Salt & Wind Travel

13 Classic Day Trips From Paris You’ll Absolutely Love

For your next France trip you’ll want to add a few day trips from Paris to your itinerary. C’est vrai, there is enough to explore in Paris to stay for up to a week. But, a little travel will provide a literal change of scenery and allow you to explore France’s culture, history, and landscapes beyond the City of Lights.

The classic day trips from Paris are such for a reason: they give you a glimpse of gorgeous gardens, chic châteaux, medieval villages, and fabulous food. We’re talking trips to the enchanting Loire Valley, the majestic Château de Chantilly, the astounding Palace of Versailles, and the storied Fontainebleau.

As someone who lived in Paris, has a French family, and has been to the country countless times, I’ve done my fair share of exploring in Paris and its surroundings. I’ve spent numerous weekends visiting the surrounding regions on day trips from Paris. And, as a travel planner specializing in custom French travel itineraries, I help our curious clients explore the areas around the capital that best fit their interests.

Whether you’re seeking to immerse yourself in the opulence of royal châteaux, explore historic towns, eat incredible food, or enjoy the natural beauty of the French countryside, these day trips from Paris are offer enriching and memorable experiences.

Day Trips From Paris
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13 Day Trips From Paris

Paris is in the center of the Île-de-France region, also known as the région parisienne, and some of the best day trips in France are in and around the French capital.

Most travelers searching for day trips from Paris focus on the numerous stunning châteax like Chantilly, Versailles, and Fontainebleau. However, the villages associated with classic artists like Monet and Van Gogh, the world-renowned cathedrals of Reims and Chartres, and Disney Resort Paris should also be on your list.

Venturing farther afield takes you to medieval towns like Provins or historic sites like Normandy. Here are 13 of the best places to consider for incredible day trips from Paris:

Château de Chantilly

Distance from Paris: About 30 minutes by train or 45 minutes by car

Discover the enchanting world of Chantilly, a historic gem nestled within a vast forest, just a short train ride northwest of Paris. This quaint town may be compact, but it holds grand treasures like the Chateau de Chantilly. Chantilly was one of the first day trips I ever did when I lived in Paris and it checked all the boxes on all things stereotypical France with stunning architecture, art, and gardens. 

This French Renaissance masterpiece, surrounded by André Le Nôtre’s spectacular gardens, is a haven for art aficionados and nature enthusiasts. The château is also home to the not-to-be-missed Musée Condé, which boasts an art collection rivaled only by the Louvre.

Visitors can admire richly furnished staterooms and an extensive array of antique paintings within its walls. The opulent stables deemed the most beautiful in the world, add to the estate’s allure, promising a glimpse into the splendor of French heritage.

But Chantilly’s appeal doesn’t end with the château. The town is also renowned for its racetrack, which draws equestrian enthusiasts from across Europe. Whether exploring the meticulous gardens, marveling at the phenomenal art, or attending one of the estate’s classical concerts or equestrian shows, Chantilly promises an unforgettable day trip from Paris.

How To Get There: Chantilly is easily reachable by a 25-minute train ride from Paris, making it an ideal day trip destination.

Need To Know:  It is less known than other destinations, which can be a pro for those seeking fewer crowds but a con for those ISO famous landmarks.

Best Time to Visit: Spring (April to June) when the gardens bloom or autumn (September to October) for cooler weather and fewer visitors. Summer offers longer days for visiting, but expect more visitors.


Distance from Paris: About 30 minutes by train or car

An emblem of French royal splendor, Versailles is the most classic of the classic day trips from Paris. It’s a lavish testament to 17th—and 18th-century French monarchy and attracts over five million visitors yearly. At the heart of this opulence lies the Château de Versailles, its Hall of Mirrors a literal reflection of royal extravagance. 

The majestic estate extends beyond the palace to include the intimate Estate of Marie Antoinette, the grand Versailles stables, and the historic Salle du Jeu de Paume. To fully appreciate the grandeur and intricate beauty, we recommend booking a guided tour of Versailles. The first time I went to Versailles I didn’t book a tour and I was totally overwhelmed and felt like I missed out on so much because I wasn’t with a local expert. 

For an unforgettable experience, time your visit to coincide with the summer evening fountain shows. Water dances to the rhythm of classical music, illuminating the night with the glory of the past. Versailles is not merely a destination but a grand exhibition of history waiting to be discovered.

How To Get There: Visitors can take a short train ride from Paris to Versailles-Château-Rive Gauche.

