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The Most Beautiful Towns & Villages Near Paris
Paris is a great city, with many exciting things to see and do. But it can also be a busy and crowded city, and after some days of sightseeing from dawn till dusk, you may need a break.
Luckily, there are many picturesque small towns near Paris perfect to get out in the fresh air and see a different side of France. Most of these small towns outside of Paris make excellent day trips from Paris by train.
So if you are doing great visiting Paris and have an extra day in the city, why don’t you give these beautiful towns and villages near Paris a chance? Here’s the list of the best small towns near Paris (completed with a couple of small cities near Paris) to visit during your next trip to the French capital.
Best Way to Explore the Small Towns & Cities Near Paris
Most of the countryside near Paris is easy to reach by train. SNCF, the French rail network, links all the major towns and cities while also linking up many small towns in rural France.
Generally, trains are on time, comfortable, relatively cheap, and our favorite way to explore the small towns and cities near Paris. If you are also concerned about your carbon footprint and want to reduce it, trains are the best way to go around.
By Guided Tour
A guided tour is not the cheapest option to explore the small towns outside of Paris, but it is definitely the most comfortable. Forget about planning, entrance tickets, or train schedules; just hop on a coach or minivan and enjoy your day!
Usually, guided tours include skip-the-line tickets and a knowledgeable English-speaking guide, making the place or attraction even more enjoyable. Also, half-day guided tours are perfect for people with short holidays in Paris but who still want to see more than the capital.
These are the Best Guided Tours to Visit the Paris Countryside
Fontainebleau + Vaux-le-Vicomte castles
Fontainebleau Castle + Barbizon
History, Castles, Arts
History, Castles, Gardens
History, Castles, Horses
Private Car (1-3 pax) or Minivan
Epernay & Hautvilliers
Cars are the best option to explore the countryside near Paris, especially those villages which are a bit off the beaten path.
If you need to rent a car, we recommend choosing a car rental office located on the outskirts of Paris: they usually have better prices, and you avoid the hassle of driving through the city. Reach the rental office by metro and avoid the traffic jams in Paris!
We use and recommend Rentalcars.com. Rentalcars compares 900 companies at over 53,000 locations to guarantee you the best price. Click here for our best tips for renting a car in France.
Best Small Towns Near Paris Map
TIP: We listed these small towns outside Paris by region. Click here to read more about the Regions of France.
Best Small Towns Outside of Paris (Ile-de-France)
Provins is one of the best medieval towns near Paris, and it makes a great day trip from Paris by train. This fortified town is well known for its medieval fairs, usually held in June.
Provins was the capital of the powerful Counts of Champagne. Thanks to the counts’ protection and its strategic position, this medieval town became one of the main actors of the early development of international trade fairs and the wool industry in Europe during the 9th to 18th centuries.
Walking around Provins is like a step back in time! The town is surrounded by impressive walls and the medieval architecture of half-timbered houses is beautiful to see. This medieval town near Paris is especially known for its unique underground galleries that you can visit with a guided tour.
- 70 km south-east of Paris, in the region of Ile-de-France region
WHAT TO DO IN PROVINS
- Provins’ Medieval Fairs and Medieval Christmas Market
HOW TO GO FROM PROVINS TO PARIS
By Train: Paris to Provins is one of the easiest Paris day trips by train. Direct trains leave from Paris Gare de l’Est train station to Provins (1 hr 22 min, hourly).
By Car: Paris to Provins is a 91 km drive which takes around 1 hr 13 min, depending on the traffic.
EXTEND YOUR TRIP
There’s so much to see and do in Provins that it may be a good idea to extend your trip by spending one night in this beautiful medieval town.
Versailles is one of the best small cities near Paris to visit, world-known for the magnificent Palace of Versailles. If this is your first visit to Versailles, we recommend visiting the Palace, but you can also decide to spend all your time exploring the Gardens of Versailles or other parts of the city.
The list of interesting sites outside the Versailles Estate includes the King’s Kitchen Garden, the Academy of Equestrian Arts, the Carriage Museum, or the Chuch of Notre Dame. The local market, not far from the château, is also lovely to see.
- Versailles is located 21 km south-west of Paris, in the region of Ile-de-France.
