The 8 Best Day Trips From Paris, France

Vanessa Elle
Last Updated: January 22nd, 2024

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The northern location of Paris means you can travel to several key destinations in France (and even beyond!) on a day trip.

The opportunities are endless, from the historic D-Day Beaches of Normandy to the scenic wine region of Burgundy to the opulence of the Château de Versailles.

On my two trips to Paris, these are the day trips from Paris that I loved (and a few that I can’t wait to do next time!).

The 8 Best Day Trips From Paris in 2024

Most day trip destinations that fit in well with a trip to Paris are in central or northern France. All under three hours from the French capital, these towns, cities, and cultural landmarks are easy to reach by either train or bus and offer something for every kind of traveler.

Foodies and wine connoisseurs will adore regions like Burgundy and Champagne, where they can explore vineyards to their heart’s content. Meanwhile, travelers seeking the natural beauty of France will feel right at home in the scenic Loire Valley.

Of course, history buffs are spoiled for choice. Between the World War II sites in Normandy, the legendary Château de Versailles, and Fontainebleau, you may want to leave time for more than one day trip.

And for those craving fun and adventure, Disneyland Paris is less than an hour from the city, and not even three hours away, London is calling.

1. Normandy

A breathtaking coastal region steeped in modern history in the north of France

The moving tribute to American soldiers who lost their lives in the Second World War at Omaha Beach, Normandy

Travel Time By Bus: 2.5 – 3 Hours

Located to the west of Paris, Normandy is an iconic region on the French coast. This is a must for history buffs, as it’s home to several points of interest relating to World War II.

While in Normandy, check out the haunting American cemetery, famous worldwide for its seemingly endless rows of white crosses paying tribute to those who lost their lives.

You can also visit the D-Day Landing Beaches—Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword—which stretches for 50 miles and were used for the historic invasion of Normandy by 7,000 ships and 195,000 naval personnel from Allied nations (via Eisenhower Library).

Normandy is about 125 miles from Paris, while the famous beaches are approximately 150 miles away.

The best way to get to Normandy from Paris is via train, from Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris to Bayeux train station. You can then take the Bus Vert number 70 to the beaches. Additionally, several guided day trips leave from Paris and tour the D-Day Beaches by coach.

2. Loire Valley

A stunning expanse of chateaus and serene gardens

The valley is dotted with signature medieval residences that seem taken straight from a Charles Perrault story, like the Château de Chambord.

Travel Time By Bus: 1 – 2 Hours

The Loire Valley, a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers some of France’s most picturesque scenery. Here you’ll find the kind of views that you probably imagined France to have, from idyllic gardens to sparkling lakes beneath cobblestone bridges.

One of the most famous landmarks in the Loire Valley is the Château de Chenonceau, a castle that forms a bridge over the Cher River. It is currently owned by the Menier family, well-known in France for their chocolates.

The Loire Valley is located in central France, around 130 miles from Paris, and features several other grand châteaux in its 310-square-mile area. There are plenty of chances for bird-watching and other tranquil nature activities by the river.

The easiest way to see the best of the Loire Valley on a day trip from Paris is to join a tour, but you can also catch a train directly from Paris to cities within the valley, including Tours, Blois, and Amboise.

This Loire Castles Day Trip by Coach with Wine Tasting is an excellent option for an authentic French experience!

For those traveling to the Loire Valley, it’s best to hire a car at the train station you arrive at so you have the most flexibility regarding seeing all the landmarks.

3. Dijon

An underrated destination known for its culinary specialties

The signature Burgundian architecture you’ll find in Dijon.

Travel Time By Train: 1 Hour and 45 minutes

Even if you’re not much of a mustard fan, Dijon is worth visiting on a day trip from Paris. This is a particularly underrated destination for foodies in France, located southeast of Paris, in Burgundy.

Of course, if you’re in Dijon, sampling the local mustard is non-negotiable. But Dijon is also famous for its gingerbread and blackcurrant liqueur.

All of Burgundy is well-known for its wine, so a trip to Dijon is also a great chance to check out some premium French vineyards. The architecture in Dijon is iconic for its timber frames, which will make you feel like you’ve been transported back in time.

Dijon is considered off the beaten path as it’s not on everyone’s French bucket list, so this is a great day trip if you can’t stand the crowds that tend to swarm to places like Versailles or Disneyland.