Need To Know: This popular tourist destination can be crowded, with long lines for entrance and within the palace. FYI, it’s closed on Mondays.

Best Time to Visit: Go in spring (April to June) or early autumn (September) to avoid the peak summer tourist season and allow for a more relaxed visit, especially in the gardens. Winter visits offer a different perspective, with fewer tourists but limited garden access.


Distance from Paris: About 30 minutes by train or car

Immerse yourself in all things French Impressionism with a day trip to Auvers-sur-Oise, a picturesque village reflecting the legacy of Vincent van Gogh. Nestled just northwest of Paris, this serene spot was the backdrop to van Gogh’s profoundly productive final months, where he created over 80 masterpieces.

Art lovers can trace van Gogh’s steps through the landscapes that inspired his brush, from the quaint Auberge Ravoux, his last home, to the verdant fields and idyllic village scenes he immortalized. Stand by his and Theo’s graves, a poignant reminder of the brothers’ bond and Vincent’s tormented genius.

But the village’s allure extends beyond van Gogh. Discover the Absinthe Museum, delve into the haunts of other Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists, and let the charming ambiance of Auvers-sur-Oise transport you to a revolutionary period in art.

How To Get There: The journey to Auvers-sur-Oise from Paris is a quick train ride, making it an accessible day trip for those looking to immerse themselves in the world of one of history’s greatest artists.

Need To Know: This town most appeals to art lovers and those interested in van Gogh’s life, so it may not hold the same interest for others.

Best Time to Visit: Late spring to early summer (May to July) to see the landscapes that inspired Van Gogh in full bloom. This period offers mild weather and the chance to fully appreciate the outdoor attractions and the natural beauty that influenced the artist.

Disney Resort Paris

Distance from Paris: About 40 minutes by train or car

Dive into Disney Resort Paris, an oasis for families and Disney aficionados alike. A quick RER A train ride from Paris to Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy station puts at the gates of enchantment. Disney Paris is made up of two theme parks—Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park—which will take you on the ultimate adventure.

Every corner is a discovery, from the charm of Main Street, U.S.A., to the thrills of Space Mountain. Film buffs can revel in Walt Disney Studios Park, where cinema comes to life, and culinary adventurers can join Remy on a whimsical Ratatouille-inspired ride.

But the magic doesn’t end with the parks. Disney Paris is a complete vacation destination with themed hotels, a golf course, and a shopping village, with every moment is steeped in Disney magic. Our clients often head to Disney midweek so they can make the most of it with the fewest crowds.  

How To Get There: Located just 32 kilometers east of Paris, Disney Resort Paris is conveniently reached by the RER A train, directly connecting visitors to the enchantment of Disney.

Need To Know:  It can be expensive and crowded, with long wait times for rides and attractions, especially during school holidays and weekends. We can help you buy tickets in advance or book a private tour to make the most of your visit.

Best Time to Visit: Visit mid-week in the off-peak seasons (January to March and November to early December) to avoid long lines and crowds. The Christmas season is exceptionally magical but also very busy.

Reims France Wine Tasting

Champagne Region

Distance from Paris: About 90 minutes by train or car

Escape to the Champagne region, a surprisingly accessible day trip from Paris that bubbles with exquisite tastes and sights. In just about 1.5 hours by train, you’ll land in the heart of sparkling wine country, home to legendary houses like Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Taittinger, and Mumm. Here, indulge in intimate cellar tours and sip on the world’s finest champagnes amid the scenic vineyards that stretch across northeastern France.

This region is a deep dive into the sparkling world of champagne, from the meticulous crafting process to the storied histories of cities like Reims and Epernay. Marvel at the gothic splendors of Notre-Dame de Reims, a coronation site for French kings, and stroll down Épernay’s Avenue de Champagne, known for its miles of underground cellars.

Also don’t miss the lovely wine bars and markets of both Reims and Épernay. If you need help booking a private wine tasting experience in Champagne, reach out and we’ll craft a custom itinerary for you. We have helped clients do extensive winery tours as well as more mixed day trips that include some of the area’s rich history and wine as well as it’s incredible food. 

How To Get There: Direct trains from Paris to Reims or Épernay make this sparkling adventure convenient and irresistible.

Need To Know:  The focus on champagne means those with little interest in wine might find it less engaging than other destinations.

Best Time to Visit: Harvest time (September to early October) is exceptional for witnessing the grape harvest and wine-making process. Spring and summer offer beautiful vineyard views and pleasant weather for tours and tastings.


