So you are considering a day trip from Paris? Paris is a beautiful city and there is so much to explore, but you may want to consider getting outside of the City of Lights for a day or two if you have time on your side. There are several day trips from Paris that you can take to relax and enjoy the scenery, visit museums or castles with gorgeous gardens or tranquil lakeside retreats. These destinations offer a variety of attractions and activities. So it doesn’t matter who you’re traveling with or what your interests are, there’s something for everyone.
The most popular Paris day trip people tend to take is to Versailles – I have to admit it was the first day trip I took from Paris and even in early December it was breathtaking. Other great options include visiting Giverny, where Monet lived and painted his famous water lilies; exploring Fontainebleau Forest, which was once home to France’s kings, and more.
In this post, we will explore some of the best day trips from Paris so you can find one for your next vacation!
Château de Versailles – 12 miles (20km) from Paris
As I mentioned – the most popular and easily accessible day trip from Paris is the beautiful Château de Versailles. The palace was built by Louis XIV in 1662 and used by several French Kings and Queens ever since. The exterior alone will take your breath away with its huge golden gates and three large fountains surrounding it. Next, you can enter the main palace and visit the hall of mirrors, which is surrounded by lush gardens and stunning pools. Watch the day go by while relaxing in the beautiful palace surroundings. My advice is to get there early to avoid long queues and avoid visiting on the weekends. If you don’t have a rental car Versailles is easily accessed by train, which takes roughly an hour or less (depending on your departure point). To get the most out of a visit to the Château de Versailles I would recommend you take an organized tour.
Fontainebleau is a beautiful town that is about 45 minutes (by train) to the South of Paris. It has been the site of many important events in French history, including the residence of many French monarchs from Louis VII to Napoleon III. It is well known for two important attractions: the Chateau de Fontainebleau, and the Forest of Fontainebleau which surrounds the castle. If you visit the Chateau you will be able to see Marie Antoinette’s bed and the throne of Napoleon. The Chateau is surrounded by French Renaissance gardens, with the forest outside the gates
While I love the Chateau it is the forest that grabs my heart with large boulders to climb and stunning views. This forest has some spectacular views that must be checked out when visiting here from Paris. Fontainebleau has beautiful architecture, royal gardens, and proximity to nature, so it is worth visiting on your next day trip from Paris!
Giverny – 47 miles (75km)
Giverny is well worth visiting on your next trip to France, located about 1 hour (by bus) outside Paris. If you are an art lover, then this day trip from Paris is perfect for you! Giverny is home to Claude Monet’s house, which inspired his famous water lilies paintings. You can visit his beautiful home and see where he spent a lot of his time in his later years.
In addition to the beautiful gardens, Giverny has a museum dedicated to Monet full of his famous paintings from 1883 until he died in 1926. Today, his gardens and the museum nearby are some of the best places to go for a day trip from Paris. They draw around half a million visitors each year. There are several cafes that serve delicious meals and desserts to ensure you stay full and happy all day long.
For day trips outside of Paris in France, you can’t go wrong with the Loire Valley. This day trip is for you if you love to visit castles! Loire Valley is about 120 min (by car) away from Paris. The Loire Valley is one of the oldest regions in France and was built starting in the 9th century. It was the domain of French Kings and Queens for hundreds of years. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to beautiful gardens, enchanting castles, charming towns with gorgeous riverside roads. This day trip from Paris allows you to see several castles in one day and will give you a glimpse into medieval France. It is best to either take a tour or rent a car if you want to visit this area.
Saint-Denis is a masterpiece in gothic architecture in the northern suburbs of Paris, France and it is located only 5 min (by train) from the center of Paris. Some people might not see St-Denis as a tourist destination, but it’s one of the most important religious sites in France. St Denis was a third-century Christian martyr and saint who is very well known for his devotion to this faith as he died.
St-Denis is one of the most famous and historically significant places in France. It is home to France’s largest collection of funerary sculptures from the 12th to 16th centuries and has an interesting history. So if you love history then it’s worth a visit! There are also good places to eat and to walk around, however. St-Denis is also close to Paris, making it easy for travelers to spend time exploring other areas while they are there!
Chartres is only 1 hour 15min (by bus) outside of Paris. This Paris day trip takes you to a beautiful town that has kept much of its gothic architecture. Chartres is famous for its cathedral – Cathédrale Notre-Dame. The old castle was pulled down and rebuilt by King François I, only leaving the keep (tower) of the old castle and the adjoining chapel from the 13th century. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is an example of French Gothic architecture.
The construction of this Gothic cathedral started around 1193 and was completed in 1250. It is an exceptionally well-preserved building, and people from all over the world come to see it. In addition, there are beautiful medieval gardens and a large square where people gather for various events.
This day trip is only about 9 minutes (by train) outside of France’s capital. It’s an excellent destination for those looking for a more rural French experience with some fascinating history. In Vitry-sur-Seine, you can visit a Museum of Contemporary Art: Mac Val with modern works from some of the top artists in France today. Many artists come here to paint murals on the sides of buildings and it is definitely worth checking it out. This day trip is perfect for those who love street art or just enjoy unique things in general.
In addition to the street art, you will find several restaurants in Vitry-sur-Seine that serve up some delicious food. There is also an old castle you can tour and see the remains of what was once royalty living there years ago!
Domaine de Chantilly is only about 60 minutes away. This day trip takes you to a stunning palace – the grandiose Château de Chantilly with its gorgeous gardens, fountains, and Renaissance architecture. It’s the perfect day trip if you want to get away from Paris but also see some pretty amazing things! The picturesque Chateau is home to some of France’s finest collections house at the Musée Condé that is only second in France to the Louvre, including precious paintings by Botticelli, Raphaël, Ingres, Delacroix Titien and Poussin. You can take a tour through the Château’s galleries or explore on your own time in their extensive gardens. Chantilly is one of the best day trips from Paris for outdoor activities. If the outdoors are your thing then visit the Domaine de Chantilly park, where you can enjoy activities such boating, cycling and walking the extensive paths.