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22 Fabulous Day Trips from Paris by Train in 2024

Updated 28 December 2023 by Leyla Alyanak — Parisian by birth, Lyonnaise by adoption, historian by passion

Each time I go to Paris (I live 3 hours away by train), I add on an extra day to visit a new city. You can take these 22 day trips from Paris by train and explore a significant part of the country, once city at a time.

A trip to Paris, as we know, is a delight, with its landmarks and cobblestoned streets and world-class museums.

Why would you ever want to leave?

Because... France is more than Paris, and there are magnificent towns and cities you can visit in a day from Paris.

Some are just minutes from the capital, while others are quite a distance – your choice. I'll tell you what there is to see and do, and you can decide.

Even if your visit to Paris is too short to explore the countryside, you can still choose one of these 22 day trips from Paris by train.

NOTE: Pages on this site may contain affiliate links, which bring in a small commission at no cost to you.

Best day trips from Paris to cities in France

The various suggestions below for day trips by train from Paris each contain the following information:

  • Top things you can see in one day
  • Information on train transportation
  • Number of daily trains
  • Arrival and departure train stations
  • Minimum length of journey (I've listed the fastest train rides only, but there are slower trains which will take longer, especially when there is a connection)

And now, here are my suggestions for great train day trips from Paris (and some of the best places to visit in France outside of Paris!)

NOTE: All these day train trips from Paris are in France, but that doesn't mean you can't take train rides from Paris to other countries for the day. For example, you could ride the Eurostar to London, the Thalys to Geneva or Lausanne, or spend the day in Brussels or Amsterdam or many other wonderful cities. This article, however, deals with French destinations only.

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This city in northern France is the capital of Picardy, and site of the famous raid on its prison by the British Air Force in February 1944; the raid, Operation Jericho, was designed to free hundreds of French Resistance fighters held there – it succeeded.

It is a pleasant city to walk around, but the cathedral is its main calling card, as are some of the picturesque neighbourhoods which have remained relatively untouched in modern times. The city is cut by the Somme River and like many cities with riversides, a lively culture has developed along its shores.

interior of Amiens Cathedral, one of the popular day trips out of ParisInterior of the spectacular cathedral at Amiens

Things to do in Amiens

  • Visit Amiens Cathedral, a High Gothic structure protected on UNESCO's World Heritage List
  • View the artworks at the Picardy Museum of Fine Arts
  • Enjoy the charming medieval district of Saint-Leu, its many outdoor eateries and cafés, its half-timbered houses and cobblestoned streets
  • Visit the house of Jules Verne, where the author of "Around the World in 80 Days" wrote some of his most famous novels
  • Take a boat ride along the channels of the hortillonages, the maze of medieval floating gardens where fresh produce is still grown today

Amiens train information

  • Number of trains a day: 18
  • Length of journey: 1h21
  • Departure station: Gare du Nord
  • Arrival station: Amiens

Check the schedules and buy your Amiens train ticket here

🚂 20 MINUTES AWAY Visit the major sites of the Battle of the Somme
Entry Ticket to Museum of the Somme
Private tour of the Somme Battlefields


Avignon is a difficult day trip (the shortest trip is over 3 hours) so I hesitated putting it on this list. But if you learned the song "Sur le pont d'Avignon" when you were a child, you may find it difficult to resist visiting the bridge of your childhood stories. And once you arrive, you can definitely see most sights in one day.

Pope's palace in Avignon, one of the longer day trips outside ParisThe Papal Palace and ramparts of the city of Avignon

Things to do in Avignon

  • Visit the Papal Palace, a key UNESCO site
  • Go dance on the bridge, of course (sadly, the bridge has been much diminished by flooding)
  • Explore the Basilique Saint-Pierre d’Avignon, both the gothic exterior and the artistic interior
  • Amble along the Rue des Teinturiers, where silk was once spun and dyed and where waterwheels are all that are left to remind us of this past
  • Grab a picnic at Les Halles (the one with the living wall) and jump on the free ferry to the pedestrian Ile de la Barthelasse

Avignon train information

  • Number of trains a day: 16
  • Length of journey: 3h01
  • Departure station: Gare de Lyon
  • Arrival station: Avignon Centre (although you could arrive at Avignon TGV if you're leaving from Paris Roissy-CDG 2 Airport)

Check the schedules and buy your Avignon train ticket here

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In the heart of Burgundy, not too far from the capital Dijon, the small medieval town of Beaune has plenty to keep you busy for a day, especially if you're into food and wine, and history.

