You could spend a lifetime exploring all the many things to do in Paris, from the Eiffel Tower to the catacombs, without ever leaving the city.
But France is so much more than Paris, and day trips from Paris will give you an expanded view of what France has to offer.
As a French resident, I’ve spent ten years finding the best Paris day trips. In this post, I’ll spill the beans on them all – including the popular trips plus a few hidden gems and personal favorites.
Let’s get planning!
Table of Contents
- 23 Best Paris Day Trips
- FAQs About Paris Day Trips
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23 Best Paris Day Trips
Connect with nature and art in this peaceful village only half an hour from Paris.
🗺️ Distance from Paris: 35 minutes | 📍 Google Maps
Yerres is a hidden gem south of the capital where you can explore Impressionism, France’s famous 19th style of painting.
Visit Maison Caillebotte, the Yerres country home of Impressionist painter Gustave Caillebotte. Maison Caillebotte and its gardens are now open to the public. You can enter the grounds for free! You’ll see the estate at its best in June and July when the colorful flowers are in bloom.
While more art lovers take a trip to Monet’s home at Giverny, I think Yerres is a better underrated alternative. Yerres is also closer to Paris than Giverny. It only takes 35 minutes on the RER D. You can get train tickets at any Metro station. This will let you avoid more hectic train stations.
Discover the surprising rock formations lining the white cliffs on Normandy’s Alabaster Coast.
🗺️ Distance from Paris: 2 hours & 45 minutes | 📍 Google Maps
Visitors flock to the Etretat cliffs to see their unusual rock formations. These range from needles sticking up from the water to rock arches. The trails on these Normandy cliffs are great for experienced hikers who want unusual views.
The cliffs at Etretat can get crowded in summer. Spring and fall are the best time to visit for wilder waves and fewer visitors.
If you have more than a day, Etretat is a good destination to combine with other sites in northern France. The best way to go is via rental car (Travel Lemming recommends searching Discover Cars for the cheapest prices). Then, drive up through Bayeux to the D-Day beaches. Finally, make your way to Etretat and Dieppe for a historic and scenic weekend trip.
Explore the historic home of French kings at Versailles. Tour this majestic seventeenth-century palace and its surrounding town.
The Château de Versailles is the historic home of French kings and also one of the shorter day trips from Paris. With a train station that is only 45 minutes away from Paris, it’s also one of the most popular trips.
For a day trip from Paris, begin with the main castle. King Louis XIV turned it into the enormous building it is today. He installed lavish decor, too. This includes the Hall of Mirrors and the beautifully decorated royal apartments.
Tours on golf carts and bikes are a good choice if you want to see a lot of the estate in a shorter period.
The Loire Valley
Sample world-famous wines on a day tour through this lush region filled with castles and vineyards.
The Loire Valley is a must visit for wine lovers and castle fans, especially in late spring when the vineyards are growing.
To take this Paris day trip, book train tickets from the Gare d’Austerlitz train station to Orléans. You will get to the Loire Valley in less than an hour. Then, drive or take a tour to visit nearby vineyards and châteaux. You can also join this popular tour, which leaves from the Paris catacombs.
Guided tours will help you visit the best local vintners. Meanwhile, don’t miss the Loire Valley castles. The Château de Chenonceau is particularly impressive and was the inspiration for the castle in Beauty and the Beast!
🛏️ Need a Hotel? You could spend weeks touring the Loire’s treasures. If you decide to stay overnight, I recommend the Château de Saint Paterne. This country house hotel has huge, comfortable rooms. Meanwhile, the hosts serve delicious locally sourced dinners, which you can see me sampling above.
Dive into France’s artistic history with a visit to Barbizon, a town bordering an ancient forest.
Barbizon is a town that boasts plenty of traditional charm and a relaxing vibe. I love to come to this village in the middle of the French countryside to escape from the city when I’m stressed.
19th-century landscape painters apparently agreed with me. Jean-François Millet, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and other artists moved here to paint the nearby scenery–so many that they became known as the Barbizon school.
Barbizon’s location south of Paris makes it a good location to combine with other sites on your Paris day trip. The castle at Fontainebleau is only a fifteen-minute drive. Nature lovers should explore scenic hikes and rock climbing in the ancient Fontainebleau forest.
Book lovers will adore the Château de Chantilly, which has one of the largest libraries in France.
Explore the better things in life in Chantilly. This town is famous for its castle, the Château de Chantilly, which is home to a huge library. The larger estate (the Domaine de Chantilly) has some of the world’s top dressage horses at its stables, too.
Outside of the castle, the town of Chantilly has exceptional whipped cream. In fact, “whipped cream” in French is “crème de Chantilly!”
Chantilly also has a long tradition of lacemaking. You can see complex pieces at The Museum of Chantilly Lace. Plan carefully: the museum is open only several hours a week.
History lovers will find a lot to love at the Château de Fontainebleau.
Fontainebleau is a rare town that appeals to both French history buffs and rock climbers. The castle at Fontainebleau was once a royal palace. Today, the castle houses Marie Antoinette’s Turkish boudoir. It also hosts a museum dedicated to Napoleon.
