Picture this: You’re in Paris for the trip of a life-time. You’ve been saving up for a while, you’re excited, and you can’t wait to see everything! But after going to the Eiffel Tower, having your fill of the Moulin Rouge, and swapping smiles with the enigmatic Mona Lisa, you find yourself with too many days left on your vacation and too few ideas on how to spend them. What else can you do when you’ve already ticked off all the classic Paris attractions?
Well, you don’t need to worry. We got this issue handled for you. For a change of scene, why not consider some of the amazing sights outside of French capital? After all, just because you’re staying in Paris doesn’t mean you have to stay in Paris, right?
Here are our suggestions for the Top 13 Must Do Day Trips from Paris!
1. Monet’s House in Giverny
If there’s one thing France is well known for, is its amazing artistic culture. So why not visit the home of one of the most famous French painters of all time? On the tiny picturesque village of Giverny lies the home of one of the founding impressionist painters; Claude Monet. He left his house to the public after his death, and it’s been beautifully preserved to look just as it did when he was still alive.
See his sitting room where Monet worked on some of his most famous paintings, see the private bedroom, his dining room, his kitchen… Get a taste for some of the most influential works of art outside of the famed Louvre! After exploring the beautifully maintained house take a leisurely stroll through the lush grounds and discover how Monet immortalized the surrounding landscapes of Giverny in his impressionistic paintings.
Can you spot some of the subjects he converted into priceless works of art? Even if you can’t, you’ll be able to understand how such a beautiful setting inspired some of the most iconic works in the world.
How to get to Giverny and Monet’s House from Paris?
Giverny is located roughly 75 kilometers from Paris. Trains to the Vernon-Giverny station are available from the Paris Saint Lazare-Station/Gare Saint-Lazare on the Paris to Rouen and Le Havre line. From there you can get a bus shuttle to the Monet House. The round trip bus ticket costs only €10.00
|Adults (ages 18+)||€9.00|
|Children (ages over 7 to 18)||€6.50|
|Children (ages 7 and under)||Free|
Address: 84 Rue Claude Monet, 27620 Giverny, France
Opening Hours: Open every day from 9:30AM to 6:00 PM. Last entrance is at 5:30 p.m.
2.The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial
A northern region of France, Normandy is as well known for its beautiful coast as it is for its crucial role in World War II. It is no surprise, then, that many visitors take time to pay their respects at the memorials erected in honor of the fallen soldiers. If you too would like to honor those brave memories while learning more about history, then visit the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.
Overlooking Omaha Beach and the English Channel where the allied troops crossed and landed during that historic day, the symmetrically aligned white crosses spread throughout the green fields is a sobering sight. It truly makes the terrible devastation of World War II feel far too real to those of us who were lucky never to witness such horrors. It is something we should all experience at least once in our lifetime.
How to get to the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial from Paris?
The train from Paris to the Normandy American Cemetery Memorial takes roughly three hours. You can leave from the Paris Saint Lazare-Station/Gare Saint-Lazare towards the Gare de Bayeux. Taxis and buses are available there and they can take you to the Memorial.
Prices: Admission for the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is free of charge.
Address: 14710 Colleville-sur-Mer, France
Opening Hours: The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is open every day from 9:00AM to 6:00PM, and from April 15th to September 15th from 9:00AM to 5:00PM. The cemetery is close on December 25th and January 1st.
3.The Memorial de Caen
For an informative day trip, look no further than the Memorial de Caen. Located in one of the biggest cities of Normandy, this museum celebrates the Battle for Caen where the British Second Army fought the Germans for control of the city during World War II.
Aiming to show the fragility of peace, there are numerous exhibits focusing on the history of the 20th century. Details about the Cold War, a Berlin Wall exhibit detailing life in Berlin after World War II, a civilians in war time memorial, a 360 circular theatre composed of 9 screens that show archived footage of the Battle of Normandy, strategies used during the war, the history leading up to it… All of these provide for an informative and incredibly powerful trip that could beat any history lesson you get while still at school.
How to get to the Memorial de Caen from Paris?
Trains to the station are available from the Paris Saint Lazare-Station/Gare Saint-Lazare on the Paris to Gare de Caen.
|Adults (ages 18 to 60)||€19.80|
|Children (ages 10 to 18)||€17.50|
|Children (ages 10 and under)||Free|
|Seniors (ages 60+)||€17.50|
Address: The Caen Normandie Memorial is located at Esplanade Général Eisenhower
CS 55026, 14050 Caen Cedex 4
Opening Hours: The Caen-Normandie Memorial is open from 9:00AM to 7:00PM during the summer, and 9:00AM to 6:00PM during the fall and winter. Hours for specific days may vary.
