You don’t know what to do this weekend and you dream of leaving your daily routine in the city? We have listed for you 16 ideas of one-day trips to take starting from Paris!
You can visit most of those places by using the public transportation (bus, trains) or with a tour but the most convenient would be to rent a car. It’s possible to find a car for less than €30/day on a comparator like this one if you’re luck enough.
1) Versailles, the City of the Royals
Located only 23 km away from Paris, the city of Versailles will welcome you for a dazzling day. Known in the whole world for its marvelous castle and its sumptuous gardens, the estate used to be the residence of the Kings of France, like Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI.
You will be impressed and seduced by the beauty of the place. At the entrance, a bronze statue of Louis XIV will welcome you into his humble home. During your tour, you will discover the exquisite beauty of the Chapelle Palatiale. But you should visit one of the most iconic rooms of the castle as wall: the Hall of Mirrors.
For an anecdote, it is in this very room that the Versailles Treaty was signed, thus putting an end to the First World War.
The city of Versailles itself also holds many treasures.
Among them, you will find the Salle du Jeu de Paume, symbol of the French Revolution, and the Cathédrale Saint-Louis. But you can also visit the Notre-Dame neighbourhood, and the Montreuil neighbourhood, which has many parks and gardens around which you can stroll! Versailles is also known to play with its visitors with optical effects and visual illusions. You will be able to admire those murals during your tour of the castle but also in the rue Satory, rue Saint-Julien, rue Carnot and many others! So be careful and keep your eyes open…
Address: Place d’Armes – 78000 Versailles
Public transport access: Versailles Château (RER C)
2) Disneyland Paris, a magical land for children and adults
Located about 40 km away from Paris, the land of Mickey Mouse opens its doors for you and invites you to try out its 343 rides and roller coasters!
You will be able to enjoy rides such as Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, The Ghost Manor, Alice’s Curious Castle, Pirates of the Caribbean and many others! You may also visit Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and meet your favorite Disney characters!
If you’re afraid to get hungry, restaurants and fast-food restaurants of many kinds are available! Among them, you will find the Auberge de Cendrillon or the Café Mickey.
Address: Disneyland Paris, Boulevard du Parc, 77700 Serris/Coupvray
Public Transport access: Marne-la-Vallée-Chessy station (RER A)
3) Gallic adventures at the Parc Astérix
Located about 40 km away from the city, the Parc Astérix is about the adventures and the world of the famous French comic “Astérix the Gaul.” Formed of six worlds taken from the comics, the resort offers you about 40 roller coasters… Among them, La Trace du Hourra, le Tonnerre de Zeus, les Chaises Volantes, Romus et Rapidus, and La Forêt des Druides… You will find rides for everyone! You will even find the accurate reconstruction of Astérix’s village as it is in the comics!
Address: Parc Naturel régional Oise – Pays de France, 60128 Plailly
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm.
Public transport access: Take the RER B until the Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 1 station and get to the Parc Astérix desk and you will be directed to the shuttles that go to the park.
4) Thoiry Zoological garden
Located about 50 km from the city, the Thoiry Zoological Garden is unique. Indeed, you can visit the park “on foot” but you can also see the animals from your car by driving through the 8 km of the ‘Safari’ part of the park. More than 750 animals will welcome you in their 150-hectare park!
You got it: the giraffes, springboks, deer or warthogs are waiting for you!
Address: Parc de Thoiry, rue du Pavillon de Montreuil – 78770 Thoiry
Opening hours: the zoo is open every day from February 4th to November 12th included, except on Mondays and Tuesdays in March. Open from 10am to 5pm (6pm in July and August).
Access: Take the A13 highway at the Porte d’Auteuil. At the junction between A13 and A12, take the A12 highway then N12 towards Dreux.
Take the Thoiry exit, follow the D76 then the D11 towards Thoiry.
Prices: 28€ for adults and 22€ for children (between 3 and 11 years old)
5) Chateau de Chantilly
Built in the middle of the waters, around 7800 hectares of forest and only 25 minutes away from Paris, the Chantilly Estate gathers the castle, the Condé museum, the park, the Grandes Ecuries and the Musée du Cheval. The Condé museum owns the second biggest collection of ancient paintings after the Louvre. The sumptuous “à la française” gardens were created by Monsieur Le Nôtre. The Grandes Ecuries hold the Musée du Cheval and horse shows. Don’t hesitate to come and take a look: you will be in awe in front of the aerobatic shows and the dressage demonstrations!
