When you travel to France you will no doubt want to spend time in Paris. Whether it is your first trip to Paris or you’ve visited Paris many times, you will no doubt want to do some Paris day trips. But with so many options, what are the best day trips from Paris? Whether you are looking for group tours, or prefer to go it alone I’ve broken down the options for the best day tours from Paris. It is important you check the terms and conditions of your tour, including cancellation prior to booking.
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- Paris day trip: Day trip to Versailles from Paris
- Disneyland Paris day trip
- Giverny day trip from Paris
- More best day trips from Paris by train
- Mont St Michel & Normandy day trips from Paris
- More chateaux day trips from Paris: Fontainebleau, Malmaison & Vaux-le-Vicomte
- WW1 battle field day trips from Paris
- Day trips from Paris to other countries
- More recommended day trips from Paris
- Resources to plan the best day trips from Paris
Paris day trip: Day trip to Versailles from Paris
Based on discussions in my France Travel Planning Facebook group (you can join here if you aren’t a member), Versailles is the one day trip from Paris most people want to take. Because it’s so popular, the choice of options for a day trip to Versailles can be quite overwhelming ranging from cheap and cheerful do it yourself tours, all the way through to exclusive private tours.
One of the questions members of the Facebook group often ask is whether they should book a guided tour of Versailles. I always answer that question the same way – it is a question of personal taste and budget.
A self guided visit to Versailles is definitely the cheapest way to tour Versailles. Currently the return train tick from central Paris is approximately €7. It’s as easy as taking the RER C look for any train that says Versailles Rive Gauche, Versailles RG, Versailles Rive Gauche/Chateau and hopping off at Versailles Rive Gauche (the last stop). The train takes about 35mins. From the station turn right, then left at the first boulevard and follow the crowds for about 10minutes to reach the chateau.
Because it is so popular you should definitely book your entrance ticket in advance to skip the ticket line (you will still need to queue twice for security – once to enter the courtyard, then again to enter the chateau). The easiest way to book your Versailles ticket is via the chateau website.
Your entry ticket comes with a free audio guide. The best guidebook for planning your trip to Versailles is definitely the Rick Steves Paris or France guidebook. Rick also has a free audioguide podcast, which he promises complements the chateau’s own audioguide.
If you are planning a self guided tour of Versailles, do be aware that the fountains in the gardens are not in operation all year round, and when they are operational, it is only at certain times on certain days. Check the chateau website or the Rick Steves guidebook for details.
If you are particularly interested in a guided tour including the fountains, check out this tour option from the highly regarded Take Walks:
There are multiple guided tour options for Versailles guided tours, depending on your budget, time commitment and special interests. Guided tours to Versailles do vary a lot so it is worth comparing different options. You can find more options for tours of Versailles in this dedicated day trip to Versailles from Paris post.
Disneyland Paris day trip
If you are travelling to Paris with kids, I’m sure you may not agree with me about Versailles being the most popular Paris day tour. Even my then 16yr old rated Disneyland number one on her list of the best day trips from Paris after our last trip to Disneyland Paris.
How to get to Disneyland from central Paris
There are many ways to get to Disneyland from central Paris, but I don’t think booking a special transfer to Disneyland is necessary. Disneyland is definitely one of the easiest day trips from Paris by train. The RER A train takes about 45minutes – just make sure you hop on a train that stops at Marne-la-Vallée-Chessy as the line splits into two different lines at the end (check the overhead signs at the RER station before you get on). The easiest train ticket to buy is a one day Mobilis Zone 1-5 ticket which covers your Metro rides in Paris for the day, as well as your RER train to Disneyland (currently costs €18).
If you would prefer to book a transfer from central Paris, you can choose from a range of options here by clicking on this link >>
If you are travelling directly from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Disneyland you can click here to book a shuttle bus ticket >>
Giverny day trip from Paris
I have previously posted about taking a day trip to Giverny from Paris. I’ve also written about whether it is worth visiting Giverny in fall (it is closed between the end of October and the end of March). With its garden, house, and pretty village I believe Giverny is one of the best Paris day trips you can take and is the best day trip from Paris for garden lovers. You can read the details of how to do a Paris to Giverny day trip by yourself in the two posts.
The train from Paris to Giverny is very easy, but if you would prefer to take a guided tour, again you have many options.
