Sometimes you need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy Parisian city atmosphere. Here are 15 easy weekend trips from Paris and some day trips to interesting nearby places reachable by car or train. (See interactive google map at the end of the article to get your bearings.)
Best weekend trips from Paris or Day Trips From Paris.
After you’ve gone to Disneyland Paris, see the
Whether it’s a short day trip from Paris to admire the grandeur of Versailles or a weekend getaway from Paris to Mont Saint Michel, there’s no shortage of fantastic things to do and places to explore near Paris, France.
Many destinations are easily reachable by train from the gare du Nord or Paris gare de Lyon.
Did you know Paris has six major train stations?
1) Gare du Nord, 2) Gare de l’Est, 3) Gare de Lyon, 4) Gare saint Lazare, 5) Gare Montparnasse, 6) Gare d’Austerlitz.
1) Le Mans (Medieval city)
Le Mans is an easy 2 hour day trip from Paris by car and slightly less by train.
You may know Le Mans for its world-famous motor racing circuit and the 24 Hours of Le Mans (24 Heures du Mans), an annual endurance sports car race held near the town.
What’s spectacular about the city of Le Mans is the old medieval town which sits atop a modern city. In 2002, the old town was renamed “Cité Plantangenêt” (Plantagenet City) in recognition that Le Mans was the seat of the Plantagenets, which originated from the lands of Anjou in France. Le Mans is also the birthplace of Henry II (1133-1189), the first Plantagenet King of England.
The best way to explore the city is to stop by the tourist office and pick up an audio-guided tour and map of the “Cité Plantagenet.” Some must-see things include the Cathedral St Julien and a walk along the beautifully preserved medieval streets and along the river to see the enormous Roman walls that enclose the old city. You’ll get a fascinating glimpse into what medieval life might have been like. There are a number of quaint little cafes and bars located here and there.
2) Champagne From to Reims
-Ponsardin / Tattinger Champagne tour
If you love Champagne, the city of Reims in the Champagne region of France should be at the top of your list of best weekend trips from Paris, where you can visit one of several Champagne houses.
Veuve Clicquot champagne house and the Tattinger Champagne house are located a 10-minute apart.
At Veuve Clicquot, you can buy packages that include lunch and champagne tasting, but it will cost you anywhere from 200 to 500 per person.
For 55 euros per adult, you can get a tour of the Veuve Clicquot cellars followed by a blind tasting of two vintages. Go ahead and bring the kids. Children between the ages of 10 to 17 are 27 euros per person and free for children less than 10 years old. Make sure you reserve your place ahead of time.
At the Tattinger Champagne house, you’ll get a champagne tasting, video presentation and a guided tour of their Champagne cellars and the remnants of the old Saint Nicaise Abbey, dating back to the 13th century, and the Gallo-Roman crayères (chalk pits) which have been listed as a Unesco World Heritage site.
Prices for the tasting and tour at Tattinger range from 27 to 57 euros, depending on which tasting you choose. Minors between the ages of 6-17 are welcome to come along at 13 euros each. Under 6 is free.
(Minors will not be able to taste any of the Champagne.)
If you’re taking the train from Paris, the easiest way to get to the center of Reims is by taxi.
Veuve Clicquot house: 1 Rue Albert Thomas – 51100 Reims.
Tattinger house: 9 Place Saint-Nicaise, 51100 Reims
3) The city of Rouen (Ville de Rouen)
Visiting the city of Rouen is like visiting an open-air medieval museum of Gothic architecture.
Several hundred houses are built in this style that delight visitors and locals alike. While visiting Rouen, don’t forget to stop by the city’s namesake, the Rouen Cathedral and marvel at the stained glass, which dates back to the 13th century.
Claude Monet was so impressed with the cathedral he dedicated a series of impressionist paintings on this landmark.
Roen is the perfect destination for a day trip from Paris because of its location. The city is located 135 km from Paris and is reachable by train (1.5 hours) or by car (2 hours).
4) The Familistère Guise
If you’re looking for a unique weekend trip from Paris, take a look at Familistere at Guise, which is about a 3-hour drive from Paris.
