Paris. No introduction needed. City of romance. The epicentre of world fashion. Food. Wine. Streets. Colours, lights, culture and people. All unique, all mysterious, all French, giving the rest of the world something to gawk at. While it’s incredible to get lost in the cobblestone alleyways, admire the historical monuments, walk along Napoleon’s footsteps and dine in some of the world’s best restaurant, there’re also some very enthralling day trips from Paris to be taken and Paris day tours which should not be missed. That is why I have put together a list of the best day trips from Paris! You will have to need to peel yourself away from your favourite restaurant in Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower first though!
Each one of the days trips from Paris can be taken by car or train, or you can even go on a specially organised tour. Choosing to go on a tour will save you the stress of arranging transport, local tours and museum tickets.
Each one of these days trips from Paris will also satisfy different palates, from history to architecture to beautiful towns and vineyards, there isn’t much that Paris day tours can’t offer. All the cities which make for great Paris day trips are unique in their own way with a myriad of things to see. It is suggested that you plan your trip out in detail, especially if you’re a fan of monuments and historic buildings – especially so when you choose to head off on your own.
A day trip to Disneyland is a great way to spend the day when you are travelling with kids – or adults. Many of us grew up with Cinderella and Belle, with the Princess and the Frog or Aladdin… and we can meet our favourite characters in Disneyland!
Disneyland doesn’t just cater to children, Disneyland is very much made for adults too. It currently comprises of two parks, Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park.
Disneyland Park houses more rides than one could imagine. In Disneyland Park, you can find the classic Disney characters. At the same time, Walt Disney Studios Park houses the characters from your favourite Pixar movies.
What to do on a day trip to Disneyland Paris from Paris
Rides like no other: from calmer ones like the “It’s a small world” ride, one of the oldest Disney songs coming to life through children from all around the globe, the theme being “what unites the world” – friendship, laughter and happiness”, to more fast-paced ones like the “Big Thunder Mountain” where you ride into waterfalls and rush down high mountains, or more terror-inducing ones like the “Phantom Manor”, offering thrills and scares. Whatever gets your heart pumping, Disney can offer a ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Characters coming to life: you’ll be able to meet your favorite character as they roam about their home town, welcoming you with hugs and teasing you as they would each other.
Festive surprises: Disney also offers a variety of surprises for special seasons. From Halloween celebrations to Christmas, Disney’s characters pull out a full show. Imagine the street full of Disney characters celebrating and dancing. It’s a once in a lifetime experience!
Experience dining in a parallel universe: that dream you had where you were eating a sandwich in the middle of a puppet theatre? It could come true if you head over to the “Pinocchio” themed restaurant. In Disneyland Paris you will be able to dine in magical restaurants like Pizzeria Bella Notte or Restaurant Hakkuna Matata!
Walt Disney studio is all about bringing you to the centre of the stage, putting you right in the middle of the action. It has some amazing rides that offer thrilling experiences such as “The Twilight Zone of Terror” to toe even more adrenaline enticing ones such as “Toy Soldier’s Parachute Drop”.
How to get to Disneyland Paris
If you want to go to Disneyland Paris you can easily go there by RER, bus or taxi.
I would recommend buying combi tickets which will get you access to the park and an express bus to the park.
What if you want to stay longer in Disneyland Paris
- Disney’s Newport Bay Club® when you want to stay close to the park in all luxury
- Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe® for a kid-friendly hotel near the park
- Disney’s Sequoia Lodge® for an American style lodge experience
Visit the battlefields in Normandy from Paris
Most people will head to Normandy for World War 2 battlefields and D-Day beaches – but let me tell you: Normandy is so much more than that.
Normandy is rich in history dating all the way to medieval times, housing several famous monuments to visit such as medieval and gothic churches, castles, and abbeys. You may even bump into a live enactment of some historical moments. Most of the existing ruins have been preserved in the state they have been found in, such as the ruins of Jumièges Abbey.
But obviously, most tourists will come for the famous D-Day landing beaches such as Omaha Beach and Utah Beach. These beaches are best done through a tour or hiring a car as it is quite hard to reach them through public transport. Don’t forget to visit the many WW2 cemeteries in the area. They are impressive and will honestly change your life.
What to do on a Day trip to Normandy from Paris
An exquisitely close encounter with the French culture: Even though Normandy is close enough to Paris to make it one of the best and easiest Paris day trips, it’s not as hoarded with tourists. This allows people to really soak up French culture and see how the real French people live. You can visit local markets and shops and savour even more authentic meals (at standard French prices). These little French towns are the epitome of a picture postcard, to say the least. The surrounding natural beauty just amplifies the beauty of these timber cladded houses. It might be something about the air, but even locals are said to be more welcoming and friendly.
Birthplace of Impressionism: Apart from being so casually beautiful, which may have been the reason why so many artists were drawn to this area, Normandy has also been rich in arts and culture. There are some highly regarded crafts schools in the area.
Apple apple apples: Normandy is famous for their apples, which bring along a lot of excellent apple products, such as Calvados, an apple brandy you need to try, or amazing apple ciders.
Pastries and cheese: While French cuisine is already a bucket list item, Normandy has fantastic pastries. With fewer people hogging over them, you can take your time and pick and choose the ones you like. And did anyone say cheese? With an entire route named after it, your nose will be your guide. This is the birthplace of the famous smooth Pont L’Evêque, the pungent Livarot, the delightful Neufchâtel, and that soft, welcoming Camembert, so visiting the hometowns of these cheeses and going to a local farmer for a tasting should be a must.
