Best Daytrips Out of Paris
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Dec 10, 2012 8:02 AM Last Post By: china1979
Dec 8, 2012 9:20 AM
Best Daytrips Out of ParisI'll be in Paris next March for 7 full days and would like to go somewhere outside the city for one day.
I'm therefore interested in reading what you think are the best daytrips (no overnight stay) out of Paris.
Details about how you did it (the logistics) and why you liked it will be appreciated.
Dec 8, 2012 9:42 AM
1Chateau de Versailles. Very close to Paris centre, nice day out.
Dec 8, 2012 10:04 AM
Dec 8, 2012 10:18 AM
3Here is a brief list that summarizes many of the most popular day trips from Paris (within an hour and a half by train). There are certainly many others you could also do but this list covers most of the biggies:
Provins (an authentic walled medieval town): http://www.provins.net/
Château of Chantilly (wonderful fairytale château, famous art collection): http://www.chateaudechantilly.com/fr/
Senlis (small medieval town can be combined with a visit to Chantilly):
Reims (champagne tours, great historic cathedral, museums):
Epernay (champagne tours): http://www.ot-epernay.fr/
Fontainebleau (former royal town with famous château):
Château of Vaux-le-Vicomte (the château after which Louis XIV based his garden renovations for Versailles and IMO one of the most elegant château in France):
Rouen (small city, lots to do, wonderful cathedral, medieval old center): http://www.rouentourisme.com/
Giverny (Monet's house and gardens):
Chartres (the famous cathedral and wonderful old medieval town):
Compiègne (château with museums, wonderful old town. Can be combined with a visit to the château of Pierrefonds): http://www.compiegne-tourisme.fr/
Château of Pierrefonds (Magnificent fairytale looking château. Reconstructed in the 19th century but magnificent nonetheless. Can be combined with a visit to Compiègne):
Troyes (lovely small medieval city):
Laon (medieval hilltop town with a spectacular cathedral): http://www.tourisme-paysdelaon.com/
Crécy-la-Chapelle (small charming renowned artists village):
Moret-sur-Loing (charming walled medieval village/artists village):
Auvers-sur-Oise (Van Gogh and other impressionist art history):
Malmaison (château of the Empress Josephine and a nice old downtown. On the RER A line and could be combined with a visit to Saint-Germain-en-Laye):
Saint-Germain-en-Laye (former royal town with a wonderful château now home to the national museum of archaeology. On the RER A line and could be combined with a visit to Malmaison):
Barbizon (famous artists village, can be combined with Fontainebleau):
These are the most popular day trips and all are worthwhile but there are many other less popular and equally worthy day trips. I could easily list a couple dozen more but only if what's on this list doesn't interest you. A good guide book for the Île-de-France region should give you more ideas.
You'll need to take a train from Paris to do these day trips. For info on trains in Paris and the nearby suburbs (métro and RER trains) use the website www.ratp.fr. Use the interactive map on this website to plan your trip: http://www.ratp.fr/plan-interactif/carteidf.php?lang=uk. Parts of this website are in French so you can use an English language companion site www.vianavigo.com. For trains that go a bit further out in the Île-de-France region use the website www.transilien.com. For trains that go further beyond the Île-de-France use the website www.voyages-sncf.com (in French only) or www.tgv-europe.com. A great website to learn about trains in France (and Europe) is www.seat61.com if you have any train questions/problems.
Paris and many of the places nearby in Île-de-France are divided into zones, numbered 1 through 5. Paris is in zone 1 and areas outside Paris are in zones 2 through 5. Some of the destinations I mentioned are in zone 5. For these journeys it will be more cost effective to buy a one day Mobilis pass for 15.20€ for zones 1 through 5. This will be cheaper than the point to point tickets round trip. Plus, this pass is good for unlimited travel on all public trains and buses for one day in zones 1-5. Buy it first thing in the morning before your first métro ride and it gets you to your train station, your round trip tickets, any buses you need to use at your destination and any traveling you'll do in Paris when you return. Before you use the ticket make sure to write your name and the date on the ticket. Don't forget to stick your ticket in the composting machine (ticket validation machine) before getting on your train. You can buy these passes from the ticket machines in métro/RER stations. Sometimes these machines have an English language option. If so, look for the one day Mobilis pass option. When you get to the screen that lists your zones to choose from press zone 1 and then press zone 5. You can also buy them at any ticket counter or stores that sell RATP tickets. They are good for 60 days so you can buy it in advance if you want to be prepared. It's not valid until you write your name and date on it and validate the ticket on your first métro/RER trip or at the train station.
Some of the day trips I mentioned will require a bus transfer once you arrive at the train station. If you choose one of these I can help you with bus info.
Dec 9, 2012 12:53 AM
Dec 9, 2012 12:16 PM
Dec 9, 2012 1:39 PM
Dec 9, 2012 2:14 PM
7I suggest that you broaden your horizons just a little. You say no overnight. Staying in Chartres overnight for example is relatively inexpensive, usually well under a hundred Euros per night. Even if (and I recommend this) you keep your Paris lodging your delta difference in expense is only the additional room night in a less expensive locale.
Why do this? Because staying in a day trippers paradise overnight is a completely different experience than Paris or the locale in the day time. The pace is slower, the locals are patient with you and you sample a bit of the country that Paris cannot offer.
Dec 10, 2012 3:21 AM
8maybe the OP already has all their accommodation booked in Paris. that would be a justifiable normal reason for "no overnight"...
Dec 10, 2012 8:02 AM
9#3, wow, thanks for the great info. Really helpful.
#7, thanks also for your suggestion. #8 is right in that lodging is already booked. Other reasons for not staying over is the hassle of taking and carrying whatever is needed to spend the night plus finding the right place. I agree most secondary (daytrip) locations probably warrant additional attention but with Paris offering so much I, personally, don't want to allocate my time/energy this way--thus my slightly "narrow" horizons.
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