This unique social experiment is the brainchild of Jean-Baptise André Godin. Godin was a socialist who, in 1859, created a Utopian city within a city near his cast-iron stove factory.
Godin wanted to provide his factory workers with a revolutionary model of labour and a self-contained housing complex that promoted social cooperation among its nearly 1700 residents.
Each apartment building had large open areas used as a recreational area for the workers, their families and children. The residents had access to a pool, theatre, a few shops for daily needs and a few other facilities, all located within walking distance of the factory where everyone worked.
It is now an inhabited heritage site and living museum with residents, working schools, gardens, and more that people can visit. In 2015, the Familistere at Guise was awarded the Silletto Prize by the European Museum Forum.
The concept of Familistere at Guise reminds me of the Darwin Eco-System (L’éco-système de Darwin) in Bordeaux, France.
5) Loire Valley (Vallée de la Loire)
Just two hours away from Paris lies the Loire Valley. Since 2000, the entire area of the Loire Valley covering 280 km, from Sully-sur-Loire to Chalonnes-sur-Loire, has been listed as UNESCO world heritage site.
It’s a quiet weekend getaway from Paris in the country with picturesque vineyards, rolling countryside, beautiful rivers, cozy little villages, and stunning castles. There are more than 11,000 chateaus throughout France, but most are located in this region.
The most famous castle in the Loire valley region is probably the Château de Chenonceau, followed by Riveau, Amboise, Chambord, and Chinon.
Because of the vast area, it’s probably best to earmark the Loire valley for a weekend trip from Paris rather than a day trip.
6) La Vallée Village (Shopping Outlet)
An easy day trip from Paris is La Vallé Village Shopping Outlet, located 35 minutes from Paris, not far from Disneyland Paris.
As you stroll down the pedestrian streets, you’ll find French and international brands and boutiques that offer reductions of 30% or more off retail prices.
Here’s a partial list: Armani, Calvin Klein Jeans, Diane Von Furstenberg, Diesel, Guess, Jimmy Choo, Joseph, Longchamp, Salvatore Ferragamo, Sandro, Sonia Rykiel, Superdry, The Kooples, UGG, and many more.
7) Disneyland Paris
Does Disneyland Park in France even need to be described to you? If you’re not into screaming on a roller coaster, you can always visit the Walt Disney Studios Park, right next door.
8) Asterix Amusement park
Located 30 kilometres north of Paris, in the department of Oise is a very French amusement park called Parc Asterix. It was voted one of the best theme parks in Europe by Amusement Today for 20 years in a row.
The interesting thing about this themed amusement park is that it’s designed to reflect the culture of the Gauls in Roman Times.
Throughout the park, you’ll see Asterix, a cunning Gallic warrior and his best friend, Obelix. Asterix and Obelix is a well-known French-language comic book series.
You might be interested in reading: Top 29 French theme parks you’ve never heard of that locals love +Map
9) Visit Saint-Malo (Home to the Man that discovered Canada)
Another excellent weekend trip from Paris is the coastal city of St. Malo, located just four hours by car or two hours by train from Paris.
If you’re Canadian, you’ll want to visit Musée Jacques Cartier. Not Canadian and have no idea who Jacques Cartier was? He was a French explorer who King Francis of France authorized in 1534 to lead a voyage to the New World. Because of Cartier, France later claimed the land that would become Canada. Every kid in Canada knows who he is, especially in Quebec. There are buildings, streets and even a bridge named after him in Montreal.
Anyways, the museum is Jacques Cartier’s summer Manoir de Limoëlou which was restored and converted in such a way as to give you a glimpse into what life might have been like.
Another interesting thing to visit in the summer is La piscine Bon-Secours. This unique 5500 sqm outdoor seawater swimming pool is located directly on the Bon-Secour beach in St Malo and dates back to 1937. The water in the pool changes up to twice a day at each tide, and there is an outdoor diving board that locals love to use.
After your swim, be sure to grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants along the St Malo beaches.
A short 25-minute train ride from Paris is a city you may not have heard of. It’s called Creil.
Creil is a small but beautiful hidden gem with some surprisingly unique things to do and places you can explore.