4.Normandy Food Tour
As surprising as it may be, Paris doesn’t have the monopoly on good food and wine. You can bet that when it comes to gourmet cuisine, all of France wants in on the action. Normandy is no exception!
Renowned for its quality agricultural products, this northern French region is well known for its amazing cheeses! Most – if not all – restaurants in Normandy are extremely proud of their traditional dishes made solely with locally grown ingredients. And with such amazing taste, who can blame them?
On this Normandy Food Tour you’ll see the breathtaking views of Côte Fleurie, explore a cheese factory, and discover the most popular Calvados hard cider while eating Normand crepes. This is a true French gourmet experience to leave any foodie satisfied!
How to get to the Normand Food Tour from Paris?
The Normandy Food Tour picks you up at your hotel or some other previously agreed destination between 7:00AM – 7:30AM.
Prices for the tour cost roughly $379.70
Address: Pick up is either at your Paris hotel or central pickup location. You’ll be informed ahead of time.
Opening Hours: The pickup for the Normandy Food Tour leaves bright and early between 7:00AM to 7:30AM and lasts 10 to 12 hours.
5. Chateau d’Amboise
Have you ever wondered what it felt like to be in a fairy-tale? Well, you don’t have to anymore. Situated right in the mid-stretch of the Loire River, the Loire Valley is a fertile land which, not only grows some of the best vines in Europe, but also features some France’s most beautiful chateaus. Among them is none other than great Chateau d’Amboise.
The setting of a historical meeting between King Clovis of the Francs and King Alaric of the Visigoths, this castle became a favorite royal residency after the monarchy confiscated it in the 15th century. Now it is a remarkable example of French Renaissance architecture. But it’s not the beautiful walls or strategic placement that makes the Chateau d’Amboise so well-known around the world; when you visit this magnificent building, you are also given the opportunity to pay respects to one of the world’s greatest painters, for Leonardo de Vinci’s tomb lies inside the castle’s chapel.
How to get to the Chateau d’Amboise from Paris?
Direct trains are available from the Gare d’Austerlitz/Paris-Austerlitz station to the Amboise station. The journey takes about 2 hours. From there you can walk to Chateau d’Amboise, which should take another 17 minutes or so.
|Admission fee + Pamphlet||Admission fee +Audio-Visit||Admission fee + Behind the Scenes History|
|Adults (ages 18+)||€11.70||€15.70||€16.20|
|Children (ages 7 to 18)||€7.80||€10.80||€12.30|
|Children (ages 7 and under)||Free||Free||Free|
You can also have 1 interactive visit on iPad with 1 set of headphones for an additional €5.00. Additional headsets are also available for an additional €2.00
Address: Montée de l’Emir Abd-el-Kader, 37400, Amboise, France
Opening Hours: With the exception of December 25th and January 1st, the Chateau d’Amboise is opened every day of the year from 9:00AM to 6:30PM.
6. Palace of Versailles
There are few sights more iconic than the Palace of Versailles. An opulent and grandiose monument of France’s royal bygone days, this was the residence of King Louis XIV prior to the beginning of the French Revolution. Billowing ball gowns, ruffled shirts and gilt, gold walls, beautiful gardens and the famed Hall of Mirrors; those are but a few of the imageries connected to this famed UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you’re visiting between the months of March and October, make sure to try and catch the extravagant Musical Fountain Show! To avoid the crowds, consider visiting the Palace of Versailles during a weekday, when it’s less likely to be overly crowded.
How to get to the Palace of Versailles from Paris?
To get to the Palace of Versailles from Paris, you can get a train from the Gare d’Austerlitz/Paris-Austerlitz station to the Gare Montparnasse station, and then another train from the Gare Montparnasse to the Gare de Versailles Chantiers.
Admission to the Gardens and the Coach Gallery are free of charge. But prices for tickets vary on what is included. Check their website for more information.
Address: Place d’Armes, 78000 Versailles
Opening Hours: The Palace of Versailles is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, from 9AM to 6:00PM, with ticket offices closing at 5:50PM. However, the Estate Trianon and the Coach Galley are only open from 12:00PM. The Gardens are open every day from 8:00AM to 8:00PM. The Estate of Marly open every day from 7:30AM to 7:30 PM, and the Park is also open every day of the week from 7:00AM to 8:30PM.
Reims is a beautiful city in the Grand Est region of France. An important stronghold of the Roman Empire, the traditional site of the anointment and coronation for the old French monarchy, this city is one of the centers of champagne production in France. In other words, there’s something for everyone in this amazing French city!
