View of Eiffel Tower and the surrounding buildings during sunrise

19 Amazing Day Trips From Paris By Train

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When most people think of Paris, they think of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and Notre Dame Cathedral. But there’s so much more to this vibrant city of lights than just those well-known tourist attractions. If you’re looking to explore beyond the usual suspects, consider taking a few day trips from Paris by train.

With high-speed rail service connecting Paris to the rest of France and beyond, it’s easy to plan an excursion that’s both convenient and affordable. Here are a few amazing ideas to get you started.

Day Trips From Paris By Train

The following Paris day trips were recommended by travel bloggers around the world. They are arranged with the shortest train journeys first, followed by the longer ones, not to exceed 2.5 hours each way.

Click here to view Paris train ticket routes and prices on Omio.com.

Chantilly

Chateau de Chantilly against a bright blue sky and green water underneath - one of the easiest day trips from Paris by train.

If you are looking for a very easy day trip from Paris and are interested in art, castles and beautiful gardens, then head North to the Castle of Chantilly, in the Île-de-France region! 

The Château de Chantilly is a true fairy tale castle sitting in the middle of the gorgeous Domaine de Chantilly. 

The castle is made up of two parts: the Petit Chateau and the Grand Chateau. The Grand Chateau was destroyed during the French Revolution, but it was rebuilt by Henri d’Orleans, who was the biggest art collector of his time.

Due to the lack of legitimate heirs, the Institute de France inherited his collection upon his death. But this generosity didn’t come without condition: the collection had to stay put in the Château de Chantilly and most importantly: Open to the public! 

Today you can visit the Musé de Condé in the castle and it’s one of the biggest art collections in France. The museum even holds 3 original paintings of Raphael. 

When visiting Chantilly, you should bring your comfortable walking shoes because the castle garden is huge and absolutely worth your time. The domain has not only water fountains, orchards and a forest, you even can see wallabies!

If the name “Chantilly” sounds vaguely familiar, then maybe because it’s the French word for whipped cream. Even though it’s not verified that whipped cream actually comes from this town, you sure find some of the most delicious chantilly there. 

If all this sounds tempting then you’ll be happy to hear how easy it is to visit this little paradise! If you board a train at Gare du Nord, it only takes 30 minutes to arrive in Chantilly, plus a quick 20-minute walk to the castle grounds.

How to Get Here

  • Departing Paris train station: Gare du Nord
  • Train travel time, each direction: 30 min

Recommended by Lena from Salut From Paris

Disneyland Paris

Vibrant pink and blue castle at Disneyland in Paris, France

One of the best train trips from Paris with kids (or without) is Disneyland Paris! Formerly called EuroDisney, It’s the only Disney park in Europe.

There are actually two parks here: Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios. Disneyland Paris is set up similarly to Disneyland California, but it’s slightly smaller.

Walt Disney Studios is a mash-up of Disney California Adventure and Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios. While it has a lot of attractions that are also found at Disneyland California, there are a few unique attractions you won’t want to miss.

There’s an entire section of the park dedicated to the French-inspired Pixar film Ratatouille.

There’s also Alice’s Curious Labyrinth, which is a great photo spot. Plus there’s a Toy Story area that’s very different from the one at Walt Disney World.

There are also some incredible shows, like the Lion King: Rhythms of the Pride Land show which is absolutely breathtaking and mesmerizing.

If you’re heading to Disneyland Paris with kids, consider getting the Premier Pass to jump to the front of the line on many rides. It costs extra but it will save you so much time (and whining).

Since this Disneyland park is less than an hour from the heart of Paris, this makes an easy day trip. There’s also a train station just steps away from the park entrance.

But, they also have some amazing Disney hotels that are perfect for people who want to take their time to enjoy the parks. The Disney Newport Bay Club is actually one of the largest hotels in Europe.

No matter what you choose, you won’t regret visiting Disneyland Paris!

How to Get Here

  • Departing Paris train station: Take the RER A train from within Paris
  • Train travel time, each direction: 40 min

Recommended by Marcie from Marcie in Mommyland

Reims

Large gothic cathedral in Reims, France

Reims is the capital of the Champagne region in northern France. It’s located to the north-east of Paris.

The city has been around since Roman times, and it has an interesting story. All the French kings were anointed and crowned in the Reims cathedral for over 1000 years.

Today, the roman catholic cathedral is the city’s most priced landmark. The gothic stone building has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991.

