Small villages lined with half-timbered houses, stunning châteaus, and charming cities: no matter what kind of trip you’re looking for, the best day trips from Paris include an option that’s right for you!
We asked several other travel writers to share their favorite Paris day trips with us, and with their help, have compiled this sweeping guide that includes a huge variety of day tours from Paris.
As difficult as it can be to tear yourself away from the capital (we always have an incredibly difficult time doing so), it’s worth it to add a bit of variety to your trip to France with one of these day trips from Paris!
Table of Contents
How We Structured This Paris Day Trip Guide
We’ve structured this guide to the best Paris day trips by distance from the capital, as calculated based on how long it (reasonably) takes to get to the destination.
Most of these are doable as day trips from Paris by train, with a few requiring a car or bus to reach.
Many of them are also enhanced or made easier by booking a tour, and when applicable, we’ve listed a well-reviewed tour option along with information on how to get there.
If you plan on renting a car, we recommend renting it only for your day trip–there’s no reason to keep a car rented on days that you’re exploring Paris itself–and shopping through Discover Cars, which will help you find the best prices and inclusions on rental cars during your trip!
Shop rental cars for your day trips from Paris today!
Best Paris Day Trips Reachable in Under 1 Hour
Without a doubt, Versailles is one of the most popular day trips from Paris–and for a very good reason!
As the former seat of the French court, Versailles is (and always has been) known for its utter opulence, from the splendor of the Palace of Versailles with its famous Hall of Mirrors to its incredible gardens.
In addition to the main palace and gardens, Versailles offers plenty of other corners to explore too, including other palaces (Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon), and the Queen’s Hamlet, where Marie Antoinette once kept a small farm.
In addition to the estate itself, there’s also the actual town of Versailles, which is charming and worth exploring if you have time during your visit!
How to Get to Versailles
Versailles is about 40 minutes from central Paris via the RER C, and is easy to reach independently. You’ll want to get off at the Versailles-Château-Rive-Gauche station, and from there, the palace is about a 10-minute walk away.
However, a tour is incredibly helpful for gaining context while visiting the sprawling estate of Versailles–this one is very popular and also allows you to visit the estate with fewer crowds!
Book your tour of Versailles today!
Château de Fontainebleau
From Erica of Travels With Erica
Château de Fontainebleau is the perfect alternative to Versailles. It is just as grand and full of history as Versailles, but it is far less visited, and therefore is a more relaxing day trip from Paris. If you visit during off-peak times, you’ll feel like you have the entire palace to yourself!
Château de Fontainebleau was the French royalty’s summer palace and where they went to get away from city life in Paris. The palace was used by Louis VII all the way to Napoleon III who actually abdicated while in the palace.
Not only does Château de Fontainebleau have all a stunning ballroom, throne room, and bedrooms, but it is also home to an extensive art museum, Chinese museum, and chapel.
You need to dedicate at least a couple of hours to exploring the grounds as well! There are three formal gardens that feature French, Italian, and English designs. One garden features a pond and another a canal, and these are the best places to get Instagram-worthy photographs of Château de Fontainebleau.
How to Get to Château de Fontainebleau
It is super easy to travel from Paris to Château de Fontainebleau. You simply catch a train departing from Gare de Lyon and get off at Fontainebleau-Avon. Trains depart once per hour, and the journey is about 40 minutes!
Once you get off the train, you get on a city bus until you reach the palace. Buses are waiting at the train station, and the stops are announced in English, so you’ll easily be able to know when it is time to get off the bus!
Disneyland Paris (Euro Disney)
From Karen of Travel Mad Mum
How to Get to Disneyland Paris
Book your tickets for Disneyland Paris today!
If you are looking for an easy day trip from Paris, Chantilly is the place to go.
In Chantilly, there’s the famous Château de Chantilly which is one of the best castles to visit near Paris. Unlike the Palace of Versailles or Château de Fontainebleau, Chantilly is not a royal castle but it has a very picturesque setting, surrounded by a lake and French-style gardens.
Château de Chantilly is also famous for its beautiful library and the collection of French paintings, only second to the collection in the Louvre Museum.