WHAT TO DO IN VERSAILLES
- Versailles by bike, boat riding in the Grand Canal
- Fountains of Versailles shows
- Classic music concerts
HOW TO GO FROM PARIS TO VERSAILLES
BEST DAY TOUR FROM PARIS TO VERSAILLES
Get the most of your day in Versailles with this top-rated tour with a private guide, transportation, and lunch. Visit the Palace of Versailles and the Trianons with your guide, stroll through the impressive gardens, and have lunch at La Petite Venise.
EXTEND YOUR TRIP
There’s so much to see and do in Versailles Estate that it may be a good idea to spend one night on-site. You will also find yourself staying late if you watch the Saturday night Fountain Show.
Fontainebleau is one of the small cities near Paris worth visiting, with a beautiful historical center and surrounded by a large forest. For many centuries, the forest of Fontainebleau was the French Kings’ favorite hunting place, and they built a magnificent castle to get the most out of Fontainebleau.
The Château de Fontainebleau is one of the most beautiful castles near Paris and Versailles’ eternal rival. Known as ‘the true home of the French Kings’, its different rooms and halls are grand and magnificent!
After visiting the castle, explore the surrounding gardens. The gardens’ main highlight is the Grand Parterre, the most extensive formal garden in Europe and King Louis XIV’s most significant architectural achievement at Fontainebleau.
The Forest of Fontainebleau is Parisians’ favorite place for hiking and climbing, and the 25 bosses de Fontainebleau hike is one of the most famous hikes in the region. If you are visiting Paris in the fall, consider a walk in the forest of Fontainebleau, it is stunning with the fall colors!
- Fontainebleau is located 25 km south-east of Paris, in the region of Ile de France.
WHAT TO DO IN FONTAINEBLEAU
- Château de Fontainebleau and Gardens
- Hiking and rock climbing in Fontainebleau Forest
- Hot air balloon over Fontainebleau Forest
HOW TO GO FROM PARIS TO FONTAINEBLEAU
By Train: direct trains Paris – Fontainebleau leave from Paris Gare de Lyon to Fontainebleau-Avon train station (40 min, every 20 min). Once you arrive at Fontainebleau train station, a bus shuttle waits outside to reach the château (12 min ride).
By Car: Paris to Fontainebleau is a 69 km drive which takes around 48 min, depending on the traffic.
BEST DAY TOUR FROM PARIS TO FONTAINEBLEAU
This Paris-Fontainebleau half-day private guided tour is a great option. This 5-hour tour visits the Château of Fontainebleau and the gardens with explanations by an English professional guide. The tour includes pick up and drop off at your accommodation in Paris (8 am or 2 pm), transportation in a luxury van, and skip-the-line entrance tickets for the Château of Fontainebleau.
The village of Barbizon was home to the ‘Barbizon School’ of 19th-century French painters, including Théodore Rousseau and Jean-François Millet. This movement was born from the wish of certain artists to represent unspoiled nature.
After visiting Château de Fontainebleau, Barbizon is a lovely place for a good meal followed by a stroll. Admire its charming stone houses and restored inns and workshops. Enjoy its flowery walls and the heady smell of turpentine.
The Auberge Ganne is where penniless painters without money often shared the same rooms and drew on the walls to perfect their line. The evenings in this modest inn always ended up late, with everybody heavily drunk. Even today, visitors can immerse themselves in this era which saw the birth of the very idea of the romantic painter, in search of pure and beautiful nature.
Art lovers will enjoy the Barbizon School Museum, Millet’s studio, and numerous art galleries.
- Barbizon is located 60 km south-east of Paris, in the region of Ile-de-France. It is located 10 km from Fontainebleau, so people usually visit both places on a day trip.
WHAT TO DO IN BARBIZON
- Eat & Drink
HOW TO GO FROM PARIS TO BARBIZON
By Train + Bus : direct trains Paris – Fontainebleau leave from Paris Gare de Lyon to Fontainebleau-Avon train station (40 min, every 20 min). Once you arrive at Fontainebleau train station, take bus #21 to Angelus (22 min ride).
From Fontainebleau, you can also rent a bike. From Fontainebleau, it’s a mere 10km bike ride to Barbizon (one way).
By Car: Paris to Fontainebleau is a 70 km drive which takes around 40 min, depending on the traffic.