People from all over the world come to see the gothic choir, the colorful rose windows and also the windows by artist Marc Chagall. The northern tower can be visited for a small fee to catch an unforgettable view of the city.

The palace of tau, located right next to the cathedral, is the former bishop’s palace. The French kings would stay there, and now it’s a museum.

Other notable historical monuments include the Porte de Mars, a wide roman gate, and the ruins of the Cordeliers convent.

Reims is also known for its summer outdoor event, which takes mainly place at the Cryptoportique.

Visitors will enjoy a stroll through the inner city, where they will find the Subé Fountain with the golden angel and the artistic solidarity water fountain.

No visit to Reims is complete without a tour to the underground champagne cellars.

How to Get Here

  • Departing Paris train station: Gare de l’Est
  • Train travel time, each direction: 1 hr

There is an hourly TGV high-speed train from Paris Gars de l’Est to Reims and the train ride takes about 1 hour at most. A one-way ticket for an adult costs a minimum €44 and the price depends on the day of the week and time of the day.

Recommended by Paul D’Souza from Paulmarina

Giverny

Gardens of Claude Monet forming an arch before his house in the background in Giverny, France - a short day trip from Paris by train

There are many reasons to visit Paris, but one of the best reasons is to learn up close about the lives of some of the world’s most famous artists.

Approximately an hour outside of Paris is the small town of Giverny, where tourists can go to see Claude Monet’s House and Gardens.

At Monet’s estate, there are plenty of things to do. For one, you can walk through Monet’s house-turned-museum. Inside, you’ll see that the house has been well restored and a lot of his original furnishings remain.

Spending some time going through his house is definitely recommended as it’ll give you an intimate glimpse into his life.

Once you finish walking through his house, take some time to admire Monet’s gardens which have been well maintained over the years. You can expect to see lots of blossoming flowers, butterflies, and trees.

When you’re ready, walk about 5 minutes to the other side of Monet’s property to see the well-known water lilies. Note: There are a couple of dirt trails that wind around the pond, so make sure to bring appropriate shoes!

As you leave his estate, browse through the gift shop on site. It has lots of things that would make perfect souvenirs for yourself or someone you love back home! For example, you can buy seeds to plant the same flowers that are in Monet’s gardens.

Finally, if you get hungry before heading back to Paris, grab a quick bite to eat at one of the cozy cafes that are scattered on the main street. They serve delicious teas and pastries!

How to Get Here

  • Depart Paris train station: Gare Saint-Lazare
  • Train travel time, each direction: 1 hr

Recommended by Kristin Lee from Global Travel Escapades

Chateau de Versailles

Golden gates in front of the Palace of Versailles - a short day trip from Paris

If you enjoy opulent architecture and fascinating history, the Palace of Versailles should be on your bucket list. Better yet, it’s only 19 km (12 miles) from Paris and one of the most popular day trips from Paris.

Versailles was a former residence for French royalty, serving as the home to everyone from Marie Antoinette to Napoleon Bonaparte, and has been recognized as so integral to France’s history and culture that it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. 

Once you arrive, explore the palace’s magnificent grounds.  The most famous room at Versailles is the Hall of Mirrors, built in 1684, which has 30 elaborate paintings affixed to the ceilings depicting the reign of Louis XIV. 

This room has seen quite a bit of history, from hosting the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I, to the filming of several TV shows and movies, like Emily in Paris. 

Be sure to also stop by Marie Antoinette’s estate, consisting of the Grand Trianon, Petit Trianon, and the Hamlet, which provides important context behind the infamous queen and the French Revolution. 

Finally, you could spend hours moseying around the maze-like gardens of the palace, which sprawl over 2,000 acres, with over 200,000 flowers planted here on an annual basis.

If you’re looking to escape the crowds in Versailles, it’s easy to find a quiet corner within the expansive gardens to reflect on the incredible history around you.

How to Get Here

  • Departing Paris train: RER C, Line N or Line L
  • Train travel time, each direction: 1 hr – 1 hr 30 mins, depending where in Paris you are

Recommended by Jessica from Uprooted Traveler

Chartres

Large cathedral with stained glass windows at the top in Chartres, France

The famous Cathedral of Chartres draws many people to the small town of Chartres, just over an hour’s train ride from Paris.

This gothic Cathedral was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1979. You’ll quickly spot the cathedral once you exit the train station- its tall spires rising above the town. Inside, Chartres Cathedral is as awe-inspiring as its reputation suggests, but the town itself is also worth exploring. 

