée aux Loups is located in Hauts-de-Seine and is just a short bus ride away from the end of the line 13 in southern Paris.

Boasting an arboretum, one of the most impressive bonsai collections in France, and plenty of beautiful landscapes, the arboretum came about in the 18th-century when the owner of Châteaubriand decided that an English style garden would make a nice addition to his estate. In the fall, the amount of maples transforming into golden hues are particularly notable.

bonsai collection vallee aux loups

Enjoyed reading about the best day trips from Paris? Pin it now, read it again:

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TSM Media loves dogs, books, travel, pizza, and history. A fan of all things France related, she runs when she’s not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming something sweet. She currently lives in Paris. Subscribe to Sophie’s YouTube Channel.

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Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad

Saturday 15th of June 2019

I love this post! I've been wanting to explore more of France, but I also want to go back to Paris because I have friends there now, so this is perfect! Rouen has been on my list for a long time, among others. :)


Saturday 15th of June 2019

This is so thorough, thanks for the ideas! I always hear how the French don't consider Paris to be the "real" France, haha. I'd like to do a trip focusing on some of these places instead. Do you know which one might be the best for hiking or other outdoorsy pursuits? I know about Mont Blanc of course (doing that in October) but am not super familiar with other French trails.


Saturday 15th of June 2019

Some wonderful recommendations here. I've been to some of the places, but think I need to add a few more to my France bucket list. Didn't expect London to be on a Day trip from Paris list TBH. But then again, I live in London and I have been toying with the idea of a Paris Day trip for a while... same thing really, so you are right, London is totally worth a day trip from Paris. Thanks for sharing and feeding my wanderlust.

Brianna (@ArchivesofAdv)

Saturday 15th of June 2019

I haven't been to Paris yet, but I feel like I'd be more into visiting these smaller day-trip towns. Thanks for all the suggestions!


Saturday 15th of June 2019

Honestly, many places in this list are ones I've never heard before, so your round-up is really amazing! Now I'll know where else to go when I return to Paris, thank you!

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