If you love swimming, be sure to visit the Creil art deco pool inaugurated in 1926, located at 1 Rue de la République, 60100 Creil. It was modelled after the Parisian pool Butte-aux-Cailles. I have a huge list of beautiful public pools you can visit in France and Paris here.
11) Dunkirk (Dunkerque)
Less than a 3-hour drive from Paris is the city of Dunkirk.
It’s France’s most northern city that’s just minutes from the border of Belgium.
Dunkirk is known for many things, but it’s probably best known as the place where the Allied troops withdrew from France in 1940. You can visit the Dunkerque museum, where you’ll learn everything you need to know about “Operation Dynamo.” Don’t forget to watch the movie Dunkirk.
From January to March, Dunkirk hosts one of the most unique and oddest carnivals in the world called the Carnival of Dunkirk.
The city really comes to life during this period where it’s estimated that 40k revellers dress up, dance, sing and take over the streets of the town. The highlight of the parade is during Carnival week on Shrove Tuesday, aka Mardi Gras and the giant, colourful parades.
As the crowd passes in front of the City Hall, they move to the square where hundreds of kilos of herring are tossed to the crowd from the balcony of the Town Hall. Life in Dunkirk has always been about the sea, whaling and fishing trade.
Tourists can catch a shuttle from the Dunkirk port across the channel to Dover, England, to see the enormous white cliffs.
Words can’t describe the crazy quirkiness of the Dunkirk carnival atmosphere, so you should watch the video below. If the video doesn’t load, you can watch it here.
12) Chartres Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres)
With its intricately decorated spirals, this cathedral is ranked among the most beautiful cathedrals in the world. Once you see this landmark in person, you’ll understand why it’s a Unesco world heritage site.
Another feature of the cathedral is the veil of the Virgin Mary, which is showcased in one of the chapels. This unique relic attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over the world every year.
Chartres Cathedral is located in Chartres, a 90 km from . The journey from Paris to Chartres takes about an hour and a half by train. Thanks to the town’s small size, visitors can easily walk from the train station to the center of town.
13) Claude Monet’s gardens in Giverny
Every famous artist has their muse – Claude Monet’s was his home and flower garden located in Normandy, 76 km from Paris.
In the 43 years that Monet lived there, he dedicated his time to creating masterpieces on canvas and in his home. His pleasure gardens and studio were like a personal art project to him, and it shows in the details and the unique atmosphere of each room.
As you take your first steps in the gardens, you’ll feel as though you’re walking into one of Monet’s paintings: there are thousands of beautiful colours, plants, arches, strategically overgrown flora, and charming walking paths.
14) Chateau Pierrefonds
If you’re into visiting unique filming locations featured in iconic movies and TV shows, then you’ll recognize this Chateau. Pierrefonds castle was featured in the British fantasy-adventure and historical drama television program called “Merlin,” loosely based on King Arthur.
The Pierrefonds castle is situated about a 2-hour drive from Paris in the commune of Pierrefonds in the Oise département of France. It has most of the characteristics of defensive military architecture from the Middle Ages and definitely worth a visit. Be sure to stop in the gift shop and pick up a wooden sword.
15) Versailles Palace (Château de Versailles)
No list would be complete without including the Palace of Versailles, which travellers can get to in about an hour by taking the RER C line in Paris and getting off at the Versailles-Chantiers .
The French Revolution was a turning point in the history of both France and the Palace of Versailles. Once the luxurious royal residence for , Louis XVI and his Austrian-born wife Marie-Antoinette, the court abandoned the Palace, after which it entered a long period of neglect.
Did you know French king Louis XIV died of gangrene just 4 days shy of his 77th birthday?
Now it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most famous castles in the world that tourists flock to every year.
Be sure to visit the English pleasure gardens French Gardens designed by André Le Nôtre. He’s the famous Gardner responsible for the most beautiful gardens of the 17th century. Versailles was his greatest masterpiece, which earned him international fame and a large fortune. It features 50 fountains, beautifully-manicured terraces, and colourful flowers.
Map of all the day trips from Paris listed in this article
It can be hard to visualize where things are located with respect to distance from Paris, so I’ve included a Google map of all the day trips and weekend trips from Paris on this list.
If the map doesn’t display below correctly, you can view it here.