But most of all, Chantilly is famous for its chic horse races, the French counterpart of the famous horse races of Ascot in the UK. When there’s no race, visitors can explore the Horse Museum, hosted in the Great Stables of Chantilly.
The Great Stables also host a prestigious center of classical dressage training for the most expensive horses in the world and a big hall covered by a magnificent dome used for dressage shows.
How to Get to Chantilly
Direct trains from Gare du Nord leave hourly to Chantilly and the train journey only takes 25 minutes (one way).
From Megan of MeganStarr.com
To the east of Paris sits the charming city of Reims, the Champagne region’s de facto capital and one of the best options for a day trip from Paris. Historically, Reims played an essential role in French history, and the imposing Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims was the site of royal coronations.
Much of the city suffered damage during World War 1 and 2, but while efforts to restore many of the buildings have been successful, sadly, some of the Roman-era structures suffered irreversible damage. There are stunning examples of Art Deco architecture throughout the city that was the preferred style when Reims was being rebuilt.
Today, the city is famed for Champagne, with many of the world’s most renowned brands being based within the city or a short distance away. A visit to the Lanson champagne house is a must as it is the only house with a vineyard within the city.
Alternatively, there are plenty of fantastic champagne tours that depart from Reims Central Station, or you can simply take a Champagne day trip from Paris instead.
Like much of France, Reims has rich culinary traditions and is believed to be the biscuit’s birthplace. Biscuit Rose de Reims pairs excellently with a glass of Champagne.
How to Get to Reims
Reaching Reims from Paris is relatively easy, with regular trains running between the two and taking only 50 minutes.
However, not all trains arrive at the Central Station as some stop at Champagne Ardenne TGV stop on the outskirts of Reims. From there, a local tram service connects the station to central Reims.
Prefer to focus solely on champagne during your escape from the city?
This luxurious champagne tour makes for an unforgettable Paris day trip!
Fun Day Trips from Paris Less than 2 Hours Away
Home to the stunning gardens that inspired the impressionist paintings of Claude Monet, Giverny is one of the most popular Paris day trips and a fantastic way to feel worlds away from the bustling capital–without actually traveling far at all.
While in Giverny, be sure to tour the picturesque gardens, as well as pay a visit to Monet’s home (it doesn’t take long to visit), and the Museum of Impressionism.
If you’d like to explore further, consider visiting Monet’s tomb, and grabbing a coffee at Hôtel Baudy, which was a popular artist’s salon in Monet’s day.
How to Get to Giverny
Reaching Giverny from Paris is fairly simple, but it does take two steps: first, take a train from Gare-Saint-Lazare to Vernon. In Vernon, you’ll then take a short taxi or bus ride to the gardens–the bus route is extremely well marked due to its popularity with tourists.
Overall, the journey averages a little over an hour.
Prefer not to worry about logistics? This popular tour of Giverny from Paris is the perfect option!
The star attraction in Chartres is its magnificent Cathedral, which is considered to be the high point of French Gothic architecture. In 1979, it became one of the very first sites in France to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which shows just how important it is to French history, art and architecture.
Most of what you see in the Cathedral today dates from the 12th and 13th centuries. And considering that it’s more than 800 years old, its state of preservation is quite remarkable.
Chartres Cathedral is most famous for its stained glass windows and its delicate sculptures. In total, there are more than 160 stained glass windows in the Cathedral. It’s the most complete group of stained glass windows to have survived from the Middle Ages.
The sculptures, on the other hand, were created over a much longer time frame, ranging from the 12th to the 18th century. While the sculptures on the façade were part of the original Gothic construction, the ones decorated the choir screen inside are much newer.
Even though the Cathedral is the main reason to come to Chartres, it’s also worth strolling through the town while you’re here. The streets are lined with half-timbered houses with colorful flowers in the windows. You’ll find a few restaurants serving traditional French food, and for vegans and vegetarians visiting from Paris, your best option is probably Le Pailin, a Thai restaurant.
How to Get to Chartres
From Bridget of The Flashpacker
Visit under-the-radar Lille for a taste of French Flanders, both literally and figuratively. And situated only 137 miles north of Paris, close to the Belgian border, the city is an easy day trip from the capital.
