France has a great rail network so if you’re looking for day trips from Paris by train, there are lots of exciting, easy possibilities, from bustling cities to country towns to grand chateaux.
There are plenty of delightful French destinations that you can reach by train, and you can even get from Paris to other countries in just a couple of hours.
I love Paris – it’s one of my favourite cities in the world. I’ve visited many times and I have never been tired of what the city has to offer. Sometimes I’ve only spent only a couple of days in Paris. In those cases, I tend to stick to the city itself. But when I’ve had more time, I have ventured out of the city to do some day trips.
However, I wanted to create a really comprehensive list full of ideas, so I clubbed together with some other travel bloggers who have also travelled to Paris and done day trips from there. This article gives our combined view of the best destinations for amazing day trips from Paris by train. I’ve also included a map of the destinations and some general info about taking trains in France. You can find this at the end of the article.
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. These are links to products or experiences I recommend and if you were to buy something after clicking on them, I might earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Any earnings go towards the upkeep of this blog, which I appreciate.
Table of Contents
23 Amazing Day Trips From Paris By Train
Here are our combined recommendations for train day trips from Paris, organised in sections according to how long the train journey is.
Easy Day Trips From Paris By Train in less than 1 hour
This first section covers day trips which can be done on quick train trips from Paris, where the train journey is less than an hour from central Paris. And with shorter train journeys often comes a smaller ticket price, making these amongst the cheapest day trips from Paris.
1. Château de Versailles
Contributed by Sharyn from Live Work Play Travel
One of the most popular activities in Paris is a Paris to Versailles day trip.
Even a three-day trip to Paris could include a day trip to the Palace of Versailles, located some 19 km (12 miles) west of the city. This world-famous palace was originally built as a hunting lodge by King Louis X111 in 1623. Kings Louis X1V, XV and XV1 lived there at various times extending and renovating it to what you see today. When the French Revolution occurred, Versailles was abandoned and it was not sure what would happen to it. Thankfully, it is open to the public as a magnificent reminder of 17th Century architecture providing a wealth of French history you will discover when you visit.
There are many grand buildings and rooms to see, including the estate of Trianon, Marie Antoinette’s hamlet, the Empire Rooms, the Gallery of Battles and the Room of Mirrors – where the Treaty of Versailles was signed bringing an end to World War I. Budget 2-3 hours to walk around the Palace and another 1-2 hours to walk around the magnificent, landscaped French formal gardens set in 2,000 acres.
Versailles is open year-round. As you will spend a lot of time indoors any season is a great time to visit. If you want to spend time in the gardens, Spring and Autumn are the best time to visit as the weather is more pleasant.
You can drive or go on an organised Palace of Versailles tour from Paris, but the best way is to catch the train.
Trains leave regularly from central Paris stations on the RER Line C. It will take around 30-50 minutes to reach, depending on the station you leave from and will take in some beautiful scenery along the way. The nearest station is Versailles Château Rive Gauche. After a 10-minute walk, you will find yourself at the opulent Place D’Armes and the Gate of Honour. Welcome to Versailles!
You can get Versailles Palace & Gardens tickets in advance.
2. Château de Sceaux
Contributed by me, Martha from MayCauseWanderlust.com
For a day trip to a grand old stately home that is less busy than Versailles, consider the Château de Sceaux.
This château dates back to the 17th Century, although it was demolished after the French Revolution and largely rebuilt in the mid-19th Century. There’s an art gallery here: Musée de l’Île-de-France.
The main attraction for me, though, is the grounds of the Departmental Estate of Sceaux, also known as Parc de Sceaux: it’s a large park, which contains fountains, woodlands, a large central pond and various gardens. Popular with runners and dog walkers in the early morning, it’s also a great place to walk and take a picnic.
If you’re in Paris in Spring, definitely consider a day trip (or even just a half-day trip) here, because it is one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in Paris. It has two groves of blossom trees: one white and one pink. The pink grove is the star: the effect of so many pink flowering trees together is wonderful – it’s a perfect spot to picnic on a sunny April day!
The Departmental Estate of Sceaux is just outside the boundary of Paris to the South, and you can easily reach it on an RER line B train, getting off at Parc de Sceaux station. It takes about 20 minutes from Châtelet and from Parc de Sceaux station, it’s a 10-minute walk into the park. It really is one of the easiest and cheapest day trips from Paris by train!
