Paris is a beautiful city with many wonders to explore. It’s not unusual for travelers to spend days, if not weeks, trying to find all its hidden gems.
When you visit Paris, there are also several day trips to take that help you see more of the surrounding region. Since it isn’t always practical to rent a vehicle for a day, the next best option is to take the train!
The convenient trains in France open up a world of opportunities to explore the country!
You can find everything from quaint villages to historic palaces on the different train trips from Paris. Here is a closer look at some of the best day trips from Paris by train!
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12 Best Day Trips from Paris by Train
Distance from Paris: 1 hour 35 minutes
If you are looking for easy train trips from Paris, Dijon is an amazing option. Dijon, France is the capital of Burgundy and the birthplace of Dijon mustard!
This beautiful town is small but extremely charming, and can easily be explored on foot in one day.
Let’s start off with a dose of history. After the monks, the powerful Dukes of Burgundy dominated art and culture across Europe. With their help, the Burgundy region and its wines gained considerable economic and cultural standing.
Don’t miss the Palace of the Dukes in the heart of Dijon, it is very impressive!
The architecture of Dijon is also famous, featuring half-timbered houses and colorful tiled roofs. These buildings are straight out of a storybook!
For the best examples of this traditional Burgundian architecture, don’t miss Rue Verrerie (a street filled with cute architecture, specialty shops, and cafes), Place François Rude and Hôtel Aubriot. Don’t forget your camera!
Other fun things to see and do in Dijon include the Jardin des Ducs, Musée des Beaux-Arts (in the Palace of the Dukes), Old Town Dijon, and the Central Market.
Train stations: Paris Gare de Lyon (TGV train is 1.5 hours, TER is 3 hours); trains depart almost every hour.
- Small-Group Burgundy Tour with Wine Tastings from Dijon
- Half-Day Tour of the Cote de Nuits Vineyards from Dijon
2. Disneyland Paris
Distance from Paris: 40 minutes
Located in Chessy are two parks right next to each other, Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park.
A trip to these two theme parks by train covers the 32 kilometers from Paris in no time. You’ll find resort hotels, shopping, and an entire entertainment complex. You can buy a combined ticket which is valid for both parks or you can buy tickets separately as well.
Many of Disney’s most popular characters are incorporated into the theme parks, including Buzz Lightyear, Lightning McQueen, and Dumbo. Roller coasters, interactive rides, and relaxing walks are all available, allowing the entire family to find something they’ll love!
Before you actually get started on your magical day trip, consider the benefits of adding extras to your tickets, including exclusive access and character dining options.
For an even more memorable experience, you can opt to stay at one of the hotels onsite for a multiday experience!
Train stations: Gare de Lyon to Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy train station (just a 2-minute walk from the Disney Parks)
Distance from Paris: 1 hour 45 minutes
The Alsace region in France is drop-dead gorgeous. Another wonderful benefit of this region? It allows you to explore French culture at a leisurely pace (compared to the hustle and bustle of Paris).
Strasbourg is the capital, located just under two hours from Paris by train. The architectural and historical heritage make it a UNESCO World Heritage site totally worth day-tripping for!
Strasbourg is home to a stunning sandstone cathedral. It was the tallest building in the world until 1874. Much of it dates to the 12th century, including the apse on the building’s east side. Climb the north tower to get views of the Black Forest on a clear day.
Le Petite France lets you see colorful structures from the 16th century, including half-timbered cottages. It’s one of the most photogenic places in the city and is not to be missed on your day trip from Paris.
You can also stop to see Barrage Vauban, the Ponts Converts, and the Rohan Palace during your day trip from France. To round out your trip and see the city from a different perspective, consider taking a Strasbourg river cruise!
Visiting in the wintertime? Strasbourg hosts a massive not-to-be-missed Christmas Market every year that spans the entire old town and is lit up by endless Christmas trees and twinkling lights!
Train stations: from Paris Gare de l’Est; lots of train departures per day.
