Uncover the 12 best day trips from Paris by train for the ultimate quick getaway.
Paris is one of the world’s most magical cities. With its iconic landmarks, famous museums, and buzzing atmosphere it really is a place you could spend weeks and never get bored. However, seeing more of France and Europe than just Paris is a must to discover the unfathomable beauty beyond the big city. Paris has many train stations and is conveniently located in many other towns, sites, and villages which makes day tripping super easy and enjoyable!
Below are the 12 best day trips from Paris by train to make your visit even more exciting.
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12 Best Day Trips From Paris By Train
- Distance from Paris: 1.5 hours
Contributed by Jami from Celiac Travel Pack
Provins is a medieval city that has preserved much of its architecture and flair into the 21st century. The 90km (56 miles) train ride from Paris will take an hour and a half from Paris Est.
After leaving the train station walk into the old city center to wander through old medieval alleyways and take in the half-timbered houses that line the cobblestone streets. There is no record of the oldest building in the city but the Roman House is one of the oldest. It was built in the 12th century and is home to the Museum of Provins.
Make sure to visit the Tour César. It has served several purposes during its life and is one of the most prominent, and unique, buildings in the city. Nearby is the Church of Saint-Quiriace which is mostly notable because Joan of Arc visited it during her lifetime (there’s even a little plaque outside the church). Visit one of the restaurants in a square near the church.
Like most medieval cities, Provins was fortified with massive walls. It’s free to walk on the ramparts that remain around the old city. The best place to start is by Porte Saint-Jean (near the visitor center). Easily one of the best day trips from Paris, you cannot miss Provins!
- Distance from Paris: 1 hour 45 minutes
Contributed by Megan from Wander Toes
One of the best day trips from Paris by train is the Alsatian city of Strasbourg. The city center, the Grande-Île, was the first entire city center to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is beautifully maintained and picturesque.
Victor Hugo called the Gothic Cathedral a “gigantic and delicate marvel” while the Kammerzell House, alongside the Cathedral, is considered one of the most well-preserved and ornate medieval civil housing buildings.
Strasbourg’s Neustadt district borders the historic center and earns its own UNESCO recognition with wide boulevards and Art Nouveau buildings. Be sure to stop at the botanical garden or relax in the Place de la République.
If you still have time in your day, you can also explore the Parc de l’Orangerie. Have a relaxing lunch overlooking the lake or rent a boat! A must-see in the park is the storks, the symbol of Alsace. The stork population in the area has been saved by over 800 storks being born here since 1971.
On the border of Germany, Strasbourg seems distant for a day trip. However, with direct high-speed trains from Paris, it takes less than two hours and a day trip to Strasbourg is a great choice.
- Distance from Paris: 2 hours
Contributed by Lisa Garrett from Waves and Cobblestones
Lyon, France is one of the best day trips from Paris by train. You can get there in just two hours by TGV (high-speed train) from Paris’ Gare de Lyon station.
There are many excellent things to do in Lyon, so you’ll have to pick your favourites to squeeze into just one day.
Start off by taking the funicular up Fourvière Hill to see Lyon’s beautiful Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière. From here you’ll also enjoy fantastic panoramic views of the city. On your way down the hill, visit some of Lyon’s Roman ruins, the Gallo-Roman Theater and Odeon.
Next, spend some time in Vieux Lyon exploring the traboules. These secret-covered passageways are one of Lyon’s unique attractions. Traboules were important to Lyon’s silk trade and also have a history with the French Resistance during the war. Feel free to explore the public traboules, which are marked with a special seal.
Another of Lyon’s highlights is its collection of fantastic trompe l’oeil murals, such as the Mur des Canuts. You’ll find many of these grand murals in Lyon’s Croix-Rousse area. You’ll have to look twice to tell whether you are looking at real people or painted ones!
If you have time to fit in a museum, there are many to choose from. Lyon’s Musée des Beaux-Arts is the second-largest museum of fine arts in France. For a more novel option, check out the museum of puppetry, which features the Guignol puppet.
- Distance from Paris: 30 minutes
Contributed by Jori from thetejanaabroad
Chantilly is a cute, historical village with a massive chateau and gardens. Surrounded by forests, Chantilly is ideal if you want to experience some of the historical French villages and get some fresh air outside of the city of Paris on one of the best day trips from Paris by train.
Chantilly is famous for its grand chateau, expansive horse stables, intricate lacemaking, and crême de Chantilly (what the rest of the world calls whipped cream!). You can spend hours visiting the chateau with its attached gardens, admiring the art at Musée de Conde, and visiting the racing horse museum, located at the Grand Stables. When you get hungry, be sure and order a crêpe with chantilly, as it’s very famous in the region!
The price to visit the Chantilly Chateau and gardens is 17 euros. To visit only the garden, it’s 8 euros. The Musée de Conde costs extra, but it’s truly a world-class museum, rivalled only in size by the Louvre!
You can reach Chantilly by car or by public transport. If you decide to take public transport, there is a train from Gare de Nord every hour. The station that you are looking for is called Chantilly – Gouvieux. The total journey time will be approximately 30 minutes. By car, it’s about an hour so it may even be easier to go by train!