BEST DAY TOUR FROM PARIS TO BARBIZON
This Fontainebleau + Barbizon full-day private guided tour is a great option. The tour includes pick up and drop off at your accommodation in Paris, transportation in a luxury van, a professional guide, and entrance tickets to the Château of Fontainebleau.
If you are interested in pretty medieval towns close to Paris, you’re going to love Moret-sur-Loing, located on the eastern side of the Fontainebleau forest.
One of the best towns near Paris, Moret-sur-Loing has a beautiful medieval heritage and a couple of interesting museums. It is also an excellent place for outdoor activities like kayaking, biking, or hiking.
Moret-sur-Loing was home to the impressionist painter Alfred Sisley, who found in Moret the source of inspiration for many of his masterworks. The Tourism Office in Moret proposes a self-guided walking tour to see all the spots that inspired the painter. You will quickly understand why Sisley fell in love with Moret!
- Moret-sur-Loing is located 77 km south-east of Paris, in the region of Ile-de-France.
WHAT TO DO IN MORET-SUR-LOING
HOW TO GO FROM PARIS TO MORET-SUR-LOING
By Train: direct trains leave from Paris Gare de Lyon to Moret-Veneux-Les Sablons train station (48 min, every 30 min). Once you arrive at Moret-Veneux-Les Sablons train station, there is a 15-minute walk to Moret.
By Car: Paris to Moret-sur-Loing is a 77 km drive which takes around 58 min, depending on the traffic.
If you are looking for beautiful villages near Paris, Auvers-sur-Oise is the place to go. Auvers-Sur-Oise is one of the best villages near Paris to visit because it is well connected with the capital and has many interesting things to do.
Auvers-sur-Oise is also known as the Impressionists’ Village because it attired many artists, especially the Impressionists, by the end of the 19th century. People like Cézanne, Pissarro, Sisley, or Monet lived or frequented Auvers-Sur-Oise and painted the village on some of their masterworks.
But most of all, Auvers-Sur-Oise is known for being Vincent Van Gogh’s last home. Van Gogh discovered the village by the end of his life, and although he lived in Auvers for less than two months, he painted 70 works in Auvers, most of them related to the village and its landscapes.
In Auvers-Sur-Oise, there is a nice self-guided walk, The Painters’ Pathway, which visits several views appearing on some Impressionist paintings. Also, you can see Van Gogh’s room at Auberge Ravoux, where he died, the famous Church at Auvers, and Van Gogh’ ‘s tomb in the local cemetery.
- Auvers-sur-Oise is located 35 km north of Paris, in the region of Ile de France.
WHAT TO DO IN AUVERS-SUR-OISE
- Nature walks
- A special place for Van Gogh’s fans!
HOW TO GO FROM PARIS TO AUVERS-SUR-OISE
By Train: Trains from Paris to Auvers-sur-Oise leave from Paris Gare du Nord. It is a 41-minute ride.
By Car: Paris to Auvers-Sur-Oise is a 33 km drive which takes around 28 min, depending on the traffic.
Marly-le-Roi is one of the beautiful villages near Paris worth visiting. Marly was the location of Château de Marly, the famous leisure residence of King Louis XIV, which was more intimate than Versailles and far from the court etiquette. Only a few people had the honor to be the King’s guests at Marly, and they were appointed directly by King Louis XIV a few days before the departure.
The Château de Marly was totally destroyed after the French Revolution. However, a few remains are left, plus the surrounding park still keeps its original waterways, lawns, and sculptures.
In Marly-le-Roi, you may also want to visit Alexandre Dumas’ home, the Château de Montecristo, and its park. This beautiful and intriguing castle is an excellent opportunity to know more about the writer’s life and work.
- Marly-le-Roi is located 20 km west of Paris, in the region of Ile de France.
THINGS TO DO IN MARLY-LE-ROI
- Stroll around the gardens and the remains of the Royal Palace
- Château de Montecristo
HOW TO GO FROM PARIS TO MARLY-LE-ROI
By Train: Marly-le-Roi is one of the easiest Paris day trips by train, with many direct trains from La Défense to Marly-le-Roi. To reach La Défense train station, take the RER A or the Parisian metro line 1. Then take train L towards St Nom la Bretèche train station (1hr, every 20 min).
