Paris is known as the City of Light and of course, the city of love. It’s home to famous artworks, amazing architecture, delicious culinary delights, and fabulous shopping. Parisians are stylishly decked out in the latest fashions. How do they make a scarf look so effortless? It’s easy to take day trips from Paris. I love taking a train somewhere for the day.
Once you’ve run through all of the must-do sites – climbed the Eiffel Tower, fought your way through the crowds around the Mona Lisa, hiked up to Montmatre, taken a cruise along the Seine – you may want to get out of the big city.
These are five easy day trips, all within an hour by train, to visit while basing yourself in Paris. Just think, no checking in and out of hotels, and no hauling luggage!
The lavish Palace of Versailles is just a short 45-minute train ride from Paris. Hop on the RER C line to the Versailles station. Be sure to buy a round trip ticket at any Metro station and remember to validate the ticket in the machines before getting on the train. The palace is an easy 10-minute walk from the Versailles station, just follow the signs.
The extravagantly expensive palace was built for King Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette – “Let them eat cake” – at the sight of a royal hunting lodge. As palaces go, this one takes the cake (pun intended). It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As the second most visited site in France, it can get quite busy. Purchase tickets online prior to going, especially in the Summer. Plan to spend the day visiting the palace, don’t miss the Hall of Mirrors and the luxurious bedrooms! Stroll the beautiful and massive gardens, or rent a bike to ride around if you’re short on time.
Famous for the house Monet lived in for 43 years and the gardens, this beautiful spot will thrill all impressionist lovers.
Take an hour long train ride from Paris Gare Saint Lazare station to Vernon, then hop on the shuttle for the 3 miles to the gardens. The shuttle leaves every 15 minutes. You can also walk or take a taxi.
The famous gardens inspired many of Monet’s works, especially the water lily series. Visit his magical gardens, take a picnic and enjoy the view of the famous Japanese bridge. There aren’t any restaurants by the gardens, but you will find some in town.
The Musée des Impressionnismes is just a short stroll from the gardens and has some amazing artwork.
The famous Cathedral of Chartres is an hour train ride from Paris. Take a train from Paris Montparnasse station to Chartres. Just follow the crowds, or look for the huge spires!
This amazing 12th century French gothic wonder is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fun Fact – many of the stained glass windows are the originals, as they were thankfully removed during World War II to save them! Also, this cathedral is where French kings were coronated.
Be sure to look up, the ceiling frescoes and windows are awe inspiring.
If you’re into castles, this one is almost as impressive as Versailles. Take a 45-minute train on RER line D from Paris Gare de Lyon station to Fontainebleau/Avon station. Then hop on Bus 1 to the castle.
The castle is grandiose like Versailles, and it also has gorgeous gardens. The forest around the castle is beautiful and has many walking trails. Be sure to pick up a map of the forest trails at the tourist office before heading to the castle.
France is synonymous with Champagne, at least in my mind! Of course, it is also my beverage of choice. So I saved the best day trip from Paris for last. Take a fast 45-minute TGV train from Paris to the Champagnes-Ardennes station. From there it’s just 5 miles to the center of Reims, you can take a tram or taxi.
There are several champagne houses in Reims. I have my favorites, of course, such as Pommery, Taittinger and Veuve Clicquot. Hire a driver – so you can really have fun – and venture to Epernay to visit Moët et Chandon, which is also home to Dom Perignon. Or book a tour from your Paris hotel or the tourist office.
Reims has some amazing restaurants for lunch too, you’ll need it with all that champagne tasting!
Your return train ride will be filled with bubbly laughter!
Live, love, drink Champagne and laugh!