3. Disneyland Paris
Contributed by Kaz from The Honeymoon Guide
Another one of the easiest Paris day trips by train for young and old alike is to Disneyland Paris. In less than an hour, you are transported to a world of fairy-tale dreams, because line A of the suburban RER train line terminates at Marne-la-Vallee station, which is next to the front gates of Disney Village.
The hardest part of this fun day trip from Paris is to decide which of the two parks to visit first. Will it be Disneyland Park or Walt Disney Studios Park? But don’t worry, you can get tickets to one or both. Whether you’re a fan of classic Disney characters or seeking rollercoaster adventures, you’ll find it here.
Stroll down Main Street, lined with charming shops and fun eateries. Take the train or dance along to the fun parades. Star Wars, Toy Story, Ratatouille, Marvel, Sleeping Beauty: it’s a world of fantasy and wonder for all ages. Stay for nightly fireworks that will leave you in awe.
To make the most of your day at Disneyland Paris, consider arriving early to beat the crowds and maximise your time exploring the parks. Check the park’s schedule in advance for any special events or seasonal festivities, as these can add an extra touch of magic to your visit. Booking early and including a fast pass is almost essential at peak times as it sells out and queues can be up to 90 minutes for some attractions.
While Disneyland Paris provides shuttles, these cost €20 per person, whereas the RER train takes you from the iconic streets of Paris to the Magical Kingdom in around 45 minutes for just a few euros.
Contributed by Knycx Journeying
Fontainebleau is a historic town with joyful festivities, cultural heritage, and breathtaking scenery. With its proximity to Paris, it has been a perfect getaway for the Paris locals, and it is a hidden gem to the visitors.
The journey to Fontainebleau begins from Gare de Lyon, which is a 45-minute away from the main train station of Fontainebleau. For a day trip, visitors can either join a guided tour or rent a car and explore the fields and natural forests with more freedom and flexibility.
The main draw of the Fontainebleau is the historic Château de Fontainebleau. The UNESCO World Heritage Site was the former residence of many French monarchs, including Louis VII and Napoleon III. The site celebrates both architectural and artistic achievements – showcasing beautiful works of art with a well-designed Italian Renaissance garden. The Turkish boudoir designed especially for Marie Antoinette is also another highlight. In fact, the beauty of Château de Fontainebleau is often compared with Château de Versailles.
Fontainebleau is surrounded by a natural forest and was a hunting ground for royalty in the past. These days, you can take a hot air balloon ride here, gliding above the tranquil farmlands.
The Django Reinhardt Festival is held in town during summer. Originally a respected jazz music festival with a long history, the festival moved on to a wider range of music genres and performances. Soak in the festive vibe at night when you could have some good food and wine in a local joint, dance, and see performances on different stages set up in the city’s streets.
5. Reims, Champagne Wine Region
Contributed by me, Martha from MayCauseWanderlust.com
If you’re in Paris, you might be tempted by the idea of a day trip to the Champagne wine region of France. There are two main centres, where the champagne houses have their cellars and offer tours: Reims and Epernay.
I recently did a day trip to Reims from Paris and I had a really lovely time. A day is the perfect amount of time to get there, explore the town a little, and do a champagne tour, before heading back to Paris on the train.
While you can take tours to Reims that pick up in Paris, with high-speed direct TGV trains running from Gare de l’Est in Paris, it is possible to get to Reims independently by train in only 46 minutes. Reims Ville train station is in the centre of the town, so it’s easy to walk to the main town landmarks, including the impressive Gothic Cathedral of Notre-Dame of Reims, Reims Town Hall and Place Royale.
You can do tours of vineyards near Reims and in the town there are also various champagne cellars that offer cellar tours and tastings, including Ruinart, Taittinger and my favourite, Veuve Cliquot. Pommery offers a vineyard plus a cellar tour.
I really enjoyed my Veuve Clicquot cellar tour, learning about the history and process of making champagne. And the tasting was pretty good too! I did this on a solo trip to Paris, but it’s easy to see how this could also be a romantic thing to do when in Paris.
And also, because the cellars are underground, so you are sheltered if the weather is bad, a cellar tour in Reims could be a good option if you’re in Paris in Winter.
Day Trips From Paris By Train in 1-2 hours
These train day trips from Paris involve train journeys of between 1 and 2 hours – so the journey time is a little longer, but you will still have plenty of time to enjoy the destinations.
6. Lille, Hauts-de-France
Contributed by Lauren from The Adventure Manual
Another brilliant day trip from Paris is to Lille, in Northern France, which you can reach in just over an hour directly on a TGV train. This is a very easy day trip that’s perfect if you’re looking for a laid-back day out.
