Paris Weekend Trips by Train
French trains are the fast, easy and eco-friendly way to get around in France. The French rail network links all the major cities and towns in France while also linking up many small towns in rural France. With good planning, you can enjoy fantastic Paris weekend trips by train. Generally, the trains are on time, comfortable and relatively cheap if booked in advance.
Paris is very well connected with all France and thanks to TGV trains (Train à Grande Vitesse) some of the best weekend trips from Paris by train are possible in 4 hours or less. Gare du Nord is the main train station in Paris. With around 214 million travelers per year, Gare du Nord is the busiest railway station in Europe. However, the city has other train stations and we tell you the main destinations served from the different train stations at the end of the post.
Best Weekend Getaways from Paris by Train
Paris may be the heart of France but the country abounds in beautiful places worth exploring – many located at less than three hours from the capital. From ocean view hideaways to small towns near Paris, fun day trips by bike, or wine tasting trips, there is something for every taste and budget not far from the City of Lights.
So it’s time to get out of the capital’s comfort zone, grab a train, and visit more about this beautiful country on a weekend getaway from Paris by train. Because Paris is always a good idea but France is much more than Paris…
NOTE: All the overnight trips from Paris proposed here below are very easy to reach by train, with a train journey of 3 hours maximum. These towns or cities to visit in France are great destinations for weekend trips from Paris or 2-day trips from Paris.
VISIT MARSEILLE (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur)
If you are looking for a sunny getaway from Paris, Marseille is the place to go. Marseille looks far on the map but Paris to Marseille is only 3.5 hours by train with the TGV. Marseille, in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, is part of the French Riviera. Many people visit Marseille quickly on their way to Corsica Island but the city is a cool place to explore on its own.
Why you should visit Marseille
The weather in Marseille is great plus there are lots of things to see and do in the city. Central Marseille concentrates most of the sights of the city, such as the picturesque Old Port, the Cathedral, the Abbey of Saint Victor or l’Hotel Dieu just to name a few. Since its designation as the European Capital of Culture in 2013, Marseille also upgraded their museums and cultural agenda and the top Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (MuCEM) and the Villa Méditerranée were inaugurated in 2013 for the event. If you are looking for more than city sights, the awesome Calanques de Marseille, between Marseille and Cassis, are never far . . .
TIP: if you are planning to visit the Calanques the Marseille, this catamaran cruise & lunch in the Calanques National Park is fabulous!
Paris to Marseille by Train
Marseille is located at 773 km south of Paris. Paris to Marseille by train is very easy. Direct trains Paris to Marseille leave Paris Gare de Lyon for a journey of 3.5 hours. If you are traveling to Marseille on summer weekends we recommend booking the train tickets well in advance.
VISIT ROUEN (Normandy)
Located by the River Seine, Rouen is the administrative capital of Normandy. Nicknamed “the city of 100 bell towers”, Rouen has a rich history, interesting museums, and good gastronomy.
Rouen is one of the most beautiful short trips from Paris. Due to its short distance from the capital (126 km), many people visit Rouen on day trips from Paris but this is a city that deserves more than a few hours.
Why you should visit Rouen
Notre-Dame Cathedral in Rouen is one of France’s Grandes Cathédrales and a jewel of gothic architecture. This is Monet’s beloved cathedral, the one that inspired his “Cathedrals” series.
Rouen owns one of the most beautiful medieval centers of France. Get lost in its pedestrian streets and admire its beautiful timber frame houses. Rouen’s Old Market Square was the place where Jeanne d’Arc was burned alive and a visit to the History Museum is a good opportunity to know more about the Saint Patron of France.
Last but not least, enjoy Rouen’s gastronomy, visit its various markets displaying delicious local products and taste some of the city’s specialties, and in particular, the seafood.
TIP: Rouen is easy to combine with other places related to Monet like Giverny or Etretat
Paris to Rouen by Train
Rouen is located at 126 km from Paris. Paris to Rouen by train is very easy. Trains Paris to Rouen leave Paris Saint Lazare Train Station hourly. The journey takes 1h 15 min to 1h 45min, depending on the train.
VISIT LYON (Auvergne – Rhône Alpes)
Lyon, the third largest city in France, is one of the top cities to visit in France and of the best weekend trips from Paris by train. The city is well known for its quality of life, a beautiful heritage from Roman times to Contemporary architecture, and good gastronomy.
Why you should visit Lyon
Lyon is one of the most beautiful cities in France, with many things to see and do. Fourbière Hill offers beautiful panoramic views of the city and it is a great place to start your visit. Explore le Vieux Lyon, the city’s historical center and its beating heart, with interesting medieval and renaissance architecture and a nice atmosphere. After getting a taste of Lyon’s infamous cuisine, it is time to head to la Presqu’Ile (Lyon’s river-bound peninsula) for more beautiful architecture and some nice shopping.