Hospices de Beaune, the former hospital, one of the popular places to visit outside ParisThe Hospices de Beaune, or Hotel-Dieu, was once a hospital for the poor and is now a museum - and the site of a world-famous wine auction

Things to do in Beaune

Beaune train information

  • Number of trains a day: 18
  • Length of journey: 2h08
  • Departure station: Gare de Lyon
  • Arrival station: Beaune

Check the schedules and buy your Beaune train ticket here

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This is an easy day trip from Paris if you're in the mood for a fabulous château but don't have time to tour the Loire Valley. The city's masterpiece, of course, is the Royal Chateau of Blois, an extraordinary structure with centuries of history behind it.

Louis XII on horseback statue, Chateau de Blois - one of the best things to do outside Paris is to visit the chateaux of the Loire ValleyKing Louis XII on horseback, on the façade of the Blois royal castle

Things to do in Blois

  • Visit the Château de Blois, built over several reigns and filled with fascinating history (get your skip-the-line ticket here)
  • Marvel at the Maison de la Magie, the House of Magic, for a museum with shows and workshops
  • Visit one of the other famous Loire châteaux – there are various shuttle, train and taxi options from Blois to Chambord or Cheverny but you might consider jumping on a tour (like this one) to save time
  • If you're up to cycling for an hour, follow the Loire River to Chaumont, one of the loveliest Loire châteaux

Blois train information

  • Number of trains a day: 17
  • Length of journey: 1h25
  • Departure station: Gare d'Austerlitz or Paris Montparnasse 1 & 2
  • Arrival station: Blois-Chambord

Check the schedules and buy your Blois train ticket here

Château de Blois Tours and Tickets


A few short decades ago, Bordeaux was a gritty city many tourists would avoid. Come a spruce-up and the city has a shiny new waterfront, spectacular promenades, and pristine architecture that has emerged from years of grime.

It is one of the top cities in France to visit and while a day trip to Bordeaux from Paris isn't exactly short, the city is worth the time it will take to get there.

View from the Marché des Capucins in Bordeaux - day trips Bordeaux are popular and you can see these sights easily on foot or on public transportation
Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux, one of the best day trips from Paris by trainTop: view of La Flèche of St. Michel Basilica in the distance as seen from the Capucins Market in Bordeaux; below, the Place de la Bourse. Both are easy to see on a day trip from Paris to Bordeaux by train

Things to do in Bordeaux

  • Head for the water mirror, the Miroir d'Eau, for some mist and an evening reflection of the Place de la Bourse
  • Visit the brand new Cité du Vin, the City of Wine, for all things related to wine (we are in the heart of Bordeaux, after all)
  • If you don't drink, here are plenty of non-wine related things to do in Bordeaux
  • Simply walk around – Bordeaux is perfect for the pedestrian, from the Jardin Public to the covered market to the various medieval entranceways to the city – you can absorb much the city's history this way 
  • Take a guided tour of some of the most famous vineyards in the world

Paris Bordeaux train information

  • Number of trains a day: 18
  • Length of journey: 2h30
  • Departure station: Paris Montparnasse 1 & 2
  • Arrival station: Bordeaux St Jean

Check the schedules and buy your Bordeaux train ticket here


A lovely town if you'd like a wander among half-timbered houses – more than 400 of them – and a stunning gothic cathedral protected by UNESCO. It's a lovely town that breathes history, filled with history. A lovely place.

