Top Ten Day Trips From Paris

Our Most Popular Day Trips From Paris

Eternally fascinating Paris offers world class food, something like 136 museums and shopping, shopping, shopping. Meanwhile,  just a walk to the corner offers a living history lesson.  That street sign?  Named for one of France’s greatest writers.  The district you are in?  Something momentous happened there, be assured.

But at least one morning during your stay in Paris, take that last sip of perfect coffee and finish your croissant. You are going to get out of town. Here is our definitive list of ten day trips from Paris that are sure to please.

#1. Versailles Palace Trip From Paris

Tour options: We offer a private tour option to Versailles or you can buy tickets directly from the Chateau de Versailles website. Going to Versailles is one of the best and easiest day trips from Paris by RER light rail.

Just 20 minutes from Paris via light rail, van tour, or cab sits the upscale town of Versailles, which so happens to have a very famous palace.

A video presentation of Versailles Palace

The sheer size and grandeur of the France’s most famous palace has to be seen to be appreciated. “Living like a king” is hardly adequate to describe the palace and gardens. Covering over 2000 acres, with 230 acres of formal gardens and with 721,000 square feet of living space, the Palace of Versailles is rightly called the world’s largest palace.

The Hall of Mirrors and royal apartments draw over three million visitors each year. But not on Mondays, when it is closed.

Availability: Year-round everyday except Monday. Closed on January 1st and December 25th.

#2. Normandy D-Day Day Trips From Paris

Tour options: Our Normandy tour from Paris is our most popular tour by far. We also offer a great overnight option with a tour and stay in Bayeux.

Hitler and the Nazis held France and Europe in a death grip until the epic allied invasion of June 6, 1944. Years in the planning, the attack was a coordination of British, American and Canadian forces numbering over 150,000 men on D Day and ultimately almost a million troops by the end of June. Walking Omaha Beach, stepping inside a German gun bunker, and seeing the white crosses of the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer is both humbling and deeply inspiring.

Whether you drive there or take the convenient train to Bayeux for a tour, don’t miss this chance at experiencing living history.

Rick Steves visits Normandy

Availability: Year-round. Dark on January 1st and December 25th. Note: Book far in advance for tour dates near the June 6th D-Day Anniversary.

#3. Mont St. Michel Day Trips From Paris

Tour options: Our day trips from Paris to Mont St. Michel and Brittany are the perfect way to discover both Monet St. Michel and the region of Brittany.

In the 11th century, a medieval monk was visited by a seemingly impossible vision from the archangel Michael. The angel instructed him to build a monastery atop a rock formation along the Brittany/Normandy coastline. Many centuries later, Mont St. Michel, as it now stands, was completed. It’s no surprise that Mont St. Michel is the second-most-visited site in France, after the Eiffel Tower.  An historic gem.

Bus excursions run there from Paris, but high speed rail to the Brittany coast is a great way to get there. If you are planning a D Day tour, consider staying over in Bayeux or Caen. That puts you within easy distance of the Mont via our tour or self driving.

Visit the abbey at Mont St. Michel
Visit the abbey at Mont St. Michel

Availability: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday March through November.

#4. Giverny and Monet’s Garden

Tour options: We offer a Giverny bike tour from Paris and combination private Versailles and Giverny tour. For other options please visit the Giverny section of the Normandy tourist website

Just 45 minutes from Paris lies the lovely riverside village of Vernon, and just outside that is Claude Monet’s house and gardens at Giverny. There is direct train access to Vernon from Paris’ Saint Lazare station, but excursions routinely go there via van or bus. Parisian native Monet was in his 40’s and enjoying some success, after years of unrecognized toil as an architect of the Impressionist painting movement, when he moved to the country and bought Giverny. He remained there, with his wife and children, the rest of his life, dying in 1926.

A skilled amateur designer, he created themed gardens, including Clos Normand and a Japanese Water garden that ultimately inspired his most famous paintings. Peak viewing is June to September, and Giverny is closed from November through March. Even when everything is not in bloom, Monet’s charming and vibrantly colored home is worth a visit.

Availability: Available every day from April through October.

#5. Disneyland Paris

Tour options: We recommend booking tickets directly at the Disneyland Paris website.

With a grand opening in 1992, Disneyland Paris has been going strong for three decades. Located about 45 minutes outside the city via light rail (line RER A 4 to be exact), the theme park and nearby outlet shopping draw over 12 million visitors a year. Families vacationing in Paris are the biggest segment of visitors, but there are thousands of Disney enthusiasts who have made a point to enjoy every Disney theme park on earth, with Disneyland Paris being the number one destination after the flagship in California.

