A trip to Paris, the stuff dreams are made of! Who doesn’t want to see the Eiffel Tower and shop on the Champs Elysees?
Lots of people must since Paris consistently makes the list of “must see” European countries. After visiting all of the fabulous tourist places in Paris, then you definitely should take some time to get out of the city and explore the surrounding area.
If Paris is not on your couple’s bucket list, then I would go add it now!
That is where our post, outlining some great day trips from Paris by train come in!.
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Day Trips from Paris by Train
Helpful Tips for Day Trips From Paris by Train
Before beginning your day trips from Paris by train, there are a couple of things you need to note.
The first one is that you have to validate your train ticket. The only exception to this is if you are on a train with an assigned time and an assigned seat number. Otherwise, validate your ticket!
Honestly, validating your ticket is one of the many things to know before visiting Europe.
Failure to do so could result in a hefty fine.
There are different ways to validate your ticket in France, well in all of Europe, really. Some time you might go through a subway-like turnstile where you will insert your ticket and then the machine will spit it back out to you and allow you entry through the turnstile.
Other times you will insert your ticket into a machine, usually yellow, and it will stamp your ticket and give it back.
Also, hold onto your ticket. You often need it to exit the station!
Another important thing to remember is that restaurants often close after 2 pm and don’t reopen until the evening. This is especially prevalent in small towns, so plan your meals accordingly.
If you see a sign that says “service continue” then you are in luck and they are open all day.
I wrote about both of these tips and more in this post if you are interested in reading more.
We always love using Rick Steve’s books while traveling. He gives great tips and tricks to make the most of your time in Europe.
You might want to check out his France book before heading out on these day trips.
Submitted by Pam and Kathrine of Everywhere Forward
Chartres, France is one of our top day trips from Paris by train!
Known worldwide for being home to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres, one of the best-preserved Gothic Cathedrals in Europe. The Cathedral of Chartres features almost 200 beautiful stained glass windows, some of which are from the 12th century!
The stunning blue color you’ll see throughout the stained glass windows is known as Chartres blue. Interestingly, this unique color has been unable to be replicated today!
On the floor in the Cathedral, you’ll see a large labyrinth. Most Gothic cathedrals were constructed with labyrinths, symbolizing the path to salvation; however, over time many of them were removed because they became a “distraction.”
So during a visit to Chartres, you’ll have the chance to see one of the last remaining originals! Because of the Cathedral’s beautiful and architectural significance, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Chartres is a lovely city to visit if you’re interested in history, art, and architecture. One of our favorites parts about Chartres was how beautiful the streets and churches were to photograph!
Throughout the city, there are other smaller chapels and churches worth visiting as well.
In addition to the Cathedral, you can explore the charming city streets, shops, restaurants, and museums.
Check out Everywhere Forward’s build your own Paris itinerary.
Submitted by Laura of The Travelling Stomach
Despite its diminutive size compared to neighboring Reims, the town of Epernay, located east of Paris, is the capital of the famous Champagne region.
With direct trains from Gare de l’est station, this beautiful town is only an hour’s journey away, getting you to the heart of the wine region in no time at all. This is why it has made our list of great day trips from Paris by train!
The center of town strikes you immediately as beautiful and affluent, defined by the magnificent 19th-century houses built with the wealth that the champagne trade brought in.
Avenue de Champagne is the focal point for exploring glasses of this delicious wine, a leafy boulevard lined with some of the great and famous champagne houses of the region.
Here, you can explore some of the 250km of cellars that lie beneath the surface, stocking bottles well into the millions!
Most of the houses here are open to visitors (although booking is well advised), whether it be a grand marque of Moet et Chandon or one of the smaller names, such as Alfred Gratien, you’ll enjoy a great degustation of fizz!
After a day of wine tasting, there is an excellent food scene in the town to satisfy your rumbling stomach. C. Comme, a famed wine bar in the town, offers (of course) more champagne tasting, but also a delicious selection of casual food, including cheese, charcuterie, and, naturally foie gras!
Head back to Paris with a few bottles of champagne heavier after a lovely day exploring one of the most famous towns in the world.
If you would prefer to take a guided trip to this region, you can find several options here.
Submitted by Caitlin of The Country Jumper
It amazes me how rarely people venture outside of Paris when they go for a visit to France because when you start to wander around Tours, just a two-hour train ride from Paris, you’ll be nothing short of impressed.
With a broad avenue running through the city, wide sidewalks abutting it on either side and a cathedral built for a king (or God), this is a European dream destination.