As its historic center is compact, it is easy to explore Lille on a self-guided walking tour. Start by wandering through its cobblestoned squares flanked by extravagant Flemish Baroque buildings. Visit the book market at La Veille Bourse, a collection of small houses arranged around an exquisite porticoed courtyard, which was formerly the city’s stock exchange.
Stop by the Notre Dame de la Treille, Lille’s spiritual beating heart, a dizzying fusion of Gothic and contemporary architecture. Contrast this with L’Église Saint Etienne, one of France’s largest Jesuit churches, is the embodiment of simplicity.
Nurture your inner art aficionado by visiting the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille’s fine art gallery, second only to Paris’s Louvre in size and stature.
Finally, don’t leave town before sampling Lille’s hearty Flemish food and merveilleux. These little clouds of heaven are made of light meringue, liberally smothered in fresh cream and chocolate shavings.
How to Get to Lille
To get to Lille from Paris in a little over one hour, take a TGV from Gare du Nord.
By car, it’s a two-hour drive straight up the A1(note that this route has tolls).
From Linn of Brainy Backpackers
Metz is a great day trip from Paris. The city is full of historic surprises, so it can be hard to choose what to see in Metz with only a day.
The main attraction that you absolutely can’t miss is Metz Cathedral, one of the tallest in Europe with its 42 meters, it towers elegantly over the city. The Gothic and Renaissance building is not only majestic on the outside, enter and you’ll get blinded by the light flowing through the numerous stained glass windows. There is no questioning why the cathedral has been nicknamed the Lantern of God.
After having lunch in the historic center, head to Île du Petit-Saulcy, an island in the middle of the Moselle River, connected by stone bridges. Here you’ll see the astounding Temple Neuf as well as the oldest functioning opera house in the country, Opéra-Théâtre de Metz Métropole.
Other points of interest include the Basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains and Porte des Allemands. There is no doubt it’s worth going to Metz for a day to dive into the medieval times.
How to Get to Metz
The best way to reach Metz is from Paris’ Gare de l’Est station by high-speed train. The journey takes about 1.5 hours.
From Paul of Anywhere We Roam
Explore a landscape that still wears the scars of the First World War on a day trip to the Somme Battlefields. The trenches, where an estimated 3 million soldiers fought across a front just 45 kilometers long, undulate across vibrant green fields; an artificial beauty that defies the horrors that once took place.
Visit the Commonwealth Memorial, a moving tribute to the 72,000 British and South African soldiers who died or went missing during the war and have no named grave. The Newfoundland Memorial Park is a moving experience with the trenches still clearly visible in the landscape. The Museum of the Great War is an informative look at the social context surrounding the war in a thoughtful and well-constructed presentation.
After remembering the impacts of war, enjoy the leisurely side of the area. The Somme Bay is a large estuary where 6 rivers drain into the English Channel. Get adventurous and try land-sailing on the 20 kilometer stretch of sand dunes.
Take a guided hike on the cliffs between Ault and Mers-Les-Bains to enjoy breath-taking scenic views.
Visit the fairytale Rambures Castle, or just unwind on many of the cycle paths that intersect the bay.
How to Get to the Somme Battlefields
While it’s possible to get the train from Paris to Amiens (1 hour, 10 minutes) to explore the battlefields, many of the sites are spread out and require a car. A hire car can be arranged in Amiens, or Somme is just a 2-hour drive from Paris.
For valuable context and a well-organized day without stress, this Somme Battlefields day tour from Paris is the perfect option.
Château de Chambord
From Norbert of France Bucket List
Château de Chambord is one of the best castles of the Loire Valley and it is also the most impressive. Château de Chambord is located 175 km south of Paris, in the French region of Centre-Val-de-Loire, and it is relatively easy to visit on a day trip from the French capital.
In Chambord, there is a castle since medieval times. The current castle, however, was built in Renaissance style commissioned by the French King François I for his hunting getaways from Paris. For the King, this château was a place to relax and have fun with his court but also a demonstration of his political and cultural power.