A large gothic cathedral, The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres is renowned for its double-story stained glass windows. Most have survived intact since the Middle Ages.

Find the famous Chartres labyrinth inscribed on the floor in the year 1200. There are certain days when the floor is cleared for guests to follow the labyrinth, but most days it is largely covered by chairs. There has been a church on site here since the 4th century, but the current version began in 1024. 

Don’t miss the intricate stone carvings inside the church, as well as the Astrological Clock from 1525.

After being partially destroyed during the French Revolution, this clock was restored in 2010, and now once again tells not only the time, but the day of the week, month, phase of the moon, time of sunrise and sunset, and current astrological sign. There is no fee to enter the cathedral.

In the town, you’ll find a bustling produce market, lots of open-air cafes and restaurants, and shops selling everything from souvenirs, to antiques and artwork.

Explore the narrow alleyways and admire the old buildings.

Restaurants fill up quickly for lunch during the high season, so consider booking ahead. Try La Picoterie for crepes (savory and sweet), or Le Comptoir de Sarah, a bakery with a fixed plate lunch.

How to Get Here:

  • Departing Paris train station: Gare Montparnasse (look for trains terminating at Le Mans)
  • Train travel time, each direction: 1 hr 10 mins

Submitted by Cynthia Matthews von Berg at Sharing The Wander

Amboise

Castle and gardens in Amboise, France - an easy day trip from Paris by train

High on a rocky cliff above the Loire River is the Royal Chateau d’Amboise which was the seat of the Valois Kings. It dominates the medieval town of Amboise below.

The chateau belonged to Louis XI, Charles VII, Charles VIII, and King Francis the First. The friendship between Francis I and Leonardo Da Vinci saw Da Vinci move to Amboise and was eventually buried in Chapel Florentin by a heartbroken King Francis.

Don’t miss the enormous round table with a spiral ramp that the Knights used to leave and enter the Castle.

The other must-see attraction is the burial slab of Leonardo Da Vinci in the small Chapel. At times it is possible to take a tour through the tunnels below the Château to Da Vinci’s home.

The grounds themselves are a real highlight and the view from the parapets over the Loire river valley and the town is mesmerizing.

Stay across the Loire in l’Ile d’Or for an uninterrupted view of the whole valley.

How to Get Here

  • Departing Paris train station: Gare Montparnasse (change trains in Tours)
  • Train travel time, each direction: 1 hr 15 mins

Recommended by Monique Skidmore at Trip Anthropologist

Metz

Metz Cathedral (France) in the middle of a river connected by bridges to the mainland with several colorful boats in front

The perfect destination for a day trip from Paris is definitely Metz. It is located in northeastern France, close to the borders of Germany and Luxembourg, and is easily accessible by train/TGV.

During your visit, you will see many amazing things as the city has many beautiful monuments and attractions.

One of the highlights is the banks of the Moselle, where the stunning panorama is mesmerizing. A visit in summer is especially lovely for a riverside walk, a picnic, or a romantic cruise on a beautiful river.

But there’s more to explore, such as picturesque gardens, the historic old town, and many delicious French restaurants and boutiques. Also worth seeing is Saulcy Island, a beautiful area connected by a bridge to many 18th-century buildings.

Certainly, don’t miss visiting the main attraction of Metz, the Metz Cathedral – Saint-Étienne – one of the most beautiful and largest Gothic church buildings in France.

Furthermore, worth seeing on a guided tour of the city center is the Opéra-Théatre de Metz Métropole (Opera House), which is one of the oldest opera houses in Europe.

For a sightseeing break, it is worth visiting Place Saint-Jacques. Known by locals and tourists for its many nice cafés and restaurants, people-watching is at its finest here.

Getting to Metz can be easily arranged by train (TGV) –from Paris-EST to Gare de Metz. From Gare de Metz you are within 15 minutes walking time directly inside the old town.

How to Get Here:

  • Departing Paris train station: Paris-EST
  • Train travel time, each direction: 1 hr 24 mins

Recommended by Martina at Placesofjuma

Amiens

the city of Amiens, France with houses and colorful flowers lining a small canal

A fantastic day trip from Paris, Amiens is located at a distance of only 120 km (72 miles).

There is a range of places to visit in Amiens in one day but the following are some of the best choices.