Being less touristy, Dijon has more of an authentic French feel, and you can have more experiences without being charged through the nose.

It’s also easy to get to Dijon from Paris, as several direct trains connect to Dijon from Gare de Lyon station.

4. Château de Versailles

A lasting, living reminder of France’s opulent royal past

Visit the extravagant palace where the masses came to claim Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette.

Travel Time By Train: 40 Minutes

Versailles is one of the most famous destinations in France (and the rest of Europe), and is guaranteed to impress history buffs, royal fans, and anyone who appreciates extravagant architecture and manicured gardens.

The Château de Versailles plays a central role in French history, as it was notably home to Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette, who were executed during the French Revolution. This marked the beginning of democracy in France and inspired the dissolution of absolute monarchy throughout Europe.

The estate has multiple points of interest to discover, from the iconic Hall of Mirrors, where the Treaty of Versailles was signed to end the First World War, to the lavish Gardens of Versailles.

Also, be sure to visit the Gallery of Battles and the Queen’s Hamlet, where Marie Antoinette would escape to–believe it or not–feel like a commoner.

The Château de Versailles lies just 18 miles outside of Paris. You can easily reach it by train from Musée d’Orsay. Otherwise, you can take numerous guided day tours, which will transport you to the estate via coach. This Skip-the-Line Tour gives you garden access too!

5. Château de Fontainebleau

The lesser-known royal residence that will allow you to soak up history without the crowds.

The Château de Fontainebleau is a stunning example of Renaissance architecture.

Travel Time By Train: 40 Minutes

The Château de Versailles is on many people’s itineraries when visiting France, so the only downside is that you’ll likely need to contend with large crowds, even if you visit in the off-season. For a quieter alternative with just as much history, you can opt to visit Fontainebleau instead, 43 miles out of Paris.

This medieval palace was once home to Louis VII and hosted Pope Pius VII. It is now a museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for being one of the largest royal French châteaux. There are several grand apartments to explore, from the ballroom to the Gallery of Francis I.

While at the palace, also take the time to see Marie Antoinette’s Turkish boudoir, the Napoleon Museum, and the stunning gardens. The château is nestled in the heart of Fontainebleau Forest, a protected area known for its wildlife and flora.

You can reach Fontainebleau by train from Gare de Lyon. Otherwise, you can take a car on the A6 from Paris, though the journey will likely be slightly longer due to traffic.

There are also organized tours for those who wish to have a guide. This tour goes to Château de Fontainebleau, as well as the estate of Vaux-le-Vicomte.

6. London

The English capital is just 2 hours from Paris

A day in London is plenty of time to visit major landmarks like Big Ben and Westminster Abbey (or get a glimpse of them from the London Eye!).

Travel Time By Train: 2 Hours and 17 Minutes

Ideally, you’d want more than just a day in London if you’re a first-time visitor. But you can see many of the major city sights in one day, so if you’re strapped for time and are high on energy, taking the Eurostar under the sea to the English capital is a great option for a day trip from Paris.

A hop-on hop-off tour of London is the best way to see the most landmarks in a short amount of time, but there’s also plenty to do in the city if sightseeing isn’t your thing.

You could visit to catch a show at the West End, discover the treasures at the British Museum, or have afternoon tea at the Ritz.

Though you can fly to London from Paris for a day trip, this is more expensive and time-consuming than taking the Eurostar (once you factor in airport policies). You can catch the Eurostar directly to London St. Pancras Station from Gare du Nord in Paris.

7. Disneyland Paris

A taste of American fairy tales in one of the countries that inspired them

With an abundance of real châteaux nearby, the Sleeping Beauty Castle is right at home in France.

Travel Time By Bus: 40 Minutes

If you’re traveling with kids, it’s hard to pass up a day trip to Disneyland. The only Disney complex in Europe, Disneyland Paris, is located in Chessy, just under 20 miles east of the French capital. Here you’ll find two theme parks, including Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park, and Disney Village.

Disneyland Park resembles its overseas counterparts, offering guests the staples that make a Disney holiday worth it, from signature rides to the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty’s Castle (or Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant).

When comparing Disneyland Paris to the original Disneyland in Anaheim and Walt Disney World in Orlando, I did notice that the classic American hospitality was missing.