- Distance from Paris: 2 hours
Contributed by Paul D’Souza from Paulmarina
Beauvais a city located to the north of Paris and one of the best day trips from Paris by train. It’s of historical importance due to its past and important landmarks. The Beauvais cathedral is the most significant landmark located in the center of the city. The builders of the cathedral in the 12th century were very ambitious, making the vault and gothic choir the tallest in the world.
Yet, the cathedral was never completed and over the ages suffered damages, but it’s nonetheless a breathtaking architectural marvel. The astronomical clock in the cathedral is a beautiful unique clock that you shouldn’t miss, as well as the medieval stained-glass windows and the Renaissance tapestries. The department of l’Oise, and its capital Beauvais, are known for stunning tapestries.
You can also visit the MUDO museum, which is known for fine art paintings from across the ages. The city was heavily bombed in WW2, but some inner-city roads still show the classical french regional buildings. The place Jeanne Hachette in the city center is a great place to hang out, with a statue reminding the world of the bravery of the freedom fighter Jeanne Hachette.
There is also a small typical french carousel taking children on a memorable ride. Trains to Beauvais from Paris depart at the Gars du Nord every hour up to about 8 pm. The trip takes about 75 to 120 minutes, depending on the train and the hour of the day making it one of the best day trips from Paris by train.
- Distance from Paris: 1.5 hours
Contributed by Lara from Best Travel Gifts
If you’re looking for one of the best day trips from Paris to another beautiful French city that doesn’t feel like a French city, Lille is the place to go.
It takes a little over an hour from Gare du Nord to reach Lille by train. Despite the fact that it’s only a short ride, Lille almost feels like visiting a different country. It might be because it’s located next to the Belgium border, but the first difference you’ll notice is the number of people who actually speak English. The second thing that’s very unfrench, is the beer culture. Beer lovers will be happy to try all the different local craft beers that can be found all around Lille.
Luckily, the city has way more to offer than just beer and English speakers. If you’re only visiting Lille for a day you can easily fill your day with walking around the city. Some places you want to walk by including the old historic district, Palais des Beaux-Arts, La Vieille Bourse (the old stock exchange), Grand Palace, and Lille Citadelle.
A visit to one of the many local markets fun thing to do. You can score a cute French souvenir or a cool book at the old stock exchange which hosts a booksellers market every afternoon from Tuesday to Sunday
And lastly, visit the world heritage listed belfry tower of Lille for a little bit of history as well as for the best views over the city.
Claude Monet’s House and Gardens, France
- Distance from Paris: 2 hours
Contributed by Kristin from Global Travel Escapades
It’s always worth exploring Paris, but for travellers looking to recharge in nature, consider embarking on one of the best day trips from Paris to Claude Monet’s House and Gardens. It’s an easy excursion as the travel time is about 3 hours round trip. To get there from the city, simply take the SNCF train from Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris to Vernon-Giverny station. This direct train ride is quick and takes about one hour.
At the Vernon-Giverny train station, visitors can take a 15-minute shuttle bus ride directly to Monet’s Garden. The shuttles run on a regular schedule, so make sure to check the times for when you want to head back to Paris.
Once you arrive at Claude Monet’s estate, there are a few things to do to fill your day. First, you can walk through Monet’s house, which is filled with lots of his original furniture and decorations.
Afterward, spend some time strolling through Monet’s beautiful gardens that surround the house. You’ll find all kinds of exotic flowers, trees, and plants in every direction. There’s even a little farm in the corner with roosters and chickens.
Last but certainly not least, make sure to check out the famed water lilies. When you first see the lily pond, you immediately understand why Monet painted them. Ultimately, if you’re looking to find peace away from the noise of Paris, opt for one of the best day trips from Paris to Giverny!
- Distance from Paris: 45 minutes
Contributed by Elisa from World in Paris
Versailles makes for one of the best day trips from Paris. The city is mostly known for the royal Palace of Versailles and its stunning gardens, home to three kings and their courts until the French Revolution, but there are other beautiful sites worth exploring, like the Saint Louis Cathedral, the King’s Kitchen Garden, and the Royal Opera. The Quartier Saint Louis, which is a historical neighbourhood, is lovely with many places to eat and drink
Versailles is located 17 km southwest of Paris and it is easy to reach by SNCF train or RER C train. The journey from Paris to Versailles takes 40 min and is straightforward. If you want to visit Versailles mainly for the Château, the Versailles passport, skipping the line, will save you time and money.
The park is always free to visit and it is ideal for a picnic by the canal or for a bike ride (bike rental available on-site). From April to October, French-style gardens that surround the palace host spectacular music shows and fountain shows and there’s a fee. During the winter months, instead, the gardens are free to visit.
If your visit to Versailles is focused on the Royal Palace, a guided tour with an expert guide can be a good idea. If you prefer to do everything self-guided, start your visit early in the morning in the Palace and keep the afternoon for exploring the Queen’s Hamlet and the Trianons.