The main tourist attraction of the city is its Cathedral, known as a Gothic marvel rivaling the Norte Damn in Paris. Its facade, in particular, is richly decorated with biblical figures including the Apostles and Jesus. You can tour the interior freely, but renting an Audio guide is highly recommended.

Also, consider scaling up the church’s North tower for a fantastic view over Amiens. The cathedral is lit up beautifully at night, highlighting the various intricate designs on the facade.

Located at the center of Amiens is the charming old district. Amble along on its cobbled stone streets and rest your soles by the canals. The old town gets busier as the Sun goes down, dining by the river is an excellent way to call it a night.

If you are a Science fiction buff, you must visit the Jules Verne museum. The house where the author lived for 18 years and penned 30 of his books. Inside this red brick building, you will see original furnishings and personal items.

How to Get Here

  • Departing Paris train station: Gare du Nord
  • Train travel time, each direction: 1 hr 30 mins

Recommended by Vidyut Rautela at Triplyzer

Brussels, Belgium

Gardens with green and red in the main square of Brussels, Belgium with buildings in the background

Brussels is the perfect day trip from Paris.  There are direct trains from Paris to Brussels only taking 90 minutes.  You get to experience a taste of a different country without having to fly or transfer trains. 

Brussels is the capital of Belgium, but it doesn’t have the same hustle and bustle as other European capitals.  It feels like a friendly small town. 

It is the capital of the art nouveau style and has some of the most beautiful architecture in Europe.  You’ll be able to appreciate the architectural style while just walking around the city so be sure to look up at the buildings. 

Ideally, you would have a few days to explore Brussel.  Luckily, the city is very walkable, and you can see most of the highlights in a single day. 

A few of the top sights you should add to your itinerary include the Grand Palace, Manneken Pis, and the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula. 

If you have time, you can also visit The Belgium Comic Strip Centre or tour the European Parliament.  

You’ll also want to make time to visit a few chocolate shops, enjoy a waffle or fries, and have a pint of locally brewed beer if you drink. 

Even though one day isn’t enough to see everything Brussels has to offer, a day trip from Paris will give you a taste of the city.  You’ll have a better understanding if you want to come back and explore the city in more depth next time you’re in Europe. 

How to Get Here

  • Departing Paris train station: Gare du Nord
  • Train travel time, each direction: 1 hr 30 mins

Recommended by Erica Riley of Travels with Erica

Château de Chenonceau

Chenonceau chateau glistening with its reflection in the water below.

One of the loveliest and most intriguing castles in the world lies in a forest outside the village of Chenonceau in the Loire Valley.

Visually stunning, the château spans the River Cher and is surrounded by gardens designed by some of the world’s most famous Queens and mistresses.

Château de Chenonceau is both a castle over the river and a tower immediately to the right of the castle, called the Marques Tower. The château is known as the “Ladies Château” because from the 1500s to the 1800s it was designed, built and fought over by 6 powerful noble women. 

King Henry II gave the chateau in the 1600s to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. Their affair continued even after the King married Catherine de Medici.  

De Poitiers had the arched structure built across the river and also a floating parterre garden called The Garden of Diane. You can also visit her bedroom, “The Chamber des Reines”. 

As you approach the front of the château, you’ll see the garden that Catherine de Medici designed when she was able to finally wrestle the château from Diane de Poitiers.

Explore her magnificent bedroom as well as those of the other famous women who took over the stewardship of the château over the next two centuries.

Depart Paris by train from Gare Montparnasse to Tours (St Pierre Des Corps). From Tours, there are direct trains to the village of Chenonceau that take 25 – 36 minutes.

Once at the Chenconceau station, it’s a short walk (15-minutes) or a 5-minute taxi ride to Château de Chenonceau. Please note, it is difficult to get a taxi on the return to the train station.

How to Get Here

  • Departing Paris train station: Gare Montparnasse (change trains in Tours)
  • Train travel time, each direction: 1 hr 30 mins

Recommended by Monique at Trip Anthropologist

Strasbourg

Scenic canal between rows of homes and buildings in Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg is the capital of the northeastern French region of Grand Est, more commonly known as Alsace. Alsace is one of the most unique French regions, as it was interchangeably part of France and Germany since the 17th century!

Are you looking for colorful half-timbered houses, charming restaurants next to the canals and narrow, cobblestone streets? You came to the right place! The whole historic city center of Strasbourg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you only have one day in Strasbourg, you have enough time to enjoy the city and see all the main attractions. 

