Paris is a stunning city with plenty to see and do. It’s easy to spend at least three days just exploring the cobblestone streets of the French capital. However, as enchanting as Paris is to discover, it’s also a great base from which to explore other charming French cities and attractions. So if you have some extra time, or are looking to explore outside of the city, then here are the top day trips from Paris.
Chateau de Versailles
One of the top day trips from Paris is to visit the beautiful Versailles. This stunning palace is gilded, ornate, and of huge historical significance. Once a seat of power until the French Revolution, today the Chateau de Versailles is a museum with over 2300 rooms and stunning gardens. A Versailles day trip from Paris is easy enough to do on your own, especially since it’s only about an hour away, however based on my own experience I do recommend taking a Versailles tour.
A ticket to Versailles will include admission into the Palace (not all the rooms are available to tourists but the ones that are open are definitely worth looking at!) and the gardens. While you can explore both on your own, a Versailles tour from Paris will also provide you with additional information, facts, and stories that you wouldn’t get or hear otherwise. For such a historical place, I personally think that a guided Versailles tour is the best way to go.
Mont Saint Michel
If you’ve seen photos of a fairytale old city perched on an island in the ocean in France and wondered if it’s photoshopped, it’s not. This place is actually real. This is Mont Saint Michel, and it’s a great choice for those looking into day trips from Paris.
This UNESCO World heritage site dates back to the 8th century AD and is one of France’s most recognizable landmarks. It served as both a religious commune and a jail over the years but today is mainly a tourist attraction. Museums, shops, restaurants, and hotels make up most of the island but it’s a stunning historical site that is absolutely worth seeing in person.
It is possible to do a Mont Saint Michel day trip on your own, however it can be a bit tricky. If you are relying on public transportation, there are several transfers you need to make that can be very time consuming. For this reason, it’s recommended to take a Mont Saint Michel day tour from Paris. Not only is it less stressful, but it also allows for more time for exploring.
If you love art then seeing Giverny, the inspiration behind Claude Monet’s beautiful Water Lilies, is a must. Spend your day surrounded by beautiful nature in scenic Normandy. You will be able to see the lily ponds from the paintings, the Japanese bridge, and Claude Monet’s house. The gardens and Monet’s house are open daily from April 1st until November 1st.
For travellers who like to do their own thing, this makes and easy DIY day trip. However, if you are not against organized tours there are a couple of day trip options that also allow you to combine Giverny with a museum or even with Versailles. No matter how you choose to explore it, there’s no doubt that Giverny is one of the best day trips from Paris.
Fontainebleu and Vaux-le-Vitcomte Chateaux
If you love castles and palaces, then definitely consider a day trip to Fontainebleu and Vaux-le-Vitcomte. This a great pick for those interested in day trips from Paris since, because they are so close to each other, it’s basically a two for one experience.
Fontainebleau Castle is an opulent castle that dates back to the 100s. Highlights include a large courtyard with a sweeping staircase and renaissance rooms. Vaux-le-Vitcomte is a 17th century castle that served as the inspiration for Versailles. Both castles offer stunning rooms to admire and acres of carefully tended garden and park ground to explore.
If you plan on renting a car, this is an easy day trip to do on your own. However, for those without a vehicle, I recommend taking the tour below as a day trip from Paris.
If you have a taste for bubbly and are looking for a splurge to really make your trip to France extra special, consider a champagne tasting trip through France’s Champagne region. Seeing as the highlight here is drinking champagne, it’s not a tour to do on you own. However, the guides promise to indulge you with delicious champagne and some insight into some of France’s historic and best known champagne estates and cellars. Not to mention there will be stunning views and photo opportunities. When it comes to day trips from Paris, this is definitely an extravagant one. But, keep in mind, visiting the Champagne region of France may be a lifetime opportunity.
For More Paris Inspiration
- Montmartre: My Favourite Neighbourhood in Paris
- A Paris Food Market Tour with a Local Chef
- The Moulin Rouge: Is it Really Worth it?
- Falling in Love with Travel in Paris
- The Best of: Three Days in Paris
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