Much of Lille’s charm is found in exploring its backstreets, stumbling upon quaint cafes and wine bars (of which, Les Frères Pinard is the best).
In fact, most of Lille can be explored in a day. You have to see the stunning Palais des Beaux-Arts, filled with impressive fine and modern artwork. You also need to spend some time at La Vieille Bourse, which sits in the Grand Place in Lille – this is Lille’s beating heart.
The best time to visit Lille is in late spring and early fall. This way, you get to miss the huge crowds that flock to the city during summer but you still get to enjoy the benefits of the sunny weather. And Lille is even more beautiful in the warmer months.
Parc de la Citadelle is a great place to explore when the sun is shining, grab a sandwich from a nearby cafe – La Sandwicherie Libanaise is a big hit – and go for a stroll or take a Lille city tour.
7. Giverny, Normandy
Contributed by Chelsea from Adventures of Chels
One of the most picturesque day trips from Paris by train is to the beautiful town of Giverny.
Giverny is a small French town best known for being the home of the famous painter, Monet. His home and gardens, which he frequently painted pictures of, are open for the public to visit. Art and nature lovers would enjoy a visit to Giverny to see Monet’s home. It’s well worth a day trip from Paris!
In addition to doing a tour of Monet’s home and gardens, make sure to stroll around the town of Giverny itself. Enjoy strolling through the streets and admiring the quaint shops, French architecture and overall charm of the town.
To get to Giverny from Paris, depart from the Gare Saint-Lazare train station and travel to Gare de Vernon-Giverny, which takes about an hour and 20 minutes on an SNCF TER train. During the season when Monet’s home is open to visitors (April 1st – November 1st) a shuttle departs from the station to Monet’s home about 20 minutes after a train from Paris arrives at the station. (Shuttles also depart for the train station from Monet’s home in time to catch the trains back to Paris.)
Though Monet’s home is open from April 1st- November 1st, note that the best times to visit are from April- May, and September-November during the shoulder season. When you do visit, try to arrive first thing in the morning to avoid as many crowds as possible so you can enjoy the gardens with few others present.
Enjoy your day trip to beautiful Giverny!
8. Épernay, Champagne Wine Region
Contributed by Sabrina from Shadesofsummr
One of the best day trips to Champagne from Paris is to Épernay, which is known as the capital city of Champagne. Young couples and adults, especially, will love going to Épernay and indulging in a day of wine tastings and cellar tours.
From the Gare de l’Est in Paris, you can reach Épernay train station in about an hour and 20 minutes. The SNCF TER train is the best option for this trip.
The main attraction in Épernay is the Avenue de Champagne. It is a big street lined with fancy mansions belonging to the world’s most famous Champagne houses. You can take tours of the wine cellars, like at Moët and Chandon, or visit the Chateau Perrier, a beautiful museum.
Spring and fall are the best times for a trip to the Champagne region because it is less crowded than in summer, but the weather is still very nice.
If weather permits, it is nice to partake in Champagne tastings on one of the many amazing terraces of the big wineries on the Avenue de Champagne.
Épernay is a lovely city and I enjoyed visiting. Keep in mind that many of the bigger Champagne houses do ask hefty sums for their tours and champagne masterclasses, so it is not a budget-friendly destination.
9. Brussels, Belgium
Contributed by Tamar of World by Weekend
There are some international destinations that you can reach from Paris by train in just over an hour, including a day trip from Paris to Belgium, its northern neighbour.
A Paris to Brussels day trip is probably the quickest Belgian day trip and is perfect for travellers interested in architecture, art, politics, and chocolate.
The train journey from Paris to Brussels takes approximately an hour and 20 minutes. To get there, take the Thalys train from Paris’ Gare du Nord station to Brussel-Zuid/Midi. From there, either walk 20 minutes into the city centre or take the IC 5105 bound for Shaarbeek one stop to Brussel-Centraal (about 4 minutes).
While you could easily spend a weekend in Brussels, one day will allow you to see many of the city’s highlights. Start your day in Brussels at the city’s main square, Grand Place, considered Europe’s most beautiful square. Visit the nearby Manneken Pis statue, a fountain of a little boy peeing which is also the unofficial symbol of the city.
Brussels also houses one of the top collections of Flemish art in the world at their Royal Museums of Fine Arts. This collective of multiple museums are housed in one large building, and art lovers can easily spend their whole day browsing the many galleries.
