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Best Day Trips from Paris: Cute Small Towns near Paris that you cannot miss!

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BEST PARIS DAY TRIPS

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 small towns close to Paris to get out in the fresh air and see a different side of France. France is much more than the capital and there are great day trips from Paris, easily reached by public transportation or with an organized Paris day tour. So if you are doing great visiting Paris and have a spare day in the city, why don’t you give these small towns outside of Paris a chance? Here are our picks of Paris day trips that you cannot miss.

NB: the most beautiful cities near Paris post is coming soon!

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BEST WAY TO EXPLORE THE SMALL VILLAGES NEAR PARIS

By Train

Most of the towns proposed below are very easy to reach by train. The French rail network links all the major towns while also linking up many small towns in rural France. Generally, the 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. Finally, 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.

Our Favorite Day Tours from Paris

Click on the buttons to check all the tour’s inclusions, exclusions, and travelers reviews.

TOURDURATIONLOCATIONSUBJECTTRANSPORTATIONPRICE
Fontainebleau Half Day5 hrsFontainebleauHistory, CastlesPrivate MinivanView
Auvers-Sur-Oise Half Day5 hrsAuvers-Sur-OiseArts, Van GoghPrivate MinivanView
Versailles Afternoon4 hrsVersaillesHistory, Castles, GardensNO. Meeting in front of the Palace in VersaillesView
Chantilly Half Day5 hrsChantillyHistory, Castles, HorsesPrivate MinivanView
Giverny Half Day5 hrsGivernyArts, MonetAir-conditioned BusView
Chartres Town and  Cathedral5 hrsChartresHistory, CathedralsPrivate Car (1-3 pax) or MinivanView
Champagne Day Trip with Moët11 hrsEpernay & HautvilliersHistory, ChampagnePrivate MinivanView

By Car

Despite this is not our favorite means of transportation, we won’t deny the advantages of exploring the small villages near Paris or 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.

If you are looking for a car rental we recommend Avis FR. Avis is a world known company with good cars and good service. Avis FR has offices in all the airports in Paris, in the main train stations in Paris and many more offices spread around Paris to choose. 

 

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Great for exploring small towns near Paris

 

1. FONTAINEBLEAU (Ile de France)

Château de Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau is a small town near Paris with a cute 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. Le Château de Fontainebleau is one of the most beautiful castles in France, the eternal rival of Versailles Gardens and Versailles Palace. Even if its decoration has a rustic touch (lots of wood), its different rooms and halls are grand and magnificent. 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.

Fontainebleau Forest is Parisians’ favorite place for hiking and climbing and the 25 bosses de Fontainebleau hike (an area with lost of sandstone boulders) is one of the most famous hikes in the region. The forest of Fontainebleau is especially beautiful during the fall.

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.

Fly over Fontainebleau on a Hot-Air Balloon!

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How to go from Paris to Fontainebleau 

By Train: direct trains leave from Paris Gare de Lyon to Fontainebleau-Avon (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). You can see the trains schedule and all the public transportation options here.

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

Best Fontainebleau Side Trips from Paris

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.

Book your Fontainebleau Half-Day Tour Now!

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2. PROVINS (Ile de France)

Medieval Provins, France

READ MORE –  Provins Medieval Town

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”.

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 most popular time to visit Provins is during the Provins Medieval Festival, usually celebrated during the first or second weekend of June.

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 to Provins (1 hr 22 min, hourly). You can see the trains schedule and all the public transportation options here

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

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3. AUVERS SUR OISE

Auvers-sur-Oise, France

READ MORE –  Van Gogh’s last days in Auvers-Sur-Oise

Auvers is a cute village in the French countryside 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 the village 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. The local Tourism Office installed on each location a plaque with the painting reproduction so you can compare the real view to its artistic representation. Also, you can visit the room at Auberge Ravoux where Van Gogh died. Van Gogh is buried together with his brother Teo in the town cemetery, not far from the little church object of one of his most famous artworks.

Location: 35 km North of Paris, in Ile de France region.

Best time to go: anytime when the weather is nice.