By Car: Paris to Marly-le-Roi is a 25 km drive which takes around 23 min, depending on the traffic.
If you are looking for beautiful towns near Paris easy to reach by train, Bougival is a good option. During the 19th century, the Impressionists chose this peaceful place by the Seine River as their favorite open-air workshop. People like Monet, Sisley, or Berthe Morisot spent long periods in this village trying to catch the beauty of the river and its banks, and soon Bougival’s landscapes became the subject of some of their masterworks.
Visit Bougival’s picturesque historic center, with its beautiful Romanesque-style church, before heading to the Seine River’s banks to follow the Impressionist Walk. This walk has real scale panels showing the reproductions of famous Impressionists’ paintings at the exact point where they found the inspiration.
In Bougival, you will also find the remains of the Machine of Marly. This intriguing machine, built under the rule of King Louis XIV, transported water from the Seine River up to Versailles to feed the Palace’s fountains! The Machine de Marly was considered at that time the eight-world wonder.
- Bougival is 17 km west of Paris, in the region of Ile-de-France.
THINGS TO DO IN BOUGIVAL
- Seine River walks
- The remains of the Machine of Marly
HOW TO GO FROM PARIS TO BOUGIVAL
By Train: Bougival is the train station before Marly-le-Roi so you can visit both places on the same day.
There are many direct trains from La Défense to Bougival train station. To reach La Défense train station, take the RER A or the Parisian metro line 1. Then take train L towards St Nom la Bretèche train station (1hr, every 20 min).
By Car: Paris to Bougival i is a 15 km drive which takes around 14 min, depending on the traffic.
9. MONTFORT L’AMAURY
Montfort l’Amaury is one of the most beautiful villages near Paris with an interesting medieval heritage despite its small size.
We arrived at Montfort L’Amaury following Victor Hugo’s steps. The famous French writer discovered this place when he was 23 and he wrote a beautiful ode to Monfort’s ruins (Tour d’Anne de Bretagne) ‘Aux Ruines de Montfort l’Amaury:’
- Je vous aime, ô débris ! Et surtout quand l’automne
- Prolonge en vos échos sa plainte monotone. Sous vos abris croulants je voudrais habiter, | Vieilles tours, que le temps l’une vers l’autre incline.
- Et qui semblez de loin sur la haute colline, |Deux noirs géants prêts à lutter.
The historical center of this village near Paris still keeps its medieval layout, and you can see many beautiful half-timbered houses populating the streets around the church.
The list of interesting sites in Monfort l’Amaury is long. It includes the 12th-century fortified castle (Tour Anne de Bretagne), the impressive Saint Pierre Church (15th-16th centuries), and the old cemetery with a beautiful covered gallery.
- Montfort l’Amaury is located 45 km west of Paris, in the region of Ile-de-France.
THINGS TO DO IN MONTFORT L’AMAURY
HOW TO GO FROM PARIS TO MONTFORT L’AMAURY
By Train + Bicycle: direct trains leave from Paris Gare de Montparnasse to Montfort Méré train station. From this train station, there is a 3.6 km walk to Montfort l’Amaury. You can take your bicycle on the train (or rent one in Paris) and explore Monfort by bike starting from the train station.
By Car: the car is the easiest way to visit Montfort l’Amaury. Paris to Montfort l’Amaury is a 50 km drive which takes around 35 min, depending on the traffic.
La Haute Vallée de la Chevreuse is a hiking paradise with the perfect mix of nature walks and cultural heritage. If you are looking for day trips in the countryside near Paris, you are going to love Chevreuse, a small village nestled in the valley.
Chevreuse is dominated by the Château de la Madelaine, a beautiful fortified castle (11th century) on the top of a hill with panoramic views of the valley. This village near Paris is also known for its Chemin des Petits Ponts along one of the legs of the Yvette River. This picturesque pedestrian walk is lined with old laundries, tanneries, and watermills.
- Chevreuse is located 28 km southwest of Paris, in the region of Ile-de-France.