The Mars Gate and Cryptoporticus – both ancient remains of France’s Gallo-Roman past – are but some of the historical sites you can visit. And while there, don’t just try one of Reims’ great champagne; learn about how they are made, stored, and much more. Reim’s famed biscuit roses, their crumb-covered and broth cooked ham, Dijon mustard’s delicious rival are bound to leave you feeling like you entered food paradise! This is truly a city everyone should visit.
How to get to Reims from Paris?
You can get to Reims-Centre Station by taking either the Lille – Dijon – Mediterranean line or the Paris – Charleville – Sedan line. You can also get the TGV Express to Champagne-Ardenne station, and then get the tram to Reims.
Prices: Price on sites and attractions might vary. For some more suggestions, please check the Reims Tourism official website.
8. Mont St. Michel Island
While France is full of wondrous sights, there are few quite as impressive as the island of Mont St Michel. A UNESCO heritage site that receives over three million visitors a year, this island city is shrouded in myth and French history.
The Bishop of Avranches is said to have built the abbey at the very top of the island by request of angel Michael himself back in 709. Since then the island has held out against a siege for 30 years during the Hundred Years War, became a prison during the days of the French Revolution and French Empire, and more!
If you have the money to spare, make sure to stop by at La Mère Poulard, a restaurant dating back to 1879 well-known for its autographed walls and its giant expensive omelets.
How to get to the Mount St. Michel Island from Paris?
You can get to Mount St. Michel from Paris by taking a train to Gare Montparnasse, and then taking a bus to Mount St. Michel.
Prices: While there’s no ticket cost to enter the city, tickets for the Abbey cost €10.00, with an additional €3.00 for an audio guide.
9. Chenonceau Castle
Near the tiny village of Chenonceaux and overlooking the River Cher, the Chenonceau Castle is a French chateau which marries the best elements of Gothic and early Renaissance architecture. Today it is one of France’s most visited chateaus, well-known for its arched bridge and gallery.
A garden dedicated to Catherine de Medicis, an Italian maze, and the beautiful Flower Garden are some of the places you can explore while on the grounds of the castle. Dining options at the Chenonceau Castle vary from open air picnics to fine dining restaurants, giving a delightful experience for every budget. And the best part? The Chenonceau Castle is dog friendly!
How to get to the Chenonceau Castle from Paris?
The Chenonceau Castle is located 214 kilometers from Paris. The ride takes only about 1 hour by T.G.V from Paris to Montparnasse.
|Admission fee + Guide leaflet||Admission fee +Audioguide|
|Adults (ages 18+)||€14.00||€18.00|
|Student (ages between 18 to 27)||€11.00||€14.50|
|Children (ages 7 to 18)||€11.00||€14.50|
|Children (ages 7 and under)||Free||Free|
Address: The Chenonceau Castle is located at 37150 Chenonceaux, France
Opening Hours: The Chenonceau Castle is open every day of the year. Opening hours vary, though.
- From January 1st to February 21st the Chenonceau Castle is open from 9:30AM to 5:00PM.
- From February 22nd to March 25th the Chenonceau Castle is open from 9:00AM to 5:30PM.
- From March 26th to May 31st the Chenonceau Castle is open from 9:30AM to 7:00PM.
- From June 1st to June 30th the Chenonceau Castle is open from 9:30AM to 7:30PM.
- From July 1st to August 31st the Chenonceau Castle is open from 9:30AM to 8:00PM.
- From September 1st to September 30th the Chenonceau Castle is open from 9:30AM to 7:30PM.
- From October 1st to November 1st the Chenonceau Castle is open from 9:30AM to 6:30PM.
- From November 2nd to November 13th the Chenonceau Castle is open from 9:30AM to 6:00PM.
- From November 14th to December 31st the Chenonceau Castle is open from 9:30AM to 5:00PM.
10. Bruges, Belgium
While we’ve been focusing on locations close to the French capital, one of the wonderful things about Europe is that just because you’re in France, it doesn’t mean you have to stay in France. Popping over to Belgium from Paris isn’t as complicated as it may seem.
The wonderful Flemish town of Bruges, nicknamed the Venice of the North, has an extensive canal system that twists along the well-maintained roads. Cruise around the tranquil waterways on an open top barge or stroll around the central historic quarter, visit some of the city’s museums or buy some of its world-renowned lace. Whatever you do, though, don’t miss the chance to try some of that amazing Belgian chocolate. Maybe you can even take some home as a souvenir!
How to get to the Burges, Belgium from Paris?
The train journey from Paris Gare du Nord to Gare de Bruges by the Euro Rail takes a little over three hours.