Bourges Cathedral seen from above on a perfect one day trip from ParisSt Stephen Cathedral in Bourges

Things to do in Bourges

  • Visit the magnificent cathedral, of course, and its tower and crypt
  • Visit the sumptuous 15th-century Palais Jacques Coeur
  • Wander around the Old Town and enjoy the history and architecture
  • Take a boat ride through the city marshes
  • If you happen to visit in April, the Printemps de Bourges – the Bourges Spring –

Bourges train information

  • Number of trains a day: 9
  • Length of journey: 1h59
  • Departure station: Gare d'Austerlitz
  • Arrival station: Bourges

Check the schedules and buy your Bourges train ticket here


When we think of Chartres, we probably think of its UNESCO-protected cathedral, but there is so much more to this town, especially in its older sections along the riverbank. This is one of those easy and cheap day trips from Paris, a short ride and plenty to see for free.

Stained glass windows in Chartres Cathedral, one of the easier trips from Paris by trainStained glass windows of the Cathedral of Chartres

Things to do in Chartres

  • Explore the 12th-century gothic cathedral, one of the best examples of this architecture in the world. See not only the building itself but climb the bell tower, observe the flying buttresses and sculptures, and admire the stained glass windows. Next door, visit the International Center for Stained Glass
  • See the Maison Picassiette, built out of porcelain and glass mosaics, the life work of a single man
  • Stroll around the various medieval sectors, both in the upper town near the cathedral and in the lower town near the river

Chartres train information

  • Number of trains a day: 16
  • Length of journey: 0h59
  • Departure station: Paris Montparnasse 1 & 2
  • Arrival station: Chartres

Check the schedules and buy your Chartres train ticket here


You've inevitably seen photos of Colmar, with its colourful half-timbered houses,  cobblestoned streets and glistening canal, near the German border along the Alsace Wine Route. It isn't exactly close to Paris but it can be done in a day, definitely worth it if you've never been to Alsace and would like to enjoy something a little different.

Colourful houses in Little Venice, Colmar, on the train - Paris to AlsaceThe canals of Colmar are often referred to as Little Venice

Things to do in Colmar

  • Take a flat-bottomed boat ride along the canal and get to see Colmar from the water
  • Walk around the pedestrian town and admire the beautifully coloured half-timbered houses
  • Visit the Bertholdi Museum − the famous sculptor, who created the Statue of Liberty, was born in Colmar and this was his family's home
  • This is the place to taste the light and fruity Alsace wines
  • Rent a bike at Colmar station and head for the fairy-tale village of Eguisheim, half an hour away

Paris to Colmar train

  • Number of trains a day: 16
  • Length of journey: 2h22
  • Departure station: Paris Est or Gare de Lyon
  • Arrival station: Colmar

Check the schedules and buy your Paris train ticket to Colmar here


Dijon is the heart of Burgundy and historically, its capital. It has a perfectly preserved old town packed with "hotels particuliers", or classic urban mansions, and plenty of extraordinary architecture.

It is also know for its gastronomy, from mustard to the nearby vineyards of Burgundy and the new Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin.

A day trip to by train Dijon will be long enough to explore the heart of the Old Town, a museum or two, and at least one good meal.

Old Dijon and its half-timbered houses, an easy day trip from Paris by trainOld town and half-timbered houses of Dijon, in Burgundy (Paris to Dijon by train)

Things to do in Dijon

  • Visit Les Halles, the covered market, to pick up some local delicacies
  • Climb the Tour Philippe Le Bon for a panoramic 360° view of the city
  • Follow the Owl's Trail path throughout the Old Town
  • Visit the Museum of Burgundian Life for a glimpse of the past
  • Explore the Museum of Fine Arts (and the tombs of the Dukes of Burgundy) inside the Ducal Palace
  • Visit the new international gastronomy and wine center (for now the website is only in French, but...)