You will see all the California favorites at the park (yes even Main Street U.S.A), but expect random food to have a little French vibe. The newish Disney Studios park salutes the incredible pantheon of Disney hits, from the Marvel universe to Pixar.

Day trips from Paris to Disneyland
Day trips from Paris to Disneyland

Availability: Year-round.

#6. Lyon Day Trips From Paris

Tour options: We offer a great Lyon day trip from Paris

As with any city going back to the Romans, Lyon is a river town. Well make that a two river town, the Saone and the Rhone. Lyon offers sights such as the still-functioning Amphitheater of the Three Gauls, built in 19 A.D., a stunning medieval Old Town that narrowly missed the wrecking ball in the 1960’s, and an amazing food scene. The French onion soup you eat in Paris is thanks to Lyonnaise workers who craved tastes of home. Celebrity chef Paul Boucouse hailed from Lyon and it is hard to find a bad meal there, be it humble or Michelin-starred.

A walking tour of the secret passages of old town (traboules) is a must. Just outside town, the Boucouse childhood home has become a destination restaurant, as has his teaching restaurant Sud, right in Lyon. This is one of our more romantic day trips from Paris.

Availability: Year-round. Dark on January 1st and December 25th

#7. Fontainebleau Castle

Tour options: Tickets for can be purchased at the official Fontainebleau website.

The castle that perhaps inspired Sleeping Beauty’s castle (a few castles claim it) is another short train or van ride from Paris. It was the seat of French kings right through to Napoleon III and the splendid rooms and grounds do not disappoint. If a full day of castles is not in your budget or timing, Fontainebleau is a perfect day out.

Availability: Year-round everyday except Tuesday. Closed on January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th.

#8. Champagne Day Trips from Paris

Tour options: Our most popular champagne tour is our Veuve Clicquot Day Tour. Other day trips from Paris to Champagne options include Moet, Mumm, and Taittinger visits. Learn about all of our Champagne day trips form Paris on our dedicated page.

The drink that epitomizes celebration is Champagne, named for a region just outside Paris. Whether you go to the perfectly-kept small town of Epernay, the home of Moët & Chandon, Dom Perignon and Mercier, or to the city of Reims, where Veuve Clicquot welcomes pilgrims to “the widow’s” cellars, a Champagne day trip is a short drive or train ride away. It’s odd to contemplate, but much of World War I was fought in Champagne, and battlefield touring is also popular, especially since the opening of an interactive museum that puts you right inside the trenches. Champagne is 45 minutes away by high speed rail and a little over an hour by car.

Visit the Veuve Clicquot cellars
Visit the Veuve Clicquot cellars

Availability: March through October. Check individual tour options for specific availability. Closed on January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th.

#9. Loire Valley Castles Day Trips from Paris

Tour options: We offer a variety of Loire Valley day trips from Paris options. Please visit our dedicated Loire Valley tour page to learn more.

Just about an hour outside Paris via high speed rail, the Loire Valley is a magical place of castles, grand rivers, vineyards and rolling farmland. The chalky soil makes for minerally white wines and light reds. And the limestone forms the basis of dozens of splendid castles, and plenty of lesser-known ones. In fact, the Loire Valley has a castle about every square mile. Day trips will feature at least three, and sometimes four castles. Chambord, Chenonceau, Cheverny, Amboise and Blois are the most popular. To see Leonardo da Vinci’s last home, and a museum dedicated to his work, visit Clos Luce in the town of Amboise, also a very popular destination.

A video overview of Château de Chambord

Availability: March through October. Check individual tour options for specific availability. Closed on January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th.

#10. Alsace Day Trips from Paris

Tour options: We offer a tour to Alsace focused on wine and another focused on the small towns in the region.

Enjoy a day of breathtaking mountain views, quaint medieval villages, crisp wine and engaging history.  High speed rail to and from Strasbourg makes it an easy day trip. A visit puts you right at the German border, in an area that has been, by turns, Roman, German, French and Austrian (controlled by the Habsburgs). But it is indeed French. Bundle up and enjoy this stunning trip back in time.

Availability: March through October. Check individual tour options for specific availability. Closed on January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th.

See our full list of Day Trips from Paris and Overnight Tours from Paris.