It is said that Leonardo da Vinci was involved in the construction of Château de Chambord and most probably, he is the author of the amazing central double-spiral staircase. King François was Leonardo da Vinci’s patron and the Italian artist lived the last years of his life not far from Chambord, in Amboise.
Château de Chambord is surrounded by beautiful French-style Gardens and a vast forest where the king liked to hunt. The château is located in the heart of the biggest closed forest in Europe (around 50 km2 surrounded by a 32-km wall).
How to Get to Château de Chambord
The best way to visit Château de Chambord from Paris is with your own car, the drive to Chambord is less than two hours. Also, you can take the train to Blois and at Blois train station there’s a shuttle bus to Chambord.
Prefer not to worry about the hassle of transportation?
This well-reviewed day trip from Paris includes a visit to 3 stunning châteaus, including Château de Chambord!
From Henry of This Life of Travel
Rouen is a historical, architectural, and cultural gem that easily ranks among the best day trips from Paris. You’ve probably heard of Joan of Arc and Richard the Lionheart but did you know they were from Rouen?
The city itself is also full of architectural masterpieces like the Rouen Cathedral which was once one of the tallest buildings in the world! It’s free to visit and is also the resting place of Richard the Lionheart.
Once you’re done visiting the cathedral, make sure to have some Kir Norman which is alcoholic apple cider and a local specialty.
After that make sure to check out the magnificent Gros Horloge astronomical clock set on one of Rouen’s main shopping streets.
Be sure to also walk through the medieval center for a stroll back in time with its crooked, wood-framed houses. Then, learn more about the Joan of Arc at the Joan of Arc Tower and History Museum.
How to Get to Rouen
The easiest way to get to Rouen from Paris is by train, which takes about an hour and a half.
From Stuart of Go Eat Do
Arras, 177km north-east of Paris, is an attractive city whose historic town hall was dedicated as a national monument in 1921, and the city makes for a fabulous Paris day trip option.
Originally built in the early 16th century, the Hôtel de Ville dominates the Place des Héros, one of the cobbled squares in the center of the city. The building was damaged during World War One and subsequently reconstructed. An elevator was added to the tower, whose compact observation platform offers fine views over the region. In 2005 the belfry was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Military history aficionados are likely to appreciate touring the tunnels of the Carrière Wellington. Prior to 1917’s Battle of Arras, Allied miners dug corridors through chalk leading to German lines. The entrances were blown at the battle’s start. Graffiti and other remnants convey what it was like for troops as they awaited the call to battle.
Similarly, the Citadel of Arras is an impressive example of late-17th century military architecture. Designed by Vauban, the historic attraction is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its grounds were used to execute members of the Resistance during World War Two.
During Advent, the Grand Place hosts Arras Christmas Market, a family-friendly event with gourmet food stalls and huts selling seasonal gifts.
How to Get to Arras
The TGV high-speed train takes an hour to cover the distance between the Gare du Nord in Paris and Arras’s railway station.
The journey takes just under 2 hours in total with a change at Lille Flanders.
Epic Day Trips 2+ Hours from Paris
From Monique of Trip Anthropologist
An easy day trip from Paris, Château de Chenonceau is perhaps the most beautiful chateau in all of France (and that’s a big call!).
The Château is the most visited French castle after Versailles. It’s easy to see why – a walk from the entrance gate takes you through the beautiful Loire Forest (once the hunting grounds of the French Kings), and brings you to the River Cher, just outside the village of Chenonceau.
Spanning the river is the Château Chenonceau. As you explore the castle, from its kitchens to the bedrooms of kings and queens, you will cross the river as you walk along the galley on the second floor of the Château.
The formal gardens surrounding the Château are smaller than some of France’s grand castles, but they are just as beautiful and more interesting: they are rival gardens, designed by Catherine de Medici, the wife of King Henri II, and Diane de Poitiers, his mistress.
How to Get to Château Chenonceau
The easiest way to get to Château Chenonceau from Paris is to drive – it’s a simple drive along the A10 before taking Exit 18 towards Amboise. It’s 214 km and takes just over two hours.
