The Best Day Trips from Paris: 9 Ideas for Your Itinerary

The Best Day Trips from Paris: 9 Ideas for Your Itinerary

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Heading to France soon and looking to take a few day trips from Paris?!

As anyone who has taken a French class or grown up reading Vogue can surely tell you, Paris is magic. Magic! But while you’re visiting, remember that there’s more to France than it’s most famous city. In fact, the sheer number of enriching, enjoyable, and potentially extravagant day trips from Paris within range of the City of Lights is absolutely astounding. 

The Best Day Trips from Paris >> 9 ideas for your next trip!

Since I haven’t visited Paris in quite some time (yes, I need to get back there soon!), I’ve asked my friends  Luke and Meagan from The Two Restless Homebodies to share their favorite day trips from Paris with us all! Enjoy! 

Top Day Trips from Paris

01 | Disneyland Paris

The Best Day Trips from Paris >> 9 ideas for your next trip!

What makes it special: One of the few hardcore theme parks in or around Paris, this is a perfect location for families with kids who care a little less about quiet palaces and monuments and more about Moana and Cinderella. There are even Star Wars attractions for the uber-nerdy amongst us. With points for attention to detail and pure Disney magic, this is one of the most perfect, modern family day trips from Paris – and it’s just a short jaunt from the classic, traditional city.

Costs: tickets start at $49/person

Distance from Paris: 45 minutes by train

Who will like this: families, couples

Pro tip: Take the train (RER) to get there, as it runs right to the front gate. That way, there are no worries about rental cars or parking – just fun. Get your tickets ahead of time to avoid waiting on long lines at the park (one day tickets sold here and multi-day tickets sold here). 

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02 | Versailles

The Best Day Trips from Paris >> 9 ideas for your next trip!

What makes it special: Most famous as the residence of King Louis XIV – known as the Sun King thanks to his incredibly opulent taste – and his court, the architecture and gardens of Versailles continue to be a feast for the eyes. Walk through the legendary Hall of Mirrors, tour some 800 hectares of meticulous gardens, and learn about the storied history of the French monarchy. Definitely one of the more luxurious day trips from Paris.

Cost: Approx. 15-18/person (not including parking, if applicable).  If you don’t feel like figuring out the public transport options, consider hoping on a half day tour to Versailles (skip the line ticket included as well).

Distance from Paris: 1-1.5 hours, by car or metro

Who will like this: Families, couples, groups, solo travelers.

Pro tip: Get there EARLY. As one of the most popular tourist destinations in France, Versailles gets very busy very quickly, especially in the summer months. Buy skip-the-line tickets in advance (audio guide included!) to bypass all those who got there a bit before you. Definitely worth it.

03 | Champagne Region

The Best Day Trips from Paris >> 9 ideas for your next trip!

What makes it special: Like Scotch whiskey, only sparkling wine produced in this region has the privilege of being called champagne. The world’s most well-known brands (Veuve Cliquot, etc.) are all centered here, making it a Mecca for international wine-lovers. Pick up excursions to these famous wineries, tour their storied champagne caves to see where the magic happens, then taste the fruits of their labors (and maybe check a bag for some bubbly souvenirs!).

Cost: $80+/person (depending on where your tour leaves from)

Recommended Tours:

Distance from Paris: about 2 hours by car or train

Who will like this: Couples, groups, solo travelers.

Pro tip: Don’t book a tour directly from Paris. Instead, handle your own train fare and pick up a tour once you arrive at a destination closer to the Champagne region (e.g. Reims). Psst – if you’re feeling really lazy or just want to ensure a trip to Champagne is scheduled into your itinerary, this Champagne Vineyards & Cellars Full-Day Trip from Paris looks super awesome.

04 | Normandy

The Best Day Trips from Paris >> 9 ideas for your next trip!

What makes it special: For travelers hailing from many Western countries, Normandy’s beaches hold a special significance because they were the location of World War II’s D-Day invasion, which ultimately struck a fatal blow to the Nazi war effort. While you’re there, be sure to take in the memorials and museums around this effort and the men who lost their lives. For folks with other interests, you can enjoy Normandy’s beautiful, cool beaches, tour cathedrals in Rouen and Caen, and see the last place Joan of Arc stood before she became a martyr. Also, as Normandy is home to the Breton culture, don’t miss an opportunity to try the food in whichever city you choose to stop at – your stomach will thank you. One of the must-do day trips from Paris, that’s for sure!

Cost: activity-dependent

Tour Ideas and Things to do in Normandy:

Distance from Paris: about 3 hours by TGV

Who will like this: Families, history buffs, couples, groups, solo travelers

Pro tip: Find a bakery and order a kouign-amann (pronounced “queen ahmahn”). It’s a sweet and salty pastry that will make you want to stay forever!