French culture is different from American culture, so regardless of company policies, you won’t get the sort of in-your-face warmth you’ll get in the U.S. But it’s still definitely worth making the trip just for a spin on the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups!

There are several ways to reach the complex, all listed on the Disneyland Paris website. The most popular is via the Regional Express Network trains, which arrive directly at the Marne-la-Vallee station, just two minutes from Disney Village.

There is also a shuttle bus that you can take, which departs from the Eiffel Tower area, Opéra, Châtelet, and Gare du Nord. The journey takes around 40 minutes.

8. Champagne

A picturesque wine region with its own Notre Dame cathedral.

Scenic autumn vineyards near Epernay, Champagne.

Travel Time By Train: 1 Hour

Champagne is a French delicacy that has become a staple worldwide, so seeing the original region that blessed us with the beverage is a fantastic way to spend the day during your trip to Paris.

You can visit vineyards and champagne houses here, including the legendary Moët & Chandon cellars and Nicolas Feuillatte. You can tour the houses, bike through the vineyards, and learn more about the winemaking process at the Museum of Champagne Wine and Regional Archaeology.

Champagne is also home to the city of Reims, which has its own Notre Dame cathedral, where French kings were crowned for 1000 years, along with four other UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The region is 89 miles from Paris, and the easiest way to get there is via the TGV train, which stops at Reims and Épernay, from Paris Gare de l’Est. You can also drive there via the A4 if you’ve hired a car, which takes slightly longer but is incredibly scenic.

FAQs About Paris Day Trips

Is Paris Safe?

If you're a solo traveler visiting France in the near future, rest assured that Paris (aka the 'City of Lights') is generally safe for tourists. Of course, like any big city, it's important to exercise common sense and take usual precautions. Stick to well-lit and populated areas, be cautious with your belongings, and avoid displaying expensive items openly.

The city has an efficient public transportation system, which can be a convenient and secure way to get around and I found myself using it through my trip.

The simple rule I live by when traveling solo is to stay aware of your surroundings, and you'll likely have a memorable and safe experience.

Which side of the road do they drive on in Paris?

In Paris, as is the case with the rest of France, they drive on the right side of the road, which is the same as the United States. The driver’s seat is also on the left side of the car. This is the opposite of the driving side in London—something to note if you go to the English capital on a day trip.

Which Cities/Towns/Attractions are less than 2 hours away from Paris?

Most of the day trip destinations that you can visit from Paris are less than two hours away. These include the Loire Valley, Versailles, Fontainebleau, Dijon, Champagne, and Disneyland Paris.

Note that those which are over two hours (Normandy and London) are only just over two hours, so you could still easily incorporate them into day trips if you’re organized.

How is public transportation in Paris?

Paris has some of the best public transport in Europe. The metro system consists of underground trains that connect all neighborhoods of Paris and make it easy to reach various landmarks around the city.

There are 16 lines on the metro, which is also connected to the above-ground express train known as RER. You can use the same travel card to access both systems.

The first metro train leaves at 5:30 a.m. and the last leaves at 1 a.m., and 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. There are 300 stations, which are easily identified by the letter “M.”

To reach day trip destinations, train travel is usually the best form of transport. There are seven major train stations in Paris, the busiest being Gare du Nord, which connects to London via the Eurostar. You may also visit Gare de Lyon and Gare de l’Est when visiting the most common Paris day trip destinations.

Taxis and rideshare services operate widely in Paris. The city bus system is closely linked to the underground metro system, but is less popular with travelers. You can find all the details on the RATP website. It’s often easier to take the subway!

About The Author

Vanessa Elle

Vanessa is an Australian-based freelance writer and editor with a BA in Creative Writing. She’s passionate about creating travel content that inspires her readers to take a leap of faith and power through their bucket lists. When she’s not writing (with her border collie asleep at her feet), she’s devouring books, exploring the world, or planning her next trip.

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Vanessa Elle

Vanessa Elle

Vanessa is an Australian-based freelance writer and editor with a BA in Creative Writing. She’s passionate about creating travel content that inspires her readers to take a leap of faith and power through their bucket lists.

When she’s not writing (with her border collie asleep at her feet), she’s devouring books, exploring the world, or planning her next trip.

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