Start exploring the city from La Petite France, just a short 5-minute walk from the train station.

The best way to discover this charming quarter is to allow yourself to get lost in cobblestone streets, and admire the views. The best view of the quarter is from Place Benjamin Zix. Visit Covered bridges and climb the Vauban Dam viewpoint. 

The majestic Strasbourg Cathedral is the symbol of the city and a must-visit tourist attraction. Enter the Cathedral to see the Astronomical clock, and climb the viewing platform for the best view of the city! On a clear day, you can see all the way to the German Black Forest. 

If you are lucky to visit Strasbourg in the winter months, you get to explore one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe. Strasbourg is a self-proclaimed Capital of Christmas, so you know they take Christmas seriously!

In the summer, take advantage of the warm weather and have a picnic in one of Strasbourg’s beautiful parks. Parc de l’Orangerie is the best park in Strasbourg, and you can even visit a little zoo for free!

How to Get Here:

  • Departing Paris train station: Paris Gare de l’Est
  • Train travel time, each direction: 2 hr

Recommended by Natali at She’s Abroad Again

Rouen

Main walking square in Rouen, France

Rouen is a beautiful, historic city in Normandy that can be reached in under two hours by train from Paris.

Once you’re in Rouen, you’ll find that the town center is small and simple to get around in.

There are many things to do and see in Rouen. See the magnificent gothic structures of Rouen Cathedral and the Church of Saint-Maclu. After that, get to know Joan of Arc, who played a pivotal role in Rouen’s history. 

Explore the Joan of Arc Museum, a multimedia, documentary-style retelling of Joan’s story.

Then, stop by the Joan of Arc Church, a contemporary structure with a wall of stunning stained glass depicting Joan d’Arc’s life. Across the stained glass window is the site of Joan of Arc’s public execution on May 29, 1431.

If you want to know more about Rouen, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Flaubert Museum of the History of Medicine, and the intriguing Wrought Iron Museum are all great places to spend a few hours in.

Spend some time wandering the streets of Rouen, and see incredible structures, fascinating attractions, and picturesque old homes abound here. 

You can eat at one of Rouen’s charming cafés or eateries in between sightseeing.

Try some of the local cheeses like the smooth and creamy Brillat-Savarin or the age-old Carré de Bray. Wash it down with some Bénédictine, a luxurious liqueur with hints of citrus, spices, and herbs.

How to Get Here

  • Departing Paris train station: St. Lazare
  • Train travel time, each direction: 2 hrs

Recommended by Christine Rogador from Journey to France

Lyon

Street art in Lyons France that resembles the city itself

Lyon, France is a fantastic choice for a day trip from Paris.  There are so many excellent things to do in Lyon that you’ll have trouble fitting them all into just one day!

History enthusiasts will love exploring Lyon.  Lyon is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its historical preservation, going all the way back to Roman times. 

Visit the Gallo-Roman Theater and the Odeon on Fourvière Hill, or the Amphitheater of the Three Gauls in the Croix-Rousse area, to view these structures that have lasted millennia.

Lyon’s traboules are another window into its past.  Traboules are secret passageways that pass through buildings, connecting Lyon’s twisting streets. 

Traboules were an important feature in Lyon’s silk industry, as they were used to transport the silk through the city without it getting damaged by the rain. 

In addition, Traboules also played an important role in WWII, being used by the French resistance.  There are many public traboules (marked with a special seal) that you can explore on your own, or join a group tour for more insights.

If you’re a lover of the arts, Lyon has plenty to offer.  Lyon has a wide variety of museums, ranging from fine arts to puppetry to cinematography and more.  Lyon’s Musée des Beaux-Arts is the second-largest fine arts museum in France (after the Louvre).

Don’t miss Lyon’s fantastic trompe l’oeil murals.  These incredibly realistic frescoes, such as the Mur des Canuts, decorate entire sides of buildings. 

These can be found throughout Lyon, primarily in the Croix-Rousse area.  You’ll have to look twice to tell the painting from the passersby! 

How to Get Here

  • Departing Paris train station: Gare de Lyon
  • Train travel time, each direction: 2 hrs 7 mins

Recommended by Lisa Garrett of Waves and Cobblestones

Antwerp, Belgium

Beautiful city center with people walking around in Antwerp, Belgium

Famous for its diamond production and beautiful Grote Markt, Antwerp is the second most populous city in Belgium.

