Europe

Paris Day Trips: 13 BEST Places You Don't Want to Miss!

Updated on:  
May 19, 2022
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Miriam Jaffe
Miriam Jaffe
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Here we got all the info and deets you'll need to plan the perfect day trip from Paris that'll wow your friends and family. If you're ready to be amazed, read on.

Paris is a beautiful city to visit, with so much to see and do. While you’re there though, you might tire of the Parisian cobblestones and museum visits. That’s where day trips can save the day (or the trip)! Day trips are a great way to experience a new part of a country, without having to worry about booking accommodation in a separate city for a night.

Since Paris is so well connected, you have several options. Let’s dive in and explore some great day trips from Paris!

Day trips from Paris by train

One of the easiest ways to get around France is by train. Run by the SNCF, you can book your tickets online at oui.sncf in advance, or purchase them from a kiosk in the station. There is also an app you can download to have your tickets on your phone instead. You always need a ticket to board a train, and the tickets will (most likely) be checked!

For reference, while booking a train, TGV stands for Trains a Grande Vitesse, and these are high-speed trains. TER trains on the other hand are regional trains and will make more stops, meaning the journey will take longer. 

Paris train station cool signage
Photo by George Kourounis on Unsplash

Since Paris is the capital of France, it’s a central hub for trains, making it perfect for day tripping. Be sure to check from which train station your train is leaving as there are several in Paris. With that in mind, all aboard for our recommendations for the best day trips from Paris by train!

Versailles

Arguably the easiest day trip since you can get there using the RER! Versailles is the palace built by Louis XIV, famous for its hall of mirrors and opulent gardens. Prepare to arrive early to give yourself as much time as you need to explore the palace and its environs. At the time of publishing, you must pre-book your tickets with an allotted entry time in order to gain entrance to any of the ticketed sites at Versailles.

  • How to get there: RER C to Versailles Château - Rive Gauche followed by a ten minute walk to the palace
  • Open 9:00 - 18:30 every day except Mondays and May 1
  • Book tickets here
  • Free entry for EU citizens (or those with residency in the EU) under 25
Versailles France
Photo by Mathias P.R. Reding on Unsplash

Giverny

Home to Monet’s house and gardens, Giverny is a quick trip away from Paris but feels oh so far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. While the main tourist attraction in Giverny is Monet’s house, you can visit the town itself, which is just on the outskirts of the beginning of the Normandie region. 

  • How to get there: Gare Saint-Lazare -> Vernon - Giverny (takes around one hour, and costs start at 9€). You can then take a shuttle (10€) or walk the 6km to the gardens
  • Open 9:30 - 18:00 every day from April 1 to November 1
  • Timed admission, tickets cost 13€ (can be purchased here)
Giverny Quick trip from paris
Photo by Ricardo Isotton on Unsplash

Disneyland Paris

If you’re keen on sticking around Paris and not going too far, you can experience a different side to Paris by heading to Disneyland Paris (yes, there’s a Disney property in France)! Technically in Marne-La-Vallee, Disney is easily accessible by train and RER to those arriving straight into CDG, or those who have been spending time in Paris. Ride some rides, indulge in Mickey Mouse-shaped treats, and have the classic Disney experience, but in French!

  • How to get there: RER line A to Marne-la-Vallee/Chessy/Disney
  • Open every day, park hours vary depending on the time of year
  • Tickets are required in advance, purchase them here
Disneyland paris
Photo by Thomas Evraert on Unsplash

Rouen

Head up north to Normandie by visiting Rouen. Climb the stairs of the Gros Horloge for sweeping views of the skyline, or explore the Vieux Marché to take a step back in time to old Rouen. If you’re a fan of middle ages history, you can retrace the steps of Joan of Arc as Rouen was where she was ultimately burned at the stake. 

  • How to get there: Gare St Lazare -> Rouen Rive Droite (takes around 90 minutes, with tickets starting at 9€)
  • Highlights: Gros Horloge, Cathédrale Notre Dame de Rouen, Vieux Marché, Historial Jeanne d’Arc
Rouen France
Photo by ALEXANDRE LALLEMAND on Unsplash

Dijon

If you’re wondering if the mustard comes from here, you would be correct! Dijon is the capital of the Bourgogne region, and in addition to the culinary goods, you can experience some beautiful architecture. Be sure to look up at the tiled roofs (for the most exquisite roofs, take a 15 minute train ride from Dijon to Beaune and visit Les Hospices), and enjoy the half-timbered houses in Place Francois Rude. Climb the Tour Philippe le Bon for a skyline view, and don’t forget to touch the chouette and make a wish before you leave!

  • How to get there: Gare de Lyon -> Dijon Ville (takes around 90 minutes, with tickets starting at 24€). For the scenic route, you can take a TER train that leaves from Paris Est, but this journey will take twice as long.
  • Highlights: Climbing the Tour Philippe le Bon, Parcours de la Chouette, Jardin de l’Arquebuse, and Musée des Beaux Arts
Dijon France
Photo by Peter Herrmann on Unsplash

Lille

Lille is the capital of the Hauts-de-France region up North and is an easy day trip from Paris. While it has an industrial reputation, the Flemish influence in Lille is apparent walking through the city, especially in Old Lille. You can even visit the home where Charles de Gaulle was born if you want to see a bit of French history (apart from the architecture and all the museums). Be sure when you’re there to have some waffles and a merveilleux for some sweet treats!

  • How to get there: Paris Nord -> Lille Flandres/Lille Europe (takes around one hour, with tickets starting at 25€)
  • Highlights: Old Lille, La Vieille Bourse, Grand Place, Belfry Tower, and the Palais des Beaux Arts
Lille France
Photo by Max Zed on Unsplash

Chartres

If cathedrals are your thing, Chartres is a must-visit. Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, the cathedral’s gothic architecture is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Even if cathedrals aren’t of interest to you, Chartres offers a glimpse into medieval France, and from April to October, you can experience Chartres en Lumières, where 20 of the city’s monuments are lit up with accompanying music. 