How to Go from Paris to Auvers-Sur-Oise 

By Train: Auvers-Sur-Oise is one of our favorite easy day trips from Paris, with direct trains from Paris Gare du Nord to Auvers-Sur-Oise (41 min). You can see the trains schedule and all the public transportation options here

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

Best Day Tours from Paris to Auvers-Sur-Oise

Small group day trip to Giverny and Auvers-Sur-Oise. Walk in the footsteps of two of the world’s most iconic painters, Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh, and explore the places that inspired them most in Giverny and Auvers-Sur-Oise on this beautiful day trip from Paris. This small-group tour by minibus includes hotel pickup and drop-off, skip-the-line tickets, and an English speaking guide.

Book your Half-Day Tour to Giverny & Auvers-Sur-Oise Now!

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4. MARLY-LE-ROI (Ile de France)

Marly Le Roi, France

Marly-le-Roi is one of the small towns near Paris worth visiting. It was the location of Château de Marly, the famous leisure residence of King Louis XIV. Château de Marly 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 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 watching over Marly’s drinking trough, the biggest drinking trough for horses in Europe.

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.

Location: 20 km west of Paris, in Ile de France region.

Best time to go to Marly: from early spring to late fall.

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 (1hr, every 20 min).  You can see the trains schedule and all the public transportation options here.

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.

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5. MONTFORT L’AMAURY (Ile de France)

Montfort l'Amaury, France

Montfort l’Amaury is one of the most beautiful towns near 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. You will first notice the ancient fortified castle (XII century), located on the top of a hill and surrounded by a park. Only the ruins of the dungeon (Tour Anne de Bretagne) survived and they were the source of inspiration for Victor Hugo’s ode. The impressive Saint Pierre Church (XV – XVI centuries)  is also interesting to visit, with an outstanding collection of exterior gargoyles, and the 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.

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

How to Go from Paris to Montfort l’Amaury 

By Train: there are direct trains from Paris Gare de Montparnasse to Montfort Méré. 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. You can see the trains schedule and all the public transportation options here

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

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6. VERSAILLES (Ile de France)

Versailles Palace

Versailles is one of the favorite Paris day tours, and with a reason! Versailles is one of the world’s biggest and most beautiful palaces but it is also a place with an important historical role. Not only it was home of King Louis XIV and his court, but it was also the witness of important events like the signing of the Treaty of Versailles (June 28, 1919) which marked the end of the First World War. Versailles Gardens, designed by André Le Notre, are as beautiful as the palace itself, and it is worth spending half of the day visiting its magnificent fountains, and water games. The impressive 5.57 km wide Grand Canal was the object of naval battles by the King and his court.

Book your Versailles Skip-the-Line-Pass

Because it is one of the most popular day trips from Paris in winter or summer, Versailles is also a very crowded place, and a visit to Versailles can be a painful experience if not planned in advance. Read our best tips for visiting Versailles here.

From March to October, there is a Musical Fountain Show where you can enjoy the spectacular fountains spouting to the rhythm.

Book the Versailles Magical Fountain Show Now!

Location: 21.5 km west of Paris, in Ile de France region.

Best time to go to Versailles: we suggest from March to October, so you can also enjoy the fantastic Magical Fountain Show

How to Go from Paris to Versailles

By Train: there are three train stations in Versailles but the closest one is Versailles Château -Rive Gauche. RER C takes 40 min from Paris (many stations) to Versailles Château and there is a train every 20 minutes. From Versailles Château – Rive Gauche its 10 minutes’ walk to the Palace. You can see the trains schedule and all the public transportation options here.

By Car: Paris to Versailles is a 21.5 km drive which takes around 20 min, depending on the traffic. You can find the drive details here

Best Day Tours of Versailles

An afternoon at the Palace of Versailles: visit Versailles Palace and Gardens, with Trianon and Marie-Antoinette’s farm, on a 4-hour tour with a professional guide (Blue Badge Guide) and entrance fees included. This small-group tour starts at Place d’Armes, in front of Versailles Palace, so it does not include transportation to/from Paris.

Book an Afternoon at Versailles Palace & Gardens Now!

