Many would say that it is impossible to get tired of a city that gives you the Louvre Museum, is home to the Père-Lachaise Cemetery and offers you the Luxembourg Gardens to wander around in the morning. And yet, after a few days in the bustling French capital, you may feel like taking a breath of fresh air. Read on if you want to learn more about the incredible sites and tourist attractions surrounding the capital. This guide will list for you the best day trips from Paris!
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Table of Contents
Day trip from Paris to Mont Saint Michel
One of the most recognizable landmarks in France is Le Mont Saint Michel; an island in Normandy that draws its name from a monastery – its most famous building. With only a few dozens of inhabitants, the island attracts millions of international tourists every year. According to the legend, in 708 the archangel Michael appeared to the bishop of Avranches asking the bishop to build a church on the pebbled island.
The bishop declared the island a sanctuary, and immediately it became a place of Christian pilgrimage. The oratory established by the bishop was further expanded in the second half of 900s. The building of the “Wonder of the West”, a Benedictine abbey began in 966, and throughout 12th and 13th centuries, the abbey was further rebuilt and expanded by architecture masters of the Gothic period.
The church still remains one of the main attractions of the island, but nowadays we find it surrounded by an impressive fortification. In the middle ages the island turned into a fortress and later, under Napoleon I in the early 19th century, it served as a state prison. In 1979 Le Mont Saint Michel and its bay were added onto the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Day trips from Paris to Mont Saint Michel are very popular, and it is easy to find reliable and inexpensive transportation. The fastest way is to go by the high-speed train (French “TGV”). There are several departures from Paris every day. The travelling time is approximately 3 hours, but bear in mind that there are no direct trains; you will have to change (most connections have the interchange in Rennes).
Single-journey ticket starts at around 70 € (approx. 79 USD). Going from Paris to Mont Saint Michel by coach (eg. Flixbus or Oui Bus) is significantly cheaper (the ticket prices start at 20 €; around 23 USD). The buses also depart several times per day. Note that the travelling time is longer (from 4,5 – 6 hours), but the bus goes directly to Mont Saint Michel with no interchanges.
Day trip from Paris to Disneyland
One of the most entertaining day trips outside of Paris is a visit to the immersive world of Walt Disney and his animated creations. Disneyland Paris is a common name for two parks: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. The former is usually open from 10 am – 10 pm, the latter 10 am – 8 pm. Both parks invite visitors to the so-called “Extra Magic Time” between 8.30 am – 9.30 am.
Get ready for roller coasters, amusements, themed restaurants and special video projections. Remember that Disneyland is also famous for its shows and entertaining parades. We recommend you check the schedule online to make sure if there are any special performances (eg. due to holidays) – you would not want to miss a live Disney show with life-size Disney mascots, acrobats and actors!
There are several ways to get from Paris to Disneyland Paris. The park offers shuttle buses (called Disneyland Paris Express) from 3 locations in Paris: Rue de Maubeuge (Gare du Nord), Place de l’Opéra and Place du Châtelet. The shuttle bus picks you up and drops you off in accordance with the theme park opening hours, and tickets can be booked online – it is a great solution for travelling families! You can also take the regional RER train to the Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy Station which is a mere 2 minutes from the theme park. A one-way ticket from central Paris to Disney costs 7.60 € (approx. 8,5 USD).
We recommend you book the tickets to the theme park in advance. Not only will it save you time, but you will also save money! If you buy your ticket on the same day, you will have to pay 87 € (approx. 98 USD) for access to one theme park, and 107 € (120 USD) for access to both parks. When booking just 24 hours in advance, the price falls to 74 € (approx. 84 USD) for one theme park and 94 € (105 USD) for two parks. One last pro-tip: download the Disney APP! It will help you monitor the length of the lines to the different attractions!
Day trip from Paris to Parc Asterix
Another popular pick among family day trips from Paris is a tour to Parc Asterix. International tourists might be more familiar with Disney adventures, but Asterix is a popular cartoon figure in the French tradition. Asterix the Gaul is a fictional hero.
Together with his big pal Obelix and faithful white dog named Idefix, he fights against Romans who, under the lead of Julius Caesar, are trying to invade Gaul (French area in ancient times). The brave Gauls are able to defeat the Romans in every battle because of their special secret – a magic potion that gives them inhumane strength, prepared by Asterix’ friend, a druid (magician) called Panoramix.