- Distance from Paris: 2.5 hours
Contributed by Eloise from My Favourite Escapes
It takes just over two hours by train from Montparnasse station to go to Bordeaux from Paris. It’s a great day trip as you can visit many places on foot from the train station and join a tour for an experience different from what you’ll find in the French capital.
Bordeaux is one of these cities where you can admire monuments on every street in the city centre. Just to name a couple, Porte Cailhaux is quite unique and Place de la Bourse looks stunning. And the Cathedral is, of course, not to be missed.
Although Bordeaux is a great place to try some food specialties from the southwestern regions of France, it is mostly famous for its wines. You can easily join a half-day tour to a winery just outside Bordeaux, including the reputed Saint Emilion and its lovely village.
Alternatively, the Cité du Vin museum in town is a fantastic place to learn more about wines and enjoy a few tastings. The restaurant on the 7th floor offers one of the city’s best views. Alternatively, you can find a river cruise with food and wine tasting or sit on a terrace at Place de la Comédie to watch street artists.
- Distance from Paris: 1.5 hours
Contributed by Bradley from Dream Big Travel Far Blog
There’s a lot to do in Paris in a day, and day trips are always fun to shake things up and discover other areas of the country. Rouen, the capital of France’s Normandy region, is only around 136 km from Paris. It is roughly 1.5 away and is one of the best day trips from Paris.
The city itself is often dubbed the “city of one hundred bell towers”, most famously by the renowned writer Victor Hugo. When you walk through the cobblestone streets, you will pass by beautiful Gothic buildings, Renaissance architecture, and verdant gardens. Back in the Middle Ages, Rouen was actually the second largest city after France, and so teems with important history and heritage.
Anyone visiting Rouen should stop by the Tower of Joan of Arc, the infamous castle where the saint was imprisoned before being burned at the stake. Inside, explore the exhibition dedicated to the life and legacy of Joan of Arc.
The St. Maclou Catholic Church is also a must-see. Standing tall in the center of the old town, it’s surrounded by quaint cafes in the old Norman style and was built for Saint-Maclou, the founder saint of Brittany. Overall, Rouen is such a quintessential French city that reflects a lot of its Normandy history.
- Distance from Paris: 1 hour
Contributed by Yesenia and Sierra from The Sisters Who Voyage
Embark on one of the best day trips from Paris and head out to Disneyland Paris! This is a must-do for anybody looking for a fun-filled activity that all ages can enjoy. Getting to Disneyland is a breeze when heading from the center of Paris and utilizing the public transportation system.
The Châtelet-Les Halles station and catch the RER A route towards Disneyland Paris; there is a sign on the station wall near the ticket machine that you can look at for reference. The cost of a one-way ticket is around 8 euros, and make sure not to throw away your ticket. You’ll also want to start your day early and leave time for about an hour via the train ride to the theme park.
When you hop off the train, you’ll be happy to know that the train station drops you off right in front of the park gates.
Now that you’ve arrived at one of the happiest places on Earth, you’ll want to hit the top rides at Disneyland Paris as early as possible. Top contenders are Phantom Manor, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, the Twilight Zone, and Ratatouille. After you have narrowed down the list of the peak rides, you can make your way down some of the middle-of-the-pack rides and low contenders. While making your way through Disneyland Paris and marking off rides on your list.
To start Cable Car Bakeshop offers delicious baked goods, the Market House deli offers typical deli food but make sure to grab a Croque-Monsieur, and finally don’t forget to try a Nutella crepe from the crepe cart near the center of the park.
Finally, when you have had your fill of delicious foods and rides galore, don’t forget to grab some cute Disneyland Paris souvenirs. Especially the ones which are location specific because most souvenirs are available at either the original Disneyland or Disney World, but they don’t carry their sister parks’ merchandise.
- Distance from Paris: 1.5 hours
Contributed by Caroline from Veggie Wayfarer
Brussels is one of the easiest day trips from Paris by train. Simply hop on the Thalys from Paris Nord and in just over one hour you will find yourself disembarking at Brussels Midi. Multiple trains run daily, reservation in advance is required.
There are various areas in Brussels to explore, the city has plenty to offer for both young and old. First-time visitors will want to hop off the train from Brussels Midi to Brussels Central and spend a lovely day exploring the historical center: The Grand Place of Brussels, the trio of peeing statues, the impressive Stock Exchange (La Bourse) and the cobblestoned streets filled with medieval houses. Don’t forget to try a delicious waffle at Café Dandoy.
Travelling with kids? Head over to the Comic Strip Museum, or head over to the tourism office to pick up a map and embark on a hunt for the best comic strip murals that are spread out all over town. Pop into the Natural History Museum to see a wonderful collection of Dinosaurs and a fluffy woolly mammoth.
Some of the best cuisines in Brussels can be found in the area of Ixelles, which is home to many of the ex-pats that make up the fabric of Brussels. Grab a drink at the iconic Café Belga on Flagey for a taste of local life before exploring the many, many restaurants that line Flagey square.
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