TIP: save time and money with the Lyon City Card: unlimited transportation, and access to a guided tour, river cruise and 23 museums
A weekend trip to Lyon is also a great opportunity to explore the Beaujolais vineyards so if you have an extra day in the city don’t hesitate to book a wine tour around. If you happen to be around Lyon in December, don’t miss Lyon’s Festival of Lights on 8th December, this is one of the most beautiful festivals in France!
TIP: if you are planning to visit the Beaujolais wine region, this Golden Stones Beaujolais Wine Tasting Tour from Lyon has amazing reviews
Paris to Lyon by Train
Lyon is located at 463 km from Paris. Paris to Lyon by train is fast. Trains Paris to Lyon leave Paris Gare de Lyon hourly for a journey of around 2 hours, depending on the train.
VISIT STRASBOURG (Grand Est)
The former French region of Alsace (today part of Grand Est Region) is one of the most beautiful places to visit in France and Strasbourg, its capital, could not be the exception. The city of Strasbourg is one of the best weekend destinations from Paris, with an interesting culture and architecture blending German and French influences.
Why you should visit Strasbourg
Strasbourg is one of Europe’s most attractive cities with its whole historic center listed as Unesco Heritage site. Strasbourg’s cathedral is one of the most impressive Gothic cathedrals in France and from its bell tower, if the sky is clear, you can see the Vosges and the Black Forest in Germany! Also, Strasbourg is the home of international institutions like the European Court of Human Rights and the European Parliament, both buildings with interesting contemporary architecture. Don’t leave the city without getting a taste of the Alsatian gastronomy and its excellent white wines.
Strasbourg’s top sights can be easily visited in one full day. Use your second day to explore beautiful Colmar (read what to do in Colmar here), and other charming Alsatian villages such as Riquewir, or Eguisheim.
Paris to Strasbourg by Train
Strasbourg is located at 487 km from Paris. Despite the long distance, Paris to Strasbourg by train is a fast journey. TGV trains leave from Paris Gare de l’Est and link Paris to Strasbourg in only 1 hr 45 min which makes of Strasbourg one of the best quick trips from Paris by train.
VISIT DIJON (Burgundy)
If you love wine travel, Dijon is probably one of the best places to visit in France. Dijon, in the heart of the Burgundy Wine Region, was the home of the Dukes of Burgundy and it’s a city with an interesting history, beautiful medieval architecture, tasty local products, and good wine.
Why you should visit Dijon
Dijon’s historical center is like a trip back in time with the impressive ducal palace, medieval architecture and religious buildings. Dijon is also known for its mustard, the best mustard in France!, and other local goodies like gingerbread. Being Dijon in the heart of the Burgundy Wine Region, world-famous for its wines, don’t miss the opportunity of buying one bottle (or two) of good Burgundy Wine
TIP: if you want to enjoy an authentic Burgundy experience, this awesome half-day Wine Tour from Dijon always get excellent reviews
Paris to Dijon by Train
Dijon is located at 311 km from Paris. Paris to Dijon by train is really easy. Direct trains Paris to Dijon leave from Paris Gare de Lyon and the journey takes around 1 hr 35 min.
VISIT LA ROCHELLE (Nouvelle Aquitaine)
If you are looking for a relaxing weekend away from Paris, La Rochelle is the place to go. Known as La Ville Blanche (the White City) because of its limestone architecture, La Rochelle is a beautiful harbor city located on the West Coast of France and with a long trading vocation.
Why you should visit La Rochelle
La Rochelle has a long history and beautiful heritage. Enjoy the ocean breeze and the city’s atmospheric old harbor, with its charming arch covered streets. Also, La Rochelle is a great place to explore by bike, with long and flat rides along the coast and surrounding parks and marshes. Finally, don’t miss to visit the city’s beautiful markets and taste its local products, especially seafood.
TIP: If you want to visit La Rochelle during the summer, book your hotel well in advance as the best accommodation is sold out very soon!
Paris to La Rochelle by Train
La Rochelle is located at 469 km from Paris. Paris to La Rochelle by train is easy. Direct TGV trains to La Rochelle leave from Paris Gare de Montparnasse and link Paris to La Rochelle in only 3 hours.
VISIT CHARTRES (Centre – Val de Loire)
Chartres, well known for its magnificent Gothic Cathedral, is one of the most interesting short trips from Paris by train. With short train rides from Paris like this one, people tend to visit Chartres on a day trip from Paris but if you want to get the most out of the city or see Chartres’ Light Show, at night during the summer, it is a good idea to spend at least one night in Chartres.
Why you should visit Chartres
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. Last time we were in Chartres the building was under restoration so now we want to go back and see it without scaffolds!