If you prefer a Giverny private tour, this one from LivTours is an excellent option. You can find out about it and make your booking here >>
Are you planning a trip to France? My France Travel Planning Facebook group is a vibrant and friendly group where you can ask questions, learn from others and get great advice. You can join here >>
More best day trips from Paris by train
Champagne day trip from Paris
Champagne is another of the more popular side trips from Paris and is a popular day trip from Paris by train. I’ve also written previously about how to make a day trip to Reims, which makes an easy and interesting day trip out of Paris.
I think Reims is excellent day trip from Paris for its history, food and of course, the champagne houses as it is one of the easiest train trips from Paris. You can also go to Epernay by train, but if you are looking at going into the Champagne countryside or visiting some smaller houses you need to take a tour. If you want to combine both Reims and Epernay in one day tour, a tour is the most efficient option.
If you take the train to Reims yourself you have even more tour options that you can find here >>
Private Champagne tours from Paris are also available.
This private tour includes a visit to both Epernay and Hautvillers >>
Rouen day trip from Paris
While Rouen is part of Normandy, I’m including it separately, because it is much closer to Paris than the D-day beaches and Mont St Michel, making it an easy day trip from Paris.
Rouen is steeped in Gothic architecture and French history. Its old town is charming and a wonderful place to wander.
Because of its good train service (1.5hours from Paris), Rouen is an easy day trip to do yourself. If you are short on time it is possible to combine Rouen with a self guided tour of Giverny (you actually take the Rouen train to go to Giverny).
The Rick Steves France guidebook has a detailed section on Rouen, including how to get there, what to do and what to eat.
Again, if you prefer a guided tour, it is possible to take a day trip to Rouen. Most are expensive, small group tours, and the best option is a combined Rouen/Honfleur day trip. You can also book a guided tour to both Giverny and Rouen.
Chartres day trip from Paris
Chartres is best known for its stunning Gothic cathedral, which, with Notre Dame inaccessible for the foreseeable future, makes a visit to Chartres even more worthwhile.
In addition to the Cathedral there is an interesting old town (dead on Sunday and Monday) and the International Stained Glass Centre (Centre International du Vitrail) where you can learn about how stained glass is made as well as look at some original windows.
Chartres is around an hour by train from Paris. The walk to the Cathedral takes around 10minutes (follow the spires which are visible from the station), or there is a free minibus called the Filibus.
Loire Valley day trip from Paris
Mr Frugalfirstclass and I once took a day trip to the Loire Valley from Paris. It was a long, but very enjoyable day, visiting three different chateaux. While it is possible to tour the Loire Valley by public transport (my friend Rosemary has a great post on how to do it here) it is definitely much easier to either take a tour from Paris, or grab a car.
If you would prefer to take a car to the Loire Valley you can click here to compare rental car prices and options here >>
(I suggest you take the train to Tours and pick up your car there – no one needs to drive in central Paris).
Shopping at Marne La Vallée
If the shops in Paris aren’t enough for you, or you love a bargain, then a shopping trip to Marne La Vallée is probably on your list of things to do in Paris in one day. Marne La Vallée is an outlet shopping centre selling a range of French and overseas designer brands. In addition to reduced prices they also offer a VAT refund service, taking a further 12% of the price of your goodies.
Marne La Vallée is easily reached by the RER A train. Just as for Disneyland you need to check you get on the right train as the line divides just outside Paris – you alight at Marne-La-Vallée-Chessy the same as Disneyland. Turn right out of the station and head through the Val d’Europe shopping mall until you reach the outlet centre.
If all of that sounds too hard, you can also book the shuttle bus which runs between central Paris and the centre. Click here to book your shuttle bus now >>.
Mont St Michel & Normandy day trips from Paris
While it is a little further from Paris, Normandy, including the D-day landing beaches is quite achievable from Paris. To make the most of the day take a tour, or rent a car for the day, rather than try to go by public transport. Not everywhere you will want to go has efficient public transport services.
To experience Normandy properly my recommendation is to take a car and spend a few days exploring Normandy from Paris. All inclusive day trips from Paris really should be reserved for those with little time in France who just want a taster of what Normandy has to offer.
The best Normandy day tours should include more than just the D-day landings and should definitely include some calvados or cider, the preferred tipple rather than wine, in this part of France.
Canadian readers can make their own special pilgrimage to Juno Beach on this tour – click here to view.
Mont St Michel makes for a very long day trip from Paris. It’s one of the most visited places in France, so is always terribly crowded with day trippers during the day time. If you are touring Normandy by car, or just want to spend longer than a day, it is possible to stay overnight on Mont St Michel or on the nearby mainland.
