13 Day trips from Paris by train
Paris is one of the most visited cities in Europe and it has the perfect location for various day trips by train. Paris itself definitely deserves your visit, however when you step out of the city, you will be able to see stunning castles, charming towns and also few of the neighboring countries.
If you are visiting Paris for the first time, I would recommend that you spend at least 3-4 days exploring the city including all the hidden gems of Paris. Then when you have explored the city, why not head out on some day trips and discover what lies beyond the city.
Paris has several large train stations, Gare du Nord (officially Paris-Nord) being the main train station in Paris as well as Europe’s busiest. The station accommodates trains between the capital and Northern France via the Paris–Lille railway, as well as to international destinations in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Traveling by train in France is very easy. You can buy your tickets at the train station, online or in the very easy to use ticket machines using cash or card. Make sure that your ticket gets validated before you board your train.
In this post, I will share with you my top tips on places for day trips from Paris by train so you can start exploring France beyond Paris.
13 DAY TRIPS FROM PARIS BY TRAIN
1. Château de Chantilly
Distance from Paris: 55.22 km
Train time: 23 minutes
One of the best easy day trips from Paris is definitely Château de Chantilly, a fairy-tale castle located in the town of the same name. It is not a royal castle but it is so pretty and was admired by many Kings and Queens.
The Château de Chantilly is one of the jewels of the French heritage and is the work of Henry d’Orléans, Duke of Aumale, son of the last king of France: Louis Philippe.
When you arrive, you will be able to find the Chantilly castle, the Condé Museum, the park, the Grandes Écuries (the great stables) and the Horse Museum.
The Condé Museum has the second largest collection of old paintings after the Louvre and if you visit the great stables you might be able to see some acrobatic horse shows as well.
The castle is surrounded by magnificent French-style gardens designed by André Le Notre, the same landscape designer who worked on the Gardens of Versailles. It is the perfect place for a picnic, relaxing and enjoying the amazing view.
Chantilly is quick to reach by train yet I would recommend you to reserve a whole day for this trip. Tourists are usually surprised by dimensions of this area and you will spend quite some time exploring the buildings and its surroundings including the vast park. Half a day is simply not enough.
Distance from Paris: 361 km
Train time: 3 h 20min
The iconic island of Mont Saint-Michel is situated on the border of the Brittany and Normandy regions and it is an unforgettable day trip from Paris.
It is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 and is one of the most visited places in France.
The tides of the Channel are always changing, at high tide, Mont Saint Michel appears as a distant mystical island, while at low tide, it is possible to walk from the mainland out on to the island. However, it is not very safe to do so unless you are very familiar with the movements of the tide. I would recommend you to book a tour with a local guide to make sure you head out from the mainland at the right time.
The entire island is well-preserved and you will need a few hours to explore this amazing place. If you have more time, you should definitely stay overnight and enjoy the sunset over the bay.
3. Champagne region
Distance from Paris: 143 km
Train time: 2 h
Epernay is situated in the Champagne Ardenne region, home to many world-famous Champagne producers an a very popular day trip from Paris. Epernay is famous for being the capital of the Champagne region and it is the perfect destination for a day trip for all bubbly lovers.
Champagne is the sparkling wine that is produced in this region of France. Any sparkling wine produced outside of this region is not champagne. Original champagne is made from a combination of the three grapes: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Meunier.
Epernay is full of wine cellars and champagne houses open for visits. Moët & Chandon and Mercier being two of the most prominent ones.
Even if you are not interested in champagne Epernay is well worth the visit. The town is filled with luxurious 19th-century townhouses and architecturally interesting mansions. So, if you want to escape the rush of the city, hop on a train to enjoy some relaxing time in this quaint little town and hopefully you get to enjoy some of those famous bubbles as well.
Distance from Paris: 24 km
Train time: 42 minutes
When we are talking about day trips from Paris, we cannot forget Versailles. The Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles) is well known around the world for its magnificent castle and extravagant gardens and it’s just a short train ride away. The estate was the residence of the kings of France such as Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI.
At the entrance, the first thing you notice is the impressive bronze statue of Louis XIV. I really recommend you can to take an audio tour inside the palace. It’s the best way to explore this place and to learn about the Palatine Chapel and the amazing hall of mirrors.
Make sure you visit the Grand and Petit Trianon and the Queen’s Hamlet. The Queen’s Hamlet is where Marie Antoinette would often go to get away from the daily hassle of castle life.
Versailles was also a site of historical importance. The Peace of Paris (1783) was signed at Versailles, the Proclamation of the German Empire occurred in the vaunted Hall of Mirrors, and World War I was officially put to an end in the palace through the Treaty of Versailles.
