Thanks to its rich culture, deep history, and high-quality gastronomical delights, France has a bit of everything for anyone wishing to visit its beautiful land.
Yet, with so much to see and do, you may find it hard to plan your trip to this unbelievably diverse country filled with numerous fun attractions and historically significant sites to visit.
Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you! Here are the 15 best day trips you can take from Paris to make your next vacation unforgettable.
The 15 Best Day Trips From Paris In 2023
Whether you’ve visited France before or are planning your first trip to one of the world’s most culturally and gastronomically renowned countries, making the most out of your time during your trip is essential.
As the capital city of France, Paris is the ideal starting location for numerous fantastic day trips in France. Here are 15 of the best options, hand-picked by our team of travel experts.
- Travel Time: 1.5 hours by car and 1 hour by train
To the northeast of Paris is Giverny, a slow-paced city filled with natural beauty. This town was Monet’s inspiration for his renowned Water Lily masterpieces.
From fabulous food to incredible sightseeing, Giverny is a must-visit location when you travel to France. Amongst the best things to do in Giverny is visit Claude Monet’s family home and the Museum of Impressionism.
While sightseeing in Giverny, you can also glimpse Hotel Baudy, where Manet and Renoir once worked. Don’t forget to visit the stunning water lily ponds for breathtaking pictures. You can even pack a picnic and enjoy some delicious food!
If you wish to witness the water lily garden’s full splendor, it’s best to visit Giverny between July and August when the water lilies are in bloom and can fill the air with their sweet fragrance.
- Travel Time: 2 hours by car
To the northeast of Paris is Rouen, a Norman-inspired city of antique dealers filled with architecturally delightful half-timbered buildings. Traveling to Rouens will take you through the stunning Seine valley, known for its abundance of nature and culture.
Some things you can do while visiting the city include visiting its district dedicated to antique dealers.
While strolling through the antique neighborhood, you’ll find wonderful and unique French antiques that need a new home. The shopping here is next to none, especially for people who like classic objects, art, and antiques.
You can also visit the Museum of Fine Arts and learn more about why Rouens was a source of inspiration for Pissarro and Monet while viewing famous works of art from Rubens and Renoir.
- Travel Time: 2 hours by car
To the southwest of Paris is Provins, the perfectly preserved Medieval city. Provins, known as the walled Medival town, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you wish to include more history in your visit to France, visiting Provins is a must.
Visiting the city is like stepping back in time to 12th and 13th-century France. Great things to do in Provins include viewing the ramparts, Allée des Remparts, and the Allée des Lépreux.
In addition, the 11th-century Saint-Ayoul Priory makes an inspiring site to behold. Finally, when you’ve finished sightseeing, be sure to regularly view one of the several medieval shows Provins hosts.
Shows range from horse shows to falconry exhibitions. One of the best events that Provins hosts is the Les Médiévales de Provins, which the town holds annually in June.
This medieval festival includes balls, troubadour performances, and acrobatic performances with various games and entertainers scattered around the fair.
- Travel Time: 3 hours by car
To the east of Paris is Normandy, home of some of the most famous World War II battlefields. For a truly moving experience, you can also visit the famous D-Day landing beaches.
These beaches, like Omaha beach, are where some of history’s most significant invasions took place.
When you visit Normandy, be sure to visit the Caen Memorial Museum, where you can learn more about the Battle of Normandy, as well as the Overlord museum, which chronicles the events of D-Day.
In addition, to its sobering history, Normandy’s close distance to the sea makes it a great place to try tasty seafood and delicious ciders and cheeses. If you want to get the full scope of the consequences of World War II, then visiting the well-maintained American cemetery is a must.
The simple white crosses will touch your heart and allow you to remember the sacrifices that many people made for their countries during the Second World War.
- Travel Time: 2 hours by car
If you can’t get enough history, you’ll find the World War I battlefields in Somme, which is north of Paris. In addition to these battlefields, you can also visit the well-maintained graves of those that died during this tragic time in Thiepval, Longueval, and Poziere.
During your sobering visit to Somme, visit the Newfoundland Memorial, where remnants of the British trenches still exist, providing a glimpse into what it must have been like to have fought during this terrible time.
For more information about World War I and how it affected France, you can visit the Museum of the Great War to view documents and artifacts from World War I.
6. The Vézère Valley
- Travel Time: 5.5 hours by car
To the south of Paris is the Vézère Valley, also known as the Valley of Man. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Vézère Valley is full of cultural, prehistoric, architectural, and natural importance.