Dijon train information

  • Number of trains a day: 19
  • Length of journey: 1h34
  • Departure station: Gare de Lyon
  • Arrival station: Dijon Ville

Check the schedules and buy your Paris to Dijon train ticket here

Disneyland Paris

If you're a diehard Disney fan or if you're traveling with children, there are plenty of Paris trains to Disneyland – you might enjoy it! The park is smaller than its US counterparts, and less sophisticated, but it's still a fun way to spend a day when you've seen enough museums and eaten in enough good restaurants. Beware long lines during high season, however, especially on weekends.

Disneyland Paris - to Paris by train, one of the best day trips from Paris with kids

Disneyland train information

  • Number of trains a day: continuous
  • Length of journey: 0h37
  • Departure station: RER A from Gare de Lyon
  • Arrival station: Marne la Vallée Chessy

Buy your Disneyland train ticket here


Giverny is best known as Monet's village, because the Impressionist painter lived and worked here from 1883 until the end of his life in 1926. Both in Giverny and in nearby Vernon, you'll find – as is the case with Van Gogh in Provence – plenty of local sights painted by Monet.

House and garden of Monet in Giverny, filled with greenery and colour on a day trip to Giverny from ParisDay trips from Paris to Giverny are hugely popular - everyone wants to see Monet's house and garden

Things to do in Giverny

  • Claude Monet Foundation
  • Museum of Impressionism
  • Saint-Radegonde Church and Monet's tomb
  • The town of Vernon, with scenes also painted by Monet

Giverny day trips from Paris by train 

  • Number of trains a day: 14
  • Length of journey: 1h08
  • Departure station: St Lazare
  • Arrival station: Vernon-Giverny, then a shuttle bus

Check the schedules and buy your Vernon-Giverny train ticket here


Lily pond at Giverny, Monet's home

Nothing easier! I loved this small-group full-day tour that started with a guided visit at the Orsay Museum, followed by a train ride to Giverny to visit Monet's house – with everything taken care of. No long lines, no lost tickets.



Lille is one of those cities close to Paris and one of France's 10 largest cities. It is also close to the Belgian border so you'll notice the mix of French and Flemish architecture.

It is a large city but a dynamic one, easy to get around on public transportation, and crammed with art and museums, so getting from Paris to Lille by train is simple and will leave you plenty of time to sightsee in one day in Lille.

View of the city on a Lille day trip

Things to do in Lille

  • Visit the Beaux-Arts museum, with an art collection second only to that of the Louvre
  • The Lille Cathedral, unlike many in France, is neither gothic nor Renaissance but was started in the 19th century and finished just a few decades ago
  • For a taste of the 13th century, head for the Hospice Comtesse museum to admire its Flemish collection
  • LaM, the Lille Métropole Museum of Modern, Contemporary and Outsider Art
  • The Vieille Bourse and its second-hand book exchange
  • Try a local beer − you are right next to Belgium, after all

Paris Lille train information

  • Number of trains a day: 18
  • Length of journey: 1h02
  • Departure station: Paris Nord
  • Arrival station: Lille Flandres or Lille Europe

Check the schedules and buy your Lille train ticket here


If there's one city that makes for a great day trip out of Paris, that city is Lyon. With history dating back to Gallo-Roman times, this eclectic and handsome city is easy to get around.

While a Lyon day trip is short, you'll still be able to soak up some of its culture and history − and famous culinary specialties.

Lyon day trips: Streets of Old Lyon before the crowds arrive
Discover Lyon's murals on a Lyon day trip
from Paris. This one depicts a restaurant facade, called Le Pot Beaujolais, and a chef standing outsideTop: a street in Old Lyon; bottom: one of the city's spectacular outdoor murals

Things to do in Lyon

Paris to Lyon train ticket information

  • Number of trains a day: 19
  • Length of journey: 1h56
  • Departure station: Gare de Lyon
  • Arrival station: Lyon Pardieu or Lyon Perrache

Check the schedules and buy your Lyon train ticket here


Metz, not far from Nancy, is a pleasant city with several outstanding sights, especially for history buffs and art afficionados.

