Bonjour et bienvenue a Paris! A vacation in the City of Lights is an exciting experience, with each arrondissement offering something new. Whether you’re there for a weekend or longer, our list of day trips goes to show there’s no shortage of magnifique things to do beyond the city limits.
No trip to France is complete without paying homage to the hedonism of the past. Although their fondness for opulence and glamor resulted in a beheading or two, France’s royal family certainly left something to remember them by with the incredible Palace of Versailles. From the Hall of Mirrors to the not-so-petite getaway of Marie Antoinette, Petit Trianon, taking the 1-hour train ride from Paris is worth it. Once you arrive, this tour will ensure you enjoy walking the grounds (and getting behind the scenes) in style.
2. Live the life in the Loire Valley
Home to some of the most incredible vin in France, the Loire Valley is no slouch when it comes to winery tastings (like on this day trip). Whether you prefer to enjoy crisp whites in the shade of the vineyard or relax with a red amongst one of the 1,000 regal chateaux, the Loire Valley has you covered. Catch the train from Paris and find yourself in the heart of wine country in just 90 minutes.
3. Knock around in Normandy
A 2.5-hour train ride from the city, Normandy is the ultimate destination for history buffs. Although historically a region that has bounced between English and French hands, the more recent events of D-Day make the beaches here the main attraction. Head out of Paris on this day trip to learn about the events of June 6, 1944 — the largest military operation in history.
4. Make your way to Mont Saint-Michel
Postcard-perfect doesn’t even begin to cover it! Mont Saint-Michel looks like something from a fairytale. Its spindly laneways and stone buildings are just begging to be photographed. This tiny town is a bit off a distance from Paris, but there’s an express train that will get you there in just 3.5 hours. The faithful have visited this oceanside town for centuries, with the oldest sections of the towering abbey dating back to 1144. Nowadays, it’s a nice spot to spend a few hours exploring and gathering artisanal souvenirs.
5. Ramble through Rouen
Also situated in Normandy, Rouen is just 90 minutes from Paris. A day trip here is the perfect way for fans of art and architecture to spend an afternoon. After just a few minutes in the city’s old town, you’ll see why. Make sure you visit the famous Rouen Cathedral. So much more than a gorgeous Gothic landmark, the cathedral was also the inspiration behind Monet’s Rouen Cathedral series. But that’s not all. History buffs and the faithful will want to stop by the Church of St Joan of Arc. Located at the Place du Vieux-Marché, the church was built on top of the site of the saint’s death.
6. Discover Disney au Francais
With a number of new Disney resorts popping up across the globe, Europe’s very own location can be found just outside of Paris. The commute is just under an hour via train, so it’s no trouble for little ones and the less-patient members of the family. Once at the resort, dive into the world of Walt Disney by enjoying incredible rides, meeting your favorite characters and, of course, tasting the best of fun park treats!
7. Peruse Provins
This medieval city is chock-full of history and just 90 minutes by train from Paris. Located north of the capital, Provins is best known for its medieval architecture and as a former trading hub. Today, the charming town is a prime destination for gorgeous strolls year-round and rose-scented souvenirs. Visitors heading to Provins in the cooler months should note that the opening hours for historical buildings like the Watchman’s Tower or underground passages can be restricted.
8. Feel fancy in Fontainebleau
Just 45 minutes from Paris, this incredible castle makes for a solid contender for Versailles’ crown. Although just as committed to the “more is more” interior design philosophy, Fontainebleau is often less crowded and easier to explore. Additionally, you can get your daily dose of greenery by making your way through the nearby forest!
9. Leap over to Lille
With not one but two incredible town squares, cobblestone streets, and local cuisine aplenty, Lille is the day tripper’s dream. Take the 1-hour bullet train and spend the day wandering through the picturesque laneways and shopping for local handicrafts. Once you’re sufficiently stocked with souvenirs, find a seat and enjoy northern specialties like Maroilles cheese and beef stew.
10. Journey to Giverny
You might already feel familiar with the gardens of Giverny, as they were the inspiration behind Monet’s iconic water lilies. In the warmer months, take the 45-minute train trip from Paris to stroll through the incredible flora and see the painterly plants for yourself. For lunch, there are a number of cafés nearby but you can also pack your own snacks to enjoy amongst the gardens.
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