The park will also offer you an extraordinary panorama of the art of Western gardening. You will be able to roam around its 115 hectares and appreciate its gardens influenced by the fashion of different times: Anglo-Chinese garden from the end of the 18th century or English garden from the 19th century: there are some for every taste!
And last but not least: the castle of Chantilly. It is one of the jewels of the French heritage and was built by Henri d’Orléans, duke of Aumale, son of Louis-Philippe, the last king of France.
Address: Rue du Connétable, 60500 Chantilly
Opening hours: The Domaine de Chantilly is usually open from 10am to 6pm.
Public transport access: From the Gare du Nord station, take the TER to the ‘Chantilly-Gouvieux’ station or take the RER D to the ‘Chantilly-Gouvieux’ station.
Prices: 8€ for a ticket for the park, 11€ for a ticket for the estate.
6) Château Vaux-le-Vicomte
True masterpiece of the 17th century, the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte was the scene of many significant events of the history of France. It was built by the architect Louis Le Vau, the painter Charles Le Brun and the landscape gardener André Le Nôtre. The castle is today the most important private property in France classified as a historical monument.
On the first floor, you can admire the apartments of Monsieur and Madame Nicolas Fouquet, as well as their favourite art pieces. The Ground floor is embellished with the most baroque and remarkable decorations. The Great Square room, the Muse’s room, the Games parlor and the King’s bedroom are waiting for you!
Address: Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte – 77950 Maincy
Opening hours: the castle is open from 10am to 5pm.
Prices: starting at 15.5€ for an adult ticket.
Public transport access: Take the P train (going to Provins) at Paris Gare de l’Est station and stop at the Verneuil l’Etang station. Take the shuttle Châteaubus which is situated at the exit of the station.
7) Normandy’s Debarquement day beaches
Full of history and an iconic site of France, Normandy’s D-day beaches are a must-see. Witness of one of the most significant turning points of our world’s history; they are a commemorative place like no other. Divided into 5 beaches, this 3.1 mile-long site must be experienced for its cultural and historical importance. Whether it is for the Utah or Omaha beaches – where the Americans landed – or for the Gold, Juno and Sword beaches – where the Canadians landed – all of them are worth the journey for their landscapes that still bear the scars of the war. Bunkers, fortifications and other remains of the 1944 D-day peacefully rest there.
Furthermore, Saint-Laurent-Colleville-Sur-Mer’s American military cemetery figures among the 25 remembrance and prayer sites owned by the U.S. on foreign soil. Its 123.5 acres, 9387 steles, chapel and the Garden of The Deceased (“Jardin des Disparus”) can be visited freely. At only a three-hour drive from Paris, this unmissable site must be seen for its historical significance.
Moreover, visiting multiple museums in tribute to D-day will allow you to strengthen your knowledge of this important subject, as well as help you to discover a little more about the Normandy’s coast’s strategic places, such as La Batterie de Mervill or La Pointe du Hoc. We do not intend to tell you everything; we would rather have you discover those less famous, but just as important, places by yourself.
To enjoy pre-organized tours and not have to worry about anything, check out Paris City Vision’s tours that are dedicated to Normandy.
8) Chateau de Fontainebleau
Located 57 kilometres away from the south of the City, Fontainebleau hosts the famous Château de Fontainebleau. It is the only royal estate to have been continuously inhabited for 7 centuries, as each of the members of the 7 royal dynasties of kings of France has lived in its walls. The design of the castle is marked with the wealth of the decorations and the unique aspect of the furniture in the apartments. If you venture into this sumptuous castle, you will have the opportunity to see the four museums which hold masterpieces.
The gardens of the Château de Fontainebleau have evolved throughout centuries of landscape art. These big green spaces have many surprises for you since it is possible to make carriages, mini-train or balloon rides.
How can we speak of the castle and the gardens of the city without talking about the forest? Formerly called the Forêt de Bière, it is spread out on 25000 hectares, 21600 of which are today administered by the state. Considered as one of the biggest and most beautiful forests of France, the diversity of its environments, of its relief and its essences make it an outstanding forest.
Address: Château de Fontainebleau – 77300 Fontainebleau
Opening hours: The castle is open every day except on Tuesdays, on the 1st of January, 1st of May and 25th of December from 9:30am.
Prices: 11€ by person
Access: By car, from Paris take the A6 highway (Porte d’Orléans or Porte d’Italie), take the Fontainebleau exit then follow the ‘château’ signs.