If you’ve never heard of this city and wonder what to do in Antwerp, then make sure you check out the Eilandje neighborhood in the old port.

This part of Antwerp has been modernizing and opening up to new trends. Old hangars converted into cafeterias and cultural centers, warehouses that are now impressive lofts, and new museums such as the MAS or the Red Star Line Museum, make this neighborhood one of the most fashionable and popular places in the city.

When you walk around, remember that you can’t miss the San Félix warehouse and the Schipperskwartier, the old sailors’ quarter, where you can also see the beautiful church of San Pablo.

Steen Castle, by the Scheldt River, is another place to visit in Antwerp as it served as a military fortress to prevent Viking raids during medieval times. This neo-Gothic style castle was also used as a prison, although in the 19th century a large part of its buildings were destroyed to expand the port of Antwerp.

At the entrance to the castle flanked by two large towers, you will see the statue of the giant Lange Wapper who used to scare the inhabitants of the city at night, according to the legend. In addition to the visit to the castle, you will also have good views of the river and the port.

How to Get Here:

  • Departing Paris train station: Gare Du Nord
  • Train travel time, each direction: 2 hrs

Recommended by Laura of Travelers Universe

London, England

London Bridge over the River Thames

London is without a doubt one of the best places to visit on a day trip from Paris. Although it’s in a different country, it’s a really easy trip by rail, as the train only takes 2 hours and 20 minutes. 

The city has a pulsating atmosphere, with a dynamic history spanning back over 2,000 years and a thriving cultural scene. Explore ancient buildings, experience Tudor history and enjoy a more modern scene with the incredible gastronomy offerings and quirky street art scene in suburbs like Shoreditch

There are so many incredible things to do in London. World-class attractions include the London Eye where you can take in an epic vista of the city, the immensely historic Tower of London, the beautiful Tower Bridge and the religious epicenters of Westminster Abbey.

Then there are lots of family-friendly attractions like the London Aquarium and visiting Hamleys, a legendary toy store! 

London comes alive in the summertime, with pub gardens spilling out onto the embankments. However, there are lots of things to do in London in winter as well, including epic Christmas markets like a winter wonderland, incredible ice skating rinks and lots of indoor attractions and museums (many of which are actually free!). 

If you have time before your train back to Paris, don’t miss one of London’s best rooftop bars. Sky Garden is free to enter and enjoy, with epic views over the city – and drinks are about the same price as elsewhere in London! 

How to Get Here

  • Departing Paris train stations: Gare du Nord
  • Train travel time, each direction: 2 hrs 17 mins

Recommended By Claire from Europe in Winter

Bordeaux

Wine barrels and a poured glass of red wine at a winery in Bordeaux, France

One of the best days trips from Paris you can do by train is a weekend in Bordeaux.

Located in the Aquitaine region in France, Bordeaux is the 6th largest city in France.

The whole Bordeaux region is well known for its prestigious red wines, and wine enthusiasts from all over the globe travel especially to taste and select the best wine to add to their collections.

Aside from the wine, some of the best things to do in Bordeaux include a visit to Bordeaux’s Cathedral plus a visit to Tour Pey Berl where you’ll enjoy great 360° views of the city.

If you are curious about wine but are still undecided, a trip to Cité de Vin which is an impressive venue and museum tribute to the heritage of wine which will definitely sway you in the right direction.

It is easy to get lost exploring markets such as the popular Marché des Capucines or if you prefer antiques and vintage shopping, the Brocante du Dimanche.

When it comes to food, though, the must-try food in Bordeaux is the steak with bordelaise sauce which is best served at the restaurant La Brasserie Bordelaise.

How to Get Here

  • Departing Paris train station: Paris Montparnasse
  • Train travel time, each direction: 20 hrs 20 mins

Recommended by Dan at Urban Abroad

Bruges, Belgium

A canal in Bruges highlighted by red and purple flowers in the front and flanked by houses and trees on both sides

The storybook town of Bruges is located in the northwest corner of Belgium, approximately 2.5 hours from Paris by train.

A Bruges day trip is a relatively easy option from the French capital. It is well worth the train ride to see this charming fairytale town where swans glide through picturesque canals and the smell of chocolate fills the air.

One of the best ways to familiarize yourself with Bruges is to take a canal cruise when you arrive in the town for the day. Aboard the small boat, you will get a scenic view of Bruges as well as learn a bit about the town’s history and popular attractions.