D-Day Landing Beaches: You can also visit the D-Day landing beaches in Normandy with Utah and Omaha being the most important. You can also visit Juno, Gold and Sword as these are a lot less touristic.
How to get to Normandy
I would normally advise you to take a train or a bus – but because the most exciting things in Normandy are always a drive away from a big city or town, it is best to go on a tour or hire a car in Paris.
If you are looking to visit the D-Day beaches you can always go on one of the many D-Day tours from Paris. These are often full day (14 hours or more) trips with transportation, with lunch, transport and admissions included. Most will go to both Omaha beach and Juno beach for Americans and Canadians respectively. If you are Canadian you might obviously be interested in a D-Day tour catered towards the history of Canadian soldiers, visiting Juno Beach and visiting the Canadian Cemetary.
If you are a foodie you can choose to go on a Normandy sight-seeing and Calvados tasting trip. And although it is technically not a day trip you can also make a 2 day trip where you discover both Normandy and Brittany.
I understand that a lot of these trips might be restrcitive- especially in Normandy, which is inredibly beautiful. If you are not visiting Normandy for the D-Day beaches I would actually recommend hiring a car and visiting the cute little villages and taste the local products.
What if you want to stay longer in Normandy
Want to stay longer in Normandy? I don’t blame you. Normandy is an amazing region and I myself am a big fan of the Calvados.
Depending on where you are in Normandy you can stay in Rouen, Caen or Le Havre – although I am going to recommend staying in Honfleur rather than Le Havre because Honfleur is a thousand times more beautiful!
- ($) Campanile Rouen Mermoz for a clean and good hotel just a short walk from the centre.
- ($) Hôtel De La Cathédrale in a beautiful fairytale building in the middle of a historic street.
- ($$) Hotel de Bourgtheroulde, Autograph Collection for absolute luxury in the heart of Rouen.
- ($) Séjours & Affaires Caen Le Clos Beaumois for a cheap and clean aparthotel in Caen
- ($$) Best Western Plus Le Moderne if you are looking for a beautiful and modern hotel in Caen
- ($$$) Château du Bû to stay in a beautiful castle in the Caen countryside
- ($) ibis budget Honfleur Centre only a short walk from the historic Honfleur city centre
- ($$) Entre Terre Et Mer a beautiful boutique hotel with a restaurant serving amazing oysters
- ($$$) Hôtel L’Ecrin The most amazing historical manor turned into a hotel with pool and hot tub, short walk from the city centre.
Best day trips from Paris: Giverny
If Claud Monet’s home is located here, you’re sure enough to find enough reason to put it down as one of the Paris day trips to take. With gardens and cottages to charm you into spending hours wandering through Monet’s gardens and village, you may even try out a little painting yourself.
The gardens and house are a Mecca for impressionists, inspired by this town’s pristine beauty.
What to do on a Day trip to Giverney from Paris
The Monet house and gardens: the Foundation Claud Monet is located here, and whether you’re a fan or not, seeing the live version of a Monet is a breathtaking experience. You’ll also be surrounded by the air and especially the flowers which inspired Monet to paint the Waterlilies (which you can see for yourself in ‘l Orangerie) and be witness to the stunning gardens he put on canvas. They are so beautiful on canvas; one can only imagine what it may be like in person. To beat the crowds, a small traveller’s tip would be to avoid the summer months to visit these gardens but rather spring (more flowers in spring as well), if possible, if not, simply head over to the garden early.
Head to Vernon: Here you can find a small museum housing some famous impressionists works, the Old Mill and the church Collégiale Notre-Dame, which have been painted by Monet, are also located here. For more history, visit château des Tourelles, a 13th-century castle recognized as a Historical Monument of France that sits alongside the Old Mill on the Seine River.
If you’re a fan of impressionism, check out Musée Marmottan Monet, L’Orangerie and the Musée d’Orsay when you are back in Paris, and artists such as Claude Cambour, Florence Ramier and Christophe Demarez. They also have their own galleries on the same road as the Claud Monet Foundation.
It may feel like this town should be called “Monet”, but there are in fact other things to see as well, such as the stunning gardens and charming little houses spread across the countryside.
This little town, voted one of the best day trips from Paris, holds several pleasant, walkable paths, which even allow for hikes. You can also enjoy a picnic by the river Seine for a beautiful quiet afternoon.
How to get to Giverney
Travelling to Giverny from Paris for a day trip is pretty straightforward.
Giverny is located about 75 km ( that is 46 miles ) West of Paris. A train will take you from Paris St Lazare to Vernon-Giverny in about 40 minutes to an hour via the route to Rouen.
Once you arrived in Vernon, you can take a shuttle bus which will set you back a whopping 10 euros for a round trip. That’s almost 1 euro per kilometre.
You can also choose to walk the 5 kilometres between Vernon and Giverny which will take you just over an hour.
If you are looking to go by car because you want to discover and explore the surrounding picturesque villages, you can use the A13 towards Rouen. Your satnav will tell you to take exit 14 or 16. The A13 is a tollway and will cost about 2.30 euro.
You can also opt to go on a full-day trip to Giverny or a half-day day trip from Paris to Giverny or take a trip where you combine going to Giverny with a trip to Versailles or Rouen – although I would only recommend combining trips when you have little to no time. Rouen, Versailles and Giverny offer so much that you really do need a day to visit them – especially Rouen and Versailles.
What if you want to stay longer in Giverny
There is not too much to do in Giverny and Vernon – but if you would like to stay longer you can! Here are three hotels for every budget to choose from.
- ($) Les Rouges Gorges absolutely fantastic, cute B&B in Giverny
- ($$) La Dime de Giverny – Cottages Jawdroppingly beautiful vacation homes. I wish I could live there!
- ($$$) Domaine De La Corniche Amazing French luxury in a beautiful castle with swimming pool and river views.
Versailles day trip from Paris
If we think of Versailles, we mainly think of the palace. This may be one of the most famous Paris day tours and sought-after day trips from Paris. However, if you do just have one day, it’ll come in handy to pick and choose what you would like to see, even if only within the palace itself since it is so incredibly big!
Visiting the castle alone will keep you busy for a good day. There is plenty to see from morning to evening. My tip is to really take it slow as there is so much to see!
If you are looking to do some fantastic stuff in the village of Versailles, you can check out my blog post about what to do in Versailles.
What to do on a Day trip to Versailles from Paris
The famous Hall of Mirrors: birthplaces of one of the most famous treaties on earth, the Treaty of Versailles. From here, you can easily access the King’s and Queen’s chambers, and even the Mistresses’ chambers, which are elegant beyond measure. There are 2300 other secret rooms to visit which can be done by booking special tours.
Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon: Built for the Kings and Queens to escape reality. The Grand Trianon was built by the Sun King (King Louis XIV) and has been used as a recreation space for generations after. This may feel like a different world in comparison to the palace of Versailles, much smaller and daintier but exuding splendour nonetheless.
The Petit Trianon was firstly built for a Mistress and then gifted to Marie Antoinette. Surrounded by gardens and isolated from the palace, they offer the perfect escape.
Marie Antoinette also built herself a make belief little village comprising a dairy farm and water mill and several cottages.
If you’re looking for a different perspective of Versailles, you can even rent a boat on the Grand Canal.
Immerse yourself in the gardens in all their glory, details and sophistication. That a garden could be so symmetrical is unimaginable. Versailles also houses one of the largest statue collections in the world, all hidden throughout the castle and the gardens.
Once out of the castle you should make your way to the local markets, providing organic produce and a real insight into the French way of life.
If possible also stop over at Notre-Dame de Versailles, the Royal Chapel and Royal Opera. All very much part of the French History.
How to get to Versailles from Paris
Going to Versailles from Paris is not all that difficult. You can easily reach Versailles via RER-C train which stops at Versailles Rive Gauche. From here it is only a 5-minute walk to the palace.
If you would instead take a bus, you can take the N171 from the metro station Pont de Sevres all the way to Versailles. The trip takes about 40 minutes.
You can also rent a car to go and visit the palace, but it might be hard to find an affordable parking spot.
If you would like to take a tour from Paris to Versailles, you have plenty to choose from. I would, however, recommend not to combine Versailles with anything else as you will need enough time to visit the palace inside and the gardens.
It’s best to book a skip-the-line tour for a small group as the line for Versailles can famously be over 2 hours long. Maybe try to find a guided tour as you will want to get as much information about the palace as possible. Some guided tours even provide lunch.
If you would like to explore Versailles in a very unique way you can even take a bike tour through the gardens!
What if you want to stay longer in Versailles
Versailles is very close to Paris and most people will choose to go back to the capital. However, if you would prefer to just stay in Versailles for a night, you can! There are some amazing hotels in this little village and I have listed three below.
($) ibis budget Versailles Chateau for a typical Ibis hotel experience. Clean and good.
($$) Novotel Château de Versailles beautiful and modern hotel close to the city centre
($$$) Waldorf Astoria Versailles – Trianon Palace for opulent luxury overlooking the world’s most famous palace
Daytrip to Bruges from Paris
This little town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is referred to as the Venice of the North.
Bruges is the epicenter of chocolates, beers and beautiful handmade lase and is basically the fairy tale European city you have been dreaming of. With plenty of great restaurants, exquisitely charming architecture, and so much to do, Bruges is definitely worth a trip!
TIP: When you want mussels and fries, do not call them Moules Frites in Flanders. In Flanders they speak Dutch so it would be Friet met Mosselen [ Freet Mit Mossilin] – but they will understand Mussels and Fries just fine.
What to do on a Day trip to Bruges from Paris
The Canals: These waters are the city’s blood line, and they will take you from the heart of the city to the very outskirts, where you will be surrounded by medieval houses and lots and lots of small shops.
The Belfry tower: A special bell tower constructed in the 15th century. Belfries are typically Flemish and will only be found in the lowlands. From the top of the tower you will have a magnificent view over the city.
Grote Markt: Get ready for market action which has been happening since the year 985. Yes, you read right. Some of the beautiful guild houses have been converted to restaurants.
Torture Museum: One of the oldest prisons in Europe. This museum also holds and displays, in chronological order, instruments of torture. To add to the gruesome atmosphere, this museum is located underground.
Basilica of the Holy Blood: This mesmerizing renaissance building consists of two churches, and is said to contain a piece of cloth with Jesus’ blood.
Church of Our Lady Bruges: For architecture aficionados. Dating all the way back to the 13th century, this church has gothic characteristics and is the second tallest brickwork tower in Europe. This church is basically an indication of the city’s devotion and wealth. It also holds a statue by Michelangelo.
Chocolatier Dumon: Head over here for some authentic Belgian chocolate. It being their biggest exports, you’ll find (Belgian) chocolate anywhere, but this little cozy outlet is not to be missed. It’ll make for the perfect snack and souvenir from one of your day trips from Paris.
The lake of Love: A must if you’re a romantic. This is a very picturesque small lake and crossing the bridge together is said to make couple’s love last forever. Don’t forget to feed the swans!
