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Table of Contents
- Exploring the Paris Countryside
- Best Way to Explore the Small Towns & Cities Near Paris
- Map Best Side Trips from Paris
- Best Day Tris from Paris in Ile de France Region
- Best Day Tris from Paris in Hauts-de-France Region
- Best Day Trips from Paris in Normandy Region
- Best Day Tris from Paris in Centre – Val de Loire Region
- Best Day Tris from Paris in Grand Est Region
Exploring the Paris Countryside
Paris is a great city one of the best places to visit in France, with countless things to see and do. But it can also be a busy and crowded city and after a couple of days of deep exploration, some people may need a break.
Luckily, there are many cute towns in the Paris countryside, perfect to get out in the fresh air and see a different side of France. Most of these towns outside of Paris make excellent day trips from Paris by train.
So if you are doing great visiting Paris and have a spare day in the city, why don’t you give these small towns near Paris a chance? Here’s the list of beautiful towns near Paris (completed with a couple of small cities around Paris) that you cannot miss.
Best Way to Explore the Small Towns & Cities Near Paris
Most of the small towns & cities near Paris proposed below are very easy to reach by train. 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 definitely our favorite way to explore the surroundings of Paris. If you are also concerned about your carbon footprint, and you want to reduce it, trains are the best way to go around.
By Guided Tour
A Guided Tour is not the cheapest option but it is definitely the most comfortable one. 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 very knowledgeable English speaking guide, which makes the place or attraction even more interesting. Also, half-day guided tours are perfect for people with not much time to spend in Paris but who still want to see more than the capital.
These are the best day tours from Paris
|Fontainebleau Half Day||5 hrs||Fontainebleau||History, Castles||Private Minivan||View|
|Auvers-Sur-Oise Half Day||5 hrs||Auvers-Sur-Oise||Arts, Van Gogh||Private Minivan||View|
|Versailles Afternoon||4 hrs||Versailles||History, Castles, Gardens||NO. Meeting in front of the Palace in Versailles||View|
|Chantilly Half Day||5 hrs||Chantilly||History, Castles, Horses||Private Minivan||View|
|Giverny Half Day||5 hrs||Giverny||Arts, Monet||Air-conditioned Bus||View|
|Chartres Town and Cathedral||5 hrs||Chartres||History, Cathedrals||Private Car (1-3 pax) or Minivan||View|
|Champagne Day Trip with Moët||10 hrs||Epernay & Hautvilliers||History, Champagne||Private Minivan||View|
Despite this is not our favorite means of transportation, we won’t deny the advantages of exploring the Paris countryside by car.
Having your own car gives you a lot of freedom plus cars are great to go 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 Paris. Reach the rental office by metro and avoid the traffic of Paris.
Great for exploring small towns near Paris
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Map Best Side Trips from Paris
We have classed the best small towns near Paris by color.
- Day trips from Paris in Ile de France Region are marked in red
- Day trips from Paris in Hauts-de-France Region are marked in green
- Day trips from Paris in Normandy Region are marked in blue
- Day trips from Paris in Centre-Val-de-Loire Region are marked in violet
- Day trips from Paris in Grand Est Region are marked in yellow
TIP: You can read more about the Regions of France here
Best Day Tris from Paris in Ile de France Region
READ MORE – Day Trip from Paris to Provins Medieval Town
- Location: 70 km south-east of Paris, in Ile de France region.
- Best time to go to Provins: from early spring to late fall. The Provins Medieval Festival is usually celebrated during the first or second weekend of June.
Provins is one of the few medieval towns near Paris and one of the best side trips from Paris. This fortified town is well known for its medieval fairs.
A long time ago Provins was the capital of the powerful Counts of Champagne. Thanks to the counts’ protection and its strategic position, the town became one of the main actors of the early development of international trade fairs and the wool industry in Europe during the XI to XVIII centuries.
Walking around Provins is like a step back in time: the impressive fortress, the tour César, cute timbered houses along cobbled streets, some interesting historical buildings or its unique “underground town”.
How to go from Paris to Provins
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. You can find the drive details here
- Location: 25 km south-east of Paris, in Ile de France region.
- Best time to go Fontainebleau: the château is always great to visit. If you want to hike, we suggest anytime from early spring to late fall.
Fontainebleau is a small town near Paris with a beautiful historical center and surrounded by a huge forest.
During many centuries Fontainebleau was the Kings of France’s favorite hunting place and they built a magnificent castle to get the most out of Fontainebleau.
After visiting the castle, check its beautiful gardens around. The gardens’ main highlight is the Grand Parterre, the largest formal garden in Europe and Louis XIV’s greatest architectural achievement at Fontainebleau.