Apart from the magnificent Cathedral, Chartres has a cute historical center with some timbered houses and beautiful parks inside the city and on its surroundings. The Gardens of Maintenon Le Chateau, for example, were designed by André Le Notre, the same landscape architect who designed Versailles Gardens and Château de Chantilly. Finally, we want to walk the path down to the river Eure, which is dotted with cute small houses. Some of these houses have their private boats.
TIP: The famous labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral can be clearly seen only on Fridays during the summer when it’s not covered with chairs for church services. Pilgrims still come from around the world to walk on it.
Paris to Chartres by Train
Chartres is located at only 89 km from Paris. Paris to Chartres by train is a very short trip from Paris. Trains Paris to Chartres leave from Paris Gare de Montparnasse for a train journey of 1h 15 min.
VISIT NANTES (Pays de la Loire)
Nantes, located by the river Loire, is today a young and dynamic city with an interesting history and lots of creativity. It is a city not well known by people who visit France yet, that’s why accommodation in Nantes is slightly cheaper than in other cities in France. We had so much fun in Nantes that we can only recommend it!
Why you should visit Nantes
Nantes is a very interesting weekend getaway from Paris. Traditionally an industrial city with the biggest shipyards of the country, its owners invested their fortunes in beautiful mansions and houses around the main squares of the city. Nantes was also the former capital of the Dukes of Brittany and history buffs will enjoy their medieval palace and other buildings related to them. Jules Verne was born and raised in Nantes and some of his novels inspired Les Machines de l’Ile, found in the former shipyards on the Isle of Nantes. Don’t leave Nantes without visiting the beautiful Passage Pommeraye, in Quartier Graslin, very similar to the covered passages of Paris. At #22, Maison Carnicol sells perhaps the most delicious kouignettes (traditional little cakes) of Nantes! Finally, enjoy Nantes’ nightlife at Bouffay neighborhood, with little and narrow streets with many restaurants, quick eats and places to drink.
Paris to Nantes by Train
Nantes is located at 385 km from Paris. Paris to Nantes by train is an easy connection. Trains Paris to Nantes leave from Paris Gare de Montparnasse hourly for a train journey of 2 hours.
VISIT DEAUVILLE (Normandy)
Who doesn’t want to add a little bit of Normandy to his France bucket list? Deauville is where Parisians go for a chic Paris weekend getaway by the beach. Deauville is a great overnight trip from Paris, the perfect place to disconnect and relax far from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
Why you should go to Deauville
Deauville is an upscale seaside town with a beautiful Normand architecture, a nice marina, and sumptuous hotels. Deauville has long been home to French high society’s seaside houses and is often referred to as the Parisian Riviera. Go to Deauville to relax, eat good seafood and do beautiful walks by the sea. Deauville is also famous for its American Film Festival (Festival du cinéma Américain de Deauville) in September and every year a couple of cinema stars come to Deauville see hello and promote their films. Don’t miss Deauville’s iconic Promenade des Planches, where beach closets are dedicated to famous actors and moviemakers that have come to Deauville.
TIP: accommodation in Deauville tends to be more expensive than in other coastal towns, especially during the summer. If you are traveling on a budget we recommend booking your hotel in Trouville (Trouville-Sur-Mer), the town next to Deauville, with better prices.
Paris to Deauville by Train
Deauville is located 220 km west of Paris. Paris to Deauville by train is really easy. Direct trains Paris to Deauville leave Paris Saint Lazare train station hourly and the train journey lasts 2 hours.
Travel to France from Paris by Train
Here are some of the main destinations served from the stations in Paris.
» Gare du Nord: Northeast France, Lille, Valenciennes, Calais, London (Eurostar), Brussels, Cologne, and Amsterdam (Thalys),
» Gare de l’Est: Nancy, Metz, Reims, Strasbourg, Germany, and Luxembourg
» Gare de Lyon: South of France. Lyon, Dijon, Besançon, Clermont-Ferrand, Marseille, Nice, Montpellier. Mulhouse in the East of France. Switzerland (Geneva, Zurich), Italy, and Catalunya (Girona, Barcelona)
» Gare d’Austerlitz: Tours, Poitiers, Limoges, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Biarritz, western Spain.
» Gare Montparnasse: All TGVs to West of France (Brittany, Brest, Rennes, Nantes)
» Gare St. Lazare: Caen, Cherbourg, Rouen, Le Havre
TIP: Click here to follow the train strikes in Paris and France (if any) and the best tips to cope with them in this post.
Did you like our selection of Paris Weekend Trips? Which is your favorite weekend trip from Paris by Train?
Some interesting articles in the blog
- Read our Best Tips for Visiting the Louvre here
- Learn about the Districts of Paris here
- Check what to eat in Paris here
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