Place Plumereau is one of the focal points of the city. It’s a perfect square filled with cafes and restaurants and lined by buildings that have not yet been infected with the likes of Hard Rock Café.
And from there, it’s just a short walk to the Loire river.
If I can give you one all-important tip on how to get the most out of your day trip (or longer) in Tours, it is to walk.
Walk along the river, through the squares and back alleyways, and walk away from where tourists are supposed to be, put your phone and any other maps or guides you have far out of your sight and get a little lost because that’s where you’ll find the magic of this centuries-old city.
One visit and you will see why Tours is one of the best day trips from Paris by train.
Written by Me, Michelle of That Texas Couple
Of course, you cannot make a list of day trips from Paris and not include the Palace of Versailles.
Located just southwest of Paris, Versailles is easily accessed by the underground train RER C. Make sure that you get on a train with the termination point of “Versailles Rive Gauche”.
Also, keep in mind that for this journey you will have to buy a different metro ticket than the one that you have been using to get around Paris because you will be traveling outside of the designated zones for that ticket.
I would buy a round-trip ticket and save myself the headache of waiting in the lines at the Versailles station.
The Palace of Versailles is about a 5-minute walk from the RER station, so it is easy to do.
Visit the inside of the castle and allow the audio guide to tell you all about this fabulous palace. Then tour the expansive gardens not overlooking the working farm and vineyards that are still on the property.
Submitted by Natasha Lequepeys of And Then I Met Yoko
Just 1 hour and 20 minutes by train from Paris, is the city of Blois. Blois is one of the many cities in the Loire Valley region, a UNESCO World heritage site which is home to hundreds of French castles.
Blois itself has a beautiful castle and cathedral but once you’re in the area you have to visit the most opulent of them all – the Château de Chambord. You can easily get to Chambord castle by renting a bike, driving, taking a taxi or a shuttle bus.
When you arrive you’ll see why it gets all the hype and why it made our list of the best day trips from Paris by train.
The architecture is grand; from the outside, it seems to never end. Inside are the famous double spiral staircases which never intersect. Climbing them to the top opens up to the outside terrace.
From there you get views that overlook the perfectly manicured French gardens and surrounding forest. If you’ve got the time you can stroll through these gardens and the forest, picturing what life would have been like for those who went out on a hunt.
If you’re lucky you may see wild deer or boar.
Inside are 440 different rooms, my personal favorite being the green hunting room which is filled with art and animal trophies. Yes, it’s a bit macabre but you start to imagine the castle being lived in with the king and his entire entourage back in the 17th century.
Depending on your time you may be able to visit other castles in the region.
Check out this travel guide to the Loire Valley that highlights some other great options and lets you see while the Loire Valley made our list of great day trips from Paris by train.
Written by Me, Michelle of That Texas Couple
Provins is a charming medieval town located about an hour and a half outside of Paris, making it one of the best day trips from Paris by train. Trains leave about every 45 minutes from the Gare de l’Est station.
Since Provins is a terminus station, just find it on the blue SNCF screens to locate your platform, and then you’re good to go.
It’s important to check the city’s website before embarking too far into this journey as several of the tourist attractions close or have limited hours during the offseason.
Province consists of the old medieval “upper” city and the newer “lower” city, where the train station is located.
There is a great little tourist office if you don’t have a guidebook where you can research what you want to do and grab some pamphlets. Their main attractions consist of the underground tunnels, the watchman’s tower, the museum, and the Tithe Barn.
Just check the times to ensure you can see what you are most interested in during your day trip from Paris.
Provins is also known for their roses, so here you will find all sorts of products made with roses. Including rose-flavored candies!
Strasbourg, Alsace, France
Submitted by Brianna of Curious Travel Bug
Strasbourg is on the border of Germany and this charming Alsatian city can be reached from Paris in only 2 hours on the high-speed train. Arriving by train you are outside of the historic area but you can reach it on foot in only 15 minutes.
Strasbourg is one of France’s prettiest cities with its mix of French and German architecture and half-timbered houses sitting on canals. The historic area, Strasbourg-Grand-Ill, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Strasbourg has a stunning Gothic cathedral, Notre Dame, which features an astronomical clock and a 142-meter spire. You should venture inside to see its stained glass rose window and climb the cathedral tower to get a view of Petite France and the Rhine River.
In addition to the historic area, Strasbourg is home to the European Parliament. Strasbourg is the perfect city to visit if you are looking for Christmas Markets. In the Christmas season, each of the town squares has a Christmas market and all of Strasbourg is decorated for the holidays.