There are many hiking trails in the nearby forest outside the château. This area is a favorite with hikers and rock climbers. A bouldering tour is a good way to stay safe under a local expert’s guidance.
Discover another side of France in Strasbourg, where French and German influences beautifully blend.
Strasbourg houses the EU parliament today. But the French and Germans fought over its region, Alsace, for centuries. Today, the conflict has stopped, but the dual influences on the city remain.
Strasbourg is a unique blend of French and German. You can see this in its architecture, its delicious food, and its people. Strasbourg makes for one of the more unique day trips from Paris. Direct trains from the Gare de l’Est will get you there in under two hours.
Walk back into the past by visiting this tidal island, previously an isolated abbey.
🗺️ Distance from Paris: 4 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Destination Website | 👉 Browse Top Organized Day trips from Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel
Mont-Saint-Michel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on a tidal island, and one of the most famous places to visit in France. It is home to an abbey constructed in 708 and with Gothic-style architecture added later. The walled medieval town grew around the abbey.
Because Mont-Saint-Michel is so popular, go in the early morning or evening if you can. This will allow you to view the well-preserved medieval architecture in a calmer period.
You can reach the island only on foot or by free shuttle bus at low tide.
See the best of American culture with a French twist at this popular theme park.
Disneyland Paris is one of the best family day trips from Paris, and one of the top attractions in France.
Disneyland Paris has two parks: Walt Disney Studios Park and Disneyland Park. Explore Disney, MARVEL, and Pixar sites at Walt Disney Studios Park. Disneyland Park has classic Disney characters and rides like Big Thunder Mountain.
Spring and fall are the best times to visit to avoid crowds. It is possible to visit Disneyland Paris by public transportation with RER A. This takes around half an hour.
Tap into your artistic side with a visit to this village where famous artists, such as Vincent van Gogh, lived.
🗺️ Distance from Paris: 48 minutes | 📍 Google Maps
Auvers-Sur-Oise is a small town with a big artistic past. Famous artists including Cézanne, Pisaro, and Van Gogh all lived here.
Today, you can tour the town and even dine in the building where Van Gogh died. There is more to the area than just its artistic past, though. The bordering river Oise is a good place for a nature walk. Here, you can see some of the landscapes its resident artists painted.
At less than an hour from the city center, Auvers-Sur-Oise is one of the closest day trips from Paris.
See Monet’s water lilies in person at his rural home north of Paris.
Giverny is a must for lovers of Impressionism. Even if you’ve never heard of Monet, it’s still worth visiting for Giverny gardens. These gardens inspired Monet’s famous Water Lilies. You can see the paintings at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, then come north to see the real plants.
The gardens are at their best in the summer. However, this is also when they are most crowded. A tour can allow you to skip the line. Some tours (like this popular one) also let you combine artistic towns into one trip for a busy day in rural France.
D-Day Beaches in Normandy
The spirit of the brave Allies continues on the beaches where troops landed on D-Day.
History buffs won’t want to miss the D-Day landing beaches in Normandy. Omaha, Utah, Juno, Gold, and Sword still stand today. Some have World War II structures you can still visit.
This day trip from Paris is a long one and is best done by car because Normandy’s beaches are spread out. A knowledgeable guide can also show you other WWII sites. For example, the Normandy American Cemetery is nearby.
June may seem like a good time to visit because there are memorial activities during this time. However, many of these are private or only for invited dignitaries. This happened to my sister and brother-in-law and left them disappointed! May and September are better months to visit.
Witness the site of a major WWI French victory at Verdun.
Reading about the First World War is one thing. Seeing the trenches where soldiers fought is another. The battlefield at Verdun chilled me when I went. But they also inspired me to learn more about French history.
It’s more interesting to visit the trenches if you already know about the importance of the battle. If you don’t, a local guide can make its history come alive for you.
Verdun is farther than some other Paris day trips. However, it can make a good stop on a longer trip to Strasbourg. You have to take two trains to get there, so renting a car makes for easier travel.
The Champagne Region
Celebrate a special occasion in style by visiting this region known for its sparkling wine.
A bottle of champagne is a classic way to celebrate. A trip to the Champagne region takes the celebration to the next level!
Champagne is an essential Paris day trip for wine lovers, though I’d suggest visiting the Loire Valley first for most as it is closer to Paris and also has gorgeous castles. But Champagne is great as a second vineyard trip or for true wine obsessives. Plan on relaxing more and sightseeing less than in the Loire.
A guided tour will take care of driving, keeping you safe. It will also direct you to some of the friendlier and better local growers.
Step back in time in this charming medieval market town.
Provins has to be one of the most charming walled towns in France. It’s certainly one of the best day trips from Paris. This market town from the middle ages has well-preserved architecture. The Saint Quiriace Collegiate Church in the upper town dominates the view. You’ll spot the dome from far away!
The town is very walkable. The medieval old town in the city center is small but charming. Meanwhile, you can tour the city’s underground tunnels. The purpose of these is a mystery to this day!