By train, from the Gare de Lyon station, take the train to Montargis, Montereau or Laroche-Migennes and take off at the Fontainebleau-Avon station then take the bus 1 going to Les Lilas until the stop ‘château’
Immersed at the heart of impressionism, the village of Giverny is 75 km away from Paris. Considered as the cradle of the impressionistic movement, this small heaven will help you unwind like no other! Stroll between the pictorial alleyways (notably the rue Claude Monet which holds many art galleries) and succumb to the temptation of the Claude Monet house and gardens. Special mention to the wonderful gardens which received the label “jardin remarquable.” If you wish to stay in an artistic environment, why not go to the Musée des Impressionnismes in Giverny? You will become an expert on the subject since this museum explains the history of impressionism and what followed, as well as later consequences in the second half of the 20th century.
If you’re more attracted to the medieval environment, we recommend you venture to the Château de la Roche-Guyon and the Château de Bizy. The Château de la Roche-Guyon features among the historical monuments of the city. Expanded and embellished throughout the centuries, this majestic castle dating from 1190 progressively became a splendid place and was the residential estate of the Silly family. You will also have the opportunity to see the vegetable garden, created in 1741. Like the one in Versailles, it is an association of a vegetable garden and a fruit garden.
Musée des impressionnismes:
Address: 99 rue Claude Monet – 27620 Giverny
Opening hours: Open from March 24th to November 5th, everyday including public holidays, from 10am to 6pm (last admission at 5:30pm) Gift Shop and restaurant open every day from 10am to 6pm.
Prices: 7€ for an adult ticket.
by car, take the A13 highway and exit at Vernon.
by train: Paris Saint-Lazare/Rouen line. Get off at Vernon station.
Château de La Roche-Guyon:
Address: 1, rue de l’Audience, 95780 La Roche-Guyon
Opening hours: The castle is open every day from 10am to 5pm except during the annual closure from November to February.
Prices: An adult ticket costs 7.8€
Access: From Paris, take the A15 highway towards Cergy, then continue on the N14 road. When close to Magny-en-Vexin, take the second exit ‘Hodent/Vernon’ then follow the Vernon and La Roche-Guyon signs or take the A13 highway towards Rouen. When close to Mantes-la-Jolie, take the first exit, then follow the Limay signs, then Vétheuil/La Roche-Guyon signs.
Château de Bizy:
Address: Château de Bizy, Avenue du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny, 27200 Vernon
Opening hours: Le castle is open every day from April 1st to November 1st included, from 10am to 6pm.
Prices: 9€ for an adult ticket.
True historical city of France, Rouen will know how to win you over with its beautiful half-timbered houses, its paved streets and its nice atmosphere. Known to have been the martyred city of Jeanne d’Arc, who was condemned and burned alive in 1431 on the Place du Vieux Marché, it holds a heritage desired by more than one city. If you’re passing through the city, the prestigious visit not to miss is the Cathedral Notre-Dame-de-Rouen. Overlooking the city from its 151 metres high, it was built between 1030 and 1145, which makes it a gothic building whose first stones go back to the Middle Ages.
You won’t refuse a little afternoon in the city’s botanic garden, which is ideal for family walk with its adorable ponds and the painters who come to immortalise the moment in a brushstroke.
But you will also have the time to explore the Rouen’s castle, the Château de Bouvreuil, which was built at the beginning of the 13th century under the instruction of the King of France Philippe-Auguste. This powerful fortress played a military role during the One Hundred Years’ war and the religion wars, and it also kept Jeanne d’Arc prisoner within its walls.
Finally, Rouen offers an immersion into the Panorama XXL, a surprising activity! The giant panoramic pieces are seen for the first time in France. The lovers of amazing art will be able to discover in world exclusiveness the exposition Rouen 1431, in Jeanne d’Arc’s era. The hors-catégorie artist Yadegar Asisi reproduces lost or inaccessible places thanks to a particular technique that associates painting, drawing and digital images!
Located 135 km away from Paris, the “city of a hundred churches” opens its door full of history and mystery for a day or a weekend, just for you!
How to access Rouen:
by train: Intercités lines Paris Saint-Lazare – Rouen – Le Havre
by car: 1h47 via the A13 highway
Located 135 km away from Paris, Orléans is considered to be one of the most dynamic cities in France! Modern and easy to live in, the city has many means of transports and will make you feel at home! Known for its art and history, this city is everyday more popular among nature and history lovers.
If you’re passing through the city, don’t hesitate to go visit the Cathedral Sainte-Croix. A historical monument, this Roman Catholic cathedral of gothic style was built between 1601 and 1829.