- Guided Strasbourg Traditional Food Tour
- Alsace Colmar, Medieval Villages & Castles: Small Group Day Trip – from Strasbourg
- Alsace Wine Route: Half-Day Tour with Tasting – from Strasbourg
Distance from Paris: from 40 minutes
Champagne is another lovely region to day trip to from Paris.
The best time of year to visit the Champagne region is between April and October. If you want to see the start of the harvest, plan to visit in September.
Having said that, it’s beautiful whenever you can make it, so start planning your perfect day trip by train from Paris right away.
You have a few choices to consider when visiting this part of France.
- In Reims, you can see the incredible cathedral, numerous champagne houses to visit, and a thriving nightlife to enjoy. No trip to Reims is complete without a visit to one of the champagne houses. Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin and Taittinger are great options.
- A stop in Epernay lets you explore the Avenue de Champagne while enjoying the quiet and comfort of visiting a smaller village.
- Several vineyards in the region provide all-day touring options, including a spa, pool, and family-friendly activities.
When visiting the champagne houses, you’ll notice that each provides a different experience. One of the most unique to try is found at Mercier in Epernay. This experience is so cool because you’ll be taken on a train through the cellars!
Another popular champagne house to visit is Maison Ruinart. It was established in 1729, making it the oldest continuously operating one in the country. You can find it on the Avenue de Champagne.
Train stations: Paris l’Est to Reims, Champagne-Ardenne, to Epernay; several trains per day.
- Champagne Moet et Chandon & Taittinger Small-Group Tour with Tasting – from Reims
- Champagne Day Trip to Moët & Chandon and Family Winery with Lunch – from Reims
5. Palace of Versailles
Distance from Paris: 35 minutes
Located just 17 km southwest of Paris in the Ile-de-France region, Versailles is one of the most popular and easiest day trips from Paris by train.
The Palace of Versailles is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Europe’s most popular attractions. It was built in the early 17th century and later expanded by Louis XIV.
This palace had humble beginnings in the 16th century as it was intended to be a hunting lodge and was originally a small countryside getaway. As the years progressed, King Louis XIII and the others in his family line continued building to create one of the greatest châteaus in France.
This royal residence became a museum in 1833 and now houses 60,000 pieces of art!
The Palace of Versailles has been featured in a long list of movies (mainly French), but if you watched the 2006 movie Marie Antoinette, you’ll recognize certain areas of the palace like The Hall of Mirrors.
There’s so much to see and do in Versailles that being bored during your day trip just won’t be an issue. You’ll very likely need a full day to see it all.
If you plan a full day, you can visit the palace, the gardens, the Grand Trianon, and the Queen’s Hamlet.
Once you arrive in the town of Versailles, you need to take a pleasant 15-minute stroll to get to the palace.
You can explore the different street stalls and markets after you’ve seen the palace on your way back to the train station. Don’t miss the Market of Notre Dame, where you can sample some excellent cuisine!
Pro Tip: Aim to arrive before the palace opens to beat the insane crowds–this is what I did on my last visit and I was able to capture photos of the palace and gardens with virtually no one in them! I’d recommend you purchase a skip-the-line ticket if you’re arriving after the park opens.
Online reservations for the Palace of Versailles are also recommended for large groups.
Train stations: Paris Gare Saint Lazare (SNCF trains) or central Paris stations (Champs de Mars, Invalides, and Musée d’Orsay) by RER C trains; trains depart every hour.
- Versailles Palace & Gardens: Ticket, Audio Guide & Transfer
- Versailles: Palace of Versailles Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
Distance from Paris: 1 hour 30 minutes
History comes alive when taking a day trip from Paris by train to this medieval community! In fact, back in 2001, Provins was recognized for its medieval heritage and atmosphere when it was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Provins is just about as far out of the capital as you can get without leaving the Île-de-France region. It takes about 90 minutes to get from Paris to Provins, but it is easy to explore the area on foot once you arrive.
The walk down the Rue du College is surprisingly beautiful, and there isn’t much traffic to manage on an average day. Several tunnels are underneath the city to explore, but guided tours are required.