The palace is now a historical monument and UNESCO World Heritage site along with the ceremonial Hall of Mirrors, the Royal Opera, and the Gardens of Versailles with its fountains, canals, and geometric flower beds and groves.
5. Disneyland Paris
Distance from Paris: 44 km
Train time: 37 minutes
If you travel with family, Disneyland is one of the top family day trips from Paris. It is located about 44km from the center of Paris and you can easily get there by the RER train – Regional Express Network.
Disneyland is one of the most visited sites in Europe and it is definitely something you should not miss on your trip to France.
There are two theme parks, Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. Both parks are great, however, if you have only one day, I would recommend visiting only one of them.
The first one, Disneyland Park is where you find the amazing world of Disney with Sleeping Beauty Castle or Mickey Mouse.
The second Disney Studios Park is more inspired by the magic of cinema and film studios. One of the most famous attractions in this park is “the Ratatouille”.
Apart from the theme parks, you will find many hotels, golf course, conference halls, restaurants, shopping centers and much more around. If you are planning to visit both parks, I would recommend staying overnight in one of the nearby hotels.
Distance from Paris: 384 km
Train time: 2h 30 minutes
The distance between Paris and London is very small so it is definitely faster to take a train from Paris instead of flying. This makes a London a perfect day trip from Paris and you can be in another country in just few hours.
There are daily trains taking this route and if you catch train early in the morning, you can even enjoy breakfast in London. The tickets might vary according to the days and promotions; however, average cost of the route is around 140 EUR/per person.
You might be thinking that visiting London in one day is a bit too much. Yes, London is huge, however you can easily hop on one of the tours in double-decker bus and explore the main monuments in one day. And if you have a spare time, check out my ultimate list of hidden gems in London.
When you are in London, you should not miss visiting a few important landmarks. If you want to relax, I would recommend Hyde Park which is one of the largest parks in London. The park has also a historical significance as many demonstrations and protests happened here.
We cannot forget the Westminster, home to the Houses of Parliament and the world-famous Big Ben as well as Westminster Abbey which is one of the most visited places in London.
If you are a fan of markets, I would recommend you Camden market with lots of stalls selling everything from art to street food.
London Eye is a must on your London itinerary. It was originally constructed to celebrate the new millennium and the London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel offering gorgeous views across the city.
If you have spare time, you can take a boat tour across the river Thames, which is also England´s longest river.
Distance from Paris:225 km
Train time: 2h approx.
Normandy should also be on your list of a perfect day trip from Paris by train. The entire area is rural and beautiful and visiting the Normandy beaches is something that will stick with you forever.
This historic coastal region is probably best known for its involvement in the Second World War, with much of the war’s legacy still visible. On June 6, 1944, the battle of D-Day became the turning point in World War II which allowed the Allies to finally gain some advantage.
When you visit Normandy, you should not miss the famous Omaha Beach, where the D-Day battle happened. Also explore the Caen Memorial Museum where you can learn more about the Battle of Normandy and World War II history.
Tours with a professional guide are available.
Distance from Paris: 491 km
Train time: 1h 55 minutes
Strasbourg is a cosmopolitan city that combines its German history and its modern French influences with ease. The city is about 491km away from Paris and when you catch a fast train like TGV, you can get to Strasbourg in a few hours.
You can easily spend a relaxing day in the Old town, crossing the canals and observing the medieval buildings.
There is also an impressive Cathedral with an Astrological clock which offers a great view of the city. It’s the symbol of the city and the oldest Gothic cathedral in the world.
The Petite France (“Little France”) is Strasbourg’s most picturesque and visited area. In the past, the area was occupied by fishermen’s and millers due to the water nearby. Nowadays you can observe the half-timbered houses which are extremely well preserved and you can take a walk in the small cobblestone alleys along the water’s edge.
If you are a fan of canal tours, take a boat along the Old Town area and dive into the history of the Strasbourg.
Distance from Paris: 268 km
Train time: 2h 42minutes
Bruges is my favorite city in Belgium and the perfect day trip from Paris by train. Sometimes people call Bruges “Venice of the North” because of its many canals.
It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site because it is one of the most well-preserved towns of its kind. It’s beautiful stone buildings, Flemish architecture, narrow streets and canal system make this place really magical.
When you come to Bruges, I would recommend taking a canal tour because this way, you can really explore the city from a unique perspective.
The Belfry tower is located in the heart of the city and it should not be missed. It is a bell tower built in the 15th century and if you want you can climb the 366 steps to enjoy the view over the town.
If you time it, there is the Bruges market every Wednesday and if you visit them during November and December, you can enjoy the beautiful Christmas market.