Immerse yourself in history in this cobblestoned town as you visit its famous tapestry.
Most visitors come to Bayeux on their way to the D-Day beaches further north. However, they’re missing out. Bayeux is a gem hidden in plain sight! The cobbled streets and waterways make for great walks.
Meanwhile, this historic town boasts plenty of art and monuments. In particular, the 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry shows William the Conqueror invading England. It’s so important that UNESCO put it on its Memory of the World Registrar. Visit it on your way to UNESCO World Heritage sites like Mont-Saint-Michel for an even more memorable journey.
Enjoy the white beaches at Deauville before spending an evening at its famous casino.
Equestrians will love a day trip from Paris to Deauville, as will anyone who wants a taste of glamor outside of Paris! The Deauville polo club has been around for more than a century. Catch a match over the summer. You can also ride horses yourself along the beach.
A walk along the 1920s boardwalk will give you glimpses of the beach’s famous parasols. Then, explore the century-old casino in the evening.
Foodies shouldn’t leave France without sampling the delicacies in Lyon, the food capital of France.
Lyon is one of my favorite Paris day trips–but expect to come back stuffed! Lyon is the food capital of France. The city has many local Lyonnais specialties. My favorite is quenelle. Vegetarians can enjoy a Salade Lyonnaise if they order it without the bacon (sans lardons).
You can get to Lyon in under two hours on a high-speed train from the Paris Gare de Lyon. However, it is also a good rest stop if you are driving to Switzerland or Italy.
Cross the English Channel by taking the Eurostar to London in just over two hours.
Yes: London absolutely does make a good day trip from Paris!
I knew about the Eurostar high speed passenger train before moving to Paris. But I had no idea that the Eurostar made travel between Paris and London faster than visiting many French towns!
Plan on becoming a morning person if you’re going to do London as a day trip from Paris. The first train to London leaves at 5:40 am from the Gare du Nord. It’s early, but it’s a necessary sacrifice to make the most of the sites in London.
You’ll need to catch the last train to Paris at 8:05 pm to make it a true day trip! It leaves from the central train station Saint Pancras.
For a less hectic trip, consider staying in London overnight! Hazlitt’s is a central SoHo hotel that has a boutique feel with dozens of rooms. The antiques-furnished hotel was the former home of writer William Hazlitt.
Transport yourself to Amsterdam’s world of Rembrandt, canals, and vibrant nightlife. All are just over three hours from Paris.
Yes, you can also visit Amsterdam as a day trip from Paris.
You might not think it’s possible to do a grand European tour anymore. But you can easily get to both London and Amsterdam on (separate) day trips from Paris. And they’re worth the trip!
Amsterdam is a canal city and thus is perfect to explore by boat. Begin and end your tour on the Canal Belt for the most picturesque houses and scenery.
Art lovers shouldn’t miss the Rijksmuseum, the Rembrandt Museum, and the Van Gogh Museum. Meanwhile, the Anne Frank House is a haunting historical experience.
🛏️ Need a Hotel? Amsterdam’s distance from Paris makes it a good choice for an overnight stay. Choose a canal-side hotel to be in the middle of the action!
Immerse yourself in the sounds of this Norman capital, which has more than a hundred bell towers.
Rouen is famous for its churches. Walk through the old town to see them. Meanwhile, you’ll also see its cobblestone streets and half-timbered buildings. This area centers around the Place du Vieux Marché, where Joan of Arc died.
Don’t miss the Notre Dame Cathedral. You may recognize it from Monet’s paintings–he painted it more than 30 times! This cathedral is the tallest in France. Inside, you will find Richard the Lionheart’s heart.
Indulge your love of seafood in Dieppe, a port town known for its scallops.
Dieppe is often overlooked on lists of day trips from Paris. But it’s a bustling port city with great seafood if you’re willing to make the drive. You can also reach Dieppe by train, though most trips from Paris need a connection.
Visit Dieppe on Saturday mornings for the Dieppe Market. A French TV show voted it the best market in France in 2020. Get there early, though: it closes at 1 pm.
🗼 Read Next: Best Neighborhoods in Paris
FAQs About Paris Day Trips
What are the best day trips from Paris?
What are good destinations within 2 hours of Paris?
What is the closest town to visit from Paris?
Yerres is the closest town to visit from Paris for a good day trip. It is only 35 minutes away. Vincennes, which is a suburb of Paris, is also close. It is 24 minutes from the city center.
Which country is closest to Paris by train?
Belgium is the closest country to Paris by train. You can take a high-speed train from the Gare du Nord and be in Brussels in 1 hour and 32 minutes. However, many other countries are easy to access for a day trip from Paris. These include the UK, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and Luxembourg.
Don’t make Paris your only stop in France. Solo travelers and families can find great day trips from Paris because the French capital is so central.
I hope I’ve helped you find the perfect Paris day trip for you, whether that’s a relaxing countryside walks to historic castle tours. Next up, check out my guide to the best places to stay in Paris. Happy travels!
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