Like the Disney amusement park, Parc Asterix also invites its visitors to ride roller coasters, wander around the fictive world of ancient Gauls and meet-and-greet with oversized Asterix and Obelix mascots. The park is usually open from 10 am – 6 pm, with exceptions of special holidays like Halloween with extended opening hours. The park is located 35 km north of Paris in Porte de la Chapelle.
When taking Oui Bus you can get from Paris to Parc Asterix for as little as 5 € (around 5,5 USD); the ride will be approx. 25 minutes. Like with Disneyland, we recommend booking the theme park tickets online. Keep a close eye on the park’s website, as there are often promotions that eg. offer free children’s entry to the park. Adult tickets are 51 € (around 57,5 USD).
Day trip from Paris to Versailles
Ready to meander around the beautiful, vast Royal Gardens and walk around the queen’s and the king’s chambers? A trip to the Palace of Versailles is one of the most popular day trips outside of Paris. Now designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site, the castle is a former residence of the French kings, modelled, rebuilt and refurnished by generations of French rulers. Kings and queens changed the appearance of the different rooms, eg. Marie Antoinette modified several times “The Gilded Room” that was originally built for Marie Leszczyńska in 1735. Versailles castle is an architectural and cultural pearl and reveals stories and secrets about some of the most famous characters of the French and European history.
The castle is famous for its stunning “Hall of Mirrors”, but it also amazes with an abundant collection of traditional art; portraits of the royal family and breathtaking depictions of historical events. The castle will also offer something for contemporary art enthusiasts! Every year a designated contemporary artist is offered a solo show in the castle and the adjacent gardens. The project started in 2008 and so far artists like Jeff Koons, Anish Kapoor and Olafur Eliasson have shown their works in the Château.
The Versailles Castle is located a mere 20 kilometres from Paris. Getting there by train is easy and inexpensive. From Paris, the cost of a round trip to Versailles is 7,1€ (approx. 8 USD) per person. When purchasing the ticket, the ticket vending machine will automatically print out your return ticket. Remember to keep it for your journey back! Then take the RER C (regional train) Line to Versailles Château / Rive Gauche Station. Château de Versailles is only 13 minutes away from the station on foot, and you will easily find the way following the clear signs leading the way towards the castle.
Tickets for Versailles can be purchased on-site or online (recommended if you want to avoid waiting in line). Visitors below 18 years of age, as well as holders of a European passport under 26, are granted free entrance to the Palace and the Estate of Trianon. Versailles offers various tickets and visitors’ packages options (depending on whether you only want to see the castle and the gardens or also want to attend the light and fountain shows, curated as a part of Versailles’ special program), so we recommend checking online for details. For a full day Versailles experience that includes more than a visit to the castle and its gardens, the website will also provide a guide of remarkable local shops and unique restaurants.
Day trip from Paris to Giverny
Looking for village day trips from Paris? Our top pick will be a visit to Giverny, 75 kilometres from the French capital. The village is famous for the gardens and former home of the impressionist painter Claude Monet. Monet lived in Giverny from 1883 until his death in the year 1926.
Today the gardens, known from the artist’s waterlilies paintings, with the remarkable “Japanese Bridge” are rebuilt so the visitors can enjoy an authentic view of the park and the ponds. Admission tickets to Monet’s house and the gardens can be purchased online. Adult ticket fee is 10,5 € (around 11,8 USD) and children’s ticket is 7,5 € (8,5 USD).
You can start your trip to Giverny at Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris (also known from one of Clause Monet’s famous paintings), from where the fast train will take you to Vernon-Giverny Station in less than 45 minutes! You can get a single journey adult ticket as cheaply as 9,6 € (approx. 10,8 USD), note that the fee gets higher if you choose one of the popular departures, eg. during the rush hour.
Day trip from Paris to Champagne Region
Wine day trips from Paris are a popular attraction among tourists. The historical province of Champagne is situated in the North-East of France, between Paris and Lorraine. The region is known worldwide as the capital of the sparkling wines. The legends tell that champagne is not originally from the Champagne region, rather the method was introduced by a monk from the southern Languedoc.
Yet, quite quickly it became clear that due to the special soil, the climate and the weather conditions of the Champagne region, the area produced much better sparkling wines than the French provinces further south.
