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TravelBest day trips from Paris

Best day trips from Paris


With the 2024 Summer Olympics about to turn Paris into one of the world’s busiest destinations, the City of Light is getting ready to welcome all sorts of travelers. While Paris is a treasure trove of activities and sights, sometimes you need to escape the crowds for a moment or two of quiet.

Whether you’re headed to Paris to cheer for the athletes or just to enjoy some Parisian people-watching, these day trips will offer you a delightful escape and a chance to savor the diverse beauty around the French capital. So, grab your sense of adventure (and maybe a baguette for the road) and check out the 10 best Paris day trips.

Giverny

Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France. WENDYOLSENPHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES

Distance from Paris: One hour and 30 minutes by bus or train.

Getting there: Hop on a train from Gare Saint-Lazare to Vernon-Giverny, followed by a short bus or bike ride.

What to do: Entering Monet’s Garden in Giverny is like walking into a real-life painting. This is where the magic of Monet’s art is on full display, with its lily ponds, weeping willows and vibrant flowerbeds. You can picture the artist himself, setting up his easel and capturing the tranquility. Spend your time wandering through the house and gardens, admiring the Japanese bridge and the riot of colors. It’s a peaceful retreat that feels like stepping back into a simpler, more beautiful time. Book your tickets online for a reserved time slot in advance for 13 euros ($14) per adult.

Versailles

Fountain in the garden of Chateau de Versailles. LUC CASTEL/GETTY IMAGES

Distance from Paris: 45 minutes by train.

Getting there: Take the RER C train to Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche or the L train to Versailles Rive Droite.

What to do: If there’s one word to describe Versailles, it’s opulent. The Palace of Versailles is a jaw-dropping testament to the grandeur of French royalty. From the glittering Hall of Mirrors to sprawling gardens that seem to extend forever, every inch of the palace is designed to impress. Don’t miss the Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette’s private escape, where you can get a more intimate glimpse of royal life. Whether you’re a history buff or just love beautiful places, Versailles is a must-see. Tickets to the palace cost 21 euros ($23) per adult; tickets to the Petit Trianon cost 12 euros ($13).

Strasbourg

River Ill in the Petite France section of Strasbourg. PHIL HABER PHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES

Distance from Paris: Two hours by train.

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Getting there: Take a high-speed TGV train from Gare de l’Est to Strasbourg.

What to do: Strasbourg’s Petite France neighborhood feels like a fairy tale. With its charming half-timbered houses, winding canals and cobblestone streets, it’s an eye-catching melange of French and German influences. Spend your day exploring the quaint shops and cozy cafes, take a boat ride through the canals, and visit the majestic Strasbourg Cathedral. The whole area is a feast for the senses, making it a delightful day trip from Paris.

Rouen

The skyline of Rouen. EVAN LANG/GETTY IMAGES

Distance from Paris: One hour and 30 minutes by train.

Getting there: Take a train from Gare Saint-Lazare to Rouen.

What to do: Rouen’s Notre Dame Cathedral isn’t just another church — it’s the tallest cathedral in France and an awe-inspiring example of Gothic architecture. Inside, you’ll find magnificent stained glass windows that cast colorful light across the stone floors. Take a leisurely stroll through the old town of Rouen, with its medieval buildings and vibrant markets. This city is rich in history and charm, plus its many cheese shops are a veritable edible tour through the region’s famous fromages.

Brussels

The Grand Place or Grote Mark in Brussels. JULIAN ELLIOTT PHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES

Distance from Paris: One hour and 30 minutes by train.

Getting there: Take a high-speed Thalys train from Gare du Nord to Brussels Midi station.

What to do: Why not hop over to another country while you’re in Paris? Brussels is just a quick 1 1/2-hour train ride away, and it’s packed with charm and character. Start at the Grande Place, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is jaw-droppingly beautiful with its ornate guild halls and town hall. Then, venture a few blocks west to snap a photo of the cheeky Manneken Pis statue.

Indulge your taste buds with some Belgian waffles, chocolates and maybe a few local beers — after all, when in Belgium. Art enthusiasts will love the Magritte Museum, which dives deep into the surreal world of Rene Magritte. Finish your day with a walk through the lush Parc du Cinquantenaire, or take a trip to the Atomium for a bit of futuristic flair. Brussels is an alluring alternative to Paris, thanks to its history, culture and delicious food. You might even want to make it more than just a day trip.

Chantilly

Polo Match at the Chantilly Arts and Elegance Richard Mille in Chantilly, France. CYRILLE GEORGE JERUSALMI/GETTY IMAGES FOR RICHARD MILLE

Distance from Paris: 30 minutes by train.

Getting there: Take a train from Gare du Nord to Chantilly-Gouvieux.

What to do: Under an hour from Paris, Chateau de Chantilly is a royal retreat brimming with art, history and equestrian elegance. This year, it’s extra special with the Paris Games Polo Challenge on Aug. 7, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 1924 Olympic Polo Tournament. Hosted by the U.S. Polo Association, this event will blend thrilling polo action with chic festivities. Explore the chateau’s fine art in the Musee Conde, walk through Andre Le Notre’s classical gardens and visit the Great Stables for an impressive horse show. Chantilly offers a delightful blend of cultural and sporting excitement.

Auvers-sur-Oise

Auvers-sur-Oise shows prints on sale at the souvenir shop of the Auberge Ravoux in Auvers-sur-Oise. BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Distance from Paris: One hour by train.

Getting there: Take a train from Gare Saint-Lazare to Auvers-sur-Oise.

What to do: Auvers-sur-Oise is a charming village that holds a special place in the hearts of art lovers. This is where Vincent van Gogh spent his final days, and visitors can visit the Auberge Ravoux — the inn where he lived and died. The picturesque village has winding streets and pastoral fields that inspired many of Van Gogh’s masterpieces. Walk in the footsteps of the great artist and see the landscapes that captured his imagination.

Bordeaux

The Pont De Pierre spanning the River Garonne in Bordeaux. GARY YEOWELL/GETTY IMAGES

Distance from Paris: Two hours and 15 minutes by train.

Getting there: Take a high-speed TGV train from Gare Montparnasse to Bordeaux.

What to do: Bordeaux is synonymous with wine, and there’s no better place to immerse yourself in the world of viticulture. Start with a visit to the La Cite du Vin cultural center and wine museum (tickets from $24 per adult), where you’ll learn about the history and craft of winemaking. Then, indulge in a tasting session at the center’s tasting room or at Le Bar a Vin near the city’s glorious Place de la Comedie to sample some of the region’s best wines. If you’re lucky enough to be in town during the Bordeaux Wine Festival, you’re in for a treat — this celebration of wine with tastings and activities (June 27-30, 2024) is a feast for the senses.

Reims

Trams run through the streets of Reims in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France. PAKIN SONGMOR/GETTY IMAGES

Distance: 45 minutes by train.

Getting there: Take a high-speed TGV train from Gare de l’Est to Reims.

What to do: Reims is the Champagne region’s epicenter, bubbling with history and nuance. Start your adventure at the magnificent Reims Cathedral, where French kings were crowned for centuries. The gothic architecture and stunning stained-glass windows are a sight to behold. Next, dive into the world of Champagne on a tour and taste it at one of the renowned Champagne houses such as Ruinart or Taittinger. Check out the historic cellars, learn about the intricate process of Champagne making and, of course, sample some of the sparkling wines. Finish your day by walking through the charming streets of the city center, perhaps to the Romanesque (and UNESCO-listed) Basilica of St. Remi for a last dose of history.

Disneyland Paris

People walking around Disneyland Paris. SERAP AYDIN/ANADOLU/GETTY IMAGES

Distance from Paris: 45 minutes by train.

Getting there: Hop on the RER A train from central Paris to Marne-la-Vallee/Chessy station.

What to do: Need a little magic in your life? Disneyland Paris is the ultimate day trip for families, Disney fans, or anyone eager to sprinkle some fairy dust on their adventure. As soon as you step off the train, you’ll be greeted by the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle. Cue the gasps and Instagram posts.

Get your adrenaline fix on Space Mountain, channel your inner pirate on Pirates of the Caribbean, or dance along with Mickey and friends in one of the enchanting parades. Don’t forget to check out Walt Disney Studios Park for a backstage pass to movie magic and a chance to meet your favorite Pixar characters. With thrilling rides, delightful shows and enough churros to fill Cinderella’s coach, Disneyland Paris promises a day of fun and wonder that’s just a hop, skip and train ride away from the city.

Whether you’re a history buff, art lover, wine enthusiast, foodie, architecture aficionado or just someone who needs a break from busy Paris during the Olympics, these day trips offer a variety of experiences for francophiles and first-timers alike.

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