THINGS TO DO IN CHEVREUSE
- Nature walks
HOW TO GO FROM PARIS TO CHEVREUSE
By Train: We usually visit Chevreuse on an (18 km) day hike, starting at La Verrière train station and ending at St Rémy La Chevreuse train station. If you want to visit the town of Chevreuse only, take RER B to Saint Rémy La Chevreuse train station (45 min, hourly), and from there, there is a 3 km walk to Chevreuse.
By Car: Paris to Chevreuse is a 34 km drive which takes around 40 min, depending on the traffic.
11. LA ROCHE-GUYON
If you are looking for quaint small villages near Paris, you will love La Roche-Guyon, on the right bank of the Seine River. This is the only village in the region of Ile de France with the label ‘Les plus beaux villages de France.’
La Roche-Guyon was in the 19th century a holiday resort that saw many celebrities of the arts and letters. This picturesque village near Paris is known for its 12th-century intriguing castle. The keep, built on the top of the hill, is connected to the main building through a 100-step underground staircase dug in the side of the plateau, and it offers panoramic views of the village and the Seine Valley.
The Kitchen Garden is another interesting place to visit in La Roche-Guyon. This French-style vegetable garden was created in the 18th century by the La Rochefoucauld family, the castle’s owners. This family shared the ideas of the physiocrats and encyclopaedists, and they wanted for their château a scientific and experimental garden rather than a pleasure garden.
- La Roche-Guyon is located 72 km north/west of Paris, in the region of Ile-de-France.
THINGS TO DO IN LA ROCHE-GUYON
- Nature walks
HOW TO GO FROM PARIS TO LA ROCHE GUYON
By Train+Bus: to reach La Roche-Guyon from Paris by public transportation is not easy, but nothing is impossible! Take a train from Paris Saint Lazare Train Station to Gare de Bonnières (47 min, every 4 hours). The next step is to take a bus from Gare Routière Bonnières to Petit Pont station (9 min, every 4 hours).
By Car: Paris to La Roche-Guyon is a 72 km drive which takes around 53 min, depending on the traffic.
Best Small Towns Close to Paris (Hauts-de-France)
Looking for easy day trips from Paris by train? Head to the town of Chantilly to visit the Grand Stables and Château!
In the beginning, Chantilly was just a few hamlets scattered outside the Château, which turned into a cute small town with the years. Château de Chantilly was built in the 16th century for the House of Montomercy. Later, it was owned by the princes of Condé, cousins of the King of France.
In the 17th century, Les Grandes Ecuries (the Grand Stables) was built for the Prince of Condé, a passionate about horses, and they could host 240 horses and 500 hounds. Today Les Grandes Écuries hosts the Horse Museum, and it is a very reputed center of dressage for the most expensive horses in the world. The ticket to the Horse Museum includes a very entertaining dressage show.
Since the construction of Les Grandes Écuries, the world of this small town near Paris has turned around horses. Today, Chantilly and the surrounding villages are home to the largest racehorse-training community in France. The Chantilly Racecourse (Hippodrome de Chantilly) hosts one of the most prestigious horse races in the world.
- Chantilly is located 38 km north-east of Paris, in the region of Hauts-de-France.
THINGS TO DO IN CHANTILLY
- Chic racecourses in the Hippodrome de Chantilly
- Nature walks
HOW TO GO FROM PARIS TO CHANTILLY
By Train: Paris to Chantilly by train is straightforward, with direct trains from Paris Gare du Nord to Chantilly-Gouvieux train station (30 min, hourly). From there, it’s a pleasant walk to the Château and the Stables.
By Car: Paris to Chantilly is a 42 km drive which takes around 40 min, depending on the traffic.
BEST DAY TOUR FROM PARIS TO CHANTILLY
This half-day tour to Chantilly visits the Château of Chantilly and the Great Stables with an English-speaking licensed guide. The tour includes private transportation from /to Paris, skip the line tickets to the Horse Museum and the Château, a horse show in the Great Stables (subject to availability), and a 3-course meal at the Château’s pretty restaurant.
Senlis is one of the best small towns in France near Paris, with a rich history and beautiful architecture.
Senlis is a royal town, cradle of the Capet dynasty. Indeed, Hugh Capet was lord of Senlis before becoming the first king of the House of Capet in 987. Since then and until King Henry IV, all his successors lived or spent some periods in the Royal Palace of Senlis.