It’s wonderful to wander the city with a glass of hot cider or mulled wine and look at the window displays, Christmas trees, and lights. The cathedral displays nativity scenes inside that are worth exploring at Christmas time. This is just one of the fabulous things about wintertime in France.
When you are in Strasbourg, you should try some of the regional specialties of Alsace. Tarte flambée (Flammekueche) is pizza-like with its thin crust, but it is topped with cream, onions, and ham.
For snack food, the bretzel is the Alsatian version of a pretzel and it’s great on-the-go food for exploring Strasbourg. Kougelhopf is one of the region’s most famous desserts and it is a sweet brioche with raisins baked in a Bundt pan.
With good food (and wine!) and a gorgeous historical center, Strasbourg is an easy choice for one of your day trips from Paris by train. It feels like you have stepped back in time and even though it’s popular with tourists, it still retains its charm.
Another great option in Alsace is to take an Alsaces bike tour. This is a great way to see the countryside.
Submitted by Stella of Around the World in 24 Hours
One of the most fabulous day trips from Paris by train is Rouen. Rouen is just a 90-minute train trip from Paris, but it feels like it’s separated from France’s capital by about 600 years.
That’s because Rouen, the capital of the Normandy region, was at its most powerful in the Middle Ages.
Today, the lucky traveler who visits Rouen will marvel at the city’s fabulous medieval architecture. Perhaps the most famous building in Rouen is the Rouen Cathedral. After all, Claude Monet himself painted it more than 30 times.
Don’t miss Rouen Cathedral’s famous “Butter Tower”. This was paid for by French people who didn’t want to have to give up their butter during Lent. Apparently, if you made a donation to help build the tower, you got to keep your butter.
My favorite building in Rouen is the elaborate Saint-Ouen Church. It looks like a stone airship someone turned upside down and covered with frosting decorations.
On a more somber note, you can visit the Place du Vieux Marche. This is where Joan of Arc, now the patron saint of France, was burned at the stake.
But even if you’re not interested in the Middle Ages, there’s still plenty to do in Rouen. Shoppers should go on a hunt for the delicate porcelain called faience that Rouen is famous for. You can find some at many of the antique shops in the city or at Faience Saint Romain.
Those with a sweet tooth will want to sample the local candy, paillardises. These have a crunchy toffee-like interior surrounded by a coat of dark chocolate. Be warned, they are extremely addictive.
At the end of the day, just head home on your train/time machine back to Paris.
There are several great guided tours of Rouen if you are interested.
Submitted by Janine of Gastrotravelogue
When you think about day trips from a city you tend to think about staying in the same country. However, Paris is the ideal base to explore so many destinations in Europe. There is an excellent rail network with high-speed train to whizz you away to another country and a change of pace.
Brussels is only 90 minute by train so it is an easy day trip. The city is compact and simple to navigate so if you have a day in Brussels you can certainly manage to see the highlights.
You will, of course, have to include a tasting of Belgium beer, at least 1 waffle, and a healthy portion of frites during the course of the day after all walking around a city is thirsty work!
The Grand Place is a good place to start as the square is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is also where many of the free walking tours start from which is always a good way of seeing a city.
A short walk from the square is another main attraction the Mannekin Pis although I must warn you it is going to be a disappointment.
Belgium is known for giving us some lovable comic book characters. Tin Tin and Asterix are probably the most popular.
There is an interesting Comic Book Walk in and around the city so keep your eyes open and remember to look up and you may well be surprised at what you find. A short walk in the other direction is the Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert which is in 3 parts.
This historic gallery is full of shops that sell heavenly Belgium chocolate, gourmet goodies, and restaurants.
A visit to Brussels probably wasn’t on your bucket list, but if you find yourself in Paris, with a day to spare, it is worth considering.
While visiting Brussels why not take a guided tour of the city? There are several tours offered, including a chocolate tour! Click here to see all the options.
Written by Me, Michelle of That Texas Couple
Rounding out our list of great day trips from Paris by train is the fabulous Chateau Fontainebleau. Of course, there are many reasons to visit Chateau Fountainebleau besides just the short train ride.
This beautiful chateau has served as a residence to French ruling families for over eight centuries. Upon arrival, you will notice the beautiful horseshoe-shaped staircase that has greeted visitors for years.
After snapping the perfect picture of the gorgeous staircase, wander inside to see the splendor that awaits you in this historic home. For inside you will find an opulently decorated palace that houses Napoleon’s throne, and the bed that Marie Antoinette slept!