Also, Fontainebleau Forest is Parisians’ favorite place for hiking and climbing. The 25 bosses de Fontainebleau hike (an area with many sandstone boulders) is one of the most famous hikes in the region. The forest of Fontainebleau is especially beautiful during the fall.
How to go from Paris to Fontainebleau
By Train: direct trains leave from Paris Gare de Lyon to Fontainebleau-Avon train station (40 min every 20 min). Once you arrive at Fontainebleau train station, there is a bus shuttle waiting 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. You can find the drive details here
Paris-Fontainebleau half-day private guided tour: this 5-hour private tour visits the Château of Fontainebleau with a private English 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 Château de Fontainebleau.
READ MORE – Day Trip from Paris to Auvers-Sur-Oise
- Location: 35 km North of Paris, in Ile de France region.
- Best time to go: anytime when the weather is nice.
If you are looking for Paris countryside day trips, Auvers is the place to go.
Auvers-Sur-Oise is a small village near Paris with some interesting things to see and do. This beautiful and peaceful village is also known as the Impressionists’ village because by the end of the XIX century it attired many artists, especially the Impressionists. 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 related to the painter Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh discovered the village by the end of his life and although he lived in Auvers less than two months he painted 70 works, most of them related to Auvers and its landscapes.
In Auvers-Sur-Oise there is a nice DIY walk, The Painters’ Pathway, which links a number of views appearing on some Impressionist paintings. Also, you can visit the room at Auberge Ravoux where Van Gogh died and his tomb in the local cemetery.
How to Go from Paris to Auvers-Sur-Oise
By Train: Auvers-Sur-Oise is one of the most interesting and easy day trips from Paris, with direct trains from Paris Gare du Nord to Auvers-Sur-Oise (41 min).
By Car: Paris to Auvers-Sur-Oise is a 33 km drive which takes around 28 min, depending on the traffic. You can find the drive details here
Half-day trip to Auvers-Sur-Oise. Walk in the footsteps of one of the world’s most iconic painter, Vincent van Gogh, and explore the places that inspired him in Auvers-Sur-Oise. This small-group tour by minibus includes hotel pickup and drop-off, skip-the-line tickets, and an English speaking guide.
- Location: 20 km west of Paris, in Ile de France region.
- Best time to go to Marly: from early spring to late fall.
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, 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 Louis XIV a few days before the departure.
The château was totally destroyed after the French Revolution but the park surrounding the château has been restored with its waterways and lawns. The famous Marly Horses that you can see today at Louvre Museum, were located at the entrance of the château.
In Marly-le-Roi, you may also want to visit Alexandre Dumas’ home, the Chateau de Montecristo, and its park. This beautiful and intriguing castle is a good opportunity to know more about the writer’s life and work.
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. You can find the drive details here.
- Location: 17 km west of Paris, in Ile de France region.
- Best time to go to Bougival: from early spring to late fall.
Bougival is a beautiful village by the Seine River. During the XIXth century, the Impressionists chose this peaceful place 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 the 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 put the easel and found the inspiration.
In Bougival you will also find the remains of La Machine de Marly. This amazing machine built under the rule of Louis XIV transported water from the Seine River up to Versailles to feed the Palace’s fountains! La Machine de Marly was considered at that time the eight world wonder.
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 (1hr, every 20 min).
By Car: Paris to Marly-le-Roi is a 15 km drive which takes around 14 min, depending on the traffic. You can find the drive details here.
6. MONTFORT L’AMAURY
- Location: 45 km west of Paris, in Ile de France region.
- Best time to go to Monfort L’Amaury: we loved to visit it with the fall colors. Fall was Victor Hugo’s favorite season at Monfort l’Amaury
Montfort l’Amaury is one of the most beautiful towns around Paris. We visited Montfort L’Amaury for the first time following Victor Hugo’s steps. He 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.
Despite its size, Monfort l’Amaury has very interesting sights such as the remains of the XII century fortified castle (Tour Anne de Bretagne), the impressive Saint Pierre Church (XV – XVI centuries), and its incomparable collection of Renaissance stained glass windows.
The historical center still keeps its medieval layout and you can see many beautiful timbered houses populating the streets near the church. Finally, the town’s old cemetery (XV-XVI centuries) is also very interesting and it is surrounded by a covered gallery, like if it was a medieval cloister.
How to Go from Paris to Montfort l’Amaury
By Train: there are direct trains 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.
Alternatively, you can load your own bike or your foldable electrical kick scooter on the train and use it for the last 3.6 km instead of walking.
By Car: Paris to Montfort l’Amaury is a 50 km drive which takes around 35 min, depending on the traffic. You can find the drive details here
- Location: 28 km southwest of Paris, in Ile de France region.
- Best time to go to Chevreuse: If you want to hike, we suggest anytime from early spring to late fall. On Sundays, the town may be too sleepy for some.
La Haute Vallée de la Chevreuse is a hikers paradise, with the perfect combination of nature walks and cultural heritage. Usually, we end our hikes at Chevreuse, one of the cutest small towns around Paris, where we drink our traditional “end of the hike beer” before taking the train back to the city.
Chevreuse is dominated by Le Chateau de la Madelaine, a beautiful fortified castle (XI century) on the top of a hill with panoramic views of the town and the valley. The town is also known for its Chemin des Petits Ponts (walk of the small bridges) along one of the legs of Yvette river. This cute pedestrian walk is full of old laundries, tanneries, and watermills.
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. You can find the drive details here
8. LA ROCHE-GUYON
- Location: 72 km north/west of Paris, in Ile de France region.
- Best time to go to La Roche-Guyon: from early spring to late fall.
If you are looking for quaint villages near Paris, La Roche-Guyon is the place to go.
La Roche-Guyon is the only village in the region of Ile de France with the label «Les plus beaux villages de France» (the most beautiful villages in France). During the XIX century, this small village near Paris became a holiday resort which saw many celebrities of the arts and letters.
Located on the right bank of the Seine River, La Roche-Guyon is known for its impressive (and original) castle. The castle’s keep, built during the XII century 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. The keep offers panoramic views of the village and the Seine Valley.
Another interesting sight to visit in La Roche-Guyon is its vegetable garden. This French-style vegetable garden was created in the XVIII century by La Rochefoucauld family, the owners of the castle. This family, who shared the ideas of the physiocrats and encyclopaedists, wanted for their chateau a scientific and experimental garden, rather than a pleasure garden.
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 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). You can see the trains schedule and all the public transportation options here
By Car: Paris to La Roche-Guyon is a 72 km drive which takes around 53 min, depending on the traffic. You can find the drive details here
Best Day Tris from Paris in Hauts-de-France Region
READ MORE – Chantilly, an easy day trip from Paris by train
- Location: 38 km north-east of Paris, in Hauts de France region.
- Best time to go to Chantilly: anytime when the weather is nice.
Looking for easy day trips from Paris by train? Head to Chantilly to visit the Grand Stables and Château!
Château de Chantilly was built in the XVI century for the House of Montomercy and later it was owned by the princes of Condé, cousins of the King of France. In the beginning, Chantilly was just a few hamlets scattered outside the Château which turned with the years into a cute small town.
In the XVII century, Les Grandes Ecuries (the Grand Stables) were built for the Prince of Condé, a horse passionate, and they could host 240 horses and 500 hounds. Since then, Chantilly’s world turns around horses and 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.
How to Go from Paris to Chantilly
By Train: Paris to Chantilly by train is very easy, 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 41-5 km drive which takes around 40 min, depending on the traffic. You can find the drive details here
Chantilly Half-Day Private Tour. Enjoy a 5-hour castle of Chantilly private guided tour (morning or afternoon) with an English speaking licensed guide. The tour includes the pickup and drop off at your accommodation in Paris, transportation in a luxury van and skip the line tickets.
- Location: 42 km north of Paris, in Hauts de France region.
- Best time to go to Senlis: anytime when the weather is nice.
Senlis is one of the cutest small towns outside of Paris, with a very rich history.
Senlis is a royal town, cradle of the Capet dynasty. Indeed, Hugh Capet was lord of Senlis before becoming the first king of House of Capet in 987. Since then and until Henry IV, all his successors lived in the royal palace of Senlis.
Today the historical center of Senlis still keeps its medieval layout, with picturesque cobbled streets and a beautiful architecture dating from the X century to the XVIII century. Senlis’ Cathedral may not be one of our favorite cathedrals in France but no one can deny that it is very impressive and maybe the best remaining witness of Senlis’ power.
Senlis is also well known for its Roman past and you can still see some remains of the Roman fortress and towers (III century) and a Gallo-Roman arena (I century).
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 the bus #15 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. You can find the drive details here
Best Day Trips from Paris in Normandy Region
READ MORE – How to Visit Monet’s House and Garden
- Location: 80 km northwest of Paris, in the Normandy region.
- Best time to go to Giverny: if you come to see the water lilies pond, water lilies start to blossom in July and last until the end of August.
If you are looking for beautiful day trips around Paris, Giverny in Normandy is the place to go. This town near Paris is where Impressionist painter Claude Monet lived and worked from 1883 until his death in 1926.
Every year thousands of visitors go from Paris to Giverny to admire the water lily pond that inspired Monet’s paintings. However, Monet house and studio are as interesting 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 some cute shops, cafes and an Impressionist Museum.
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. You can find the drive details here
Paris day tours to Giverny are a very interesting option because Giverny is not very easy to reach (and not very cheap either) by public transportation. These tours below are the most popular day excursions from Paris to Giverny.
Independent Tour to Giverny and Monet’s House from Paris: this 5-hour tour is perfect for those who want to avoid the hassle of the public transportation (not easy for Giverny) without losing the freedom of an independent trip. 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.
12. LES ANDELYS
- Location: Les Andelys is located 90 km north-west of Paris, in the Normandy region.
- Best time to go to Les Andelys: from early spring to late fall. If the sky is clear, the views from Chäteau Gaillard are amazing.
Les Andelys (two small towns linked by a nice canal promenade) are located in one of the most beautiful sites in the Seine Valley, nestled at the foot of a high cliff.
Les Andelys is surveyed by the splendid ruins of Château-Gaillard, a medieval fortress built in the XII 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, over Les Andelys and the Seine’s meanders, is amazing.
Les Andelys (and Chäteau Gaillard) make a nice stop, perhaps on your way to Giverny or Rouen. The towns have different religious buildings from the XIII century and beautiful family houses from the XVI to XIX centuries.
How to go from Paris to Les Andelys
By Train: Paris to Les Andelys by train might not be the best option because the closest train station, Gare de Gaillon-Aubevoye, is located 11 km from Les Andelys. From there, the only option to reach Les Andelys is a taxi (+30€). You can see the trains schedule and all the transportation options here
By Car: Les Andelys is a 90km drive which takes around 1 hour, depending on the traffic. You can find the drive details here
Best Day Tris from Paris in Centre – Val de Loire Region
- Location: 96 km south of Paris, in Centre-Val de Loire region.
- Best time to go to Chartres: from April to October the cathedral and other historic buildings are beautifully illuminated at night: it is the Chartres Light Show and it is magical. On Friday, the cathedral uncovers the labyrinth and visitors can walk on it.
Chartres is one of the most beautiful cities near Paris, with a small-town feeling.
Chartres is best known for its impressive Gothic Cathedral, one of the Grandes Cathédrales de France and (like Amiens Cathedral or Saint-Denis Basilica-Cathedral) an important milestone in the evolution of Gothic Cathedrals in Europe. The cathedral is also famous for its XIII century labyrinth on the pavement, the largest one built in France! Pilgrims used to walk this labyrinth designed on the pavement seeking healing or meditation.
Apart from the magnificent cathedral, Chartres has a cute historical center with some timbered houses. We suggest walking down to the river Eure where you can see nice small houses, some of them with their private boats.
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 (1h 10min, every 30min).
By Car: Paris to Chartres is an 88.5 km drive which takes around 53 min, depending on the traffic. You can find the drive details here
Chartres Old Town and Cathedral Tour from Paris: this 5-hour tour of the town and cathedral includes the hotel pickup and drop-off, transportation on a private vehicle and a private guide. The price depends on the number of people and it is available from 1 person to 7 people.
Best Day Tris from Paris in Grand Est Region
14. ÉPERNAY & HAUTVILLERS
- Location: Epernay is located 140 km southwest of Paris, in the Grand Est region
- Best time to go: we recommend going during the fall when the harvest is over. The rolling hills with the fall colors are just amazing.
If you are looking for a little bit of French countryside near Paris, Epernay and Hautvillers are cute towns near Paris worth visiting.
Located in the heart of the champagne vineyards, Epernay is the capital of the champagne wine. It is here where 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. This avenue is occupied by hotels particuliers, little châteaux and other beautiful contemporary buildings on the surface while below the ground some 100km of galleries have been dug to house millions of bottles of the best champagne.
Five km north of Epernay, you can visit the town of Hautvillers and its abbey, where 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.
How to go from Paris to Epernay
By Train: trains to Epernay leave Paris from Paris Gare de l’Est to Epernay train station (1h 15 min, every 2 hours). If during your Epernay trip you want to visit Hautvillers as well, 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. You can find the drive details here
Best Paris Day Tour from Paris to Epernay & Hauvtillers
Small-Group Champagne Day Trip with tasting at Moet & Chandon or Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne Cellars: this luxury small-group tour includes is one of the most complete tours you can find in Champagne Region for this price. It includes private transportation, expert English-speaking guide, a guided walking tour of Hautvillers, visit of Moët-Chandon /Nicolas Feuillatte champagne cellars (depending on availability) with a champagne tasting and a guided visit of a private champagne estate, complete with a champagne tasting.
Did you like our list of short day trips from 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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