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7. CHEVREUSE (Ile de France)

Vallée de la Chevreuse, France

La Haute Vallée de la Chevreuse (High Valley of Chevreuse) is one of our favorite area in the suburbs of Paris, with the perfect combination of nature and cultural heritage. Usually, we end our hikes at Chevreuse, one of the cutest towns outside Paris, where we drink our traditional “end of the hike” beer before taking the train back to the city. Chevreuse is dominated by a beautiful fortified castle, Le Chateau de la Madelaine (XI century) on the top of a hill which has a panoramic view of the town and the valley. However, our favorite part of Chevreuse is le Chemin des Petits Ponts (the walk of the small bridges) along one of the legs of Yvette river. This cute pedestrian walk is full of old laundries, tanneries and water mills.

Location: 28 km south west 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.

How to Go from Paris to Chevreuse 

By Train: We usually visit Chevreuse on an (18 km) day hike, starting at la Verriere 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 (45 min, hourly) and then there is a 3 km walk to Chevreuse. You can see the trains schedule and all the public transportation options here

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

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8. LA ROCHE-GUYON (Ile de France)

La Roche Guyon France

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 village near Paris became a holiday resort which saw many celebrities of the arts and letters. Today, it is a popular day trip from Paris for families to have a lunch out and visit the castle and its vegetable garden.

This beautiful small town located on the right bank of the Seine River is most known for its impressive 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 and offers panoramic views of the village and the Seine Valley.

Another interesting sight to visit in La Roche-Guyon is its vegetable garden. This vegetable French garden was created in the XVIII century by La Rochefoucauld family, the owners of the castle. La Rochefoucauld family, who shared the ideas of the physiocrats and encyclopaedists, wanted for their chateau a scientific and experimental garden, rather than a pleasure garden. The garden occupies 3.5 ha enclosed by walls and has an entirely geometric design consisting of parterres, ponds, and crops.

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.

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). 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

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9. CHANTILLY (Hauts de France)

Chateau de Chantilly, France

READ MORE –  Chantilly, an easy day trip from Paris by train

This beautiful small town near Paris is famous for its impressive chateau. Chateau 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 chateau 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 communities 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.

Location: 38 km north-east of Paris, in Hauts de France region.

Best time to go to Chantilly: anytime when the weather is nice.

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 (30 min, hourly). You can see all the public transportation options here

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

Book your Private Transfer Paris to Chantilly

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Best Paris Day Trips to Chantilly

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.

Book your Chantilly Half-Day Guided Tour Now!

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10. SENLIS (Hauts de France)

Senlis, France

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 XVIII century. Some street names still date from the Middle-Ages, when the streets were named after the occupation of their inhabitants (rue de la Tonnellerie, rue de la Tannerie, rue de la Treille). 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).

Location: 42 km north of Paris, in Hauts de France region.

Best time to go to Senlis: anytime when the weather is nice.

How to Go from Paris to Senlis 

By Train + Bus: to go from Paris to Senlis by public transportation take the train from Paris Gare du Nord to Chantilly-Gouvieux (30 min, hourly) and then take the bus #15 (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

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11. GIVERNY (Normandy)

Giverny, France

READ MORE – Chasing Claude Monet in Paris (& beyond)

This small village near Paris, in the region of Normandy, is one of the most popular day trips from Paris. Giverny 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.

Location: 80 km north west of Paris, in Normandy region.

Best time to go to Giverny: if you come especially to see the water lilies pond, water lilies start to blossom in July and last until the end of August.

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 house. You can see the trains schedule and all the transportation options here

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

 

Best Day Tours from Paris to Giverny 

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 of 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 the transportation from /to a central point in Paris, the admission tickets, a tour escort, and the audio guide as an option

Book your Independent Tour to Monet's Gardens Now!

Giverny Half-Day Guided Tour from Paris: this 5-hour tour includes the pickup and drop-off from your hotel in Paris, transport by air-conditioned minivan, skip-the-line ticket entrances, and a guided visit in English by a licensed guide.

Book your Giverny Half-Day Guided Tour Now!

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12. LES ANDELYS (Normandie)

Les Andelys Normandie

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. They are 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 Chateau Gaillard) make a nice stop, perhaps on your way to Giverny or Rouen, for a coffee or a stroll. The towns have different religious buildings from the XIII century and beautiful family houses from the XVI to XIX centuries.

Location: Les Andelys are located 90 km north-west of Paris, in Normandy region.

Best time to go to Les Andelys: from early spring to late fall. If the sky is clear, the views from Chateau Gaillard are amazing.

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 at 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

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13. CHARTRES (Centre – Val de Loire)

Chartres Cathedral France

Chartres is one of our favorite day trips from Paris by train. 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 labyrinth on the pavement, the largest one built in France! The labyrinth is one of the oldest parts of the cathedral (XIII century) and covers the entire width of the central nave. Pilgrims used to walk this labyrinth seeking for healing or meditation. Most of the time, this labyrinth is covered by chairs.

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. Maybe its inhabitants go to buy their baguette sailing down the river on their little watercraft?

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 it.

How to go from Paris to Chartres 

Chartres is one of the easiest Paris day trips by train. Direct trains leave from Paris Gare de Montparnasse to Chartres Train Station (1h 10min, every 30min). You can see the trains schedule and all the public transportation options here

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

Best Paris Day Tours to Chartres 

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.

Book your Chartres Old Town & Cathedral Tour Now!

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14. ÉPERNAY & HAUTVILLIERS (Grand Est)

Hautvilliers France

If you are looking for a little bit of French countryside near Paris, Epernay and its surroundings are the places to go. The Champagne region is a very beautiful area to explore on a day trip from Paris. This is the countryside, far from the hustle and bustle of Paris, with rolling hills and stone villages with their characteristic bell towers.

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 abbey of Hautvilliers (a neighbor small town), 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. Also, the most famous brands propose champagne tours to learn the history of champagne wine and explore their cellars. These tours usually end with a champagne tasting and the option to buy bottles of champagne. Finally, don’t overestimate the small producers, most of them also propose champagne tastings. We are sure you will do nice findings as soon as you go off the beaten path.

Location: Epernay is located 140 km south west of Paris, in 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.

How to go from Paris to Epernay

By Train: trains to Epernay leave Paris from Paris Gare de l’Est (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). You can see the trains schedule and all the public transportation options here

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 Trips from Paris to Epernay and Champagne

Small-Group Champagne Day Trip from Paris with Moët: this luxury small group tour includes private transportation, expert English-speaking guide, visit of Hautvilliers Abbey, visit of Moët-Chandon champagne cellars, light breakfast and different champagne tastings. Beware that the Abbey of Hautvilliers is owned by Moët-Chandon so this kind of tour is the only way to visit the whole building.

Book your Champagne Day Trip with Moët Now!

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Did you like our list of short day trips from Paris? If you can go further, check out this France Travel Guide

 

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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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Best Day Trips from Paris, Paris Day Tours, Cute Small Towns Near Paris, Day Trips from Paris, Paris Day Trips, Best Places to Visit in France, Beautiful Towns Near Paris, Medieval Towns Near Paris #france #francebucketlist

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  • Robert
    12/19/2017 at 10:03 pm

    I always believe in taking a side trip outside of major cities when I am traveling and blogging. There really are some hidden gems to visit just outside of metropolitan cities and you did an excellent job highlighting many of those close to Paris.

    • WorldInParis
      02/18/2018 at 8:20 pm

      Thanks! There are many more so it was hard to come up with a top 10 list 🙁

  • peter
    12/18/2017 at 1:25 am

    Hi guys,
    thanks for creating this article, i have searched hundreds of blogs and most of them always mention the same day trips from Paris. Very boring, but not this one. Well done guys!
    I’m going to Paris in two weeks and i’m printing this blog entry write now which i will use.
    Thanks heaps guys

    • WorldInParis
      12/20/2017 at 4:01 pm

      Glad that you enjoyed the post, Peter! And Bon voyage 😉

  • Francesca Murray
    12/04/2017 at 10:41 pm

    I’m going to pin this! A few of these were on my list to visit, but you also introduced me to a few. I used to live in Haut de France (formerly known as Picardie) years ago and loved it

    • WorldInParis
      12/06/2017 at 1:51 pm

      Did not know that Picardie does not exist anymore! :-O Glad that you found some new inspiring small towns on our article

  • How To Stay In Europe Longer Than Three Months | THE WILD LIFE
    12/01/2017 at 11:41 am

    […] And here a recommendation from World in Paris: Day Tours near Paris […]

  • Lauren
    11/29/2017 at 7:58 am

    It’s interesting because I haven’t been to France yet, but Paris has never really appealed to me. Although…these small towns do! I’m always drawn to the smaller towns anyway. These ones have so much to offer and I’d love to explore them!