After touring the palace, make sure that you take time to visit the palace gardens. There are 4 main gardens at Chateau Fountainebleau, each with its own unique style and character.
Once you are finished exploring the gardens, take some time to roam around the town before heading back to Paris.
Consider taking a guided tour to get the most out of your time at the chateau.
Final Thoughts on Day Trips From Paris by Train
As you can see, there are so many day trips from Paris by train for you to choose from. Whether you want a French chateau or a day in the French countryside, we have you covered.
Comment below and tell us another day trip from Paris by train that we missed. We love adding to our list!
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Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight:
We love using CheapOAir, Kayak, and Kiwi to search for the best prices on flights. We love using these search engines because they search the web for airlines all over the world to ensure you get the best deal! In addition to flights, you can also find great hotel prices on Kayak and Kiwi.
Book Your Vacation Package:
If you want to book an entire vacation package, then we suggest using Expedia. We love how easy Expedia is to use and we always find good deals on entire vacation packages on their site.
Another great site for vacation packages is BookVIP. BookVIP offers super cheap vacation packages to incredible destinations. You are sure to save money using their site!
For full guided vacations including hotels, some meals, transportation, and guides, then we book with Trafalgar. Trafalgar is a trusted tour company that will meet all of your needs while ensuring that you have a great experience.
Trip.com allows you to book flights, hotels, train tickets, rental cars, airport transfers, tours, and more all on one site. Owned by the parent company that also owns Skyscanner, this is a trusted resource for travel booking and a great “one-stop-shop.”
Book Your Accommodations:
We always begin our search by checking out the honest review on hotels at TripAdvisor. This allows us to narrow our search for specific properties once we are ready to book. Of course, you can also book directly on the TripAdvisor site as well!
There are several accommodation sites that we like to use. One of our favorites is Booking.com because it gives you a wide variety of hotels and guesthouses at a good price.
Another “go-to” hotel booking site for us is Hotels.com. We love their loyalty program that allows you to earn free nights, and their “secret prices” for members are fabulous deals!
HotelsCombined is another cool site. They allow you to compare all of the top travel sites with one search to ensure you are finding the best deal out there. Kayak works in this way as well.
If you are looking for a luxurious all-inclusive vacation, then consider checking out the Sandals/Beaches properties. Sandals properties are for couples only and Beaches are for families. We have visited Sandals in the past and absolutely love the attention to detail and the service they provide.
Tour Companies We Trust:
We love taking guided tours when visiting new places. Our go-to tour companies are Viator.com and Get Your Guide. Both of these companies have been in business for years and provide excellent customer service. You can trust booking tours from their sites for sure!
For a guided city tour, check out City Sightseeing and BigBus Tours. These bus tours are so much fun and easy to hop on and hop off at top attractions in cities around the world.
CityPass is a great way to save money when visiting large cities. CityPass allows you to get free admission to major attractions once you buy their pass. The savings add up quickly with this pass, often saving 50% with combined admissions.
Another great pass to save money in larger cities is the Sightseeing Pass. This pass allows you to save valuable time and money by combining admissions to major attractions. They also have a handy app that keeps everything you need at your fingertips.
Looking to Save Time and Money?
Check out our resource page for all of our favorite vendors. These companies help us to save time and money on our travels!
About The Author
Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel. Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.
Saturday 2nd of May 2020
This brings me some good memories. I have been to some of the cities mentioned on school trips. I still remember the fun time I had with my friends in Versailles! I was meant to travel to Strasbourg in late March so hopefully can go soon.
Saturday 2nd of May 2020
I would love to explore more of France, especially the Loire Valley!
Saturday 31st of August 2019
I've been to some of these but still want to visit Strasbourg, Provins and Rouen.
Sunday 1st of September 2019
I hope you get to visit soon!
Pubali (Paradise Catchers)
Wednesday 7th of August 2019
So, just Paris is not enough! 🙂 All of these places look interesting, but I personally found Strasbourg the most fascinating. May we should move to Paris, so that we can visit all of these nearby places. Hehe.
Wednesday 7th of August 2019
Well, you know, Paris is fabulous but sometimes you just have to escape from the city. LOL!
Monday 5th of August 2019
Strasbourg is one of my favourite cities in all of France! Worth a day trip or a week-long trip. We did a day trip to Chatres and it was hugely memorable. Great post with great ideas! Provins looks right up my alley, too!
Monday 5th of August 2019
Thank you, Cate. I love that you have also experienced some of these cities and enjoyed them.