Our 10 Favorite Day Trips From Paris by Train
Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world and with good reason. The City of Lights has been charming visitors for centuries, who flock eagerly to get a personal glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur Basilica, Louvre Museum, and countless street cafes and restaurants. However, Paris is surrounded by some stunning destinations that are worth visiting if you stay more than two or three days in the French capital. In this article, we are sharing some of our favorite day trips from Paris by train.
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10 Day Trips from Paris by Train
From enchanting villages and medieval towns to magnificent castles and churches, an easy day tour will enrich your Parisian experience. Keep reading for a list of the best day trips from Paris that will give you the opportunity to see more of the best places in France while letting you escape from the crowds and long lines of the city.
This pretty French village on the banks of the Oise River is known as the village where Vincent Van Gogh spent his last 70 days creating 70 works before ending his life. He produced some of his most renowned masterpieces here, including On the Banks of the Oise andWheatfield with Crows, among others.
This is one of the easiest day trips from Paris by train. An hour’s train ride will take you to the quintessential town the artist described as “gravely beautiful” in a letter to his brother Theo. It has managed to preserve its somewhat nostalgic charm and beauty over the years.
Surrounded by wheat fields, Auvers-Sur-Oise is the perfect place to experience the French impressionist era.
Van Gogh was not the only master to be inspired here. Charles-François Daubigny’s house and workshop, the Daubigny Museum, the Absinthe Museum, and the church of Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption, which was immortalized by Vincent van Gogh in The Church at Auvers, are some of the must-see highlights besides Van Gogh’s grave.
How to reach Auvers-Sur-Oise from Paris by Train
There is a direct train from Paris Gare du Nord to Auvers-sur-Oise. You’ll need to change at Pontoise for Persan-Beaumont and get off at Auvers. It will take roughly one hour.
2. Champagne Region
The Champagne Region is an incredible area to visit and one of the best day trips from Paris.
Best known for its delicious sparkling bubbly, the area also offers splendid landscapes and rich cultural heritage. Even though the entire region of Champagne is quite extensive and worth exploring for two or three days, you can certainly get an idea of what it has to offer by spending a few hours in Reims (88 miles), Epernay (87 miles), or Troyes (110 miles).
The easiest way to reach these destinations is from the train station, and they all offer beautiful landscapes with rolling vineyards and champagne tastings while maintaining their own style and attractions.
Epernay is home to Champagne Moët & Chandon, Champagne Mercier, and Champagne Nicolas Feuilllatte houses. Other highlights are Dom Perignon’s final resting place and the impressive Abbey of Hautvillers.
In Reims, visit the Champagne G.H. Martel, and Champagne Pol Couronne houses, as well as the Reims Cathedral, which was the coronation site for the Kings of France.
If you prefer to explore a medieval fair town with smaller champagne houses, Troyes is the place to go.
How to reach Champagne Region from Paris by Train
To take the train from Paris to the Champagne region expect it to take roughly an hour and a half. The RER C train will take you to both the major points of the region: Reims and Épernay.
3. Château de Versailles
Even though many people think of the Palace of Versailles and its formal gardens as being in Paris, they are actually 12 miles away from the city and best visited as a day trip from the French capital.
One of the main attractions and impressive royal dwellings in all of Europe, Versailles spans a little over 3 square miles. It can easily take an entire day to explore properly. Day trips from Paris to Versailles are quite popular, and rightfully so given the historical treasures that await you.
Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast, a history buff, or you are simply curious to see the lavish lifestyle of Louise XIV, XV, XVI, Marie Antoinette, and other iconic French monarchs, you’ll love wandering around the grounds. Don’t miss the Hall of Mirrors, the Royal Chapel, the King’s State Apartments, the Queen’s State Apartments, and the perfectly manicured gardens, which you can explore on foot or by renting a bike. If you have time, be sure to rent a row boat and head out on the lake.
How to reach Versailles from Paris by Train
The most common and easy way to get to Versailles is to take the RER C train. This train will take you to Chateau rive Gauche train station at Versailles. We picked it up at the Saint-Michel – Notre Dame stop and it was a direct train to Versailles.
If you’re into Gothic architecture, you’ll be very happy in Chartres, which translates into “stone” or “rock”.
The highlight here is the Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Chartres. Though this is not the one in Paris, it is just as beautiful and just as gothic. The cathedral has been granted World Heritage Site status by UNESCO due to its stunning stained glass windows, many of which are preserved from the 12th century when it was originally built.
Other must-see attractions are the Musee des Beaux-Arts, which is built in a former bishop’s mansion, the International Stained-Glass Center, and Marché aux Légumes, a pretty supermarket preserved from the 19th century. Amid the gothic architecture, you’ll also find plenty of restaurants, bars, and cafés on the medieval cobblestone streets.
How to reach Chartres from Paris by Train
To reach Chartres from Paris there is a direct train route that takes about an hour and a half. Typically, it leaves Paris Montparnasse 1 Et 2 and arrives at Chartres Cathedral. Though it runs weekly, make sure to check the schedule especially if a Holiday is involved.
The beaches of Normandy are located 126 miles west of Paris, which means a 2.5-hour high-speed train ride. Normandy day trips from Paris can be quite long, but if you’re short on time they’re a great option for seeing this beautiful destination.
