Explore Beyond: Best Day Trips From Paris by Train

paris, france - eiffel tower stock videos & royalty-free footage
Image by Canva

Key Highlights

  1. Explore charming towns & historic sites near Paris by train: Versailles, Monet’s Giverny, and more!
  2. Immerse yourself in French culture: Champagne tastings, majestic castles, and medieval towns.
  3. Discover artistic inspiration: Monet’s gardens, charming villages linked to Van Gogh, and the awe-inspiring D-Day beaches.
  4. Experience Parisian thrills: A day trip to the magical Disneyland or explore the Château de Fontainebleau.

It is undeniable that Paris is a city filled with endless attractions and things to do. From iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral to world-class museums like the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, there is never a dull moment in the French capital. However, if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a day and explore the beautiful outskirts of Paris, there are plenty of incredible day trips accessible by train, all within two and a half hours.

When considering on leaving Paris for the day, just remember that their are plenty of attractions and experiences waiting to be explored. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or a nature enthusiast, these day trips offer something for everyone. From the lavish Palace of Versailles to the peacefulness of Monet’s garden in Giverny, there are endless possibilities for exploration just a short train ride away from Paris. So pack your bags, hop on a train, and get ready to embark on a journey of discovery and adventure as we explore the best day trips from Paris by train.

Best Day Trips From Paris by Train

a blue and white train sitting on the tracks at night
Image by Canva

When it comes to navigating the best modes of transportation for day trips from Paris, the train is often the easiest and most convenient one. With direct train connections from the city’s main train stations, such as Gare de Lyon and Gare du Nord, you can easily reach these destinations in a short amount of time. Here are the top 10 day trips we recommend exploring when leaving from Paris by train.

1. Versailles Palace and Gardens – A Royal Escape (37 minutes)

The Palace of Versailles is undoubtedly one of the most popular day trips to take from Paris and is a must-visit attraction. Just a short 37-minute train ride on the RER train from the city, you can escape to a world of lavishness and grandeur at the Versailles Palace and Gardens. The trains depart very regularly from Montparnasse, making it easily accessible. But, if you need another option, the metro is always an alternative. You would take line 9 to Pont de Sevres then change to the RATP bus line 171.

You can easily spend the whole day exploring around the Palace of Versailles with the amount of land it covers. It’s highly recommended booking yourself a spot before hand because this attraction is a must visit for almost everyone, and for good reason. It’ll be like your transported back in time as you explore the magnificent palace, with its stunning Hall of Mirrors and lavish State Apartments. According to travel guides, you won’t want to forget about taking stroll through the beautifully manicured gardens, designed by André Le Nôtre. From the intricately designed flower beds to the enchanting fountains, the gardens of Versailles are a true masterpiece, inspired by the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte and beloved by King Louis XIV. Also, make sure to step into Marie Antoinette’s hidden fairytale village that’s hidden away in the grounds of the hunting lodge. It is truly like nothing seen before!

2. Giverny – Monet’s Garden of Inspirations (45 minutes)

people are standing on a bridge over a pond in a garden
Image by Canva

Calling all art lovers, a day trip to Giverny needs to be at the top of your bucket list when visiting France. This iconic site is just a 45-minute train ride from Paris. You’ll be able to hop on the train departing from Montparnasse but, make sure to time it right since these trains only depart once every two hours.

Giverny is where iconic artist Claude Monet lived and created some of his most famous masterpieces. Once arriving at Giverny, start by exploring Monet’s house, which is filled with his personal belongings and art collection. After, be sure to stop by Monet’s garden, a beautiful display of flower gardens and water lily ponds that inspired his iconic paintings. From the vibrant flower beds to the peaceful water lilies, Monet’s garden is a true work of art. Not only is this landmark known for Monet, the town itself is definitely a lovely visit. This town is filled with delicious restaurants, an abundance of walking trails, and pretty buildings. Giverny is a place where art and nature come together, creating a truly magical experience.

3. Disneyland Paris (37 minutes)

disneyland paris castle
MARCELO / Adobe Stock

For a day filled with magic and adventure, a trip to Disneyland Paris is a must. Just a 37-minute train ride from the city, Disneyland Paris offers a fun-filled day for both children and adults alike. Make sure to take the RER A trains departing from Chatelet les Halles and disembarking at Marne-Vallee Chessy.

Disneyland Paris is a must visit spot for us. Here you’ll step into a world of enchantment as you explore the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle, go on thrilling rides, and meet your favorite Disney characters. This theme park has rides catered to all types of ages and preferences and will sure keep you occupied for the entire day. Whether you’re a Disney fan or simply looking for a day of fun and entertainment, a visit to Disneyland Paris is sure to create memories that will last a lifetime.

4. Château de Fontainebleau – Majesty in the Forest (40 minutes)

 outside of château de fontainebleau
Mistervlad / Adobe Stock

Nestled in the heart of the forest, the Château de Fontainebleau is a majestic and historic destination that should not be missed. Just a 40-minute train ride from Paris, this stunning château is a masterpiece of French architecture and a testament to the grandeur of the French kings. Trains from Paris Gare de Lyon are available to be taken towards the Fontainebleau-Avon station. Make sure to take the train towards Montargis, Montereau, or Laroche-Migennes.