Of the many things to do in the Vézère Valley is the Dinosaur Park, where you can view life-size displays of Jurassic dinosaurs, from the massive T-Rex to the mighty Triceratops.
There’s also the Lascaux International Center of Parietal Art, where you can view a meticulous recreation of the interior of the famous Lascaux Cave.
If you’re a little more outdoorsy, the Vézère Valley also has plenty of fantastic nature experiences, including hiking trails, horseback riding, and hot air balloon rides.
7. The Palace of Versailles
- Travel Time: 1 hour by car
To the east of Paris is the Palace of Versailles. Yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Palace of Versailles is the place to visit to bask in the excessive opulence and unparalleled extravagance of the once mighty French aristocracy.
This day trip is ideal for sightseeing and unbelievable pictures. When visiting the Palace of Versailles, don’t forget to take plenty of pictures of the magnificent architectural exteriors.
You can wander through the many golden-laden rooms of the palace and finish with a stroll through the exquisitely manicured and maintained gardens. To truly enjoy the splendor and majesty of the Versailles garden, be sure to visit during the warmer months.
However, visiting the Estate of Trianon is a must if you want to step away from the hustle and bustle that the palace and gardens will have. Despite its smaller and less grandeur design, the estate’s intimate quaintness makes it a must-see.
- Travel Time: 4 hours by car
To the east of Paris is the Mont-Saint-Michel, an awe-inspiring fortress of beauty and splendor that will awaken the child within you and make you believe in magic again.
This culturally important UNESCO World Heritage Site is the best place to capture France’s fairy-tale-like nature. While visiting Mont-Saint-Michel, you absolutely must tour the Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel at the top to view the breathtaking Gothic architecture.
On your way to the Abbey, you’ll stroll through La Grand Rue, the main pathway to the Abbey. Thanks to the countless shops and restaurants, La Grand Rue is an excellent stop during your pilgrimage.
Since it can take up to four hours to arrive at Mont-Saint-Michel, it’s essential to plan your day accordingly or participate in a well-organized tour to ensure you see as much of this glorious location as possible.
9. Chartres Cathedral
- Travel Time: 1.5 hours by car
To the southeast of Paris is the historically beautiful Gothic Chartres Cathedral. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is so impressive and glorious that it’s said to invoke faith in the faithless.
While treading through these hollowed halls, take the time to view the stained glass windows. The Tree of Jesse window, which displays the genealogical tree of Jesus Christ, is a masterpiece and a favorite of many visitors.
If you visit the Chartres Cathedral from April to November, you can witness a sensational nighttime show. During this time, the town of Chartres illuminates the many historical monuments in stunning displays of vibrant colors and clever designs.
10. The Loire Valley
- Travel Time: 2 hours by car
To the southeast of Paris is the famous Loire Valley, one of the best places to go for delicious champagne, wine tastings, and views of stunning vineyards as far as the eye can see.
Aside from the potential for incredible champagne and wines, the Loire valley is an excellent location for viewing numerous imposing castles, such as the Chateau de Chambord and Chateau Chenonceau.
If you’re interested in going to Loire valley for some castle sightseeing, it’s best to go by car or with a well-organized tour service so you can see all of the numerous stunning castles throughout the valley.
11. The Plateau de Valensole
- Travel Time: 7 hours by train
To the southwest of Paris is the Plateau de Valensole, one of the best places to visit if you wish to bask in the stunning beauty of endless hues of purple majesty and inhale the sweet fragrance of the beloved French lavender.
Located in Provence, the Plateau de Valensole lies between the valley of Durance and the Gorges of Verdon, so the distance from Paris may be lengthy. Yet, the fields of Lavandin and their lavender plants make for an unforgettable memory.
The scent wafting off these violet beauties is sure to calm and relax even the most restless souls. In addition to viewing the seemingly endless fields of lavender, there are other great sightseeing experiences in the area.
From stunning blue lakes and charming little villages to amber fields of wheat and stately rows of sunflowers, the Plateau de Valensole is the ideal spot for an afternoon of peace and tranquility.
12. The Chamonix Valley
- Travel Time: 7 hours by car
To the southwest of Paris lies the Chamonix Valley, one of France’s best places to visit for nature-filled hiking trails.
An excellent day trip for those wishing to participate in a hiking excursion through the beautiful landscapes of French nature, this valley has plenty to keep you occupied for the day.