Best known for the role the area played during World War II, this coastal region is well worth an early start, especially if you’re a history aficionado. Beyond the war’s legacy, which is very present here, the area also offers great seaside views, seafood, cheese, and cider.
The world-famous D-Day beaches, Omaha Beach, the Caen Memorial Museum, and the American Cemetery, with its rows of white crosses honoring the soldiers who died there, are some of the historic sites worth exploring.
Note – It is possible to book a guided tour that will cover Normandy and Mont Saint-Michel. However, it is typically a 2-day tour.
How to reach Normandy from Paris by Train
Not all trains from Paris to Normandy are direct. You’ll want to take the train from Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris to Bayeux train station. However, you may need to change at Caen depending on the schedule.
One of the most enjoyable day trips from Paris is Giverny, a tranquil town 47 miles northwest of Paris. This is where Claude Monet lived and created some of his best works from 1883 until 1926, including his masterpiece Les Nymphéas water lily series.
The best reason to visit the picturesque town is the artist’s family home’s beautiful gardens. These gardens are open to the public, as is the interior.
Try to make some time to explore this charming town too, either on your way or back. It has a small museum dedicated just to the French Impressionists. There is also a 13th-century castle that sits by the Old Mill on the banks of the Seine.
The Old Mill and the Collégiale Notre-Dame were painted by Monet, a frequent visitor in town. A great way to cap off an easy day trip is to have a picnic by the Seine before heading back to Paris.
How to reach Giverny from Paris by Train
You’ll want to hop on the train at Gare Saint-Lazare train station. Giverny can be reached on a day trip from Paris on train via Vernon. From there, a bus will take you the rest of the way. It takes roughly 45 minutes to get there.
A day trip from central Paris involving a castle and a scenic forest? Yes, please!
Fontainebleau offers that and more. Renowned for the medieval architecture of the Château de Fontainbleu, home to Napoleon III and Louis VII, the place is surrounded by a forest filled with large boulders, majestic vistas, and thousands of varieties of mushrooms.
Built before Versailles was even conceived, Napoleon I liked to say that Château de Fontainbleu was a “true residence of kings, a house of centuries”. He decorated a suite of rooms for Pope Pius VII, which earned the royal castle the nickname of “Second Rome”.
The area also houses INSEAD, one of the world’s elite business schools, and several bistros and cafes. A mere forty-three miles from the City of Lights, Fontainebleau makes one of the nicest day trips from Paris by train. It’s a great opportunity to escape the large crowds while getting a splendid dose of history and the French countryside.
How to reach Fontainebleau from Paris by Train
To take the train to the Fontainebleau-Avon station, you’ll want to get on from Paris Gare de Lyon and head toward Montargis. Expect about a 45-minute ride for your day trip.
8. Basilique Cathedrale de Saint-Denis
Basilique Cathedrale de Saint-Denis is a mere 6 miles from the city center making it a very easy day trip.
This masterpiece of early Gothic architecture was built in the late 12th and early 13th centuries. It became an important place of pilgrimage because it stands over the grave of Saint-Denis, the patron saint of France.
The sanctuary’s vaulted nave and fabulous stained-glass windows give this house of worship an air of spaciousness and peace. The cathedral is also the final resting place of 32 French queens and 43 kings.
How to reach Basilique Cathedrale de Saint-Denis from Paris by Train
To reach the Basilique Cathedrale de Saint-Denis, you’ll want the Metro Line 13 from the Gare du Nord station. Make sure to take RER D or Train H line. It is only a 25-minute train ride.
9. Disneyland Paris
Of course, Disneyland Park is one of the best day trips from Paris by train. It offers a fun and exciting option for the perfect day trip on the outskirts of Paris. This is a favorite day trip from Paris, especially for those – but not limited to – traveling with kids.
The beloved characters wander around the same way as in Disney theme parks in the US. Of course, you’ll find many of your favorite rides too, as well as a few attractions only found in Disneyland Paris. All in all, it’s a great experience and a must for Disney fans.
How to reach Disneyland Paris from Paris by Train
The most common and easy way to get to Disneyland Paris is to take the RER C train. Line A of the RER system stops right at Marne-la-Vallee station which is next to the front gates of Disney Village and only a 40-minute trip.
Only 57 miles from Paris, Provins is an astoundingly well-preserved walled medieval small village that used to be a bustling trade center.
Stepping inside its walls is like taking a journey back in time to the Middle Ages. This feeling multiplies as you walk the winding cobblestone streets, spacious public squares, and half-timbered houses.
This fascinating medieval town was granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status, with more than 50 historic monuments. Make sure to visit the Tour de Cesar while there. It is a tower that was used as a fortress under Henry I, Count of Champagne. Make time to walk the Ramparts along the defensive walls. And don’t miss out on climbing the stairs by the fortified gate of Porte Saint-Jean. Here you’ll find spectacular views, then you can wander down to the moat area.
When you’re ready for a break, grab something to eat and a glass of champagne and sit in Place du Châtel to enjoy. The eleventh-century Prieure Saint-Ayoul church and the magnificent rose garden – La Rosaie de Provins – are other most popular day trips.
How to reach Provins from Paris by Train
To take the train to Provins you’ll need to depart from Gare de l’Est. Though the train runs frequently, double-check the Holiday schedule. The trip will take you roughly ninety minutes.
Should you find yourself with extra time when visiting Paris, be sure to explore one of these surrounding cities. Taking one of these day trips from Paris by train is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip!