10 Amazing Day Trips From Paris

Loire Valley

Loire Valley is located in central France just two hours south of Paris.  Rent a car or book a tour and see for yourself what castle life was like in the Renaissance era.

Although there are actually dozens of castles in the region, most tours bring you to the three most popular castles - Chenonceau, Chateau de Cheverny, and Chateau de Chambord.

How to get to Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is about 2 hours southwest of Paris, so you'll either need to rent a car or go with a tour group.  There are several tour operators that will take you to visit several castles.

Mont Saint Michel

Just a few hours north of Paris lies the tiny island of Mont Saint Michel and home to an 8th century Benedictine abbey.

Visiting Mont Saint Michel can easily be done in one afternoon.  Leave in the morning and then take a few hours to have lunch, wander the small medieval city and take a tour of the abbey before returning back to Paris in the early evening.

How to get to Mont Saint Michel

Mont Saint Michel is located a few hours west of Paris in the Normandy region of France.  You can either arrange public transport and go on your own or purchase a tour group package.

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Less than an hour out of the city is the castle of Versailles.  Transformed from a hunting lodge to a palace by Louis XIV in the late 1600s, Versailles is one of the most impressive royal residences in Europe.

Explore the castle and the gardens and don't forget to check out the Queen's Hamlet - it's where Marie Antoinette used to go to get away from the hassle of castle life.

How to get to Versailles

It will take you about an hour to get to the palace using public transport.  Take the RER C train to Chateau Rive Gauche station and from there, the palace is about a 10 minute walk.


Second only to Versailles, the medieval Palace of Fontainebleau is another great destination just outside of the city.

Former home to Napoleon III and Louis VII, the Palace was known as Second Rome due to its design and decor.  After visiting the palace, take a peaceful stroll through the vast nearby forest.

If you want to visit for free, go on the first Sunday of the month.

How to get to Fontainebleau

Take a 40 minute ride aboard the Transilien train from Gare de Lyon to Fontainebleau-Avon station.  From there, you can either take a 15 minute bus ride or stroll the 3km to get to the forest.


Famous for its D-Day beaches where Allied forces landed to take on the Germans in WWII, Normandy is now a place for visitors to reflect on those events.

While here, you can learn about the history of WWII, visit the American cemetery and its rows of white crosses as well as step foot on the D-Day landing beaches.

How to get to Normandy

You can either book a tour from Paris or save yourself some money and take a 2½ hour train from Paris into Normandy and hiring a local guide to do a D Day tour from there.
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Also in Normandy is the charming town of Rouen.  Here you'll find brightly colored buildings, a gorgeous cathedral and a fantastical astronomical clock tower.

The town is also infamously known as the place where Joan of Arc was executed and you can actually visit the tower where she was held prisoner.

How to get to Rouen

The quickest and most convenient way to get to Rouen is by train from the Gare St-Lazare station.  The hour long train ride costs about €25.


An hour northwest from Paris lies the town of Giverny.  Made famous by Monet's water lily series of paintings, Giverny is visited by over half a million people each year.

Visit the Musée des Impressionnismes as well as Monet's nearby home and magical gardens.  The best time to visit is during the spring and summer months as the garden will be in full bloom and you'll feel like you've been transported into one of Monet's paintings.

How to get to Giverny

Take the SNCF train from Gare Saint-Lazare to the Vernon-Giverny station.  After the hour train ride, hop a shuttle bus to Monet's Garden.


Located an hour east of Paris, Reims is in the heart of France's Champagne region and is the perfect day trip destination for anyone who loves bubbly.

Learn the history and secrets of the region, visit a vineyard and also the famous Moet and Chandon cellars.  You can also visit the grand cathedral there where French kings were once crowned.

How to get to Reims

Book a TGV train from Gare de l’Est to Reims-Centre.  If you book the TGV train, the journey will take 45 minutes as opposed to the 2 hour train that has many stops in between.


Just an hour away by high speed train, Lille is a fascinating blend of French and Flemish culture.

This capital city of northern France is known for its brick houses, tall belfies and its beer culture.  Home to a young student population, the city also houses plenty of lively bars and pubs.

How to get to Lille

You can either take the one hour train ride from Gare du Nord, or the SNCF bus service will get you there in 3 hours for only €5 each way.


Known for its medieval fortifications including the famous Tour César and its well preserved city walls, Provins is just an hour and a half south of Paris.

After arriving at the train station in the ville basse (lower city) make your way up to the ville haute (the old medieval upper city) and take in the quaint medieval feel of the city on your way.

The city is also famous for its roses so don't forget to warm up with some of their famous rose flavored hot chocolate during the winter months or nibble on some rose flavored candy year round.

How to get to Provins

Take the SNCF Transilien Line P from Gare de l’Est.  Trains leave every hour and the journey takes about an hour and 20 minutes.
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