Distance from Paris: About 1 hour by train or car

Escape to Fontainebleau, where royal history and outdoor adventure intertwine forr an unforgettable day trip from Paris. Home to the splendid Château de Fontainebleau, a UNESCO World Heritage site, this destination has captivated French monarchs and visitors alike with its beauty and grandeur. Napoleon Bonaparte found solace and inspiration here, leaving his mark through extensive renovations.

But Fontainebleau’s allure extends beyond its palace walls. The surrounding forest, a haven for nature lovers, beckons with activities like hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and rock climbing amidst its stunning landscapes. Whether exploring the opulent, art-filled rooms of the château or breathing in the fresh air of the vast Fontainebleau Forest, this charming town offers a perfect blend of cultural enrichment and outdoor exhilaration.

Easily reached by a direct train from Paris to Fontainebleau-Avon station, this imperial town awaits to enchant you with its rich history and natural beauty. Dive into the life of royalty within the château’s over 1,500 rooms and find tranquility in its serene gardens and park. 

How To Get There: A direct train from Paris to Fontainebleau-Avon station, followed by a short bus ride, brings visitors directly to the château’s doorstep.

Need To Know:  While the château is rich in history, visitors less interested in royal history might find the forest’s outdoor activities more appealing.

Best Time to Visit: Spring and autumn are ideal for enjoying the forest and castle without the crowds. The weather is pleasant for outdoor activities, and the changing colors of the forest in autumn offer a spectacular view.


Distance from Paris: About 90 minutes by train or car

Dive into the heart of Normandy with a visit to the city of Rouen, where history and architectural grandeur intertwine. An easy (and direct) train ride from Paris, Rouen beckons with its breathtaking Gothic cathedral and a transporting medieval district. This is the city where Joan of Arc’s heroic tale reached its tragic end, and it’s commemorated throughout the cobblestoned streets and historic sites.

Explore Rouen’s rich tapestry of history at the Museum of Fine Arts and the innovative Joan of Arc Historial. Admire the fusion of past and present as you wander past ancient half-timbered houses and the striking modern Church of Saint Joan of Arc.

Visiting Rouen is one of the easiest day trips from Paris but you could also combine it with time at the Normandy Beaches and Mont Saint-Michel (below) for a long weekend away. It’s also a great choice for food lovers looking to taste iconic food from Normandy like braised beef cheeks, rabbit in cider, coquilles Saint-Jacques, crêpes, and apple tart.

How To Get There: Direct trains from Paris to Rouen make this historic city accessible and enriching for a day trip.

Need To Know:  The city’s historical and architectural attractions might not appeal to those seeking varied entertainment. With a population of more than 100,000 residents, this is the largest city on our list.

Best Time to Visit: Late spring (May to June) or early autumn (September to October) to enjoy pleasant weather and fewer tourists. These periods highlight the city’s architectural beauty without the summer crowds.


Distance from Paris: About 90 minutes by train or 1 hour by car

Step back in time with a day trip to Provins, a medieval gem just a train ride from Paris. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, this town is captivated by its remarkably intact walls and historical depth. Wander through a labyrinth of underground passages, marvel at the majestic towers, and lose yourself in the vibrant hues of its stunning rose gardens.

Provins isn’t just about the sights; it’s an immersive experience. The town comes alive with medieval-themed events, from thrilling jousting tournaments to authentic craft markets, all set against the backdrop of architectural wonders like the Caesar Tower and Saint Quiriace Collegiate Church.

Whether exploring its ancient ramparts or enjoying a medieval show, Provins offers a unique peek into the Middle Ages, making it a must-visit for those seeking an adventure steeped in history.

How To Get There: France’s extensive transport network facilitates access to these locations, making them easily reachable for a rewarding day trip.

Need To Know:  It is smaller in scale, which might be fully explored in a shorter time, potentially limiting the appeal for longer stays.

Best Time to Visit: June for the Medieval Festival, offering a vibrant experience of the town’s history. Spring and autumn are ideal for avoiding summer crowds and enjoying mild weather.


Distance from Paris: About 90 minutes by train or 1 hour by car

Chartres is a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its architectural beauty and world-renowned for its magnificent Gothic cathedral. The stunning blue stained-glass windows of the Cathédrale Notre Dame are not to be missed. 