In addition to being the capital of Belgium, Brussels is also the home of the EU Parliament. One of the many interesting things to do during your day in Brussels is to visit the EU Parliament building. There you can tour the parliament itself, as well as see the comprehensive onsite museum detailing the history of the EU.
Finally, no trip to Brussels is complete without tasting some famous Belgian chocolates. Be sure to pick some up for your journey back to Paris!
10. Metz, Lorraine
Contributed by PlacesofJuma
Metz is an ideal day trip by train destination from Paris. Located in the Lorraine region in northeastern France, near the borders of Germany and Luxembourg, it is easily accessible by train. Covering a distance of 280 km from Paris Gare de l’Est to Gare de Metz, the journey takes just 1 hour and 25 minutes by TGV. Once you arrive at Gare de Metz, you can easily reach the charming old town within a 15-minute walk.
During your visit, Metz will enchant you with its many magnificent monuments and attractions. One of the most striking features is the breathtaking panorama along the banks of the Moselle River. The summer season is especially delightful for leisurely strolls, picnics or a romantic cruise along the beautiful river. There’s also a Metz self-guided walk and scavenger hunt you can do.
You can also enjoy beautiful gardens, a historic city centre, and many delicious French restaurants and boutiques. A must-see is Saulcy Island, a charming area of 18th-century buildings accessible via a connecting bridge.
Of course, no visit to Metz would be complete without experiencing its main attraction, the magnificent Metz Cathedral – Saint-Étienne. Known as one of the most stunning and expansive Gothic church structures in France, it is a sight to behold.
Another fascinating place to explore is the Opéra-Théatre de Metz Métropole (Opera House), one of the oldest opera houses in Europe. For a delightful break, be sure to stop at Place Saint-Jacques, a charming square known by locals and tourists alike for its abundance of charming cafes and restaurants.
11. Nancy, Lorraine
Contributed by Leyla Alyanak from Offbeat France
Ensconced in Eastern France, where tourists don’t often go, is a city with a major claim to fame: it is the heartland of Art Nouveau in France. The city of Nancy is an artistic showcase, from architecture to glass to furniture. Almost everywhere you look, the earthy curves of this early 20th-century style are apparent. A trip to Nancy is one of the more unique day trips from Paris by train.
Reaching Nancy is simple, with 13 daily trains leaving from the Paris Gare de l’Est, many of them TGVs, which take just over 1.5 hours. The train station is in downtown Nancy and you can just walk down a few blocks and start your visit at Place Stanislas, a major square protected by UNESCO which was recently voted France’s favourite square.
On the square is the Fine Arts Museum (Musée des Beaux-Arts), where you can head straight to the basement for an extraordinary exhibit of Art Nouveau glassware by Daum.
Possibly the most iconic Art Nouveau structure is the Maison Majorelle, home of furniture designer Louis Majorelle, who built the house to be an Art Nouveau showcase. Another must-see is the Musée de l’Ecole de Nancy, the museum of the Nancy School, as the art movement was known here.
Several Art Nouveau architectural wonders are still standing throughout the city and especially in the Saurupt neighbourhood. Sadly, many houses were destroyed in the drive towards modernity but enough are left to make visiting this city an absolute must for Art Nouveau fans – and you can do a guided Art Nouveau tour of Nancy.
12. Dijon, Burgundy
Contributed by Latifah of Gimme Confetti
If you’re looking for a great travel spot reachable by train, a Paris to Dijon day trip is a no-brainer. The journey is simple and direct. Take the TGV from Paris Gare de Lyon and you’ll arrive in just 1hr 40 minutes.
By now you’ve probably already made the connection between Dijon and the beloved mustard. Yes, foodies- Dijon is the capital of mustard. It’s also known as a gastronomy haven for French gastronomy and vineyards tours.
Dijon has an owl trail (parcours de la chouette) that you must do. Backup for a second: in case you didn’t know the owl is the mascot and symbol of Dijon. There are owl plaques embedded on the sidewalks all over Dijon, and it’s your job to find them through a self-guided tour to explore the city. It’s a great activity to do and kids love it (we adults do too). Top tip: you can buy the trek map at the tourism office for just €3.50.
Dijon also has beautiful architecture and landmarks. Be sure to visit the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy and its impressive Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Did you know Dijon is filled with hidden gems for you to explore? I accidentally stumbled on the stunning Hôtel de la Thoison by strolling around.