Explore the opulent interiors, including the stunning Renaissance frescoes and the grand staircase. Take a walk through the beautiful gardens and enjoy the peacefulness of the forest. The Château de Fontainebleau is a true hidden gem, offering a unique blend of history and natural beauty that is sure to leave you in awe.

5. Reims & the Champagne Region (45 minutes)

If you’re a fan of champagne or simply looking to indulge in some luxury, a day trip to the Champagne region is a must. Just a 45-minute train ride from Paris, Reims is the unofficial capital of Champagne and the perfect place to explore this world-famous sparkling wine. The trains TGV to Reims depart about once per hour from Paris Est.

While visiting France, in general the best destination guides express the urgency to visit the Champagne region. Here you can visit one of the many champagne houses, such as Moët & Chandon or Veuve Clicquot. There are plenty of guided tours available to learn about the champagne-making process. Champagne isn’t the only drink found in this region, don’t forget to indulge in some wine tastings too. Reims has a beautiful cathedral with impressive architecture that’s worth visiting as well. All and all, the Champagne region offers a unique blend of history, culture, and indulgence, making it the perfect day trip from Paris.

6. Mont Saint Michel – A Fairytale Island (3h30 by train + shuttle)

mont saint michel in normandy, france
Image by Canva

Step into a fairytale as you visit the enchanting island of Mont Saint Michel. Although it takes a bit longer to reach, with a 3 hour and 30 minute train ride followed by a shuttle, the journey is well worth it. Take the TGV train from Paris to Rennes and then change trains at the Rennes-Pontchaillou station. This train will then take you directly to the Pontorson-Mont-Saint-Michel station.

Perched on a rocky island in Normandy, Mont Saint Michel is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a true architectural marvel. Explore the abbey, with its stunning Gothic spires and breathtaking views of the surrounding bay. Wander through the charming streets and discover hidden gems, such as local restaurants and shops. Mont Saint Michel is a place where history, nature, and beauty come together, creating a truly magical experience.

7. Loire Valley Castles – Best Wine Day Trips from Paris (2 hours)

Escape to the idyllic countryside of the Loire Valley and discover its charming castles. With a journey time of just 2 hours from Paris, the Loire Valley is the perfect destination for a day trip. Take the TGV train from Paris 1 ET 2 to St Pierre Des Corps. These trains depart hourly and have reasonable train ticket prices.

Explore the magnificent châteaux, such as Château de Chambord and Château de Chenonceau, and step back in time to the glorious days of the French Renaissance. Take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque villages and enjoy the tranquility of the French countryside. The Loire Valley is also known for its excellent wines, so be sure to indulge in some wine tasting and sample the region’s renowned vintages. A day trip to the Loire Valley is a feast for the senses, offering a perfect blend of history, beauty, and culinary delights.

8. Provins – Medieval Charm Unveiled (1h25 minutes)

an aerial view of a village in france
Image by Canva

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the medieval charm of Provins. Just a 1 hour and 25-minute train ride from Paris, Provins is a remarkably well-preserved fortified medieval town. Take the train from Gare de l’Est train station straight into Provins.

This day trip destination is a fortified medieval town that is surprisingly well preserved. Once arriving, get ready to stroll along the winding streets while admiring the half-timbered houses. Also, make sure to pay a visit to the Tour César. Here you’ll be able to experience panoramic views of the surrounding area. The underground tunnels are also a fun and interesting experience. These tunnels are dating back to the 13th century, and uncover the secrets of this historic town. If you happen to visit in June, be sure to experience the medieval festival, one of the best in France. After all, Provins is a place where history comes alive, offering a unique and unforgettable day trip from Paris.

9. Chartres Cathedral (1 hour)

interior of a cathedral with a chandelier and stained glass windows
Image by Canva

The Chartres Cathedral is one of our favorite cathedrals to visit outside of Paris. This magnificent Cathedral is just a 1-hour train ride from Paris and is renowned for its stunning stained glass windows. The trains from Montparnasse depart regularly to Chartres.

Step inside and get ready to be captivated by the intricate details and vibrant colors of the well preserved stained glass windows. Explore the beautiful interior, with its vaulted ceilings and ornate decorations. Chartres Cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, and a true testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the medieval builders. Take a moment to soak in the beauty and spirituality of this historic landmark, making it a must-visit day trip from Paris, especially for those seeing it for the first time.

10. Normandy D-Day Beaches – A Journey Through History (2 hours)

a statue of a soldier holding a rifle on the beach
Image by Canva

Embark on a journey through history as you visit the historic D-Day beaches in Normandy. With a train ride of just 2 hours from Paris, you can explore the sites where the Allied forces landed during World War II. You can take the train from Paris to Bayeux or Caen stations. Once you depart, you’ll have to take a taxi to the beaches.