Beyond the cathedral, Chartres offers a picturesque old town with cobblestone streets, quaint shops, and traditional French cafes, perfect for leisurely exploration. The medieval city center is best preserved in France, with half-timbered medieval houses and footbridges across the Eure River.

A big draw for visitors is the Chartres en Lumière festival, during which the town and its cathedral are beautifully illuminated at night with vibrant light shows, offering visitors a unique experience. Our clients who want to explore the full Loire Valley often base themselves here or in Tours. 

How to Get There from Paris: Chartres is easily accessible by train from Paris. Direct trains depart from Paris Montparnasse station and take approximately 1 hour to reach Chartres, making it an ideal day trip destination without extensive travel.

Need To Know:  While the cathedral is a must-see, visitors looking for a wide range of attractions might find the town’s offerings outside this central feature more limited. Late spring and early autumn offer the added benefit of smaller crowds than peak summer, allowing for a more relaxed visit.

However, if you’re interested in attending specific events like the light festival, checking the event dates and planning your visit accordingly can enhance your experience.

Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit Chartres, particularly for those interested in exploring its iconic Cathedral and enjoying its charming ambiance, is from late spring to early autumn, roughly May through September.

Gardens of Giverny France


Distance from Paris: About 2 hours by train or 1 hour by car

Home to French Impressionist painter Claude Monet’s house and gardens, Giverny is a picturesque haven for art lovers and garden enthusiasts. This tiny country village northwest of Paris is where you’ll find the famous water lily ponds that inspired some of Monet’s most iconic paintings.

Monet’s home and gardens, where he lived and painted for over 40 years, are open to the public, allowing visitors to walk through the iconic water lily pond and flower gardens that inspired his most famous works. 

The village of Giverny itself is charming, with art galleries, cafés, and the Museum of Impressionism. This destination offers a tranquil retreat into the world that inspired some of the most beloved artworks in history. While these are some of the most beautiful gardens in France, the short season means our clients have sometimes been overwhelmed with the crowds. 

How To Get There: Giverny is easily accessible from Paris by train to Vernon, followed by a short bus or bike ride to the village. 

Need To Know: The main sights are closed from November to Easter, so don’t visit out of season. The gardens are best visited in spring and summer when they are in full bloom.

Best Time to Visit: Late spring (May to June) when Monet’s gardens fully bloom. Early autumn also presents a beautiful display of colors in the gardens, with fewer visitors.

Loire Valley

Distance from Paris: About 3 hours by train or car

Home to stunning Renaissance castles and sprawling vineyards, offering rich history and wine-tasting opportunities, there is much to love about the Loire Valley. If you have time, it’s a great place to spend a few days, but it is doable for a longer day trip. 

The Loire Valley, often called the “Garden of France,” is dotted with over a hundred châteaux, each telling a story of centuries past. With its picturesque landscapes and noble residences, this region offers a dive into France’s Renaissance and Enlightenment periods. The valley’s fertile land is renowned for its vineyards, producing some of the country’s most celebrated wines, especially whites like Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. 

Visitors can indulge in wine tasting, historical tours, and leisurely bike rides along the Loire River, experiencing the natural and architectural heritage that makes this area a UNESCO World Heritage site. The charm of the Loire Valley extends to its small towns and villages, like Amboise and Chinon, where the French royal history unfolds in the most enchanting settings. We love sending our wine-focused clients to this area because so many travelers head to Champagne or Bordeaux instead.

How To Get There: Access to the Loire Valley from Paris is convenient. Trains to Tours or Blois take about two hours, offering a gateway to exploring this magnificent region.

Need To Know:  Some châteaux and vineyards may require additional travel within the valley, potentially necessitating a car rental for easier access.

Best Time to Visit: Late spring (May to June) and early autumn (September to October). These seasons feature mild weather and fewer crowds, and the gardens and vineyards are at their most beautiful. Summer is the peak tourist season, offering more events and larger crowds.

Normandy Beaches

Distance from Paris: About 3 hours by train or car

One of World War II’s most significant battle sites, the Normandy beaches are known worldwide as the sites of the D-Day landings during World War II. The D-Day sites comprise five beaches, including Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches. This area holds immense historical significance and offers a poignant reminder of World War II.

We’d highly recommend booking an expert guide who can help put everything in historical context. Our clients enjoy the Normandy Beaches day tour, which includes visiting Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach (home to the Normandy American Cemetery), and the Arromanches. 