Seeing the Cesar Tower is a highlight of a day trip to Provins. It dates to Roman times, and you can climb the stairs to view the city for a small fee.
Traveling to Paris in mid to late June? You may be able to catch the famous Medieval Festival of Provins, also known as the biggest medieval festival in France!
If you’re visiting during the holiday season in December, you must stop by the Christmas market.
Train stations: Gare de l’Est (RER train), get off at Provins station. Trains depart hourly.
Distance from Paris: 40 min to 1 hour
Giverny is best known as a tiny village that was once home to impressionist icon, Claude Monet.
In fact, Claude Monet worked in this Normandy village for over 40 years. His beautiful home and bursting-with-colors gardens are now part of a popular museum that can be one of several stops during your day trip from Paris.
Besides getting to tour Monet’s personal home, a day trip to Giverny also gets you the chance to walk all through his gardens and circle his water lily pond. Yes, THE lily pond from Water Lilies.
Several artists came to Giverny to paint the landscapes found in the area over the years. Their works, along with others, are displayed in the Musee des Impressionismes.
A visit to the water lilies at the Orangeries is another fun stop, even if it chooses to rain during your stay.
If you’re interested in visiting Giverny by train, I recommend you allow 3 to 4 hours for a visit to Monet’s Giverny.
Train stations: Paris-Saint-Lazare to Vernon-Giverny train station. Once you hop off at Vernon-Giverny station, you are still 6km away from Monet’s gardens. From here, take the shuttle bus to reach the house.
- Giverny Monet House and Gardens Skip-The-Line Walking Tour
- Monet’s Gardens & House with Art Historian: Private Giverny Tour from Paris
Distance from Paris: 2 hours 15 minutes
If you’re looking for a day trip out of the country of France, London is a great option!
If you book tickets with Eurostar, you can be in London in a little over two hours by train. That makes it a fun day trip from Paris if you’ve never had the chance to experience the city.
Trains leave at many times throughout the day, although some trips take longer than others.
When you have one day to spend in London, some of the most popular spots include the following landmarks.
- Trafalgar Square, with Covent Garden and the West End
- The Tower of London and the Tower Bridge
- Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament
- Buckingham Palace
It can also be lots of fun to spend a couple of hours in a traditional London pub.
If you don’t mind a little walking, try crossing the Tower Bridge to reach the South Bank. The promenade takes you past the HMS Belfast and City Hall and several other unique attractions.
A ride on the London Eye lets you get an even better view of the city!
Train stations: Paris Nord; over 15 trains depart for London per day
- Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Bath from London
- Harry Potter Tour of Warner Bros. Studio with Transport from London
- Private Tower of London Opening Ceremony with Changing of The Guard and Cruise
- High-Speed Thames River Cruise in London
Distance from Paris: 2 hours
This day trip to Lyon from Paris is another excellent opportunity to explore the local culture and foodie scene of France. If you enjoy fabulous food and wine, make sure to arrive by train feeling hungry because Lyon is considered France’s capital of gastronomy!
Lyon is a vibrant city well known for its high quality of life and its unique blend of architecture dating back to Roman times until today. Several landmarks in the city are worth seeing, including the Cathédrale Saint-Jean and Old Lyon.
When you’re ready for a meal, consider a stop at Agastache Restaurant. Try the five-course set menu, and you’ll walk out of there feeling happy.
Outdoor seating is available at many other restaurants, especially if you’re looking for something more casual. Don’t miss the chance to fill your day trip itinerary with food stops.
From there, you could continue exploring by making stops at the Saône River Banks, Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere, Parc de la Tête d’Or, and Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse.
Train stations: Paris Gare de Lyon (TGV trains); lots of train departures per day.
Pro tip: During the week, trains to Lyon from Paris tend to fill up due to business travel, so be sure to book your tickets in advance!
10. Château de Chantilly
Distance from Paris: 25 minutes
Chantilly Castle is seriously one of the best castles in France–and it’s located just a day trip away from Paris!