    • WorldInParis
      11/30/2017 at 4:57 pm

      That’s great! There are many small towns around Paris I am sure you would love 🙂

  • Paige W
    11/29/2017 at 6:21 am

    Oh my gosh. This is like cute town porn! I want to see them all! I’ve only been to Chartres, so I think a tiny town road trip is in order! Giverny is a must for me (as with many others) because of Monet. That’s on my wanderlist for my next trip to France.

  • Megan Jerrard
    11/28/2017 at 3:53 pm

    Some great trip ideas! I love the sound of Chartres for unique history, and Le Chateau the Fontainebleau has been on my list of places I want to visit for a while now.

    Is Rouen a close enough day trip from Paris? I haven’t looked too much into it yet, though have a very keen interest in Joan of Arc. Thanks!

    • WorldInParis
      11/30/2017 at 4:59 pm

      Yes, Rouen is close to Paris (1 hour aprox by train) but I would not say it is a small town . . that’s why Rouen is not on this list 😉

  • Jennifer
    11/27/2017 at 12:07 pm

    I’d really like to see Monet’s Gardens in Giverny. Good to know what time of year the lilies blossom, so perhaps I’ll make the trip up this summer. And Chartes has been on my radar since I read this book that partially took place there. It was fiction, but even so it really made me want to visit and see the town that inspired the setting in the book.

  • Kirstie
    11/27/2017 at 11:35 am

    Your photo of Fontainebleau looks like it’s from a postcard! I wonder what medieval fairs in Provins are like! It must be a really fun experience!

  • Cathy
    11/27/2017 at 8:42 am

    I haven’t been to Paris. This is beautiful to know that there are pretty lovely towns that we can go on a day tour. And I’d like to choose MONTFORT L’AMAURY. This place looks like a fairy tale to me. Seems pretty calm and cozy, too! I love how green this small town is!

    • WorldInParis
      11/30/2017 at 5:08 pm

      Beautiful and calm, yes! I suggest not to go on Sunday, it may be too calm for visiting . .

  • Jenn and Ed Coleman
    11/26/2017 at 11:07 pm

    What a beautiful post. My mind is racing with escaping to the French countryside, perhaps with a loaf of bread and some cheese for a picnic and bike ride. First on the list would be the chateau at Chantilly and next would be Fountainblue. Hopefully in each, we could find a little bike ride and explore, not only the beautiful architecture but the town beyond the beaten path.

  • Silke
    11/26/2017 at 6:47 pm

    That’s a great list of very interesting day trip destinations. I would probably want to see them all but I would start with the small medieval villages. Senlis and Chevreuse both look very picturesque and quaint, I’d love to walk along the canal and picture medieval life with mills and tannery along the waterfront. The chateaus look equally stunning but of course in a different way. Fontainebleau and Chantilly ring a bell… there must be a lot of history here. Hopefully, I get to explore France some more in the next couple of years.

    • WorldInParis
      11/30/2017 at 5:09 pm

      Yes, lots of history in France, not only in Paris . . 😉

  • Linda de Beer
    11/26/2017 at 12:32 pm

    It’s so true. France is much more than Paris. Your ten towns have sparked the wanderlust in me! I’ll start with the Chevreuse High Valley. I like small towns that can be reached by train, and I don’t even consider a hike if there’s no beer at the end of it!

    • WorldInParis
      11/26/2017 at 5:44 pm

      Great pick! All the small towns on this post can be reached by train so no worries about it! For Chevreuse it is better to wait for next spring 🙂

  • Danijela
    11/25/2017 at 11:06 am

    Fontainebleau sounds like the place I’d go nuts about! Beautiful chateau, a lot of history. And you say – the former largest garden in Europe? Oh, that would be nice to see.
    I’ve been to Rouen and Giverny, but I have to say that I don’t often consider that I could do day trips from Paris when coming to the city. And here, you’ve pointed out to few very good reasons to do just that! 🙂

    • WorldInParis
      11/25/2017 at 12:28 pm

      Well, now that you know Paris a little bit why don’t explore its surroundings? There are nice surprises out there . . 😉