We highly recommend a Normandy day trip (or a few nights) beyond the D-Day sites. This region combines natural beauty with profound historical significance, reminding visitors of the sacrifices made for freedom. Beyond its historical sites, Normandy’s coastline boasts breathtaking landscapes and culinary delights, including renowned seafood and cider. Normandy is unparalleled for those looking to reflect on a pivotal historical moment while enjoying France’s natural and gastronomic offerings. 

How To Get There: Trains and bus tours are available; though a guided tour might offer a more enriching experience, this will be a very long day trip, FYI. We’d recommend staying at least one night in nearby Bayeux.

Need To Know:  The emotional weight of the D-Day landing sites and memorials might overwhelm some visitors.

Best Time to Visit: Late spring to early autumn (May to September). Warmer months offer more comfortable weather for exploring the beaches and outdoor historical sites. June is particularly poignant for D-Day commemorations.

Mont Saint Michel Abbey

Mont Saint-Michel

Distance from Paris: About 4 hours by train or car

A majestic 1000-year-old medieval abbey on an island often surrounded by fog, Mont Saint-Michel is hard to overstate its beauty. It’s a breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage site that offers a unique blend of medieval architecture and natural beauty. This site is a pilgrimage destination known for its unique tidal phenomenon and the medieval architecture of the abbey. The narrow streets, quaint shops, and stunning views from the abbey make Mont Saint-Michel a truly memorable experience.

However, it is one of the busiest landmarks in France, with nearly 2.5 million visitors annually. That means you’ll want to plan to make sustainable decisions and not add to the problems. While it is possible to visit Mont Saint-Michel on a very long day trip from Paris, most of our clients make this an overnight. They often stay in Bayeux and do a Mont Saint-Michel day trip from there so it’s logical to pair this with a visit to the Normandy beaches. 

How To Get There: The journey from Paris involves a train ride to Rennes followed by a bus, but the sight of this architectural marvel emerging from the sea is well worth the trip.

Need To Know: Mont Saint Michel can be very crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons, and planning around tidal schedules is required.

Best Time to Visit: Spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) to avoid the summer crowds and experience moderate weather. The island offers unique experiences with its tidal changes throughout the year.

Frequently Asked Questions

Popular destinations for day trips from Paris include the Palace of Versailles, known for its opulent architecture and gardens; Giverny, home to Claude Monet's house and gardens; the medieval town of Chartres, renowned for its cathedral; Disneyland Paris for family fun; and the Champagne region in Reims or Epernay, where visitors can tour vineyards and champagne houses.

Each destination offers a unique experience, ranging from historical and cultural exploration to leisure and adventure.

Yes, it is possible to visit the Loire Valley castles on a day trip from Paris, though it will be a full day due to the distance. Tours are available that typically visit two to three castles in a day, including popular choices like Château de Chambord, Château de Chenonceau, and Château de Cheverny.

These tours often include round-trip transportation from Paris, making it a convenient option for those without a car.

 A day trip to the Champagne region from Paris is not only possible but highly recommended for wine enthusiasts. The trip takes about 1.5 hours by train to cities like Reims or Epernay, where visitors can explore famous champagne houses such as Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, and Mumm, enjoying cellar tours and tastings. Many tours include visits to both large producers and smaller boutique wineries, providing a rounded experience of the champagne-making process and the region's viticulture.

Famous Foods In Paris

Famous Foods In Paris

Now that you’re dialed in on day trips from Paris get versed on the classic Parisian foods you’ll want to eat too. From the flaky layers of a perfect croissant to the rich depths of a classic coq au vin, our upcoming article on famous foods in Paris guide you through the iconic dishes that define Parisian cuisine.

Discover the hidden gems where locals savor the best steak-frites, indulge in the velvety smoothness of authentic chocolate éclairs, and uncover the secret to a flawless baguette. Whether you’re a gastronome or a casual food lover, prepare to tantalize your taste buds with the famous foods of Paris on your next trip. Stay tuned for an epicurean adventure leading you to the heart of French culinary excellence.

Have Us Plan Your France Trip

Did you know we’re also a boutique travel agency specializing in France travel planning? If you’re looking to plan one of the best trips to France, our France trip planner services are here to help you plan your perfect itinerary.

Photo Credit: Opening photo by Daniel Chekalov; Versailles by Mathias Reding; Fontainebleau by Mathurin Napoli; Giverny and Chartres by Pascal Bernardon; Chambord Castle by Dorian Mongle; Taittinger Reims by Yohan Marion;Rouen by Eugene Deshko; and Mont St Michel Michel Florian

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