If you’re an art lover another reason you HAVE to visit Dijon is the Musée des Beaux-Arts, which has an impressive collection of paintings and sculptures. Visiting Beaux-Arts museums in every town you travel to (most French towns have one) is a great way to get a feel of the town’s soul and its rich art culture. It’s one of my favourite things to do. The Beaux-Arts Museum in Montpellier is another one of my favourites.
And of course, wine lovers might want to have a Burgundy wine-tasting experience.
13. Strasbourg, Alsace
Contributed by Melanie Ferguson from Postcards & Places
If you are interested in experiencing Alsatian culture, a Paris to Strasbourg day trip could be for you.
Strasbourg is located in the Alsace region of northeastern France, on the border with Kehl, Germany. It is known for its Gothic cathedral and medieval timber-framed buildings.
It is an hour & three-quarters east of Paris by TGV. Trains depart from Gare de l’Est in Paris and arrive at Strasbourg’s central station, from where visitors can take the tram to the city centre or walk. It’s less than 20 minutes to walk from the train station to the cathedral.
At 142 metres (466 feet) tall, Strasbourg’s cathedral is the tallest building in the city—in fact, some say it used to be the tallest building in the world. Today, it’s possible to climb up 330 steps to the cathedral’s platform, which offers stunning views all the way to the Vosges and Black Forest mountains.
Strasbourg is perhaps best known for its Christmas market, which takes place from late November to Christmas Eve. For visitors during this time of year, a quick trip from Paris to this German-style winter market to sample the mulled wine and gingerbread is always a good idea.
At any time of the year, a guided boat tour of the canals around downtown is a fun way to get to know Strasbourg’s history and highlights. On a sunny summer day, it’s worth booking an open boat to get the best views of the bridges and buildings, but there are covered boats too.
Strasbourg has plenty of engaging museums, like the Historical Museum of Strasbourg or the Alsatian Museum, for those who are interested in history (or for when the weather is less-than-ideal). As well, Strasbourg is one of the capitals of Europe, and visiting the modern European Parliament building is great for anyone interested in global politics. You can even tour the Quartier Européen on a Segway!
14. Amboise, Loire Valley
Contributed by Jolene from Wanderlust Storytellers
If you like the idea of a Loire Valley day trip from Paris, Amboise and in particular the Château d’Amboise, is for you!
It is a quick journey from Paris Austerlitz at just under 2 hours. When you arrive in Amboise there is a short walk to this stunning castle!
Located upon the tranquil waters of the River Loire, the Château d’Amboise is no ordinary fortress as behind its walls is a rich tapestry of stories that stretch back to the Neolithic era.
As you wander through the château’s halls today, you’ll witness the ongoing restoration efforts that began in the 19th century, a testament to the dedication to preserving its historical importance and grandness. You will be immersed in the history and magic of the Loire Valley chateaux – a great day out for couples and even families!
During the summer months make sure to enjoy “The Prophecy of Amboise.” This multi-sensory show breathes life into the court of Charles VIII, transporting you back in time through a symphony of light and sound. It’s a moment when the past and present come together offering a small glimpse into the lavish world of the château’s former inhabitants.
The gardens, an integral part of this charming château, seem to merge seamlessly with the castle itself. The grounds also hold another hidden gem, the enchanting ruins of the Chapel of St Florentine.
We loved visiting the Château of Amboise as it promises an unforgettable day. However, we also made the most of our day trip from Paris and carved out time to explore the town of Amboise itself, walking along its charming streets and soaking in the atmosphere. Be sure to pay a visit to the renowned Château of Leonardo da Vinci.
You can also do a hot air balloon from Amboise! But you’ll need to be there early for that…
15. Lyon, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Contributed by Kristin from Global Travel Escapades
Another fantastic way to experience the beauty and culture of France is by taking a day trip from Paris to Lyon. This day trip is perfect for those looking for a city that’s architecturally similar to Paris but doesn’t involve excessive crowds or commotion. Plus, Lyon has plenty of activities to fill a day trip.
For example, visitors can explore the charming Quartier Saint-Jean district, which is home to many beautiful churches and other historical sites. Or for those who prefer spending more time roaming around beautiful green spaces, you can take a stroll through the Parc de la Tête d’Or. This park is one of Lyon’s largest public parks and even contains a zoo!
And of course, no trip to Lyon is complete without sampling the local specialities and regional wines! For example, one treat you’ll want to make sure to try is a sweet rose praline! Discover more on a food tour of Lyon.