Don’t forget to taste famous Vlaamse Frites (Flemish fries) including delicious Belgium beer and for dessert try some artisanal Belgian chocolates.
Distance from Paris: approx. 90km
Train time: 1h 30min
Provins is one of my favorite day trip from Paris and many visitors come to this medieval city every year.
In 2001, it was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO which brought even more visitors.
You can easily visit the whole village on foot and it is the best way to explore its architecture and old buildings. The medieval town center of Provins is just absolutely stunning to wander around and it is something you should definitely not miss.
The city seems to be frozen in the 13th century and it is recommended to take a guided tour to explore the city´s most iconic places such as La Tour Cesar, The Ramparts, La Roseraie de Provins and La Légende des Chevaliers.
Walking around Tour Cesar is one of the highlights of the things to do in Provins. The tower was a symbol of power for the region and it’s still possible to climb the stairs to enjoy the view over the town.
Another landmark which is worth visiting is the Ramparts of Provins, the original city walls and towers from the 13th century. Some of the ramparts are still standing and they are well maintained so you can walk around and really feel the history that surrounds you.
If you visit Provins during the summer, you will have the unique opportunity to visit the Rose Garden of Provins, which has over 300 varieties of roses. Provins is popular place for its roses and you’ll find various rose products all over the town, including beauty products, candied rose petals, rose-infused drinks, chocolate, honey, and candles.
11. Loire Valley
Distance from Paris: approx. 200km
Train time: 35min with TGV
The Loire Valley (Val de Loire) is a great place for a day trip from Paris as it located just about 200km from the city. Head here for the day to enjoy the beautiful surrounding nature and to discover the secrets of the Loire chateaux.
Some people considered this place to be “The Gardens of France” and you can find around 1000 castles here. It reflects French-style Renaissance architecture, nature and gastronomy at its finest.
It was also the home to the father of the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci, who was invited to live at Clos Lucé in Amboise by King Francis I in 1516 where he then lived until he died in 1519.
Some of the castles you should visit on your trip are Château of Blois, Chambord, Château de Chenonceau and Cheverny which is still inhabited by the latest generation of the noble family the Hurault de Vibrayes.
Château Chambord the largest of the Loire chateaux’s and it was actually built to be François I’s second home. It is surrounded by amazing gardens and forest where you can take a nice walk.
Château of Blois is located in the middle of the town, has been frequently remodeled, with buildings dating from the 13th to the 17th centuries dotted around the courtyard.
Château de Chenonceau is located the heart of the Loire Valley and it is one of the most beautiful representations of Renaissance architecture.
The abundance of beautiful landscapes with vineyards, fairytale castles and rich history that surrounds them makes this place an incredible attraction. Which would be a pity to miss!
Distance from Paris: 75km
Train time: approx. 1h
Giverny lies on the bank of the River Seine and it was the home of the famous Impressionist painter Claude Monet for more than 40 years.
The long years Monet spent in Giverny would turn it into a place of artistic pilgrimage, even during his lifetime. Monet designed several paintings here which became famous and put the small Normandy village of Giverny on the map.
This small village still attracts artists and art lovers from all over. Tourists frequently come to Giverny to visit the numerous galleries, cafes and restaurants in town.
When you come to Giverny, you should need to visit the Claude Monet Foundation where you can see the house in which he lived and the studio in which he painted. The house is also surrounded by a beautiful Japanese garden. From the foundation it’s a short walk to see the Church of Sainte-Radegonde, the 16th-century church where Monet and his family are buried.
Distance from Paris: 262 km
Train time: 1h 40min
Apart from Bruges in Belgium, you can also visit Brussels as a day trip from Paris by train. Brussels is the seat of the EU and its hub of political decision-making, however, Brussels is more than that.
This city is full of history, beautiful parks, amazing beer, fries and Belgium chocolate.
You can start exploring the city from the heart of it, the Grand Place. The central square is surrounded by ornate guildhalls, the Town Hall, and the Museum of the City of Brussels. If you like history, definitely go to see the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula. The gothic cathedral looks so much like Notre Dame so that you have to remind yourself that you are actually in Brussels.
If you are a beer lover, you should not miss out on visiting some of the local breweries of delicious Belgian beer.
Another spot which is worth visiting is Mont des Arts, this area separates the upper and lower parts of Brussels and visitors can experience almost every conceivable artistic activity. There are many concerts, movies and exhibition available during the year.
Did I miss any fabulous day trips from Paris by train? Let me know in the comments below.
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Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world and you should visit it at least once in your lifetime. For first-time visitors, there are dozens of classic sights and experiences to see like the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral, and that’s just...