This castle is what art lovers’ dreams are made of. The grounds house two castles, the Petite Château and the Grand Château. The first was built in the 16th century, and the second, larger building was created in the 19th century.
The Duke of Aumale created this masterpiece to house his beloved collection of art and books. In the late 1800s, he gifted the castle and his collections to the Institut de France, on the condition that on his death, the museum be opened to the public and that its layout is preserved.
Lucky for us, now the Château de Chantilly is open to the public, so take advantage and tour the picturesque castle! Make sure to check out the second largest art collection of paintings in all of France (after the famed Louvre).
The castle’s bedrooms are what you would expect, pure opulence with detailed gold accents all around and stunning chandeliers. The Reading Room is another area you won’t want to miss featuring the Duke’s famous book collection.
Train stations: Paris Gare du Nord to Trains to Chantilly Gouvieux train station; trains depart hourly.
11. Château de Fontainebleau
Distance from Paris: from 1 hour
Château de Fontainbleau is not just another day trip to a castle on the list; this stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the largest châteaus in France. Totally worth a day trip from Paris!
This castle, built in the 12th century in Fontainebleau, has housed many royals (specifically all of them) through the years. Each royal who lived in this château added their spin, turning it into the majestic presence found today.
Here’s a fun fact for you: Marie Antionette and Louis XVI used Fontainebleau Castle to escape during the French Revolution when they fled Versailles.
This château offers a renaissance-style exterior along with renaissance artwork spread throughout the fully furnished castle. Book lovers can enjoy the Gallery of Diana, featuring an exquisite library from Napoleon’s personal collection.
Stroll through the three distinct gardens and parks spread through the estate of the castle. This is a really unique experience as each garden allows a peek into the style of whichever monarch owned the castle at that time.
It’s common for visitors to see this castle along with the gardens and notice how, somehow, through many castle owners, everything meshes perfectly!
Train station: From Gare de Lyon in Paris, take train heading towards Laroche-Migennes, Montargis or Montereau. Get off at Fontainebleau-Avon. Then, take Bus line 1 heading towards Les Lilas to the ‘Château’ stop.
- Château de Fontainebleau: Priority Entrance Ticket
- Fontainebleau & Vaux-le-Vicomte Châteaux Day Tour from Paris
12. Mont Saint Michel
Distance from Paris: 3-4 hours
Your first glimpse of Mont Saint Michel seems like something from a fantasy novel.
It’s a beautiful island with an incredible abbey that appears to try to touch the sky! This holy site is one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in Europe, sitting about one kilometer off the northwestern coast at the mouth of the Couesnon River.
Its position allows the abbey to be accessible at low tide by foot. That also made it defensible historically because the incoming waters would drive off attackers. About three million people visit each year.
The French government protects a total of 60 separate buildings for their historical value. Although you could walk across the sands, it is safer to use the causeway to visit this stunning day trip destination.
While visiting the area, don’t forget to stop in Cancale to have some oysters. La Mere Poulard on Mont Saint Michel offers one of the best omelets you’ll ever have, and you can always take a walk along the fortifications after.
If you’re traveling with your family, there is a reptile zoo about five minutes from the island. The largest group of alligators in Europe is found there, including rare white ones!
Train stations: Paris’ Gare Montparnasse to Rennes (TGV train). From there, change trains at Rennes for the Pontorson-Mont St-Michel train station or take a Keolis bus to Mont St. Michel.
- Mont Saint-Michel Guided Day Trip from Paris – this is a full, 14-hour day tour!
How To Buy Train Tickets In Paris
Buy Train Tickets In Advance Online
The easiest way to plan a day trip from Paris is to purchase your train ticket online. Several services, fares, and trains are available, including Eurostar, Transilien, and SNCF.
Depending on the operator, you can purchase tickets up to three months in advance.
While the first thing you might do is head to the SNCF website, I actually don’t recommend doing this. The site is clunky, the Google translation is confusing and glitchy at times, and at times it even rejects certain foreign credit cards.