For those interested in visiting Lyon for a day, you’ll want to make your way to Paris Gare de Lyon. From there, you’ll want to book a ticket on a TGV train, since they offer direct transportation between the two cities, and the journey time is usually just under 2 hours!
16. Rouen, Normandy
Contributed by RJ from RJOnTour
Rouen is a historic city in the Normandy region. It is perfect for a day trip from Paris, especially for those that enjoy beautiful architecture. The average train journey takes just under 2 hours on a TER train. These are direct and leave from Paris St Lazare.
Highlights of a trip to Rouen include visiting the imposing Rouen Cathedral which is free to enter and rather interesting. Notably, it was consecrated in the presence of William the Conqueror. There are also many interesting churches to see, including the flamboyant Eglise Catholique Saint-Maclou.
The “Historial Jeanne d’Arc” is an engaging attraction that tells the story of Joan of Arc. They famously burned her at the stake in the city and there are many other sites to visit relating to her. The timber-framed streets of the old town area of Rouen are picturesque and fun to explore. Here you can find many churches, the historic clock Le Gros-Horloge, and the macabre Aitre Saint Maclou.
If history and hidden places are your thing, you might like a secret history tour of Rouen.
Rouen also has great options for meals out including many serving Norman specialities. The place to head for food and drink options is Place du Vieux-Marché. This is a beautiful town square with many options for restaurants. It’s also home to the city’s market, which serves delicious food to eat in the square.
Longer Day Trips From Paris By Train in 2+ hours
This last section includes more great destinations to explore as day trips from Paris by train, but the journey time is longer – between two and three hours. Therefore, you will be looking at a slightly longer day, once you factor in the journey time and time to explore.
But some of these destinations are really interesting, so it could be worth the earlier start and finish.
Contributed by Victoria from GuideYourTravel
A day trip to Bordeaux from Paris is an absolute must for wine enthusiasts, history buffs, and lovers of stunning architecture. You will be satisfied if you’re seeking a relaxed day exploring renowned vineyards or immersing yourself in Bordeaux’s rich history and vibrant atmosphere.
To reach Bordeaux, hop on a high-speed TGV train at Paris’ iconic Gare Montparnasse. The comfortable journey takes just over two hours, offering scenic views of the beautiful French countryside. You’ll arrive at Bordeaux Saint-Jean station near the city centre.
You can Explore Bordeaux’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic centre with its elegant 18th-century architecture. Stroll along the charming waterfront promenade, where you can admire stunning views of the Garonne River. Visit the interactive wine museum, Cité du Vin, or indulge in a wine tasting at one of the many local wineries. Don’t miss the opportunity to sample Bordeaux’s famous red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Especially the city Saint-Émilion located not far from Bordeaux is very popular among wine enthusiasts and invites for another great location to spend a few hours away from the hustle and bustle of Paris.
As a wine lover, I couldn’t resist the allure of Bordeaux. The city’s beauty, rich history, and exquisite wines made a lasting impression. Exploring the quaint streets, savouring delicious meals paired with exceptional local wines, and learning about wine-making were highlights of my day trip. The warmth of the locals and the breathtaking scenery created an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or simply seeking a picturesque getaway, Bordeaux will captivate your senses and leave you yearning for more.
Finally, the best time to visit Bordeaux is during the mild spring or fall seasons when the vineyards are in full bloom. Consider booking a guided tour to maximize your time and gain insights into the region’s wine production. Personalize your experience by joining a wine-blending workshop or enjoying a leisurely bike ride through the vineyards.
18. Ghent, Belgium
Contributed by Sam Opp from Find Love and Travel
A day trip to Ghent in Belgium is particularly special.
Ghent is located in East Flanders, Belgium, and is a charming medieval city. Here, you can expect to stroll along gorgeous canals, explore Gothic churches, and marvel at incredible architecture.
Some of the top attractions here include Saint Nicholas’ Church, built in the 13th century, the Belfront van Ghent, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Gravensteen Castle, a stunning medieval castle built in 1180.
If your day trip is during the weekend, you should also explore Vrijdagmarkt. There are several cafes, restaurants, and local pubs in this area. Then, head to the canals for a relaxing canal tour at sunset.
To arrive in Ghent, take the Thalys train from Gare du Nord in Paris to Brussels, which takes around an hour and 20 minutes. From there, you can take the local train to Ghent. This takes about 30 minutes, so it will be a little over two hours of travel including the connection.
Belgium is a year-round destination however, Belgium sees most of its tourists in July and August, so expect more crowds during this time. For fewer crowds and milder weather, consider visiting in the Spring or Fall/Autumn.
19. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Contributed by me, Martha from MayCauseWanderlust.com
For another option of visiting a different country, consider a day trip from Paris to Luxembourg. TGV trains from Gare de l’Est go to Luxembourg City, taking two hours and 15 minutes, making a Luxembourgish day trip quite doable.
Luxembourg City is the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, one of the micro-states of Europe. It’s a charming old city, with its municipal centre high on a plateau surrounded by deep river gorges and the remains of a medieval fortress. Down in the valley, there’s a quaint riverside area called Grund.
One of the popular tours is an e-bike tour of Luxembourg City (don’t worry, it’s not full of hills: there are elevators to take you between the high and low areas of the city!).
I went in December to explore the Christmas Markets of Luxembourg, which are really festive and cute. So far, they’re my favourite of all the European Christmas Markets I’ve been to.
When you’re there, you might want to try a glass of Crémant de Luxembourg, a type of sparkling wine that originates in France. Crément has been produced in Luxembourg since the 19th century and it is the only country outside France entitled to use the term ‘crémant’.
Oh, and all public transport in Luxembourg is free! It’s also very well-connected and reliable, so getting from and to the station is easy and stress-free.
20. Leuven, Belgium
Contributed by Annelies From Travelers & Dreamers
Looking for a great day trip from Paris to Belgium, but to a lesser-known place?
Look no further than Leuven, a charming hidden gem in Belgium. While many travellers tend to explore Brussels and Bruges, this small city will please off-the-beaten-path travellers who are into remarkable historic architecture, breweries, and quirky shops and restaurants.
Getting to Leuven from Paris is very easy. The most convenient option is to take a Thalys train from Gare du Nord, which will take you to Brussels in 1 hour and 22 minutes. Once in Brussels, you’ll need to hop on another train that makes a stop in Leuven. The trip from Brussels to Leuven takes about 28 minutes and from the train station in Leuven, you walk into the centre in minutes. The whole trip takes just over two 2 hours.
Begin your day trip by strolling through the city, while marvelling at the magnificent buildings such as the Late Gothic-style Town Hall and the Renaissance-style University Library. If you want, you could follow a self-guided walking tour through Leuven.
Afterwards, treat yourself to a delicious meal at one of the fantastic eateries along the Tiensestraat or explore the lovely vegan restaurants in Leuven if you’re a plant-based food enthusiast.
In the afternoon, immerse yourself in the wonderful art collection of Museum M and finish your day trip with a tour of the Stella Artois Brewery, one of the most famous beer brands in Belgium before hopping on a train back to Paris.
21. Colmar, Alsace
Contributed by Adriana from Wanderlicious
Colmar is one of the most spectacular places in all of France, famous for its incredibly colourful half-timbered houses, cobblestoned streets, flower pots and charming quaint village life.
This area of France is said to have been the inspiration for Beauty and the Beast – and it looks just like it! The entire town looks like a Disney movie set, with villagers walking around with freshly baked bread, but with a modern twist.
A trip to Colmar can be appreciated by literally anyone: families, groups of friends and couples, there’s something for everyone here. Hop on a TGV train from Gare de l’Est and you’ll end up in Colmar two hours and 20 minutes later.
Colmar is also incredible all year round; in Spring and Summer, they have the most gorgeous flowers in bloom, in Autumn the tree colours turn a burning orangey red and, in the winter, the Christmas lights are exceptional.
The most famous part of Colmar is the area known as ‘Little Venice’, as the town sits atop a number of canals; make sure you sit at one of the many restaurants that line the waterways. My favourite experience was drinking rich, Alsatian red wine, eating fresh, warm bread and watching the sunset in the most picturesque place in France.
Discover the best of Colmar with a short guided tour with wine tasting.
22. Bruges, Belgium
Contributed by Kat from EndlessWonder
Bruges is an enchanting fairytale town and UNESCO World Heritage Site that makes an amazing day trip from Paris.
For a Paris to Bruges day trip, the journey by train takes around 2 hours and 45 minutes, with one transfer in Brussels. Thalys trains depart from Paris Gare du Nord and arrive at the Bruxelles-Midi station, from where you’ll transfer to an Intercity train for a roughly 1-hour train ride to Bruges. There is only one train station in Bruges, and it is within walking distance to the city centre.
One of the best things to do in Bruges is sign up for a free walking tour to explore the city, see all of the highlights, and learn about the legends of Bruges. There are a lot of great stories about Bruges’ history that make the city so much more fascinating and memorable than it already is.
