10 Unique Day Trips from Paris

Paris is (rightfully so) one of the most visited cities in the world. 

Renowned for its incredible food and wine culture, cafes, gothic architecture and historic buildings, it’s no wonder Paris is constantly full of tourists. 

Sometimes, however, it can be great to get outside the busy city to explore places outside the city limits. 

Most tourists who are taking a day trip from Paris will opt for the popular options - Versailles, Mont Saint Michel, Giverny, Reims, and the like. 

Here are some of the more unique and unusual day trips from Paris to enjoy.

 

10 Best Day Trips from Paris: Off the Beaten Track

Fontainebleau

Three white boats docked with a large stone building in the background along the water

Fontainebleau


One of the most underrated French palaces, the Château de Fontainebleau is the perfect place to visit on a day trip from Paris and one of the best options for day trips from Paris by train.

The French royals used the palace to escape the hustle and bustle of Paris and relax in the countryside.  The palace is close enough to Paris that the king and queen could take a short country getaway without having to travel too far.

There are four museums and three chapels inside Château de Fontainebleau. Don’t miss the Napoleon I museum and the painting gallery.

Those who enjoyed the Louvre will especially appreciate Château de Fontainebleau's museums.

Additionally, be sure to allow time for an exploration of the palace gardens.  

You can explore a forest as well as 130 hectares of gardens. You should take the time to explore the green spaces around Château de Fontainebleau, even if the flowers aren't in bloom.

Château de Fontainebleau is incredibly easy to reach on a day trip from Paris. The journey takes only 40 minutes by train. Every hour, trains depart from Gare de Lyon for Château de Fontainebleau.  

Once you arrive at Fontainebleau-Avon, you can take a short trip into the city by bus.  

A perfect alternative to Versailles is Château de Fontainebleau. Though less crowded, it has the same beauty and history as Versailles.

 

Château Vaux-le-Vicomte

A very large estate house with many widows and a domed roof at the centre of the building with a neatly manicured garden at the front

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

A stunning example of a French baroque château, this estate can be found in Maincy.  

Though it may not be as well known, it was the inspiration for Versailles and because it is less famous, it has fewer people.  

Enjoy sweeping views from the ramparts, which overlook the estate's classical French gardens.  

It was designed for Louis XIV's finance minister and completed in 1661.

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte is only 40 minutes away from Paris, making it one of the shortest day trips on this list. The trip by train is followed by a brief taxi ride.

 

Chartres

Chartres

Chartres is a great place to see Gothic architecture.

Here you’ll see one of the best preserved Gothic cathedrals in all of France - maybe even in all the world. 

The 13th century cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its original stained glass windows are remarkably preserved.  

In fact, in Chartres, you will also find Le Centre International du Vitrail. This is a museum and workshop dedicated to the wonder of stained glass making.  During the 1944 bombings, other parts of the Old Town were mostly destroyed. 

With its cerulean blue interior accents and barrel-vaulted roof, the Church of Saint-Aignan is another gorgeous place to visit.

You can reach Chartres on a day trip from Paris by train in just over an hour and fifteen minutes.

 

Metz

A large white building with an ornate exterior and two turrets on ether side of its front door

Metz


Metz lies near the borders of Germany and Luxembourg in the northeast of France. 

There are many interesting places to see here on a day trip from Paris. There are beautiful gardens to explore, a beautifully preserved old town, numerous mouth watering French bistros and upscale shops.

The above highlights are just a few of the top things to see in Metz.

Located directly on the Moselle River, this charming town is filled with natural beauty.

There are also bridges connecting the island of Saulcy, which has many historic buildings from the 18th century.

Many people enjoy strolling along the riverbanks on warm summer days, enjoying a picnic and a romantic boat ride down the river.

Metz Cathedral is a must-see attraction. It is one of the most beautiful and largest Gothic churches in France. One of the oldest opera houses in Europe is the Opéra-Theatre de Metz Métropole. 

Place Saint-Jacques is another highlight. Guests and locals alike enjoy dining at this area's delicious cafes and restaurants. Enjoy a summer evening on a terrace.

Metz is a wonderful city full of historic charm and wonderful attractions. This is undoubtedly one of the best villages in the area surrounding Paris.

 

Rennes

The capital city of Brittany is Rennes and a day trip to Rennes from Paris is a great option to see another city during your time in Paris.

Most people associate it with art, history, and the university vibe.  

The magazine L'Express voted it 'most liveable city in Paris' in 2018. It's worth spending a day or two exploring the medieval streets of its old town.  

During the 18th century, a fire destroyed most of old Rennes. There are, however, some spots that are still authentic.  