Sitting astride two rivers, the Moselle and the Seille, its shores have the charm of many riverside cities. Several intriguing architectural styles marry here, not surprising given that it was annexed by Germany after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871.

Gateway into Metz, France, one of the cities close to Paris - Porte des AllemandsOne of the old gateways into the city of Metz

Things to do in Metz

  • Visit the soaring Metz Cathedral, of course: it has more stained glass than any other cathedral in the world
  • The Centre Pompidou-Mets, an offshoot of the famous Paris museum, with some excellent exhibitions
  • Musée de la Cour d'Or is an eclectic historical collection that traces the earliest Gallo-Roman culture of Metz into the Middle Ages and beyond
  • The Porte des Allemands, the Germans' Gate, is France's only remaining castle bridge
  • The 1870 War Museum, dedicated to the Franco-Prussian War, which France lost; the museum's location is where there was some of the heaviest fighting

Metz train information

  • Number of trains a day: 7
  • Length of journey: 1h24
  • Departure station: Paris Est
  • Arrival station: Metz Ville

Check the schedules and buy your Metz train ticket here

Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt & Walking Tour


This is one of the best train trips in France if you love Art Nouveau. As the birthplace of the Ecole de Nancy, the Belle Epoque saw the emergence of a series of architects, furniture designers and artists who dedicated themselves to this new art style. Prepare to be enthralled if this is a style you love.

One of the best day trips outside of Paris for art lovers is Nancy, where this art nouveau dining room in the Villa Majorelle is located
Arc Héré, just off the Place Stanislas in NancyTop: inside the magnificent Art Nouveau Villa Majorelle; bottom: the Arc Héré, just off the Place Stanislas in Nancy

Things to do in Nancy

  • Delve into Art Nouveau at the Villa Majorelle
  • Investigate this style further at the Museum of the Ecole de Nancy
  • Marvel at the Daum glass collection in the basement of the Museum of Fine Arts
  • Explore the Place Stanislas, a French favourite, with plenty of history and things to see. It is one of the three sites protected by UNESCO − the others are the Place d'Alliance and Place de la Carrière
  • Visit the Palace of the Dukes of Lorraine

Nancy train information

  • Number of trains a day: 12
  • Length of journey: 1h31
  • Departure station: Paris Est
  • Arrival station: Nancy

Check the schedules and buy your Nancy train ticket here


Nantes occupies an unusual place: it was once a stronghold of Brittany, but now sits administratively outside the Brittany region. Historically it was the epicenter of France's slave trade, a past it has faced head on and which is worth pursuing here.

Mechanical elephant being ridden by visitors in Nancy - an easy ride with train travel, FranceOne of the several extraordinary mechanical animals of the Machines de l'Ile in Nantes

Things to do in Nantes

  • Visit the château of the Dukes of Brittany and the Slavery Museum it houses
  • Enjoy the extraordinary mechanical constructions of the Machines de l'Ile, especially the giant elephant
  • Walk along the Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery
  • Visit the colourful houses and artistic vibe of Trentemoult, a former fishing village a few minutes away by ferry
  • Have a meal at La Cigale, a sumptuous Belle Epoque brasserie with an exuberant decor

Paris to Nantes train information

  • Number of trains a day: 16
  • Length of journey: 1h56
  • Departure station: Gare d'Austerlitz or Paris Montparnasse 1 & 2
  • Arrival station: Nantes

Check the schedules and buy your Nantes train ticket here


Orleans is a handsome city with plenty of French classical architecture and a delightful old town, but above all it is a town with a deep history. Remember, it was freed from the English by Joan of Arc and while that may have been back in the 15th century, Orleans has never forgotten, and is riddled with monuments to the valiant soldier.

Old town of Orleans, one of the popular day trips by rail from Paris

Things to do in Orleans

  • Follow in Joan of Arc's footsteps and explore the old town as she might have seen it
  • Enjoy reenactments of Joan of Arc's liberation of Orleans the first week of May every year, with the Fêtes Joanniques (these are also held in Reims, by the way)
  • Cycle along the Loire River, a favourite pastime in this region
  • The Ste-Croix Cathedral, of course, which took six centuries to complete (with stained glass windows that tell Joan of Arc's story of course)
  • The remarkable Parc floral de la Source gardens, where the Loiret River begins – but the city itself is on the Loire River (if you're confused about your Loires and Loirets, read this!)