Exploring the many canals and taking a Bruges boat tour, while looking for swans swimming in the waterways, is another amazing thing to do in Bruges.
Bruges is one of the most popular day trips from Paris by train (and from other locations, too). The best time to avoid crowds but still have nice weather is during shoulder season (May or September). High season and the best time to visit for great weather is during the summertime (June – August). For an even more magical vibe, consider visiting Bruges during Christmas time when it’s decorated in lights! (Late November – early January).
23. London, United Kingdom
Contributed by me, Martha from MayCauseWanderlust.com
With the Eurostar connection, it’s pretty easy and fast to travel between Paris and London. I live in London and have done several Eurostar day trips: travelling from London and spending one day in Paris.
However, you could totally do it the other way: take a day trip from Paris to London by train.
The Eurostar from Paris takes 2 hours and 20 minutes. However, unlike the other international train day trips in this article, to travel from Paris to London by train, you need to go through both security screening and passport control before you board the train. This means you have to arrive at the station well in advance. I typically arrive between an hour and 1.5 hours before departure, but the Eurostar website advises you to get there between 1.5 and 2 hours in advance. So this does add to the overall travel time for this day trip – and it can mean this is one of the longer day trips from Paris by train, in terms of travel time.
London is my city and I love it. There’s so much to choose from, including its medieval castle, royal palaces, grand architecture, characterful neighbourhoods, expansive parks and modern skyscrapers.
I have not written a huge amount about it, but you can check out my ideas for what to do in London in this itinerary for travelling between London, Paris and Barcelona by train.
If I was there for just a day, I’d definitely spend a couple of hours walking the South Bank from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge – that’s my personal favourite thing to do in London because I love the river and there’s so much to see along that route.
Map: Destinations For Day Trips From Paris By Train
It helps to see where these destinations are, doesn’t it? Here’s a map of the destinations we recommend for day trips from Paris by train, as well as the main train stations in Paris.
How To Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left-hand corner of the map to view the layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each one. If you click the star next to the map’s title, it will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu, go to ‘Your Places’ or ‘Saved’, then click Maps and you will see this map in your list.
Travelling By Train In France
Now you have learned about the great destinations to travel to on a day trip from Paris, I just wanted to reassure you that it’s really easy to travel within France and to its neighbouring countries by train. Here’s some info on train travel in France.
Types Of Trains You Can Take From Paris
The Metro is the subterranean train network that connects all of Paris. Lines are numbered and colour-coded and some extend beyond the official boundary of the City of Paris into the suburbs.
You can buy single tickets (called t+) or passes which are valid for a number of days or a week, and prices vary depending on the zones within which you travel. Find out more on the Metro on the RATP website.
RER & TER
RER (Réseau Express Régional) trains are suburban trains that connect Paris with the surrounding area. There are five lines, which are lettered A-E and you use them like you do the Metro. Here’s an RER route map.
T+ single tickets can be used on RER trains within Zone 1 of Paris. Otherwise, you need a Billet Ile-de-France for the RER.
TER (Trains Express Régionaux) trains are regional trains, so they cover longer routes than RER, but they’re not as far-reaching nor as fast as TGVs.
France’s high-speed intercity trains are called TGV (Trains à Grande Vitesse). Tickets come with a seat reservation, which you should stick to. Note that the TGV trains often close their doors 2-3 minutes before departure, so don’t leave it too late to board!
You can travel internationally from France on TGV trains. There are routes to Spain, Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Thalys is a Belgian train company that connects Belgium to France, the Netherlands and Germany.
Eurostar is a joint UK & France venture that connects Paris and Lille with London, Brussels, Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
Booking train travel in France
For the Metro, RER and TER trains, there’s no need to book in advance: you can just buy a ticket on the day (bearing in mind at busy times, you might not get a seat).
For TGVs and other international trains from Paris, I advise you to book in advance to both ensure you get a seat and to get better prices.
You can check train times and book tickets online via a number of sites including the official SNCF site (prices in Euros), Rail Europe (in €, £ or US$, plus booking fee) or Omio (in a dozen of currencies, including €, £, and US$; plus booking fee) or Trainline (in €, £ or US$, plus booking fee).
I hope this article has inspired you to take one of these day trips from Paris by train! If you need any more inspiration about Paris, have you checked my articles on Paris for first-timers and Paris off the beaten track?
And so that you won’t feel disappointed by your trip to Paris, learn about Paris Syndrome and how to avoid it.