Today the historical center of Senlis still keeps its medieval layout, with picturesque cobbled streets and beautiful architecture dating from the 10th-18th century. Senlis Cathedral may not be one of our favorite cathedrals in France, but no one can deny that it is imposing and maybe the best remaining witness of Senlis’ power.
Senlis is also well known for its Roman heritage, and you can still see some remains of the Roman fortress and towers (3rd century) and a Gallo-Roman arena (1st century).
- Senlis is located 42 km north of Paris, in the region of Hauts-de-France.
THINGS TO DO IN SENLIS
HOW TO GO FROM PARIS TO SENLIS
By Train + Bus: If you want to go from Paris to Senlis by public transportation, take the train from Paris Gare du Nord to Chantilly-Gouvieux train station (30 min, hourly) and then take bus #645 to Senlis (20 min ride every 30 min). The bus schedule changes often, so we recommend checking the tourism website here.
By Car: Paris to Senlis is a 51 km drive which takes around 35 min, depending on the traffic.
EXTEND YOUR TRIP
You can visit Senlis on a day trip from Paris, but the town is so charming that it is worth spending one night on-site. Book one night in Senlis and use the day after for visiting Chantilly, located at only 10 minutes by bus.
Gerberoy is one of the most beautiful villages near Paris to visit, and it is a dream destination for flower passionate, especially rose lovers.
Walking around this picturesque village and its gardens is an absolute delight, with its narrow cobbled streets, 17th-18th-century houses, climbing roses, wisterias, plants, and other flowers.
Gerberoy is one of the villages in Hauts-de-France with the label ‘Les plus beaux villages de France.’ It is the perfect place to wander aimlessly, looking at the flowers and the small details.
Gerberoy is best known for its Rose Festival (the third weekend of June), when roses and hortensias are in full bloom.
- Gerberoy is located 105 km north-west of Paris, in the region of Hauts-de-France.
THINGS TO DO IN GERBEROY
- The Rose Festival
HOW TO GO FROM PARIS TO GERBEROY
By Car: Paris to Gerberoy is a 105 km drive which takes around 1 hour 15 min, depending on the traffic.
Best Small Towns Near Paris (Normandy)
Giverny in Normandy is a pretty village near Paris, where the Impressionist painter Claude Monet lived and worked from 1883 until he died in 1926.
Every year thousands of visitors travel from Paris to Giverny to visit Monet’s House and Garden (click here for a quick guide) to admire the water lily pond that inspired Monet for many of his paintings. However, Monet’s house and studio are as attractive as the gardens; they are a visual experience of different spaces, colors, and materials where Monet left nothing to chance.
Apart from Monet’s house, Giverny has a main street with cute shops, cafes, and an Impressionist Museum.
- Giverny is located 80 km northwest of Paris, in the Normandy region.
THINGS TO DO IN GIVERNY
- Monet’s House and Garden
HOW TO GO FROM PARIS TO GIVERNY
By Train + Shuttle: There is no direct train connection from Paris to Giverny. First, you need to take a train from Gare Saint Lazare to Vernon train station (1 hr, hourly) where you can take a shuttle which drops you in front of Monet’s house.
By Car: Paris to Giverny is a 74 km drive which takes around 54 min, depending on the traffic.
BEST DAY TOUR FROM PARIS TO GIVERNY
If you’d rather not drive to Giverny yourself, you can take this independent tour to Giverny that will drive you there and back in comfort and let you explore on your own or with an audio tour once you are there. The tour includes transportation from /to a central point in Paris, the admission tickets, a tour escort, and the audio guide as an option. Once inside Monet’s House and Garden, you are free to tour them as you want.
16. LES ANDELYS
Les Andelys are two cute towns near Paris located in one of the meanders of the Seine River. A pleasant walk along the canal connects the two towns.
Les Andelys are looked over by the splendid ruins of Château-Gaillard, a medieval fortress built in the 12th century under the orders of King Richard Lionheart – who was also Duke of Normandy – to protect his lands against the French King Philippe Auguste. The view from the castle (pictured above), over Les Andelys and the Seine River, is terrific.
Les Andelys (and the Château Gaillard) make a nice stop, perhaps on your way to Giverny or Rouen. Apart from the ruins of the Château, the towns have different religious buildings from the 13th century and beautiful family houses from the 16th-19th centuries.