You can also rest and stroll around the alleys of the Parc Floral, which is a landscaped park. The animals and plants are the principal actors in these wonderful gardens! Finally, if you wish to, go to the Musée Mémorial des enfants du Vel d’Hiv, a museum specialised into the history and research linked to the concentration camps of Pithiviers and Beaune-la-Rolande where 16000 Jews were deported, and the Jargeau camp, where 1200 gypsies were interned.
How to access Orléans:
by train: 1h via the Intercité trains
by car: 1h37 via the A10 highway.
Located 143 km away from Paris, Amiens is nicknamed “the little Venice of the North” because of the many canals that go through it. It holds a flamboyant historic heritage. Among the essential activities, we offer you to visit the cathedral Notre-Dame d’Amiens, masterpiece stemmed from a technical prowess and on the World Heritage list of the UNESCO. Built between 1220 and 1288, it is one of the tallest gothic churches of France. But you can also walk in the steps of a famous writer by going to Jules Verne’s house, inhabited by the writer from 1882 to 1900. Immersed into his private life, you will be able to take a look at the 700 objects and documents linked to the author of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Then, why not consider taking some time to see the Musée de Picardie, which tracks down the history of arts and techniques from the Paleolithic age to the 21th century? It is considered to be one of the most beautiful museums of the French province, and it was conceived as the Louvre of Napoléon III.
If you wish to, you can walk the streets of the Saint-Leu neighbourhood. Crossed through by canals, this picturesque neighbourhood harbours many old paved streets and traditional cob or brick houses.
How to access Amiens:
by train: 1h20 via TER
by car: 1h58 via the A86 highway.
Called “the city of coronations” or “the city of Kings,” this city, which houses the cathedral Notre-Dame de Reims, once saw the baptism of Clovis and assisted in a great number of coronations of Carolingian and Capetian kings, from Louis le Pieux in 816 until Charles X in 1825.
Among the places to visit in Reims, the Palais du Tau was once the residency of the city’s archbishops. During the French Revolution, this palace was turned into a courthouse, then into a commodity market.
You can also spend some time at the Basilique Saint-Remi, which is known for its relics and numerous miracles that attracted many pilgrims. Get on with your religious ascent into the walls of the Cathedral Notre-Dame, which was built between 1211 and 1345. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the construction of the cathedral was completed in the 14th century. It is known notably for the very important destruction it was a victim of during the First World War.
After your visit to the cathedral, we advise you to go through the Porte de Mars. This Roman monument gets his name from the proximity of a temple devoted to the roman god of war, Mars. On the World Heritage list since 1840, it presents rich decorations locally inspired.
Finally, to end up on a nice note, go to the Villa Demoiselle. True architectural symbol of Reims, this villa combines to perfection Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. This elegant context was built between 1904 and 1908 by the architect Louis Sorel.
How to access Reims:
by train: 50 min by TGV
by car: 1h38 via the A4 highway.
Honfleur is a city located 197 km away from Paris, in Normandy. With its authentic charm, Honfleur is a major place of tourism in Normandy. Bordered with picturesque streets, slate-covered and half-timbered houses, this painter city has seen the birth of the painter Eugène Boudin and the composer Erik Satie, whose house has become a museum.
If you’re passing by Honfleur for a weekend, we advise you to stop at the Vieux Bassin, which is clearly one of the most charming places in the city! Not far from the marine fragrances, you will find the Saint-Léonard neighbourhood, which houses the beautiful Eglise Saint-Léonard built in the 6th century. If you’re looking for a lively place, go to the Quartier de l’Enclos, where you will find shipping streets and the Hotel de Ville. The specialty of this part of the city is due to the presence of salt storehouses dating from the modern era. They are on the World Heritage list and their architecture is as impressive as the secrets that are hidden.
To immortalize your stay in Honfleur, why not climb the Côte de Grâce, which will give you a full panorama of the Normandy coast? Follow its pathways and enjoy the soothing atmosphere that this place releases. To end the day on a rewarding and positive note, don’t hesitate to catch a glimpse of the Musée de la Marine, true reflection of the city’s identity.
Don’t forget the market day in Honfleur, perfect to go shopping for groceries and stock up on local and regional products from Normandy… Guaranteed fun!
How to access to Honfleur: 2h23 via the A13 highway
A little less than 200 km away from Paris, Deauville is ready to open its doors for you! This equestrian city is well-known not only for its racecourses, but also for its beach and its palaces.
Among the staple activities of the city, we won’t fail to urge you to go visit the Centre International, a product of a true technical prowess. If we talked about the racecourses, it is because the racetrack is also a must see: built in 1864 by the Duc de Morny, its three polo fields are regularly witnesses of the spectacular confrontations between the best teams in the world in this sport.