Orleans train information

  • Number of trains a day: 17
  • Length of journey: 1h06
  • Departure station: Gare d'Austerlitz or Paris Montparnasse 1 & 2
  • Arrival station: Nantes

Check the schedules and buy your Orleans train ticket here


Reims is an ideal day trip from Paris.

First, it is the self-proclaimed capital of Champagne and it is filled with Champagne houses whose names you will undoubtedly recognize.

And second, the Reims Cathedral is where French kings were crowned for nearly 1000 years, so it's dripping with history.

Reims Cathedral in Reims, one of the more visited cities near Paris, FranceReims Cathedral (photo vivali, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Things to do in Reims

  • Visit the Porte de Mars, the largest Roman arch in the world
  • The Automobile Museum, which traces the history of French cars
  • The Art Deco Carnegie Library, built after the city was damaged during World War I
  • The Reims Cathedral, whose stained glass windows were designed by Marc Chagall
  • Enjoy the Champagne houses, of course, like this Taittinger morning tasting

Train from Paris to Reims

  • Number of trains a day: 7
  • Length of journey: 0h45
  • Departure station: Paris Est
  • Arrival station: Reims Centre

Check the schedules and buy your train Paris to Reims ticket here


Now the capital of Brittany, one of the six Celtic nations, Rennes is a beautiful city that dates back to Gall-Roman times. It is famous for its colourful half-timbered buildings and is magnificent cathedral.

Colourful half-timbered houses in Rennes, France

Things to do in Rennes

  • Visit the historic Musée des Beaux-Arts and its works, from da Vinci to Picasso
  • Explore the city's nearly 300 medieval half-timbered houses
  • Rennes Cathedral, an important part of Rennes' cultural heritage
  • Enjoy the 10ha Parc du Thabor and its French and English gardens, its rose garden, botanic garden, greenhouses and much more
  • Take a guided tour of the magnificent Parliament of Brittany, now the Court of Appeal
  • Marvel at what's left of the medieval Duchesne Tower

Rennes train information

  • Number of trains a day: 14
  • Length of journey: 1h27
  • Departure station: Paris Montparnasse 1 & 2
  • Arrival station: Rennes

Check the schedules and buy your Rennes train ticket here


Rouen is the capital of Normandy and is known for its half-timbered houses which once belonged to traders, and cobblestone streets, not to mention its Gothic churches – and Notre-Dame de Rouen Cathedral, which Monet loved to paint. And let's not forget this is where Joan of Arc spent her final days.

Paris to Rouen by train is one of the best train day trips to Normandy from Paris.

Gros Horloge clock in Rouen, one of the closest cities near Paris to visitThe famous Gros Horloge in Rouen

Things to do in Rouen

  • Admire Rouen Cathedral, resting place of Richard the Lionheart, and its extraordinary stained glass windows
  • Visit one of the city's major medieval landmarks, the Gros Horloge astronomical clock 
  • The old medieval town of Vieux-Rouen, photogenic beyond belief
  • The Historial Jeanne d'Arc, an immersive experience tracing her life and final days
  • Explore the art scene – Rouen is known as the "capital of Impressionism"

Train from Paris to Rouen

  • Number of trains a day: 28
  • Length of journey: 1h40
  • Departure station: St Lazare
  • Arrival station: Rouen Rive Droite

Check the schedules and buy your Paris Rouen train ticket here


A Paris to Strasbourg day trip will reveal a city that rivals Paris as an international center – it is home to the European Parliament as well as a number of other international institutions.