Bruges is studded with many more sights to visit, be sure to make a plan before you set off.
How to get to Bruges from Paris
If you would like to visit Bruges from Paris I would recommend going by car or by booking a tour. It is not advisable to take a train as these are expensive and will take almost as long as the drive.
If you want to drive, you can take the A1 towards Roubaix where you cross the border with Belgium. Follow signs for Kortrijk, and just before you reach Kortrijk (also a wonderful historic city) you turn off towards Bruges. The drive will take about 3.30 hours on a good day.
You can also take a tour to Bruges. The tour will include transportation by bus and a tour guide who will take you through the city. In summer a canal boat ride is included as well.
What if you want to stay longer in Bruges
Let me tell you: You will be sad that you only have one day in this amazing city! Bruges is wonderful. I am so proud that my home country has so many beautiful cities – but Bruges literally is the cherry on top.
If you would like to stay longer in Bruges, there are some amazing little hotels to choose from:
($) Uilenspiegel Brugge amazing little hotel overlooking the canals!
($) Hotel Alegria boutique hotel with garden in the historic centre
($$) Hotel Van Cleef absolute luxury and beautiful modern design in the heart of Bruges
A daytrup from paris to Champagne
One of the best and most luxurious day trips from Paris would be exploring the champagne region while sipping on a glass of bubbly. This little region, from which of course champagne originates from, makes for one of the most perfect day trips from Paris for Champagne lovers. The Champagne region has been known to make wine for centuries, and the name “champagne” is restricted, by law, to wines coming specifically from this region. With so many lustrous grapes growing in various regions of the region, you’d be surprised that there is more to this region than it’s famous sparkling wine, and if you have time to take one of the Paris day tours here, it should only take you less than two hours by train or bus. October and November are the recommended months to visit, as the harvest is over and the vineyards are turning red and gold.
With supposedly “English” weather, this area will still put on offer little cobble stone roads and plenty of cellars to visit, while picking on some grapes of course. Public transport may not be as accessible as in the city, so planning is crucial if you are heading out on your own.
What to do on a Day trip to the Champagne from Paris
Famous vineries: Montagne de Reims is the recommended vineyard out of the five zones here. Apparently, most of the well known champagnes originate from here, which makes for interesting tasting sessions. Moët & Chandon Champagne Cellars (Les Caves Moët & Chandon) also make for a great visit, as they have more than 17 miles of underground cellars. It was King Louis XV’s favourite champagne and sought after by the likes of Napoleon and Queen Victoria.
Notre-Dame de Reims: Many of France’s kings have been crowned here, and the stained glass dating all the way back to the 13th century is incredibly beautiful. The main attraction here may be the mesmerizing tapestries, some even depicting the life of the Virgin Mary.
Tau Palace (Palais du Tau): this palace was used by the French kings before their stays at Notre-Dame de Reims. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, a French historic monument and houses the Musée de l’Œuvre, comprising of a collection of statues, tapestries, and reliquaries from Notre-Dame de Reims.
Abbey of Saint-Remi (Abbaye Saint-Rémi): perfect example of French religious architecture. This abbey is also known as the Saint-Remi Basilica and has been around since the 6th century.
How to get to the Champagne region from Paris
You can visit the Champagne region by train, car or tourbus.
If you would like to go to the Champagne region by train, you can take a High-Speed TGV train to Epernay or Reims. This will take you about 1 hour and cost anywhere between 18 Euro and 22 Euro.
I would, however, strongly recommend taking the car if you are heading out without a tour. Many of the really good Champagne cellars and houses are located in the countryside, and unless you want to shell out quite a lot of money in Reims or Epernay to get there, you will need a car.
To get to Reims or Epernay, you take the A4 motorway out of Paris.
Another great way to visit the Champagne region without the hassle, is by booking a tour. There are loads of tours to choose from. You can, for instance, go on a luxury champagne tour where you visit the most exclusive cellars and dine at a Michelin star restaurant. If you are sporty you can take a tour which brings you to Epernay from which you start your biking tour through the Champagne vineyards. You will stop on the way to taste some Bubbly at some small chateaus. If you would rather combine a visit to Reims with tasting some of the world’s best Champagne, there is a tour you can take!
What if you want to stay longer in the Champagne region
If you want to stay a bit longer in the Champagne region you can! You can choose between staying in Reims and Epernay. I will also add some cheeky nice Chateau stays at the bottom!
($) Hôtel Porte Mars Reims Gare centre if you are looking for nice, cheap and clean in the centre of Reims
($$) Best Western Premier Hotel de la Paix for a beautiful sofisticated in the middle of Reims
($$$) La Caserne Chanzy Hotel & Spa, Autograph Collection sip your champagne overlooking the Cathedral of Reims in this luxury hotel
($) Carte Jaune – hyper-centre – citybreak for a simple yet nice bed and breakfast
($$) Appart’City Confort Reims Centre a nice and modern apart hotel in the centre of Reims
($$$) Hôtel La Villa Eugene beautiful luxury hotel with amazing pool in the middle of Epernay
Chateaux and manors
($) auberge le relais not necessarily a chateau or manor, but this old auberge has lots of charm
($$) Le Château D’Etoges – Les Collectionneurs sleep like royalty in this French chateau
I could not choose between the two so I will offer 2 luxury hotel choises!
($$$) Domaine les Crayères for amazing luxury in a historical setting in walking distance of Reims
($$$) Chateau de Sacy the most beautiful chateau overlooking the Champagne vineyards
Take a day trip from Paris to Avignon
Want to soak up some culture and well-deserved sunshine? Take a Paris day trip to France’s Provence region. Avignon is set on the Rhône River and has only been part of France since 1791.