Be sure to visit the bustling Market Square, lined with colorful gingerbread-style buildings and always abuzz with activity. Then check out the Basilica of the Holy Blood, a humble church believed to hold a holy relic that contains the blood of Jesus Christ. 

If time allows, climb the Belfry for epic views of the town, then head to the Church of Our Lady, the most beautiful and prominent church in Bruges. The impressive cathedral houses the famous Michelangelo sculpture Madonna and Child.

Finally, end your day at Minnewater Lake, walking through the strangely quiet Begijnhof on your way there. Stop in one of the countless chocolate shops for some delicious Belgian chocolate or Belgian waffles before catching an evening train back to Paris.

How to Get Here:

  • Departing Paris train station: Gare du Nord (change train in Brussels)
  • Train travel time, each direction: 2 hr 30 mins

Recommended by Melissa from Parenthood and Passports

Avignon

Large stone castle in Avignon, France with tourists walking in front

Visit Avignon and get a taste of the South of France!

Avignon is a beautiful old town in France; full of culture, history and amazing architecture. There are a few places that should not be missed.  Make a visit to the famous Pont d’Avignon, which forms part of the city and is a UNESCO world heritage site. 

Also, be sure to take a walk around the Place du Palais Square for an aperitif soaking in the view of the beautiful Cathedral and the stunning Palais des Papes, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you have time go on a guided 3D audio tour of the Palais des Papes and go back in history. 

There are plenty of choices for places to eat on the terrace. Something we particularly enjoy is indulging in some local delicacies at the market ‘Les Halles’ ’which is in the center of Avignon’s walled, medieval old town. Here you can find fresh food and wine including French bread, charcuterie, pates, oyster bar, cheese stalls and sweet patisseries.

If you would like to stay longer you can check out our 7-day road trip itinerary to Provence.  

How to Get Here

  • Departing Paris train station: Gare de Lyon
  • Train travel time, each direction: 2 hr 45 mins

Recommended by Asha Bhatia from HomeTravelGuide

How to ride the train in Paris

If you’re traveling through Paris, chances are, at some point, you will take a train. After all, the city is well-connected to the rest of Europe by high-speed rail. And while Paris has its share of small, quaint train stations, it also has a few large ones that see thousands of passengers each day.

Let’s take a look at the main train stations you might encounter on one of your day trips from Paris by train.

Main Paris train stations

❇️ Gare du Nord – As its name suggests, the Gare du Nord is the city’s primary train station for trains coming from the north of France. It’s also a hub for international trains, with services to destinations like London, Brussels, and Amsterdam.

Inside of the Gare du Nord train station in Paris showing people walking to all the different train platforms

The Gare du Nord is the busiest train station in Europe so it can be easy to get lost if you don’t know your way around. But don’t worry—there are plenty of signs and helpful staff members who can point you in the right direction.

❇️ Gare de Lyon – Located in the 12th arrondissement, the Gare de Lyon is another major station in Paris and is primarily used for trains coming from the southeast of France. It also has international services to destinations like Turin and Zurich. If you are headed to Milan with kids, you are likely to depart from here.

Gare de Lyon train station in Paris

Like the Gare du Nord, the Gare de Lyon can be a bit overwhelming at first glance. But once you get your bearings, you’ll find that it’s well-organized and easy to navigate. 

❇️ Gare Montparnasse, located in the 14th arrondissement. The Gare Montparnasse is primarily used for trains coming from southwestern France. However, it also has international service to destinations such as Madrid and Barcelona.

The Gare Montparnasse is smaller than the other two main Paris train stations, but it’s still easy to get around. Plus, it has a great view of the Eiffel Tower from its upper floors! 

❇️ Gare de l’Est is located in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, just east of Gare du Nord. Like Gare du Nord, it is a hub for both national and international trains.

Gare de l’Est was built in 1849 and handles approximately 60 million passengers each year. If you are departing Paris for Frankfurt or Strasbourg, your train will start here.

❇️ Gare St. Lazare mostly serves the western and Normandy region of France in addition to small towns like Rouen and Giverny. It has nearly 100 shops and restaurants, so it’s easy to spend quite a bit of time here.

front view of the Gare St. Lazare train station in Paris

Types of Parisian trains

When it comes to public transportation, Paris has a lot to offer.

In addition to the metro, which is one of the most efficient ways to get around the city, there is also an extensive network of trains that can take you to different parts of the city and even outside of Paris.

Let’s discuss the different types of trains in Paris so that you can make the most out of your trip.