It is a city at the crossroads, of countries, cultures and religions, next to Germany, and in the heart of Alsace, a city of incredible beauty and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Canals along La Petite France in Strasbourg, France, an easy journey by train - Paris to Strasbourg day tripCanals of La Petite France, as this is neighbourhood in Strasbourg is known

Things to do in Strasbourg

  • Marvel at the beauty of Strasbourg Cathedral
  • Enjoy a boat trip along the canals of La Petite France
  • Learn about Alsace's history in the Musée Alsacien
  • Visit the European Parliament and its museum
  • Snap a photograph from the Vauban Dam
  • Come in winter and discover France's oldest Christmas market

Strasbourg train information

  • Number of trains a day: 12
  • Length of journey: 1h46
  • Departure station: Paris Est
  • Arrival station: Strasbourg

Check the schedules and buy your Strasbourg train ticket here


Tours is a great jumping off point for the chateaux of the Loire and is perfect for Loire Valley day trips from Paris. The delightful Chenonceau, for example, is one of those easy day trips from Paris. It also happens to be a delightful town, where everything is walkable and with a lovely medieval vibe.

Place Plumereau in Tous, FranceNightfall on the Place Plumereau in Tours, France, THE place to sit and people-watch in the city

Things to do in Tours

  • Tours Cathedral, of course
  • Old Tours, or the Vieux Tours, the medieval part of the city (make sure you sit for a drink at the famous Place Plumereau)
  • Possibly my favourite place in Tours is the Musée du Compagnonage, showcasing workmanship from a medieval guild that is still active today
  • Some of the nearby chateaux – can't miss those!

Tours train information

  • Number of trains a day: 15
  • Length of journey: 1h08
  • Departure station: Gare d'Austerlitz or Paris Montparnasse 1 & 2
  • Arrival station: Tours

Check the schedules and buy your Paris Tours train ticket here


Paris day trips to Versailles are extremely popular: after all, the train takes only minutes. This is your perfect chance to visit Versailles in a day – and it will take you a day to see it properly.

But you'll have to get organized.

Definitely consider getting at least a skip-the-line ticket, but given the amount there is to see, you might prefer a guided tour, several of which include transportation to Versailles.

Otherwise, the easy train ride is as quick as going from one arrondissement to the next, making Versailles day trips from Paris a breeze.

Hall of Mirrors you can see on a Paris day trip Versailles

Versailles to Paris train information

  • Number of trains a day: 18
  • Length of journey: 0h12
  • Departure station: Paris Montparnasse 1 & 2
  • Arrival station: Versailles Chantiers

Check the schedules and buy your Versailles train ticket here

How to take trains in Paris

France has a wonderful train network, with many trains a day to each destination.

The Paris stations are all in town, so you gain precious travel time, and because some of these train day trips are long ones, you get to rest on the way there and back. Here's more information and tips on train travel in France.

You can get away for a day by car, but I wouldn't recommend it for just a day:

  • you'll have to brave traffic to pick up and return your rental car
  • you'll have to deal with parking, which is often difficult and usually expensive
  • you may lose precious time finding your way around areas that aren't necessarily well singaled

If you still want to take a day trip by car, make sure you compare prices, as they can vary widely from one agency to the next. I love driving around France and often take my car, but only when I want to head to the countryside. For cities, I almost always take the train.

Your day trip by train will involve two items: your ticket, and your train station.

How to buy your train ticket from Paris

You can either buy your ticket at the train station before departure (at the counter or from the machine), or online before you go.

Buying your ticket at the station only makes sense if you use the machine, but you may have difficulty with a foreign card, not all of which are legible in French machines.

You can also get your ticket from the counter, but make sure you build in enough time in case there's a line-up at the counter.

I always buy my tickets online, ahead of time. It saves time and reduces complications.

There are several ways to do this:

  • You can buy them online before you travel through one of the official third-party ticket representatives, like RailEurope.
  • You can also download the SNCF-Connect app and order your ticket to your smartphone

 The one thing you CANNOT DO in France is simply jump on a train and buy your ticket on board. You'll be fined. Make sure you have your ticket before you board.