Avignon was one of Europe’s most important cities, holding the Papal seat from the years 1309 to 1377. The city is filled with history and contains the largest gothic building in the world, the Pope’s palace- Palais des Papes.
What to do on a Day trip to Avignon from Paris
It is only the scale of the Palais des Papes that can define the importance this place had back in the day. To put into words, this single edifice can hold four full-sized gothic cathedrals within it. This is not just a historical building in Avignon but one of the most important in the whole of France. Its monumentally awe-inspiring and crazy at the same time.
The next sight to visit would be the link between France (at the time) and the Pope’s palace, the Pont d’Avignon. It originally comprised of 22 arches, a magnificent architectural feat at the time, out of which 4 are remaining and definitely worth a visit.
Avignon is also home to many museums and art galleries, from the Collection Lambert, the most significant gift of art to France since Picasso, to a local doctor’s art donation to the city at the Calvet Museum, even containing ethnological artefacts from around the world, to exhibits of Jacques Doucet, one of the pioneers of fashion design at the Musée Angladon. The city of Avignon is sure to keep your enlightened mind busy.
If you’re looking for a relaxed stroll, walk on to Rue des Teinturiers, a small alleyway showcasing the city’s silk spinning and dyeing commerce from the 1300s up to the 1800s. You’ll be charmed by the stone houses and cobblestone street with remnants of watermills still suspended.
Avignon, beautiful as it is, also leads the way to one of the villages declared as most beautiful in France. If the French say it themselves, who are we to argue. Aptly named Les Baux de Provence, this little village is surrounded by limestone rock and all in a hue of white and grey. It is also home to the largest trebuchet in Europe and a ruined fortress built in the 900s.
How to get to Avignon from Paris
I would not recommend driving to Avignon as the drive would take you no less than 6 hours. Instead, you can take the fast-train or TGV which will get you to Avignon in about 2 and a half hours. Tickets are very reasonable and start from 22 euro.
You can also take a day tour from Paris to Avignon where a tour guide will take you on a scenic trip from Paris to the Provence.
What if you want to stay longer in Avignon
Avignon is a beautiful city. Although I would say you can explore the whole city in a day, you might want to stay longer to discover the nearby villages.
($) Alizéa beautiful and modern 2-star hotel in the centre of Avignon
($$) Hôtel Cloitre Saint Louis Avignon picture perfect hotel in a historic building. Beautiful and modern rooms.
($$$) La Mirande breath-taking historical hotel right in the centre of Avignon
Day Trip from Paris to Fontainebleau
A day trip from Paris which even Parisians take to get away from the city life. Fontainebleau offers everything from culture, to outdoor activities to gastronomical jewels.
You can take a Paris day tour to one of the French royalty’s favorite palaces, the Château de Fontainebleau. Some parts of the famous palace date all the way back to the 1100s and host important ornaments from Marie Antoinette to Napoleon.
What to do on a Day trip to Fontainebleau from Paris
Château de Fontainebleau: From the early 12th century, King Louis IX, Henri II, Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette, Napoléon, Napoléon III to even the Mona Lisa (yes, I obviously mean the painting), have all stayed at this castle. It is adorned from head to toe in incredible wood panelling, gilded carvings, frescoes, tapestries, and paintings from world-famous Italian artists. This castle has 1900 rooms and has gardens designed by the same artist who created the gardens of Versailles, André Le Nôtre. Every passing royalty has had something to do with the design and construction of parts of the castle, interiors, gardens and the chapel. Each part has seen marriages and christenings and even served as the German headquarters during WWII and later, NATO headquarters.
There’re also quite a few churches, such as St-Louis church of Fontainebleau, Church of St-Petre, Church of St. Paul and church of St Hilaire holding their own piece of history, vistas and insights to the place.
Forest of Fontainebleau: if the castle wasn’t enchanting enough, with 280 sq.km, these forests make for one of the perfect Paris day tours for hikes and walks through the woods.
From history to gastronomy, this town gives its visitors much to explore. You’ll be able to savour some of the best dishes in the country, from bistros to boulangeries (pastry shops), from snails to duck with apricots, honey-roasted pear with salted caramel sauce, to mouthwatering diverse crepes at their famous creperies and various types of macarons with flavours such as poppy seed and gingerbread.
Fontainebleau also has a weekly market which is not to be missed, where novice chefs come together with people bringing the crème de la crème of local produce to the market, from olive oil to vegetables to locally produced cheese. If you’re lucky enough, you may even be able to taste some dishes prepared by the chefs.
The Théâtre municipal is said to be one of the oldest and most beautiful of the region; it was built by King Louis XIII to match the Italian operas.
If you’re looking for a nightcap, many of Fontainebleau’s charming cafes also remain open till late.
How to get to Fontainebleau from Paris
If you want to go to Fontianebleau you can take a train from Paris from Gare de Lyon to Fontianebleau-Avon. A one way ticket will cost about 9 euro and the trip will take about half an hour.
You can also go by car – just take the A6 – it will take you straight to Fontainebleau.
If you don’t want the hassle of getting a train or figuring out a rental car and a route, you can also take a day trip from Paris to Fontainebleau. In Fontainebleau itself you can take a hot air balloon ride over the castle or choose for Priority Entrance so you don’t have to waste time waiting in line.
What if you want to stay longer in Fontainebleau
Although Fontainebleau is quite close to Paris with quick and regular train connections, I can understand that you would like to stay a bit longer to discover the castle, the national park and the city of Melun.
