Replies: 19 - Last Post: Oct 16, 2012 4:15 PM Last Post By: 0live
Oct 11, 2012 1:30 AM
Train tripsHi. My husband, teenage daughter and I will be taking a trip of a life time to europe in sept/oct 2013 of which we hope to spend 5 days in france. We plan on purchasing a train pass to do day trips from paris. Any suggestions for train day trips? We all love history and beautiful scenery.
Oct 11, 2012 2:12 AM
Oct 11, 2012 4:42 AM
Oct 11, 2012 5:09 AM
3I'll agree that with only five days in Paris that one and at most two day trips is enough. You don't need rail passes to do day trips from Paris, just buy individual tickets at whatever train station you'll be departing from. Below I'll give you a list of day trips you can do from Paris and instructions on how to buy tickets.
Here 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.
Oct 11, 2012 6:42 AM
4French Mistique, wow, what a complete list.
Here is more information and pictures of Paris you might find of interest: http://anyportinastorm.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=paris
Oct 11, 2012 7:07 AM
Oct 11, 2012 7:11 AM
As mentioned, for 5 days you don't need a pass. you can spend all your 5 days in Paris and be fine. or make 1 day trip. French_mystique's list is pretty exhaustive.
Where else are you going? 3 days in Italy? 4 days in the UK?
Oct 11, 2012 7:40 AM
Oct 11, 2012 7:57 AM
Oct 12, 2012 12:32 AM
9Hi...Sorry to miss lead you....not sick.... but it will take us a long time to pay for this trip and have been waiting such a long time to go.
The paris visit is part of a 6 week plan of which most will be in Scotland tracing our ancestory on both sides of the family.
From Paris we were heading to the Netherlands to stay with a friend for 9 days doing small overnight trips from there so the French day trips are just for in France.
thank you so much for the big list of ideas - exactly what we were looking for - I am excited to sit with my family and follow the links so that we can choose which ones will suit us the best - we may even decide that we will need more days in Paris.
Oct 12, 2012 3:00 AM
10French_mystique, what a nice list! Allow me to add the following remark: Gregnmel, be sure if the place you want to visit is open. It would be a pitty that just the only day you have your daytrip will be unfortunately the day that the museum or chateau will be closed. Info see ofcourse the proposed websites.
Enjoy your trip.
Oct 12, 2012 8:49 AM
11We are always looking for options for day trips from Paris, and its hard to find a good list with enough detail on how to get to places.
I put together a website on day trips from Paris which includes many of the places on French_Mystique's list (which is one of the best lists out there.....). It has photos, ideas of what you can do there, and details on public transport to get there - normally trains.
Its at http://www.beyond-paris.com.
Hope its of use.
Oct 12, 2012 8:04 PM
12Hi...Would a Eurail Global Pass be suitable for these day trips.
Two that look great is
Chantilly and Senlis in one day
Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Malmaison in one day
Versailles in one day.
Would these choices be full days (keeping in mind that we have a teenager with us who gets a bit bored)
Thanks for your great advice
Oct 12, 2012 10:03 PM
All the trips above are short distances with local trains- Malmaison and St Germain en Laye are even on the RER (like teh metro) network. They are not even part of the rail network and no railpass would be valid. A railpass would be a profound waste of money for any of the other trips, which on average are probably no more than 10 EUR one way.
Oct 12, 2012 10:05 PM
14about your trips- with only 5 days in Paris (which i presume includes your arrival and departure day, so these are half gone) I don;t see the need to make 3 day trips. You have been told above it's no problem to spend the full 5 days in Pais without retracing your steps. There's lots of stuff to see.
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