  • How to get there: Paris Montparnasse -> Chartres (takes around 75 minutes, with tickets starting at 18,40€)
  • Highlights: Chartres Cathedral, Eure Riverside, Conservation Area, Centre International du Vitrail, Chartres en Lumières (Apr-Oct), and Maison Picassiette
Chartres Medival France
Photo by Christophe Tricot on Unsplash

Day trips from Paris by car

While trains are a great way to get around France, they can limit how much you can explore. If you’re comfortable driving abroad (be sure to get an International Driver’s License before you leave), renting a car can be a good option to expand your day trip options!

Fontainebleau

For some castle viewing (which is a must while in France), head to Fontainebleau for the UNESCO-listed chateau. Surrounded by 130 hectares of greenery, there’s plenty to explore, in addition to the opulent castle that served as the former residence for France’s royals for several centuries. 

  • What to put into your GPS: Château de Fontainebleau, 77300 Fontainebleau (the drive takes approximately one hour)
  • Open every day except January 1, May 1, and December 25 
  • 9:30 - 17:00 (October - March), 9:30 - 18:00 (April - September)
  • General admission for timed entry costs 13€
Fontainebleau France
Photo by Stefan K on Unsplash

Normandie Beaches

For WWII history, you can drive out to the Normandie beaches famous for the D-Day landings. Omaha Beach is the most well-known beach you can visit, and it is easiest to reach via car. If you’re curious about D-Day from a museum perspective, you can visit the Caen Memorial in Caen or the Musée de la Bataille de Normandie in Bayeux, but these cities are easily accessible by train. 

  • What to put into your GPS: Omaha Beach (the drive takes approximately three hours)
Normandie Beaches France
Photo by Mark Lawson on Unsplash

Mont Saint Michel

One of the most famous landmarks in France (besides the Eiffel Tower), Mont Saint Michel is a must-visit and is a great trip from Paris. It is a bit of a drive, so staying overnight is recommended to get the most out of the visit, but if you’re game for a long day, you can get there and back in one day. Be sure to leave early to allow ample time to visit the abbey. 

  • What to put into your GPS: Mont Saint Michel (the drive takes approximately four hours)
  • Parking is in a dedicated zone, with shuttles to take you to the abbey (cost for parking varies during low and high seasons)
Mont Saint Michel France
Photo by Gilles DETOT on Unsplash

Day trips from Paris to other countries

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can take your day trips and go beyond cities in France. Paris is an international city, but while you’re in Europe, why not take advantage of being so close to other European countries? 

Bruges, Belgium

If the Flemish architecture of Lille was of interest, you’ll absolutely want to visit Bruges. Filled with waterways and preserved buildings, taking the train to Belgium will make for a picturesque day trip. 

  • How to get there: Paris Nord -> Bruges (takes approximately 2.5-3 hours with at least one train change. Tickets start at 40,90€)
  • Highlights: Belfry, Grote Markt, Town Hall, Church of Our Lady, and Groeninge Museum. Take a canal cruise to fully experience the city.
Bruges Belgium day trip from paris
Photo by Nicole Baster on Unsplash

Brussels, Belgium

Belgium’s capital is also a convenient high-speed train ride away from Paris and makes for an excellent choice for a day trip. The headquarters of the EU, Brussels is a perfect combination of architecture, and culture, but is compact enough to be seen entirely on foot. If you visit, be sure to try some Belgian waffles, and Belgian chocolate while you’re there!

  • How to get there: Paris Nord -> Bruxelles Midi (takes approximately 90 minutes, with tickets starting at 44€)
  • Highlights: Grote Markt, Palais Royal, Atomium, Mannekin Pis Statue, and Notre Dame du Sablon
  • Here are our top ten things to do in Brussels!
Brussels Belgium day trip from paris
Photo by Stephanie LeBlanc on Unsplash

London, England, UK

For another country you can explore, you can hop aboard the Eurostar and head over to London! The train will take you right into central London, and from there you can easily hop the tube to make the most of your day. In our opinion, you should plan on spending more than just a day trip’s worth of time in London given how much there is to do there, but if you just want to day trip there and back, it’s possible! If you do opt for this day trip, be sure to have your passport with you as you will clear customs on both legs of the journey. 

  • How to get there: Paris Nord -> London St Pancras (takes approximately 2.5 hours, with tickets starting at 56€).
  • Highlights: Saint Paul’s Cathedral, V&A Museum, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, Borough Market, and the Sky Garden
  • Read more on top things to do in London!
London England day trip from paris
Photo by Eva Dang on Unsplash

Let’s get day tripping with Pilot!

Whether you’re looking to explore the outskirts of Paris, more of France, or check off some new European countries, there are some great options for day trips from Paris. If you’re planning on taking some day trips, be sure to plan (and book) them in advance if only to save some money on train tickets.

Even if you decide not to venture beyond Paris, we’re here to help with your trip. As Paris is a large city with multiple neighborhoods, it's easy to get lost, especially if you're a first-time visitor. Make sure you know the parts of Paris you're traveling to and what there is to see in the neighborhood!

From figuring out where to stay in Paris to what delicious Parisian treats to eat, we’ve got all the handy tips! Even if Paris isn’t where you want to go, make sure you check out all our resources at Pilot. We’ve got itinerary planning ideas, destination inspiration, budgeting tips, and more to make travel a breeze, wherever you want to go. Bon voyage!

Originally published on:  
August 7, 2021

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