($) Le Richelieu Bacchus this beautiful little hotel with a view on the castle is my top budget hotel pick for Fontainebleau
($$) The Originals Boutique, Hôtel Victoria stay in a beautiful manor house in the middle of Fontainebleau
($$$) Château-Hôtel de Bourron feel like a king or queen when staying in this fabulous castle
Day trip from Paris to Mont St Michel
Another one of the Paris day trips to satisfy culture, history and amazing views is a day trip to Mont St Michel.
Mont St Michel might as well be one of the most famous landmarks in France next to the Eiffel Tower and the Arc the Triomph. Regardless of its mere 988 acres, this island is submerged in history, and the architecture found here is a testament to this.
The island’s strategic location and accessibility governed by the tide was used to his advantage by king Louis XI who turned the famous abbey into a prison.
What to do on a Day trip to Mont St Michel from Paris
The main sights here are the Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel and the bay.
The abbey has been an iconic structure from as early as the 8th century, ever present as a pilgrimage site and a phenomenal example of religious and military architecture of the time. The sea which surrounds it gives it a mystical aura and creates almost supernatural reflections.
The mount and the bay are both UNESCO World Heritage sites and the bay boasts the largest tides in Europe. The site is also declared as having “exceptional natural beauty”.
If you’re looking for a place to rest, you can halt at the Eglise Paroissiale Saint-Pierre, a small chapel on the way to the abbey. The peace and tranquility here will precede the one found at the abbey and instill the sacredness of the place.
The abbey also boasts stunning gardens and courts to be enjoyed, possibly with a picnic or the legendary omelettes served on the mount.
On summer nights, you can explore the abbey by night, which will be an entirely different experience. Places like the Chapel of Notre-Dame-sous-Terre, which are normally shut during the evening, are open to the public and lights transform the building.
Mass is also still performed at the abbey with the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem, every day except Monday at midday and Sunday at 11.15 am and entry is free for worshippers.
The entire town situated below the abbey is actually classed as “Historic Landmarks”, due to its unique construction of timber and stone as well as being built on tiers which enables them to sit on steep and rocky embankments.
The walkway along the island is to be explored, as are the little alleyways, gardens and hidden paths amidst the town’s charming houses, which are all still bathed in a mystic light and will give you views of the famous tides coming in twice a day.
How to get to Mont St Michel from Paris
I would honestly recommend renting a car in Paris to drive up to Mont St Michel. The drive is beautiful and actually quite easy. Just follow the A13 from Paris to Caenn and in Caenn take the A84. Soon enough you will see road signs pointing to Mont St Michel. The drive will take about 3.5 hours so I would recommend leaving Paris early.
Another way you can get to Mont St Michel from Paris is by train or Tgv. The TGV takes you from Montparnasse station to Rennes from where you can take busses to Mont St Michel.
You can also take a day tour from Paris to Mont St Michel. Some tours will offer you a visit to Mont St Michel with cider tasting, while others combine Mont St Michel with the historical town of Honfleur.
What if you want to stay longer in Mont St Michel
Mont St Michel is a magical place and it is a great town to spend the night in. Alternatively, if you want to discover more of Normandy, you can also stay in the nearby town of Honfleur. I have already listed some nice hotels to stay at in Honfleur when I was talking about the Day trip from Paris to Normandy.
($) L’Antre de Broceliande highly rated guesthouse near Mont St Michel
($$) La Vieille Auberge want to stay on the island? This will be your best more or less affordable pick!
Staying on the Island of Mont St Michel is expensive – we need to be honest here. The quality of expensive hotels on the island is not always on par with what you have come to expect from luxury hotels in France. I will include a top hotel on the island and off the island so you can make the choice for yourself. Both are basically the same price…
($$$) Auberge Saint Pierre when you want to stay on the island.
($$$) Château de Chantore a beautiful castle close to the island.
Day trip to Ypres from Paris
Ypres is a charming little city in Flanders mainly known for the many battlefields and trenches of the first world war. It played an important role in the historical textile industry, till it became a more powerful city and was involved in important treaties in the 12th century. It was also an important city during the First World War and houses a beautiful museum about the first world war.
If you need reasons to take one of the Paris day trips to Ypres, imagine the medieval architecture carefully restored, amazing Flemish food and the great craft beer.
What to do on a Day trip to Ypres from Paris
The Flanders Fields Museum explores all the haunting aspects of WWI, giving visitors sensory experience to fully submerge oneself. These experiences include videos, sounds and even smells. You can even choose a war time persona and follow the path they embarked on during the war.
The Menen Gate: a memorial to honour 55,000 soldiers who went missing during the First World War. All names are engraved into a mammoth sized stone archway which is found at the eastern side of the city. Continue along the canal and enjoy the peaceful Vauban Ramparts, used to fortify Ypres when it was a mere village, calming and offering an escape from the rest of the city.
Take a small detour from the war memorials and find the Belle Almshouse which is a small chapel hidden away in the city, home to many great medieval artwork.
A visit to the Lakenhalle is a must, as it may be one of the most impressive buildings in the entire country. A perfect example of glorious gothic style edifice restored almost entirely to its 14th century glory and also comprising a 70m high belfry tower which can be climbed via the Flanders Fields Museum.
If you want to witness a moving ceremony, stick around for the Last Post ceremony which commemorates the soldiers lost during WWI. It started in 1928 and takes place daily at 8pm.
For one of the more solemn Paris day tours you can embark on tour to the Flanders Battlefield. The organized tours will take you to the battlefields, the museums and military cemeteries around the city and give you plenty of information and historical facts. If you’re keen on seeing the trenches up close, visit Hill 60, a man made hill used as a defensive position during the war and used by the French, German and British troops.
