7 Best Day Trips From Paris: Havens in Close Reach of the City

  • 01 of 08

    Venture Outside the City to These Nearby Getaways

    Japanese footbridge, Claude Monet's garden, Giverny, France
    ••• marc_land / Getty Images

    Once you've seen Paris' most essential attractions, why not get out of the city for a day and find out what lies outside its limits? Several interesting and entertaining destinations, including chateaus, natural parks, and medieval fortifications, are within close reach of the city. We point you to the best day trips from Paris-- click through the slideshow to see which places made our list. 

    Wondering whether it's worth it to rent a car for your day trips? Read our article on Paris car rental pros and cons for some good advice.

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  • 02 of 08

    Versailles Palace and Gardens

    Palais de Versailles
    ••• Daniel Haug/Getty Images

    No visit to Paris would be complete without a visit to the former seat of royal power at Versailles. A symbol of the French monarchy and its downfall following the Revolution of 1789, the Chateau de Versailles was erected by the powerful "Sun King" Louis XIV, then later home to the ill-fated Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, who were eventually executed. The palace, including the emblematic hall of mirrors, was recently renovated.

    In the spring, the palace's gardens are idyllic, while a visit to queen Marie Antoinette's private quarters at Le Petit Trianon, her bucolic animal farm and cottage can provide amusing perspectives.

    Read related: 10 Strange and Disturbing Facts About Paris

    Getting there: Take RER C to Versailles-Rive Gauche; follow signs to chateau.

    Read traveler reviews of Versailles and book tours (via TripAdvisor)

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  • 03 of 08

    Monet's House and Gardens at Giverny

    'View of pond and gardens at Giverny from Monet's bridge, Giverny, France'
    ••• VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm/Getty Images

    An excursion to French impressionist painter Claude Monet's home and gardens at Giverny is a must for those interested in art history-- or for botanical enthusiasts, for that matter.

    Open to the public since 1980, Monet's private gardens, immortalized in his brushstrokes, are a haven of green, shadow and light, featuring elegant Japanese-style bridges, water lilies, and dozens of varieties of flowers and trees.

    Getting there from Paris: From the Gare Saint-Lazare station, buy a ticket to Vernon. At Vernon, shuttle buses regularly offer direct service to Giverny (spring to autumn only; consult the official website for a precise schedule)

    Read More:  Complete Guide to Monet's House and Gardens

    Read traveler reviews and book tours of Monet's Gardens (via TripAdvisor)

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  • 04 of 08

    St-Denis Cathedral Basilica and the Royal Necropolis

    France, Seine and Marne,Saint Denis, Saint Denis, interior of the basilica, sculpture of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette
    ••• Christophe Lehenaff/Getty Images

    This marvelous medieval pilgrimage site and earliest French example of high gothic architecture is located in the humble, working-class community of St Denis just north of Paris, and easily accessible on Metro Line 13.

    Many tourists overlook this astounding gem, which boasts a necropolis dedicated to the Kings, Queens, and other royal figures of French history. Come admire their melancholy, eerily beautiful recumbent effigies and see the mysterious crypt where the remains of the famed saint are said to have been buried.

    Read More: Complete Guide to Visiting the St-Denis Basilica 

    Read traveler reviews and book tickets (via TripAdvisor)

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  • 05 of 08

    Chateau Vaux-le-Vicompte

    The 17th-century Chateau Vaux-le-Vicompte outside Paris.
    ••• The 17th-century Chateau Vaux-le-Vicompte outside Paris. Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

    This little-known 17th century chateau east of Paris is worth a visit, especially for history and literature buffs. Home to countless royal fetes and a place of inspiration for dramaturges including Molière and La Fontaine, Vaux le Vicomte today is often chosen as a setting for period-piece films, and some have even opjned that it's more beautiful than Versailles!

    Like its more famous counterpart-- also designed by Le Notre, Vaux-le-Vicompte's luxuriant formal gardens and fountains can provide repose from the hectic cityscape.

    Read traveler reviews and book tickets, tours direct (via TripAdvisor)

    Getting there: From Gare de Lyon to Melun; then take the Chateaubus shuttle. Or take the RER D to Melun, then the "Chateaubus".

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  • 06 of 08

    Disneyland Paris Parks and Resort

    Winter holiday festivities at Disneyland Paris
    ••• Winter holiday festivities at Disneyland Paris. Francois Durand/Getty Images

    If you're visiting Paris with kids, a day or two at Disneyland Paris parks and resort can be a treat-- and it's only about an hour away from the city, easily accessible by the high-speed commuter train. The resort facilities, including a golf course, Disney Village, and Davy Crockett Ranch bungalows, can provide adults an amusing excursion too. 

    Read More:


    Itching to book early? Read traveler reviews and book park tickets direct (via TripAdvisor)

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  • 07 of 08

    Fontainebleau Palace and Park

    The Throne Room in the Palace of Fontainebleau, Fontainebleau, Seine-et-Marne, France
    ••• The Throne Room in the Palace of Fontainebleau. Peter Langer/Getty Images

    Steeped in centuries of royal history, the palace and surrounding forest of Fontainebleau housed French monarchs starting from the 13th century. An excursion here will sate both history and architecture buffs and nature-lovers, who will find miles of hiking trails in the historic park and forest around the palace. Barbizon, a town which has gained fame as the home of painters such as Millet, is nestled in the Fontainebleau forest and is also worth a detour.

    Getting there: Take the SNCF regional train line From Paris Gare de Lyon to Fontainebleau-Avon.

    Read traveler reviews of Fontainebleau at TripAdvisor

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  • 08 of 08

    Provins (Medieval UNESCO Heritage Site)

    Provins is a medieval town outside Paris with UNESCO World Heritage Status.
    ••• Provins is a medieval town outside Paris with UNESCO World Heritage Status. Piet Theisohn/Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons license.

    Proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001, the fortified medieval town of Provins once hosted some of Europe's most extravagant fairs. Built starting in the 11th century, this underappreciated gem of medieval history has inspired countless literary portrayals by authors including Victor Hugo and Balzac. Exploring the town's stunning fortifications and partaking in theatrical medieval shows and festivals there is definitely worth the trip.

    Getting there from Paris: Take the SNCF regional train from Gare de l'Est to Provins.

    Read traveler reviews and recommendations at TripAdvisor