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Updated 9 March 2023 by Leyla Alyanak
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Paris is so central that you can reach these 22 French cities easily for one day trips just by hopping on the train. Here are details of those day trips from Paris by train, and how you can take them.
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: 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.
The various suggestions below for day trips by train from Paris each contain the following information:
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!)
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.
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.
Check the schedules and buy your Avignon train ticket here
WHILE IN AVIGNON ➽
Take a walking tour of the city
Take a cooking class with a local chef
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.
Check the schedules and buy your Beaune train ticket here
🍷 WHILE IN BEAUNE ➽
Grand Crus Wine Route with 10 Wine Tastings
Citroën 2CV Burgundy Rental and Gourmet Picnic
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.
Check the schedules and buy your Blois train ticket here
EXPLORE ROYAL BLOIS ➽
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.
Check the schedules and buy your Bordeaux train ticket here
BEAUTIFUL BORDEAUX ➽
Half-Day Saint-Émilion Tour and Wine Tasting
Medoc Half-Day Bordeaux Wine Tour
Free Bordeaux Walking Tour
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.
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.
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.
Check the schedules and buy your Paris train ticket to Colmar here
COLMAR DISCOVERY ➽
Colmar 2-hr Segway Tour
Colmar Free Tour
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.
Check the schedules and buy your Paris to Dijon train ticket here
DIJON IN BURGUNDY ➽
La Cave du Palais Burgundy Wine-Tasting Experience
Cheese-and-Wine Pairing Session
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.
Buy your Disneyland train ticket here
ENJOY DISNEYLAND! ➽
Disneyland Ticket and Transport from Paris
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.
Check the schedules and buy your Vernon-Giverny train ticket here
Given the transportation challenges (you have to connect from the train to a shuttle bus or take a taxi), this is one case in which you might consider taking a tour from Paris. If you have very little time, you could even combine Giverny with a quick tour of Versailles. Some of these may involve travel by coach rather than by train, given the short distances.
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.
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.
Check the schedules and buy your Lyon train ticket here
SO MUCH TO SEE IN LYON ➽
Private Walking tour of Lyon with a Local Guide
Old Lyon 4-hr Food Tasting Tour
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.
Check the schedules and buy your Metz train ticket here
PLAYING GAMES IN METZ ➽
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.
Check the schedules and buy your Nancy train ticket here
ARTY IN NANCY ➽
Guided Tour of Nancy, French Capital of Art Nouveau
A Guided Tour of "Unusual Nancy"
Explore Nancy's Historical Center
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.
Check the schedules and buy your Nantes train ticket here
NANTES THE UNEXPECTED ➽
The Great Escape Nantes Segway City Tour
Free Nantes Walking Tour
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Check the schedules and buy your Paris Rouen train ticket here
ROUEN THE OFFBEAT ➽
Small Group Tour: The Secret History of Rouen
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.
Check the schedules and buy your Strasbourg train ticket here
YUMMY STRASBOURG ➽
Strasbourg Traditional Food Tour
2-hr Gourmet Walking Tour
Strasbourg Free Walking Tour
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.
Check the schedules and buy your Paris Tours train ticket here
ROMANTIC TOURS ➽
Morning Tour to Villandry & Azay-le-Rideau
Private Walking Tour of Tours Historical Center
Hot Air Balloon Ride Over the Loire Valley
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.
Check the schedules and buy your Versailles train ticket here
MAGNIFICENT VERSAILLES ➽
Private Versailles Tour | Royal Palace & Gardens Golf Cart Tour
Skip-the-Line Ticket to Versailles Palace
Skip the Line Entrance Ticket and Breakfast at Restaurant ORE (Alain Ducasse!)
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:
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.
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:
➽ 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 2023.
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, these machines are disappearing 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.
This wouldn't matter except for one thing: some trains require reservations, and others do not.
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!
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.