There's also something else you should know: if you have a paper ticket, which you'll have if you buy from a machine or from the counter at the train station, the procedure is slightly different, especially in 2024.

Until recently, you would stamp your ticket in the yellow machine before boarding the train. You'd find these scattered near the train station exit or on the tracks. The process is called "compostage".

However, most of these machines disappeared in 2023 since most people now buy their tickets electronically. If you find a machine, please insert your ticket to validate it. However, if the machines have disappeared from your station, do look for the conductor as soon as you board the train and show him or her your ticket so it can be validated.

It might be easier to simply buy your ticket online.

Types of train from Paris

This wouldn't matter except for one thing: some trains require reservations, and others do not.

  • The local and regional trains, known as TER, don't require any reservation. If you have a ticket, you can hop on and sit anywhere (in your class – you cannot sit in 1st class if you bought a 2nd-class ticket).
  • The TGV trains, or high-speed trains. These do require that you reserve ahead of time. When you look up the schedules, they will tell you whether it's a TER or a TGV (these may have additional identifications, like Ouigo, Grande Vitesse, or inOui, all of which are TGVs that belong to different companies)

These are the main train stations in Paris

Paris has six main train stations (there is no Paris central station), each leading to different parts of the country. Make sure you get yourself to the right one! Your train ticket will tell you which station your train leaves from.

France by train is easy and fun!

clock sculpture outside Saint-Lazare station - train ParisThe clock sculpture outside Saint-Lazare train station (1985, Arman) is called L'Heure de Tous - Everyone's Time. Each time is different, representing the idea of time flying by quickly.
  • Gare Saint-Lazare: A hugely busy but mostly suburban station that carries passengers to Normandy and Brittany.
  • Gare du Nord: This is one of the busiest stations in the world (it is also a hub for the Paris urban trains) and opens up towards the north – towards northern cities like Lille and Calais but also further afield to London and the Benelux countries.
  • Gare de l'Est: This translates into Eastern Station and rightly so, since this is where trains leave from to travel East towards Metz, Nancy, Alsace and further east to Germany.
  • Gare de Lyon: One of the busiest stations in France, trains from the Gare de Lyon head south to Lyon (and on to places like Barcelona in Spain) and east to Switzerland and Italy. This is where you leave from to see Provence and the south of France by train.
  • Gare d'Austerlitz: This used to be the main station for Bordeaux and the southwest, until they moved these routes to Montparnasse. Today, it services shorter distances, usually but only in the Loire Valley.
  • Paris Montparnasse 1 and 2: this is mostly used for the TGV Atlantique, which covers destinations in the southwest of France (Toulouse, Bordeaux, Biarritz) all the way to the Spanish border and beyond.

These are the main train stations from which you catch a train leaving Paris, although there are other ways to leave the city by train, for example from TGV (high-speed train) stations located in the city's periphery.

But these will cover your travels for day trips from Paris by train.

Where can I go from Paris by train?

So many places to go on day trips on trains from Paris! Versailles, Chartres, Reims, Lyon, Amiens, and so many more!

What countries can you visit in a day from Paris?

Belgium is close to France and there are several cities you can visit. With the Eurostar, London, England is also accessible. Nearby you'll also find both Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Switzerland and Germany can also be reached from Paris for a day trip.

What cities are closest to Paris by train?

Several cities are between 110-115km from Paris, including Rouen, Amiens and Reims. Other cities, like Troyes and Le Havre are well under 200km away, allowing for short breaks from Paris.

Where can I combine with Paris? What are the best destinations to add onto a trip to Paris?

The Loire Valley around Tours is an excellent choice to visit some of France's most beautiful castles. Or you can head in the other direction towards Normandy and visit Mont Saint-Michel.

Can you take day trips from Paris? 

Absolutely. There are several dozen towns and cities that are within easy reach of Paris in a day trip. The TGV trains bring cities once distant from Paris much closer.

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Did you enjoy this article? I'd love if you shared it!

Day trips from Paris pin - clock sculpture outside Saint Lazare train station
Day trips from Paris pin