With 217 miles (350 kilometers) of perfectly maintained hiking trails that are well-marked for your convenience, so you can thoroughly enjoy the majestic beauty of serene lakes, soaring peaks, and tranquil meadows.
If you’re a hiking enthusiast and wish to make the most out of a hiking trip in the Chamonix valley, you can book a private helicopter ride from Paris to the neighboring Chamonix area, which will get you there faster than a car ride, giving you more time to enjoy the natural scenery.
13. Parc Asterix
- Travel Time: 30 minutes by car
To the northwest of Paris is the famous amusement park, Parc Asterix. With fun-filled live-action shows and countless rides and games to enjoy, you could spend a day or more traversing the six perfectly themed areas.
From the Roman Empire to Egypt to Gaul, there is so much to see and do, and the memories will stay with you for a lifetime. There are plenty of rides and attractions throughout the park, making it an excellent place for the whole family.
Once you’re tired of the rides, you can check out the live shows that performers put on regularly throughout the day. Don’t forget to finish off your experience by trying some of the themed cuisines the park offers, including roasted wild boar!
14. Puy du Fou
- Travel Time: 4 hours by car
To the southeast of Paris is the Puy du Fou, a famous amusement park known for its numerous historically accurate live-action events, such as Viking attacks and Roman chariot races. You can experience some of the most exciting events in history from trained performers.
Along with the live-action events, there are also various period villages to explore. The four period-inspired villages cover the 11th to 19th centuries and brim with historically accurate architecture and sights.
The crowning glory of the Puy du Fou is the La Cinescine, a spectacular night show that you won’t want to miss. With 3D video projections, fantastic lighting, and over 2,500 actors, this stage show is the perfect end to an exciting and eventful day.
- Travel Time: 4 hours by car
To the southeast of Paris is Futuroscope, a futuristic amusement park that the whole family will enjoy. With numerous 3D rides that offer 4D effects and genuinely authentic experiences like dancing with robots in a dark, light-effect-filled room.
The Futuroscope focuses on bringing guests to new worlds and fantastical locations through the power of technology.
With virtual reality rides and incredible 4D sights, you won’t want to leave the future and return to reality. The Futuroscope also has several stage shows, including “The Key to Dreams,” “IllusiO, A Magical Destiny,” and “Tornado Chasers.”
Things to Consider
If you’re planning to make the most of your France trip, here are a few things to keep in mind as you travel through this amazing country:
The currency of France is the Euro, and the best place to exchange your other currency for Euros is at an ATM. ATMs offer the best exchange rates throughout France. Make sure you have plenty of money when you visit so you don’t miss out on the best experiences.
When visiting churches or other religious locations, it’s essential to dress accordingly. Entering such places wearing shorts and sandals or flip-flops is offensive.
In fact, there are even some locations where they won’t allow you to enter the premises. Check with the site before you go to ensure you have appropriate attire.
Traveling Throughout France
Although renting a car is possible, a train may be your best option for getting around France. Some high-speed trains are capable of getting you to locations faster than driving. In addition to traveling by train, plenty of helicopter services will transport you more quickly to specific areas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common questions about visiting France and the surrounding area:
What countries can you visit in a day from Paris?
The best countries to visit for a simple day trip from Paris include Belgium, known for its fine chocolate, delicious waffles, and great beer, which is a short four-hour drive from Paris.
You can also visit the Netherlands, known for its numerous cheese markets and masterpieces from the Old Masters.
Can you do day trips from Paris?
Yes, you can make day trips from Paris. Thanks to its lengthy history France is rife with culturally and historically significant locations to visit near Paris.
And it also has countless places to partake in high-quality French fare and exquisite wine-tasting experiences, all of which are within a few hour’s drive at most from Paris.
Where can I go that is not far from Paris?
Some of the closest and best places to visit from Paris are Disneyland Paris, the Palace of Versailles, and the Loire Valley.
Which Swiss city is closest to Paris?
With a distance of about 336 miles (541 kilometers) from Paris, Geneva is just short of a six-hour drive from Paris.
So, What Is the Best Day Trip From Paris?
The best day trip from Paris depends on what you want to get out of your vacation. From fascinating historical sites to exciting amusement parks, there are plenty of attractions near Paris that offer something for everyone.
With a little research, you can fully enjoy your trip to the stunning country of France and the enchanting City of Lights. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today!