Don’t forget to visit their delicious pastry shops and restaurants, serving unique Flemish dishes. There is also a building used for ammunition storage during the WWI which has now turned into a world renowned brewery.
How to get to Ypres from Paris
There are a few ways you can travel from Paris to Ypres. Although some guides might tell you to take the train, I would not recommend this. Taking the train can be very expensive and takes quite a long time.
The best way to get to Ypres is by car – which you can rent in Paris, or by tour.
If you would like to go to Ypres by car, you can do so by following the A all the way to Lille. From there you can follow the signs for Ieper – the correct, Flemish name for this beautiful city.
There is only one day trip tour from Paris to Ypres that I know of and will cost just over $200 per person.
What if you want to stay longer in Ypres
Ypres is an amazing city, and although I would say you will have a chance to see almost the complete city in 1 day, you can easily visit Kortrijk, Bruges and Ghent from Ypres. Staying in Ypres would also be a good idea if you would like to visit the craft beer breweries the region is known for – including Westvleteren. This amazing beer named the world’s best beer is brewed in an Abbey only 15 kilometres down the road from Ypres.
($) @Cocoon great bed and breakfast located in the centre of Ypres.
($$) Elysian clean and beautiful bed and breakfast in Ypres
($$$) Main Street Hotel amazing hotel in Ypres with a whirlpool in the room!
Day trip to Le Havre from Paris
This is yet another day trip from Paris to the Normandy region, however, unlike the other towns, this does not boast grand historical buildings and artifacts. This town is in fact one of the more “modern” Paris day trips. It houses one of the largest ports in the world, even inspiring Monet, and also boasts some predominant examples of reinforced concrete architecture.
Don’t be scared to nip down to Honfleur. I have spoken about this beautiful town before – and trust me: you will absolutely LOVE it!
What to do on a Day trip to Le Havre from Paris
Auguste Perret, the architect responsible for rebuilding the city after the bombings of WWII, is responsible for the 107m tall self supporting tower at St. Joseph’s Church. The tower itself stands out and acts as a beacon for ships at sea.
To dive deeper into the city’s architect’s ideologies, step into the plaza. He was a firm believer that people should demand for their right to “peace, fresh air, sunlight and space” which gave birth to tall ceilings and large windows, all visible from this plaza. There is also an example of the interior he planned for people whose houses had been affected by WWII. It is interestingly airy and modern, with the interiors resembling modern day IKEA.
Musée d’Art Moderne André Malraux: the MuMu – a modern day glass building which you cannot even imagine could house artists such as Braque, Dubuffet, Friesz, Dufy and Monet. Le Havre being the birthplace or home of many artists of the 19th century, holds a supreme number of impressionists works, all collected here.
One of the historic buildings which were left unaffected is the Maison de l’Armateur – house of the Ship owner – giving insight into life at Le Havre before WWII. Even the furniture is from the 1700s to 1800s. Possibly one of the few houses preserved in its original state.
Head to the beach for crystal clear views of shades of blue. The clean sea offers a nice haven to wrap up the Paris day trip.
How to get to Le Havre from Paris
You can easily go to Le Havre by train. The train leaves from St Lazarre station and will get you to Le Havre in about 2 hours and 10 minutes.
Alternatively, you can also drive from Paris to Le Havre. The A13 – later the A131, will take you the whole way to Le Havre in just over 2 hours.
You can also take a day tour from Paris to Le Havre and Etretat. In Etretat you can see some amazing white cliffs rivalling those in Dover!
What if you want to stay longer in Le Havre
Again – I would recommend you stay in Honfleur rather than in Le Havre. Honfleur is just an amazing little town where you can roam through medieval streets and eat loads of prawns and oysters. I have recommended a list of hotels in Honfleur earlier in the article.
If you do want to stay in Le Havre, I have researched a list of hotels for you to stay at.
($) Campanile Le Havre Centre great budget hotel in the centre of Le Havre
($$) Hotel Spa Le Pasino great hotel and spa with spectacular views over the city.
($$$) Hotel Bellevue beautiful old manoire with sea view!
Day trip to the Loire Valley from Paris
A Paris day tour through the “Garden of France”. We would just think “wine”, however the reference comes through due to the abundance of not just vineyards, but fruit orchards, artichoke and asparagus fields lining the banks of the river.
Apart from wine, this valley is also home to many historic buildings and important architecture. It couldn’t be complete without a (of a few) picturesque palace, also boasting unique architecture.
What to do on a Day trip to the Loire Valley from Paris
The Château de Chenonceau spans over an entire river, the River Cher, as if floating atop it. A marvelous feat of architecture, it displays traits of late gothic and early renaissance architecture styles to form a unique combination, haunting and enchanting at the same time. This palace was home to Queen Catherine de Medici and holds bountiful historical value.
Apart from this, there’re as many French chateaus here to visit as there are ice cream flavors. Each with its own history, views and ways
The Château de Villandry, mostly famed for its beautiful gardens comprising of everything from a labyrinth, grapevines, a grass court for tennis, vegetable patches, flowery gardens and fountains to keep you occupied enough to skip the interiors.
One of the main attractions here being the vineyards, a Paris day tour to the Loire Valley would not be complete without an evening spent wine tasting. From Red, rosé, white, sparkling, half-dry, sweet or even “liquoreux”, this region produces some of the best wines in the country. The wine tours will usually involve a walk or a ride along the vineyards, exploring the growing grapes, soon to be perfectly pair able with dishes to elevate their state. You’ll even be able to meet the wine makers in their natural habitat as you weave through their stories and experiences, explore their cellars and lives as you taste their proud produce. You can continue your sensory journey at “guinguettes”- open-air bars along the river Loire. Nature, beautiful castles and great wine create one of the best day trips from Paris for wine lovers.