05 | Loire Valley

The Best Day Trips from Paris >> 9 ideas for your next trip!

What makes it special: The château (castle) is a cornerstone piece of French architecture. And with châteaux ranging from the Middle Ages, up through the Renaissance and beyond, the Loire Valley is home to some of the most impressive examples the French countryside has to offer. If you’ve loved “The Tudors”, “Game of Thrones”, or any other story based in the Early Modern era, the Loire Valley will certainly feed your fancies.

Cost: Multi-stop tours can start around $75/person; admission at each location differs. 

Distance from Paris: 1.5 hours by TGV

Recommended Tours:

Who will like this: history buffs, couples, groups, solo travelers, families with older children

Pro tip: Coordinate your own transportation to Tours (the city) from Montparnasse Station in Paris. You can pick up château tours much cheaper from the station when you arrive.

06 | Mont Saint-Michel

The Best Day Trips from Paris >> 9 ideas for your next trip!

What makes it special: If you’ve seen Disney’s Tangled, you’ll recognize Rapunzel’s family castle as having been inspired by none other that Mont Saint-Michel. Perched on the edge of the Norman coast, this compound began as a humble church in the millennium and has grown up (and up and up) into the walled compound – complete with an abbey, cathedral, and a maze of winding, uphill pedestrian streets – we see today. Now a high-traffic tourist destination (best to book tickets in advance), you can find souvenir shops, restaurants, art studios, and the like packing the city.

Costs: Tours of the abbey and associated properties are 20/person.

Distance from Paris: about 3 hours by TGV and bus.

Recommended Tour: Guided Tour of Mont Saint-Michel (tickets here)

Who will like this: Families, couples, solo travelers. Beware that Mont Saint-Michel’s pedestrian streets are on a steep incline, and there are also many unavoidable staircases (some steeper than others). Therefore, folks with strollers or who may have limited mobility may find this compound difficult to navigate.

Pro tip: If you don’t mind the extra walk, don’t take the tram to the front gates. There’s a footpath, and the views are 100% worth the extra 1/4 mile.

07 | Fontainebleau

The Best Day Trips from Paris >> 9 ideas for your next trip!

What makes it special: If you’re not feeling the crowds at Versailles, perhaps visit its extravagant (and only slightly less popular) older brother. With an incredible medieval château that served as the residence of French kings from Louis VII to Napoleon III, gardens to die for, and also home to beautiful Fontainebleau forest, there’s a little something for everyone to indulge in.

Cost: admission starts at €11/person.  Book skip-the-line tickets here. Or tickets to a half-day guided tour here (includes transport from Paris).

Distance from Paris: 1.5 hours by train, 1 hour by car

Who will like this: history buffs, families, couples, solo travelers, art history buffs

Pro tip: If you’re visiting for the art, make a stop at Barbizon while you’re in the area. It’s home of the Barbizon school of painters, a mid-19th century group of Realists who had notable influence on the art world.

08 | Giverny

The Best Day Trips from Paris >> 9 ideas for your next trip!

What makes it special: If you’ve ever enjoyed the serene strokes of Monet’s waterlily series, this is your spot. Located just on the edge of the Normandy region, this beautiful, isolated area was Claude Monet’s home and the location of his now-famous gardens. An introvert’s dream come true – when it’s not packed with fellow visitors – this has been the location of countless proposals and other romantic moments. History buffs and Monet devotees can also visit the nearby village cemetery where Monet and many of his family members are buried.

Cost: 10/person admission to gardens.

Activity Ideas:

Distance from Paris: under an hour by train

Who will like this: Families, couples, solo travelers, history and art history buffs

Pro tip: You can easily book a joint tour of both Giverny and Versailles, leaving from Paris. While not the most cost-effective option, the convenience of seeing both of these landmarks in one day is very nice.

09 | Avignon

The Best Day Trips from Paris >> 9 ideas for your next trip!

What makes it special: Avignon is like a sleepier, toastier Paris. It has all the cultural richness without the suffocating crowds. Visit the Papal Palace, hike along the city’s old walls, and walk out on the Pont Bénézet (made famous by the song “Sur le Pont d’Avignon”). Or, if you head out in the early summer months, see if you can catch a tour of southern France’s famous lavender fields – many of these tours leave directly from Avignon.

Cost: activity-dependent.

Activity Ideas:

Distance from Paris: about 3 hours by TGV

Who will like this: families, couples, solo travelers, history buffs

Pro tip: Book your train tickets early. Avignon is a stretch as a day trip, so you’ll need to book the earliest-arriving and the latest-departing trains possible.

Which of these day trips from Paris would you like to do?!

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