Prices: Prices for round trips from Paris to Burges might vary. Please check the Euro Rail website for more details.
11. Chateau de Cheverny
Owned by the exact same family for over six centuries, the Chateau de Cheverny was one of France’s first chateaus to be open to the public. Tapestries dating back to the 17th century, a mystery message game, enchanting tulips, herbs and mazes, and a Tintin exhibit are some of the wonders you can find at this amazing castle.
Why not take a stroll through their English-style park? The giants trees are magnificent, a true sight to behold. Or perhaps you’d prefer to take the environmentally friendly boat and see the swans? If you’re an animal lover, than you’ll love seeing the kennel, with over 100 different dogs that you can play with! The gift shop sells beautiful tapestries, decorations, books, cuddly toys… You name it! Eat at their Café de L’orangiere or The Trophy Room, or if you prefer a breath of fresh air, have a picnic!
How to get to the Chateau de Cheverny from Paris?
The Chateau de Cheverny is situated only 2 hours from Paris. Leaving from Paris Austerlitz station, your stop would be at Blois-Chambord train station. You can also choose to take the Paris Montparnasse station and then stop at Vendôme train station.
|Chateau and Gardens||Chateau and Gardens + The Secret of Marlinspike Hall||Chateau and Gardens + Ride on Electric Boats and Cars||Chateau and Gardens +The Secret of Marlinspike Hall + Ride on Electric Boats and Cars|
|Adults (ages 18+)||€11.50||€16.00||€16.50||€21.00|
|Children (ages 7 to 18)||€ 8.20||€12.10||€12.30||€16.20|
|Students (ages under 25)||€ 8.20||€12.10||€12.30||€16.20|
|Children (ages 7 and under)||Free||Free||€4.00||€4.00|
Tour Guides in French are available at an extra cost
Address: Avenue du Château, 41700 Cheverny – France
Opening Hours: The Chateau Cheverny is open every day of the year. From April 1st to September 30th, the chateau is open from 9:15AM to 7:00PM, with the ticket office closing at 6:30PM. From January 1st to March 31st and October 1st to December 31st the chateau is open from 10:00AM to 5:30PM, with the ticket office closing at 5:00PM.
See some of your favorite characters speaking French, from the classic Mickey Mouse and Cinderella to Spiderman and even Darth Vader! After experiencing the magic of so many of France’s most beautiful castles, why not experience the first bit of magic that Disney introduced to us? You don’t need to be a kid to marvel at the life size figures, thrill of rides or be enchanted by the glorious parades, after all. Go through the Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster or get splashed in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Either way, you’re bound to have a magical time.
How to get to the Disneyland from Paris?
To get to Disneyland Paris you can take the Gare Marne-la-Valle-Chessy station. It is only minutes away from the park’s entrance.
Address: Disneyland Paris is located at 77777 Marne-la-Vallée, France.
Opening Hours: The Disneyland is open from 10:00AM to 11:00PM, and the Walt Disney Studio Park is open from 10:00AM to 7:00PM.
13.Chateau de Chambord
If you really want to see the epitome French Renaissance architecture, then there’s no better place to look than the Chateau de Chambord. The largest castle in Loire Valley, this magnificent castle was abandoned for a while shortly after the French Revolution before attempts to restore it started back in the 19th century. And aren’t we glad they did? Now that the Chateau de Chambord is open to the public you can see beautiful formal French gardens, follow English guided tours, and even see horse and bird of prey shows! Take a boat ride or walk through their trails to watch some wildlife, see the stunning spiral double helix staircase, and marvel at the vaults. With over 60 rooms open to the public, you have tons of space to explore!
How to get to the Chateau de Chambord from Paris?
You can get to the Chateu de Chambord from Paris by departing from the Paris Austerlitz station and heading to Blois-Chambord. The journey is approximately 90 minutes.
Address: The Chateau de Chambord is located at Chateau, 41250 Chambord, France.
Opening Hours: The Chateau de Chambord is open every day of the year with the exception of December 25th and January 1st. During peak season (from March 31st through October 28th) the Chateau de Chambord is open from 9:00AM to 6:00PM. During off season (from October 29th to March 30th) the Chateau de Chambord is open from 9:00AM to 5:00PM.
Paris is a beautiful and wondrous place. It is not just France’s capital and most populous city, but also a central hub for travellers from around the world. Most of the well known attractions in Paris are definitely worth visiting, but its the destinations nearby that really add value to your next trip. Don’t limit yourself to Paris only!
Have you visited any of these magical places mentioned above? We’d love to hear about your experiences!