How to get to The Loire Valley from Paris
If you would love to go to The Loire Valley from Paris, I would recommend doing so by car. Sure, you can easily take a train from Paris down to Tours – but you will be at a loss getting to the castles and vineyards once you are there. Even more so: you might have to shell out the big bucks for tours that leave from Tours. – Ha! See what I did there?
One of the best ways to get to Tours and the Loire Valley is by car. Simply follow the A10 down until you reach Tours. It is really that simple. The drive will take you about 2 hours depending on traffic.
You can also take a day tour from Paris to the Loire Valley if you don’t want to hassle of renting a car and planning an itinerary. You can choose a tour that offers a bit of everything – visiting Chambord Castle and a wine tasting, go for a day trip from Paris that focusses on visiting the castles, or for wine lovers – a day trip from Paris to the Loire Valley for wine tasting.
What if you want to stay longer in The Loire Valley
There are countless castles and vineyards to explore in the Loire valley. If you would like to stay longer in the Loire valley, I would recommend staying in Tours or Orleans. Because the Loire Valley is obviously known for its castles, I have included an extra section for people who want to stay the night in a castle!
($) Hotel Vendome small budget hotel in the centre of Tours
($$) Hotel Val De Loire for a very cute hotel in the middle of historical Tours
($$$) Boutique Hotel Valézieux boutique hotel in a beautiful old French house just outside of Tours
Finding a budget hotel in Orleans that is actually good is quite a feat. I tried to look for a passable hotel under $70 but was unable to. Instead, I have listed a beautiful little apartment in the centre of the city.
($) Le Gros Raisin for a cosy little studio in the centre of the city.
($$) Hôtel de l’Abeille boutique hotel with amazing wallpaper in the centre of Orleans
($$$) Empreinte Hotel & Spa luxury design hotel with rooms to die for
Stay in Manors and Castles
($) Le Logis des Mariniers beautiful Instagram worthy guest house next to the Loire River
($$) Belle Fontaine gorgeous house with light and airy rooms designed to fit the aesthetics of the building
($$$) Chateau des Grotteaux Près Chambord for design rooms in a beautiful old castle. Imagine yourself having a glass of wine on the lawn!
Day trip from Paris to Rouen
Rouen is a beautiful city in the region of Normandy which greatly inspired the painter Monet. This city brims with importance from the Roman era to Middle ages, is home to famed gothic churches and medieval timber houses.
What to do on a Day trip to Rouen from Paris
This Paris day trip will satisfy the inner architectural, art and history enthusiast in you. This was the city in which Joan of Arc spent her last final days and the little cobblestone alleyways are packed with history.
For the architectural marvels, visit the Rouen Cathedral, also the protagonist of 30 of Monet’s paintings. This is a prime example of gothic architecture and houses stained glass windows all the way from the 1200’s. One of the many churches to be found here.
For a unique medieval landmark, visit the Gros Horloge – an astronomical clock from the 1300’s. Its mechanism is said to be one of the last and largest to be found. The road which its located in also still shows bruises from the WWII inflicted on the romantic half timbered houses from medieval times.
If culture is your passion, Rouen will satisfy you with a myriad of museums to choose from. From the world class fine arts museum, Musée des Beaux-Arts, holding the second largest collection of Impressionist works in France, to fine pottery examples at Musée de la Céramique, unique iron works at Musée Le Secq des Tournelles and simple history and antiquities at Musée de Rouen.
For a walk back in time, visit Vieux Rouen, dotted with historical monuments (top six in France) and timber framed houses dating all the way back to the 1200’s, many crooked with time.
For a small scientific tour, visit the Jardin des Plantes. It holds plants from five different continents and each season will gift you with an array of different colours and smell, taken indoors to the greenhouses during the winter, where tropical species keep flourishing.
To visit the life of the French icon Joan of Arc, visit the Episcopal Palace, the place she was tried at. It shows off her life and demise through a multimedia show of light and sound and exhibits artifacts to complete her life story.
How to get to Rouen from Paris
To get to Rouen, it is best to take the train. You can catch the train at St Lazare station. Tickets will cost around €7 one way. The train ride in all will take about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
If you would like to go to Rouen by car, you can hire a car in Paris. The drive will take about an hour and a half on the toll ways and 2 hours if you would like to avoid tolls.
Alternatively, you can also take a tour to Rouen from Paris. There are day trips that will take you to Rouen for a full day of sightseeing, or trips that will combine Rouen with the historical city of Honfleur.
What if you want to stay longer in Rouen
Rouen is a beautiful city from where you can discover a myriad of cosy little villages in Normandy. If you would like to extend your day trip into a multi-day trip from Paris – have a look at these hotels!
($) Campanile Rouen Mermoz for a clean and good hotel just a short walk from the centre.
($$) Hôtel De La Cathédrale in a beautiful fairytale building in the middle of a historic street.
($$$) Hotel de Bourgtheroulde, Autograph Collection for absolute luxury in the heart of Rouen.
Lieze Neven is a globetrotting travel writer and expat currently based in Nepal. With a passion for exploration, she has lived in Dubai, the UK, and Belgium, alongside her international teacher husband. Her parents live in France and she tries to visit Paris at least once a year. Together, they travel the world looking for the best hotels, experiences and food locations have to offer!