You’ll get such a better booking experience by using those third-party train booking sites I just mentioned.
Omio is a booking service that sells the exact same train tickets at the same price as SNCF, but with the huge added benefit of being a user-friendly site.
On Omio, you won’t have to deal with credit card issues, translation confusion, etc. While Omio does charge a tiny service fee, I think it’s worth it for the headache-less experience.
I’m all about efficiency and Omio gives me just what I need–a seamless booking experience so I can book my tickets and move on quickly to plan the rest of my trips out!
Trainline is another transportation booking site that, again, sells the same French train tickets at the exact same price as SNCF.
Similar to Omio, they’ve made the whole buying process very user-friendly—you won’t have to deal with credit card issues, translation confusion, etc. You can even choose your seats!
In most cases, you’ll receive an e-ticket that you can access from your phone (via email or on the Trainline app). If e-tickets aren’t available, you can print/obtain your tickets at the train station.
The only downside to Trainline is that you pay a 3% service charge. Again, for such a painless user experience, I think it’s worth the price!
You can use Omio & Trainline to book any kind of train ticket in advance—from high-speed to local trains.
If you’re like me and like to have all your plans in order before the day of the trip, I’d recommend pre-booking your tickets for peace of mind!
Missed your window to buy your train tickets online? No worries, there are other options for you!
Buy Tickets At The Train Stations
There are 7 train stations in Paris: Gare d’Austerlitz, Gare de Bercy, Gare de l’Est, Gare de Lyon, Gare Montparnasse, Gare du Nord and Gare Saint Lazare.
The French national railway company, SNCF, has been the French state-run rail service since 1937. This train is the most popular means of public transport in all of France.
There are 2 main types of trains:
- Long-distance trains (or Main Line trains) leave from Paris and travel to the rest of France and throughout Europe. For those trains, you need to buy a ticket in advance (on the SNCF website ).
- Transilien trains run between Paris and its suburbs. You can buy these at the station.
Ticket machines are available at each train station, or you can work with a ticket agent that will get you what you need.
The quickest way to get a train ticket is via automated ticket machines. However, do note that sometimes these machines don’t accept foreign credit cards.
You can also buy tickets from the ticket window. Note that these lines can get long during busier hours. Many of the ticket agents can speak English, but not always. If you’re at a station that doesn’t accept your credit card, you’ll have no other option but to head to the ticket window!
All in all, it might take 20 minutes or more to navigate these processes (wait in line, pick out your train times, etc.), so plan to arrive at the train station a bit earlier for some extra time to get your tickets.
How To Take The Train In Paris
Once your train ticket is secured, walk over to the platform your train is supposed to arrive at and hop aboard!
To find out which line or platform your train is on, check the following:
- For Main Line trains: the train number is written on your ticket
- For Transiliens: on the departure board, look for your destination and time of departure
Once you’re on the train, you can sit back and relax, or plan the rest of the itinerary for your adventure! Here are some of the top day trip destinations from Paris to try.
NOTE: Remember to check if your ticket is pre-validated or not. You have to have a validated ticket before you board your train. In case you forget to validate it, look for the train conductor and have them validate it for you before they come up to you to check your ticket.
Taking a day trip from Paris by train is lots of fun!
Although Paris is delightful to explore, there can be times when getting away from the city for a day is what you need.
When you encounter that feeling, these fun day trips can let you see more of France and Europe without a significant time commitment.
Tickets can sell out quickly for popular routes, so book your trip as soon as you know you’re going to ensure the train you want can take you to your day trip destination!
Looking for more Paris travel tips? Read more:
- 12 Famous Streets in Paris You Must Visit
- 10 Best Castles in France You Must See For Yourself
- Paris: 25 Practical Travel Tips For First Timers
- Guide To Paris: For People Who Are Over Art Museums And Churches
- Photos That Will Inspire You To Visit Paris
- 42 Brilliant Ways To Travel Europe On A Budget
- How Much It Actually Cost Me To Travel For 3 Months: Complete Europe Trip Cost Breakdown