If you are interested in a day trip to Mont St Michel from the Paris, the only one I really recommend is this one offered by Take Walks. I like it because most of the trip to Normandy is by the ultra fast TGV, rather than a bus. This means more time on the island and a less exhausting day all round. You can find out more about the Take Walks Mont St Michel day trip from Paris here >>
More chateaux day trips from Paris: Fontainebleau, Malmaison & Vaux-le-Vicomte
If the chateaux of the Loire Valley are not enough, or maybe too far for you, you can still get your chateaux fix at Fontainebleau, Malmaison or Vaux-le-Vicomte.
Fontainebleau is accessible by public transport (train, then a connecting bus to the chateau), which takes around an hour in total. The chateau is closed on Tuesdays and is very busy every Sunday. If you have a Paris Pass or Museum Pass you can use it for Fontainebleau.
Vaux-le-Vicomte is not reachable by public transport but if you are heading south from Paris with a car, is around 50minutes drive. Well known for its candlelit dinners and other spectacles, it is much easier visited by tour if you don’t have a car.
Fontainebleau and Vaux-le-Vicomte can be booked as either combined, or individual tours. It is possible to also book the popular Vaux-le-Vicomte dinner as a guided tour. Check out Fontainebleau tours here >> and search for Vaux-le-Vicomte visits here >>.
Malmaison, previously home to Napoleon and Josephine, also easily reachable from central Paris. Take the RER or Metro train to La Defense, then the number 258 bus to St Germain-en-Laye, getting off around 25minutes later at the chateau de Malmaison stop. Cross the road and turn left down Avenue de la Malmaison. It’s a 10minute walk to the chateau. I was not able to find any tours that visited Malmaison, so public transport is the way to go here.
WW1 battle field day trips from Paris
If World War One history is your thing, rather than the D-day beaches in Normandy, you will want to head to northern France and the Somme. Because most of the places you will want to visit are small towns or in the countryside you either need a car, or to take a tour.
To visit the Somme battlefields by car take the train to Lille or Amiens and then pick up a car.
There are a range of day tours to the Somme available depending on your particular interests. It is well worth comparing different options to make sure you choose the one that is right for you. The better tours are seasonal, so if you can’t find what you are looking for make sure you check closer to your departure date.
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Day trips from Paris to other countries
While it makes for a long day and is expensive, if local Paris tours aren’t going to do it for you, it is possible to make a Paris day trip to another country.
Day trip Paris to London
It is possible to visit London as a day tour from Paris. A Eurostar day trip to London is quite achievable as either a self guided, or guided tour.
If you are planning on doing a London day trip from Paris yourself you need to be super organised. Book your Eurostar ticket in advance, leaving Paris by 8.00am at the latest (with a one hour time difference, that will get you to St Pancras Station in London at around 9.00am).
You need to have your day planned out, with a good idea of what you want to do and how you are going to get there. A good guidebook is key, so grab a Rick Steves London guidebook and study it well.
To make the most of your day you also need to buy a London pass. I don’t normally recommend one day city passes, as they rarely represent good value, but with only one day in a city like London you need the ease that a pass or skip the line individual tickets will afford you.
If all of this is too hard, you can book guided daytrips from Paris to London and let someone else do all the hard work for you. Click here to choose your day trip to London >>
Day trip to Bruges from Paris
I know it’s not the most straight forward place to visit in Belgium, but it is worth bypassing Brussels in favour of pretty Bruges. Take the train to Brussels, then change for Bruges. It’s a long day, but Bruges is full of Medieval charm – and the best moules frites (mussels and French fries) ever. Oh, and did I mention the chocolate shops?
Because it is a long trip, you may prefer an escorted tour for Bruges. You can check out the options here >>
More recommended day trips from Paris
If my Paris day trip options aren’t enough, here are some other options for day trips from Paris:
Beaune in Burgundy (go on Saturday for its huge market);
Strasbourg or Colmar in Alsace;
Avignon in Provence;
Anywhere else that takes your fancy that is around 2hours from Paris by TGV.
Resources to plan the best day trips from Paris
Take Walks (known to many of you as Walks of Italy) offer a range of small group day trips from Paris:
If you are keen to explore more of the best day trips from Paris, I thoroughly recommend the book An Hour From Paris, which includes more day trips from Paris than you could ever imagine. Complete with detailed instructions on visiting by public transport or road, it is an excellent resource for getting out of the city.
All photos Pixabay unless otherwise credited.