Visiting by train is also a fairly simple affair – trains regularly leave Montparnasse for St Pierre des Corps. It’s a one hour trip and then you change for the 25-30 minute trip to Chenonceau. The Château is a 10-minute taxi ride (or 500 m walk) from the village of Chenonceau.
Prefer not to worry about the hassle of transportation?
This well-reviewed day trip from Paris includes a visit to 3 stunning châteaus, including Château Chenonceau!
From Ella of Many More Maps
Although there’s enough to see in London to keep you entertained for a lifetime, why not dip your toes into the water by visiting London as a day trip from Paris?
It’s hard to narrow down what to do in London in just one day, but it’s best to try and tick off all the classic tourist stops first – the Big Ben, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, and the Houses of Parliament. Luckily, these amazing attractions are all near each other, so you can walk between them.
Snap the classic tourist photos and explore these iconic landmarks before moving on to one of the city’s many fascinating museums. The National Gallery, the Natural History Museum, and the Science Museum are all hugely popular, and for good reason!
Finally, be sure to make a reservation to enjoy a classic British tradition – the afternoon tea. For an experience as delicious as it gets (with a price tag to match!) afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason or the Ritz is a real bucket list experience. If you’re looking for an afternoon tea with a twist, check out the Harry Potter themed afternoon tea at Cutter & Squidge!
How to Get to London
London is surprisingly easy to reach from Paris and is just 2hrs 30minutes on the Eurostar from Paris’ Gare du Nord train station.
From Paulina of Paulina on the Road
If you’re looking to go for a day trip from Paris, Luxembourg is one of the best destinations to visit. The charming city is located in Western Europe, bordered by Germany, Belgium, and France. I
t’s an ideal short day trip goal to spend around 8-9 hours in the town. Precisely, you can return to Paris by evening if you leave for Luxembourg in the early morning.
Luxembourg is worth visiting as the city presents a fascinating combination of modern museums, ancient architecture, vibrant culture, and beautiful landscapes. It’s indeed famous for offering award-winning wine and traditional foods, besides featuring picturesque multicultural vicinities.
Additionally, there are several things to do on this day trip, including enjoying the culture at the museum of modern art, climbing along the walls of the corniche, touring the bock and the city Casements, encountering fortification of the place, admiring the natural view of the city, and so on!
How to Get to Luxembourg
The best convenient way to reach Luxembourg from Paris is to catch a TGV train, around 10 am from Paris Gare de l’Est station, and it takes about 2.5 hours.
From Mark of Wyld Family Travel
Strasbourg is in North East France and the Capital of the Alsace region and is a city with strong influences from both France and Germany having belonged to both countries numerous times in history.
Today most people head to Strasbourg to visit its old town cobbled streets, world-famous cathedral, The Neustadt district, and the picturesque La Petite France district. A boat ride on the canals of Strasbourg will introduce you to the amazing wooden colored old-world houses of Strasbourg and the European Parliament area.
The Strasbourg Cathedral was once the tallest building in the world. Make sure you climb the Cathedral tower for the best view of the city.
During the Christmas period, Strasbourg plays host to one of the most famous and popular Christmas markets in Europe.
Strasbourg and the Alsace are known for its food and wine, make sure you try the regional special called Flammkuchen, it is an Alsace version of pizza. This is best accompanied by a local Gewürztraminer wine. A day trip to Strasbourg is a must from Paris.
How to Get to Strasbourg
Strasbourg is easily reached in 2.5 hours from Paris on the TGV. There are around 19 trains a day running between the two cities.
From Christine of Journey to France
Located in the Upper Brittany region in France, this beautiful city is one of the best day trips from Paris that you must include in your itinerary. It is also not as crowded as the other popular French cities so it’s a must if you want to get away from the crowd but also enjoy a full French experience.
There are several things to do in Nantes which include medieval architecture, chateaus, cathedrals, picturesque French gardens, and historical museums. The Quartier Bouffay is a medieval quarter in Nantes known for its amazing architecture, quaint shops, and traditional restaurants. It is also where the Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne is located. This beautiful restored 14th-century castle is one of the popular landmarks in the Brittany Region.