10 Incredible Day Trips From Paris To Enjoy With Your Loved Ones

To be perfectly honest, on a Parisian vacation, there’s really no need to leave Paris at all! This is a city that’s absolutely packed with things to do, from touring the Louvre to soaking up the atmosphere at a Montmartre café.

10 Incredible Day Trips From Paris To Enjoy With Your Loved One

Paris is also exceptionally busy, and sometimes you need a break from it all. Thankfully, Paris is surrounded on all sides by beautiful, historic, and peaceful towns, offering visitors an opportunity to discover more of France, at a slower pace. 

Take a look at this guide and say bonjour to the most amazing day trips from Paris!

Château De Versailles

Until the seventeenth century, the site where the glorious Château de Versailles now sits was a quiet area. In 1623, Louis XIII built a hunting lodge, which he later replaced with a small château.

It didn’t become the mastery of opulence we know today until 1661, when Louis XIV expanded and transformed the château, before making it the seat of both his court and his government.

Less than an hour by train from Paris, Château de Versailles is a celebration of luxury, an expansive palace with some of the finest interiors around.

The immense scale of Versailles is impressive alone, and you should expect to get lost in the wondrous decorative details on display. Save time for the gardens, which are immaculately kept and reflect the splendor of the palace.

Giverny

Prepare to be inspired at Giverny, the place that Claude Monet called home from 1883 until 1926. Explore the tranquil gardens that were the setting for his famous water lily series, and discover the colorful pink stucco house that Monet lived in.

Afterwards, take a trip to the Museum of Impressionism Giverny, and see the artworks created by the impressionists, and often inspired by the area.

The quiet atmosphere of Giverny makes it an excellent place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Paris. Undeniably picturesque, Giverny maintains many of the charms that first attracted Monet.

Make time to sit among the gardens and soak up the atmosphere. Maybe it will inspire some artworks of your own!

Château De Fontainebleau

Château de Fontainebleau has a history dating back to the 12th Century, as this grand palace first began life as a fortified castle.

Perhaps not as widely known as Versailles, Fontainebleau is still an architectural triumph, and the home of an exceptional art collection.

Inspired by the masterpieces of the Italian renaissance, Château de Fontainebleau features 1500 rooms set among 130 hectares of parkland.

Among the fully furnished rooms are the apartments of Napoleon, the apartment of the Pope, and the extravagant throne room of Napoleon.

The gardens at Fontainebleau reflect the classical style, and include pools, statues, and a parterre and canal. Or, if you want something a little more wild, wander around the sprawling forest land that surrounds both the town and the palace. 

Reims

Reims is the traditional site for the coronation of the French monarchy, leading to its nicknames “the Coronation City”, and the “City of Kings”.

The glorious Notre-Dame de Reims hosted coronations for over one thousand years, but its splendor had to be restored after suffering heavy damage in WWI.

It’s just one of several notable historical sites in Reims, including the Place Drouet-d’Erlon, and the Porte de Mars. Anyone who loves history and architecture will be thrilled to explore Reims, and soak up its diverse heritage. 

Reims also sits on the very edge of the Champagne region, and is seen as the unofficial capital of Champagne. As you might expect, there are plenty of places to find a good drink in Reims.

There are also a wealth of exceptional restaurants. Ideal for refreshing after a morning spent ogling Reims architecture!

Loire Valley 

10 Incredible Day Trips From Paris To Enjoy With Your Loved One

Known as the Cradle of the French due to the exceptional number of vineyards, orchards, and produce fields, the Loire Valley is a verdant stretch of valley surrounding the Loire river in central France.

While the natural abundance of the area is certainly a draw for day trippers — particularly those looking to sample the best French wine — most come to the Loire Valley for the castles. 

There are more than three hundred châteaux in the area, each one reflecting a changing need of French nobility, and the fashions of the French upper class.

From the fortified castles that were constructed in the 10th century to the houses of the monarchy built for splendor rather than fortification, the Loire Valley is a breathtaking cultural experience.

Among the best known sites are the Château de Chambord, and the Château de Chenonceau. 

Chantilly

For those less well versed in the domains of France, and more motivated by a sweet tooth, Chantilly is perhaps best known as the namesake for Chantilly cream.

Or for fans of fine couture, the birthplace of Chantilly lace. But most visitors come to this charming region to see the spectacular Château de Chantilly.

Open to the public, visitors are able to discover the rooms once owned by relatives of the French monarchy.

Château de Chantilly also houses Musée Condé, an exceptional art gallery with one of the greatest painting collections in France (and it’s up against some tough competition). 

Chantilly is less than 24 miles from central Paris, and is within the Metropolitan area of Paris. Just a short journey by car or train, this is an excellent day trip for any visitor to Paris.

Chartres

The Chartres Cathedral is an exceptional example of French Gothic Art, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site appears almost exactly today as it did when construction was finished in 1220.

Much of the architecture has been unchanged since the 13th century, and even the majority of the stained glass windows are original. (Thankfully, as the famous bleu de Chartres color used in the glass can no longer be created!) 

There’s possibly no finer example of original High Gothic architecture left in the world, although you’ll have to see it for yourself to be sure of the designation.

Visit in summer through to the holiday season, and Chartres puts on a magnificent light display, illuminating the town and its major sites.

Of course, you’ll have to stay around until evening to see the lights, but Chartres has a good selection of restaurants to keep you occupied until the show starts.

Normandy

Normandy is quite a long day out from Paris, but this solemn coastal region offers a moving experience for visitors.

Normandy is best known to modern visitors for the role it played in WWII, and the D-Day landings which occurred on the Normandy beaches.

For history lovers, the Caen Memorial Museum is dedicated to the history of the twentieth century, and provides an in-depth look at the events of World War II.

The Overlord Museum also commemorates the Allied landings in Normandy, and is located near Omaha Beach landing. And all visitors should make time to visit the American cemetery.

The expansive field filled with white crosses is as heartbreaking as it is beautiful.

Château De Vaux-Le-Vicomte

For a romantic day out, take a trip to the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte. The baroque palace is an example of lavish and ornate architecture, but also the setting of an historic le scandal.

In fact, the very opulence of the château is what led to the scandal in the first place.

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte was constructed in 1661 for Nicolas Fouquet, who was the superintendent of finances for Louis XIV at the time.

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte was intended to flatter the king, as a dazzling salute to French architecture and wealth. Unfortunately, Louis XIV took it the wrong way.

Rather than seeing a château built in his honor, Louis XIV believed Fouquet had financed his personal palace with misappropriating public funds.

Fouquet was arrested, and Louis XIV ordered the construction of Versailles to prove no one could do awe inspiring opulence as well as he could.

So, take a trip to Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, and discover a building so fabulous it actually got its owner arrested!

Disneyland Paris

A slightly different choice to the other options on this list, it would be impossible to cover Paris day trips without mentioning Disneyland!

Roughly an hour outside central Paris, Disneyland Paris is easy to access, even for families with very young kids.

It feels completely different to the rest of France — when you step through the park gates, it really is like stepping into another land. 

With incredible rides and an intriguing cast of characters, not to mention the parades, fireworks, and stunts, a trip to Disneyland Paris is a day guaranteed to be packed with fun!

It’s overwhelming, but in the best way possible. (And if Disneyland leaves you feeling a little worn down, consider a revitalizing trip to Giverny for the next day).

Final Thoughts

Paris is a jewel of a city set among equally dazzling sights, and a short trip away can bring you to some of the most historic, picturesque, and lavish settings in all of France.

The exceptional French rail system makes travel easier than ever, or check out the planned bus tours that depart frequently from the City of Lights.

Mylene Mace