✅ RER

Escalater with large signs reading RER A at a paris train station

The first type of train is the RER, which stands for Réseau Express Régional. The RER is a network of suburban trains that connect Paris to its surrounding suburbs. There are five different lines, designated by letters A through E, and each line has different stops.

For example, Line B goes from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Gare du Nord (one of the main train stations in Paris) and then on to other parts of the city. If you’re staying in a suburb outside of Paris, chances are you’ll be taking the RER at some point during your trip.

✅ TGV

Three high speed TGV trains in France - perfect for taking a day trip from Paris because they are very fast

The second type of train you may encounter on one of your Paris day trips by train is the TGV, which stands for Train à Grande Vitesse. The TGV is a high-speed train that can take you to different cities throughout France. If you’re looking to travel to another part of France without spending a lot of time on transportation, the TGV is definitely your best option.

✅ Eurostar

People walking on a train platform in Paris with the Eurostar train

Planning on day trips to London or Brussels? You will be on the Eurostar, a high-speed train that whisks passengers from Paris to London and Brussels (and vice versa). If you’re looking to do some sightseeing in another country while you’re in Europe, the Eurostar is definitely worth considering.

How to purchase your train tickets

If you’ve never ridden a train in Paris before, it can seem a bit daunting. Here’s a quick guide on how to ride the train in Paris so you can get around like a pro!

➡️ Buy a ticket

The first step is to purchase a ticket. You can do this at any of the ticket machines located in each station. These machines accept both cash and credit cards and have multiple languages accessible. I have had trouble at these machines where my credit card was declined. However, I believe with the US’s new chip cards, this should not happen.

Follow directions onscreen, purchase the number of tickets for your party and pay.

NOTE: Many times, we have found it easier to purchase tickets online and in advance. Generally, it is less expensive to do so, however, do check your ticket refundability. As I write this, I’ve already purchased 2 train trips for my Christmas market European trip – 4 months out. I was able to get the cheapest tickets offered.

Click here to check prices and purchase tickets from Omio.

➡️ Find your train

Once you’re at the train station, it’s time to find your train. The easiest way to do this is to know your train number and find it on the digital departure board.

I have been on trains where they don’t know the platform until just a few minutes before it arrives. Continue to watch the board and head straight to the platform once your train arrives.

Ticket validation is necessary unless you have a seat reservation. Find the validation box at each platform and insert your ticket so it is appropriately stamped.

Two yellow train validation machines at a Paris train station

➡️ Board the train

When your train arrives, be sure to let passengers exit before boarding yourself. Once you’re on board, find a seat or look for your assigned seat if you have a seat reservation.

If you have a reservation, first find the carriage number on your ticket, then proceed to that train car. Then, locate your seat within that car.

And that’s it! You’re now ready to ride the train like a true Parisian! 

Day trips from Paris by train FAQs

Where should I go 2 hours from Paris?

There are many places to visit within 2 hours of Paris. Take a day trip to Fontainebleau, Chantilly or Versailles. Looking for somewhere to sit and pass the time away? Check out Reims or Amiens. Looking for a little adventure? Head over to Disneyland Paris and visit the only Disney theme park in Europe. Don’t forget the incredible Chartres cathedral.

What countries are easy to get to from Paris?

With the advent of high-speed trains, including the Eurostar, you can visit England and Belgium easily. In addition, Luxembourg and Germany are only a couple of hours east of Paris making them very accessible.

How long is the train ride from Paris to South of France?

Bright blue Mediterranean Sea coast off the South of France
Dreaming of the Mediterranean Sea? Catch the TGV to Marseille and you’ll be on the Cote d’Azur in a little over 3 hours. Prefer Nice? It’s a little further with a 6-hour train ride.

Where and when should I purchase Paris day trip train tickets?

While you can go to the train station itself to purchase tickets from either an automated machine or from a window booth, it is often easier to purchase them online from a booking service such as Omio.

In addition, purchase tickets in advance (usually up to 3 months) and pay a lower fare as opposed to a same-day departure.

Day trips from Paris by train Summary

There are countless possibilities for day trips from Paris by train. Whether your interests lie in history, culture, food and drink, or simply exploring the beautiful scenery, there’s sure to be a destination that’s perfect for you. So hop aboard and enjoy all that France has to offer—beyond just Paris!

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Pictures of 3 places you can take a day trip from Paris by train - Metz, Strasbourg and Chambord

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