- Les Andelys is located 90 km north-west of Paris, in the region of Normandy.
THINGS TO DO IN LES ANDELYS
HOW TO GO FROM PARIS TO LES ANDELYS
By Car: This is the best option to visit Les Andelys because train connections are not good. Les Andelys is a 90km drive which takes around 1 hour, depending on the traffic.
Beautiful Towns Near Paris (Centre-Val- de-Loire)
Chartres is one of the most attractive big towns /small cities near Paris to visit, best known for its impressive Gothic Cathedral, one of the Grandes Cathédrales de France, and (like Amiens Cathedral or Saint-Denis Basilica-Cathedral) an essential milestone in the evolution of Gothic Cathedrals in Europe.
The cathedral is famous for its 13th-century labyrinth designed on the pavement, the largest one built in France! Pilgrims used to walk this labyrinth seeking healing or meditation.
Apart from the magnificent cathedral, Chartres has a cute historical center with some half-timbered houses. We suggest walking down to the river Eure where you can see pretty small houses, some of them with their private boats.
- Chartres is located 96 km south of Paris, in the region of Centre-Val-de-Loire.
THINGS TO DO IN CHARTRES
- Chartres Cathedral
- Chartres en Lumières (sound and light show)
HOW TO GO FROM PARIS TO CHARTRES
Chartres is one of the easiest short day trips from Paris by train. Direct trains leave from Paris Gare de Montparnasse to Chartres Train Station every 30 minutes (1h 10min ride).
By Car: Paris to Chartres is an 88.5 km drive which takes around 53 min, depending on the traffic.
BEST DAY TOUR FROM PARIS TO CHARTRES
Spend a relaxing day exploring the Chartres Cathedral and the medieval houses along the Eure River with this 5-hour guided tour. The tour includes the hotel pickup and drop-off, transportation on a private vehicle, and a knowledgeable English guide.
EXTEND YOUR TRIP
The Chartres en Lumières Show (light show from dusk to 1 am in the summer) is a great excuse to extend your trip and spend one night in Chartres.
Best Small Towns Near Paris (Grand Est)
18. ÉPERNAY & HAUTVILLERS
If you are looking for a little bit of countryside near Paris, Epernay and Hautvillers are two beautiful towns worth visiting.
Located in the heart of the Champagne vineyards, Epernay is the capital of the champagne wine. In this small town near Paris, the most luxury champagne brands, like Moët-Chandon, Vranken, Mercier, Pol Roger, or Perrier-Jouët, have their headquarters and champagne cellars.
Epernay’s main avenue, Avenue de Champagne, is considered the most expensive avenue in the world! Beautiful private mansions line up on the surface. Below the ground, kilometers of galleries house millions of bottles of the best champagne wine.
The village of Hautvilliers, north of Epernay, is also worth visiting. Here, the monk Dom Perignon developed the method of champagnisation of wine. Dom Perignon is buried inside this abbey, just in front of the main altar.
- Epernay is located 140 km southwest of Paris, in the region of Grand Est.
THINGS TO DO IN EPERNAY & HAUTVILLERS
- Nature walks
- Champagne tasting and shopping from small producers
- Champagne tours
HOW TO GO FROM PARIS TO EPERNAY
By Train: trains to Epernay leave Paris from Paris Gare de l’Est to Epernay train station every 2 hours (1h 15 min). If you want to add Hautvillers to your Epernay trip, we recommend taking a taxi (5km, 10 minutes drive).
By Car: Paris to Epernay by car is a 140 km drive which lasts about 1 hour 15 min.
BEST DAY TOUR FROM PARIS TO EPERNAY
Explore the Champagne wine-producing region with this small-group guided tour with private transportation and some tastings included. Learn the basics of champagne wine, from the growing to the tasting, and tour the House of Moët Chandon, the world’s largest producer of champagne.
The tour also includes the visit to Reims Cathedral, where the Kings of France were crowned.
Did you like our list of small towns near Paris and small cities near Paris? If you can go further, check out this France Travel Guide
Some interesting articles in the blog
- Read our Paris for the First Time Quick Guide here
- Find things to eat in Paris here
- Explore the Paris Districts here
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