There are beautiful, half-timbered houses all along the Place Ste-Anne. 

The Saturday morning market is one of the biggest in France, which takes place on Place des Lices.  

Thabor Gardens, which date from the 19th century, are located near the old town. In addition to the botanical gardens and lawns, there is an aviary, as well as a French and English garden.  Over 3,000 types of plants are found here!  During the summer months, concerts and other events take place at the gardens.

By train, you can reach Rennes in less than two hours from Paris on a day trip.

 

Senlis

Combined with a trip to Château de Chantilly, Senlis is a charming medieval town that is easily visited.Senlis is the perfect place for those looking for old-world French charm. 

Senlis is a popular place to explore the old town, walk along the ramparts, and admire the astonishing cathedral.

Paris is a short drive from Senlis, making a day trip from the French capital possible. 

From Gare du Nord, take the regional line to Chantilly, then take the bus to Senlis.

 

Amboise

A very large stone castle with many smaller buildings lining its outer walls

Amboise

The famed châteaux in the Loire Valley are a dream destination for many tourists in Paris.  It is necessary, however, to rent a car or embark on a private tour to reach the Loire Valley, since public transportation is not suitable for day trips.  

Thanks to Amboise's proximity to the Loire, there are a few châteaux nearby.

This includes Leonardo da Vinci's former residence and burial place. You can get there by train, too!  

The Châteaux of Amboise include the Château Royal d'Amboise, the Château du Clos Lucé (Leonardo da Vinci's last residence before his death), and the Château Gaillard.  

This French country town is quaint, charming, and classic in appearance. Discovering Amboise's châteaux is a worthwhile experience.

The journey from Paris will take around 2.5 hours by train, followed by a short walk across the river.

 

Luxembourg City

Many white and stone buildings lining the side of a hill with a stone wall in the distance at the end

Luxembourg City

If you would like to take day trips from Paris to other countries, Luxembourg is a great option.

In teeny-tiny Luxembourg, you’ll find Luxembourg City, the country’s capital. The medieval ruins, for which the city is famous, are best known for being born in deep valleys between two rivers.  

Chemin de la Corniche promenade provides dramatic views of the city from ramparts above.

If you're here during the week, check out the Grand Duke's mansion, the Bock and city casements with all the narrow, winding tunnels, or go to a museum for some contemporary art.  

It only takes 2.5 hours from Paris to Luxembourg City by train to reach this tiny country.

For an experience in an entirely different country, consider taking a day trip from Paris to Luxembourg City.

 

Bruges

A river running through the centre of an oldtown with many brick buildings lining the water

Bruges

Another day trip from Paris to another country is the picture-perfect city of Bruges, Belgium. 

There are few towns in Belgium more picturesque than Bruges. Despite the fact that it might be difficult to leave once you step foot there, it's a great day trip from Paris. 

The port of Bruges, also known as the "Venice of the North," was an important economic centre in the past. 

From Paris, you can easily reach Bruges. There are daily direct trains between the two cities and the journey takes about 2.5-3 hours each way. You should book your tickets as soon as possible, since prices can become a bit steep later on. 

The best way to get around in Bruges is on foot. Due to its compact size, it is easy to walk to most of the main attractions. 

You should take a free walking tour since you'll only have one day to explore. The tour will give you an overview of Bruges' historical landmarks and its city centre. You can also ask the tour guides any additional questions. 

Occasionally, bilingual tours are offered in French and Spanish as well as English. The colourful historic town of Bruges has many attractions, including the Minnewater park, the Belfry, the market, and more.

Don't forget to try some Belgian waffles and Belgian chips - some of their famous local foods! Or some glühwein if you’re visiting Bruges at Christmas!

 

Omaha Beach

A sandy beach with a large concrete barrier running down toward the water

Omaha Beach

WWII enthusiasts should pay homage at Omaha Beach while in Normandy - a day trip that is very convenient.  

Allied forces used Omaha Beach in the D-Day offensive in northern France.

During World War II, German bunkers littered the beach. Les Braves, a steel sculpture located ashore, lauds American soldiers. The Musée Mémorial d'Omaha Beach is located just behind the beach. 

The Overlord Museum, another nearby attraction, displays WWII tanks and artillery.

 

Summary: The best one day trips from Paris

Hopefully this article has given you plenty of inspiration to embark on a unique day trip from Paris to discover some of the less touristy places in France which can be reached on a day trip from Paris, France.

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Make the most of your time in Paris with these 10 best day trips from Paris. Discover some of the more unusual Paris day trips and things to do near Paris with these Paris day trip ideas. | one day trips from paris | unique paris things to do | day t