The champagne province is a perfect destination for a relaxed day trip. Besides of the bustling city of Reims (the regional capital) that is frequented by tourists because of its 13th-century Gothic cathedral designated as UNESCO world heritage site, the Champagne Province offers rather serene surroundings and plenty of opportunities for a champagne tasting.
It takes about an hour to reach the Champagne province by train from Paris.
We recommend taking the high-speed TGV train. After 45 minutes the train stops in Reims, and after 75 minutes the trains arrives in Épernay (another popular city of the region). The train fares start at around 15 € (approx. 17 USD).
Day trip from Paris to Loire Valley Castles
Have you heard of the amazing castles from the Loire Valley? In the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France, you will find a beautiful valley, spanning 280 kilometres. Referred to as “Garden of France” the whole area of the Loire Valley is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is famous for its impressively preserved historical towns, beautiful cultural sites and majestic castles, some of which date all the way back to the 12th century!
In just one day, you can travel from Paris and visit amazing sites like the Château de Chenonceau (famous for its Renaissance French Gardens with decorative ponds and charming flower beds) or Château de Chambord (the castle that provided inspiration for the structure of the Château de Versailles). Jump on a train from Paris to Blois-Chambord Station. The journey will be less than 1,5 hour, and from the main train station in Blois, there will be shuttle buses and connections available to the various castles and historical sites.
We recommend checking the event calendars on the websites of the respective castles that you are planning to visit! Often times there are special light-and-sound shows and themed after-dark performances. Staying for one of the evening shows requires precise planning of your return journey, but the shows are breathtaking!
Day trip from Paris to London
Non-European tourists visiting Paris might be tempted to explore yet another European capital. Luckily, international day trips from Paris can be easily arranged, and London is one of the favoured destinations. The English capital with its famous sites like the Westminster Abbey, the Tower Bridge or its amazing institutions like the British Museum or the TATE Modern is attractive for everyone who is ready to dive deeper into Europe’s history and culture.
London offers a plethora of attractions, has a vibrant cultural, theatre and performance scene as well as a vivid nightlife scene. Keep that in mind if you are ready for an overnight trip from the French capital – day trips from Paris to London would be a great pick!
We recommend taking the fast train to London. The travelling time will be between 2,5 – 4 hours, depending on whether you choose a direct connection or have to interchange. We recommend booking train tickets in advance. The price can go as low as 41 € (around 46 USD) for a single one-way trip, whereas the usual one-way fare is between 100 € – 150 € (112,5 USD – 169 USD). The trips from Paris to London by bus may be much cheaper (starting from 26 £, approx. 34 USD), but do note the travelling time easily extends to from 8 – 10 hours!
Day trip from Paris to Zurich
Another suggestion for international day trips from Paris by train is a tour to Zurich in Switzerland. With the French TGV trains, it only takes 4 hours to get to Zurich, so grab your passport and get ready for long walks around Lake Zurich with beautiful Swiss Alps in the background.
Try to carve out time to visit the Swiss National Museum or (for football fans) the FIFA Museum. Stroll around the botanical gardens and make sure to try “Zurchergeschnetzeltes” (veal in creamy mushroom sauce) for dinner! Zurich is quite expensive, so visiting for one full day can give you a taste of the Swiss city without breaking the bank.
Price for a direct train from Paris to Zurich is around 140 € (approx. 157,5 USD), but if you book a long time in advance, you can expect lower prices. Remember that since Switzerland is not a part of the European Union, it has its own currency, the Swiss Franc. International credit cards are, of course, widely accepted, but do not that you will not be able to pay in Euros!
Recommended day trips from Paris
- Best of Versailles Day Trip from Paris including Skip-the-Line and Lunch
- Loire Valley Castles Tour from Paris: Chambord, Chenonceau with Lunch & Wine
- Giverny and Monet’s Garden Bike Tour
- Versailles Bike Tour with Skip-the-Line Entrance to Palace
- Small-Group Loire Valley Three Top Castles Day Trip with Wine Tasting
- Private Day Trip from Paris: Tour of the Ypres Salient WWI Battlefield in Belgian Flanders
- Small-Group Mont Saint-Michel Day Trip with Abbey Entrance and Cider Tasting
- The Champagne Region Bike Tour from Paris
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