Visit Omaha Beach, Utah Beach, and Juno Beach, and pay your respects at the American Cemetery, where thousands of soldiers who fought in the Battle of Normandy are buried. Learn about the events that took place on D-Day and gain a deeper understanding of the sacrifices made by those who fought for freedom. A visit to the Normandy D-Day beaches is a powerful and moving experience, a reminder of the courage and resilience of the Allied forces.

Unveiling Hidden Gems: Best Day Trips From Paris France

While the well-known day trips from Paris are undoubtedly worth a visit, there are also hidden gems waiting to be discovered. From cobblestone streets to old town charm, these hidden gems provide a unique and authentic day trip experience. Here’s a top few destinations we’ve put together.

Auvers-sur-Oise – In the Footsteps of Van Gogh (1 hour)

tulips are blooming in front of an old building
Image by Canva

Step into the world of the legendary artist Vincent van Gogh as you visit Auvers-sur-Oise. Just a 1-hour train ride from Paris, this charming town was a source of inspiration for Van Gogh during the final months of his life. The trains from Gare du Nord depart twice per hour and require a change of trains at the Beaumont-sur-Oise station.

This location was a popular place for artist and has been described as a ‘seriously beautiful’ location. We could not agree more! While walking around the pretty place, there are a few museum’s that you could stop in. We recommend the museum of Van Gough or the Absinth Museum. Don’t leave without exploring the places that Van Gough painted, such as the famous church and wheat fields. While in Auvers-sur-Oise, you’ll be able to truly immerse yourself in the beauty of the countryside while gaining a deeper understanding of Van Gogh’s life and art.

Rouen – A City of Art and History (1h 15 minutes)

an image of a street in a european city
Image by Canva

Step back in time and discover Rouen, a city steeped in art and history, all within a mere 1 hour and 15 minutes from Paris by train. The SNCF operates a train from Paris St Lazare to Rouen Rive Droite once every hour.

As you meander through the medieval town, you’ll be immersed in a world where Joan of Arc made her mark. Explore the stunning stained glass of Rouen Cathedral and stroll through the picturesque old town, where every corner breathes history. Art enthusiasts will revel in Rouen’s ties to renowned figures like Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh. From its cobblestone streets to the impressive Notre Dame Cathedral, Rouen is a perfect place to delve into France’s rich cultural heritage. Let the city’s charm and artistic allure captivate you on a day trip full of enriching experiences.

Lille – A Cultural Hub Close to Paris (1 hour)

Just a 1-hour train ride from Paris, Lille is a vibrant city that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and gastronomy. The train to Lille departs about twice per hour from Gare du Nord train station.

This ancient city is a necessary day trip to take from Paris. This city is perfect for history lovers and home to numerous museums, art galleries, and theaters. When in Lille get ready to explore the charming old town with its beautiful Flemish architecture and bustling squares. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Palais des Beaux-Arts, one of the largest museums in France, which also houses an impressive collection of artworks. Lille is also famous for its delicious food and drink but mainly know for ‘merveilleux” – a pastry filled with merengue, whipped cream and chocolate. It is truly divine!! With its lively atmosphere and diverse cultural scene, Lille is the perfect day trip destination for those looking to experience the best of French culture.


steps leading up to a street in paris at sunset
Image by Canva

Looking beyond the Eiffel Tower? Paris offers a treasure trove of day trips, all accessible by train within a few hours. Immerse yourself in history at Versailles or Reims, wander through Monet’s Giverny gardens, or pay your respects at the Normandy D-Day beaches. Each destination promises a unique adventure, from artistic inspiration to medieval charm and breathtaking natural beauty. So pack your bags and embark on a journey of discovery beyond the Parisian horizon!

For more European destination guides, be sure to check out some of our more recent posts here!

Frequently Asked Questions

Where should I stay in Paris?

When visiting Paris, it is recommended to stay in the city center, close to popular attractions like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. This allows for easy access to public transportation and reduces travel time to the train stations. Some popular areas to stay in Paris include the Marais, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and the Latin Quarter. If you are arriving or departing from Paris by train, staying near Gare du Nord is convenient as it is a major transportation hub.

What should I pack for a trip to Paris?

When packing for a trip to Paris, it is important to consider the season. In the summer months, lightweight and breathable clothing is recommended, as temperatures can be quite warm. Don’t forget to pack comfortable walking shoes, as Paris is a city best explored on foot. Also, be sure to bring a small umbrella or raincoat, as the weather can be unpredictable. Finally, don’t forget to pack a camera to capture all the beautiful sights Paris has to offer.

Can I see everything in Paris in 3 days?

While it is impossible to see everything Paris has to offer in just 3 days, it is definitely possible to see some of the city’s major attractions. A suggested itinerary could include visiting iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Louvre Museum. Take a stroll along the Seine River and explore the charming neighborhoods of Montmartre and Le Marais. While you may not be able to see everything, a 3-day trip to Paris will give you a taste of the city of lights and leave you wanting to come back for more.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top