If you’re passionate about Impressionism in painting, you should go to the painter Eugène Boudin’s house, where he spent the last 14 years of his life. This painter created more than 100 oil and gouache paintings in Deauville.
To continue your weekend in a good mood, dash off to the Villa Strassburger, classified as a historical monument in 1975. This impressive house was built under the wishes of the baron Henri de Rothschild, a great horse race enthusiast.
For the fans of casino games, the slot machine heaven awaits you in the Casino Barrière!
Finally, save your last trip in Normandy for the Etablissement des bains de mer: built in 1923, it is the heaven of the beach and the ‘HQ’ of information. Two kilometers of beach, 600 parasols, 450 booths, an Olympic-size swimming-pool, two ports, a sailing school, a tennis club and many others activities awaits you… The choice is yours!
How to access Deauville:
by car: 2h28 via the A13 highway
by train: 2h14 via TGV – Intercité.
The rocky islet of the Mont-Saint-Michel, surrounded by its beautiful bay, is waiting for you for a memorable visit! On the border between Brittany and Normandy, this monument is on the list of World Heritage of the UNESCO since 1979 and is the scene of the biggest tides of continental Europe. Once famous as a pilgrimage place, the skillful mix of religious and medieval military of its architecture will amaze many of you! The Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel is an essential must do: since 708, it overlooks the immensity of the bay and perks up between the sea and the sky. We can already warn you: its intimate cloister and its secrets won’t leave you hanging…
If you’re looking for an original trip, we invite you to discover the Mont-Saint-Michel on horseback or in ULM flight for the boldest of you! You must know that this location is situated 361 km away from Paris.
How to go to Mont-Saint-Michel:
by car: 3h56 via the A13 highway
by train: 3h40
17) Loire Valley Castles (Châteaux de la Loire)
The French region of the Loire has the honor to see in its historical and cultural heritage feature the most beautiful castles of France. Third tourist destination in France, the Vallée de la Loire counts probably the highest concentration of castles in France. If you’re passionate about the French medieval period, you won’t escape this region!
Château de Chambord
Find yourself in a fairy land with the Château de Chambord! Located 178 km away from Paris, you can feel its unique vibe firsthand after you cross the forest. You’re about to track 500 years of French history in only a few hours. Built for François 1st, it is a true architectural masterpiece that the King showed to diverse monarchs and travelers passing by. Molière notably presented his comedy Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme for the first time there.
You will be lucky to climb the famous stairs with double revolutions inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci and revel yourself of this unique architecture built on models of fortified castles with its dungeon and its four towers.
How can we mention this castle without talking about its estate, which is the largest closed forest park of Europe: 5440 hectares of surface (the intramural surface of Paris), and without mentioning its French style garden? In 2017, the castle was subjected to a great transformation: it is trying to recreate the original French gardens! Some 600 trees, 88 shrubs, 200 rose bushes, 15250 plants delimiting the borders, or even 18874 m2 of grass were planted to give it back its former glory.
How to go to Château de Chambord:
by car: 2 hours via the A10 highway.
Château de Cheverny
Located 197 km away from Paris, the Château de Cheverny is famous for being remarkably preserved: you can still find the layout and furniture of the period. The marvelous interior decoration of the Louis XIIth era was perfectly maintained for 4 centuries. After an interior visit, try visiting the exterior and the huge park covered with humongous cedar trees and other rare essences.
For more information on the Château de Cheverny, you can visit its official webpage.
Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire
The Château de Chaumont-Sur-Loire is situated 217 km away from Paris. It is an essential place in the art and garden fields and is a stop not to be missed in the Châteaux de la Loire tour. Spread on 20 hectares, it offers one of the most beautiful views upon the royal river. It also hosts art pieces of modern art and exhibitions by the greatest photographers.
For more information about the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire, you can visit its official website.
Situated 200 km away from Paris, the Château d’Amboise majestically overlooks the Loire. For more than four centuries, it was run with a hard hand by the Amboise family. A place filled with history, you will be able to admire the collection of furniture from the Gothic and Renaissance eras. After visiting the interior of the castle, you will have the possibility of strolling around the majestic gardens and to see the chapel that houses Leonardo Da Vinci’s tomb.
For more information about the Château d’Amboise, you can check its official website.
Located about 250 km away from Paris, the Château d’Azay-le-Rideau holds the particularity of being built on an island in the middle of the Indre River. Considered one of the models of the French Renaissance architecture, many kings and marquis acquired it once. Don’t hesitate to go visit this castle which is part of the much sought lineage of the Châteaux de la Loire.
For more information about the Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, you can visit its official website.