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France Bucket List

Best Weekend Trips from Paris: Our France Bucket List

Best Weekend trips from Paris, France Bucket List, Best Day Trips from Paris, Overnight trips from Paris, Weekend Getaways in France, Top Cities to visit in France, Getaways in France #france #travelfrance #moveablefeast


Paris may be the heart of France but the country abounds in beautiful places worth exploring – many in less than three hours from the capital. From ocean view hideaways, fun day trips, wine travel, and small towns near Paris, there is something for every taste and budget not far from the City of Lights.

More than ever, people planning a trip to Paris are happy to block a couple of days in their Parisian agenda for exploring the surroundings and find a French adventure of their own.

We have decided to get out of our comfort zone, grab a train, and tell you more about our beautiful country. Because Paris is always a good idea but France is much more than Paris…

All the proposals on our France Bucket List are from different regions in France, beautiful weekend trips from Paris or just side trips from Paris very easy to reach by train in less than 3 hours.

READ: Things to know before Traveling to France

Gare du Nord

Time to explore France


ROUEN (Normandy)

France Bucket List - Rouen

Located by the River Seine, at only 126 km from Paris, Rouen is the administrative capital of Normandy. Nicknamed “the city of a 100 bell towers”, Rouen has a rich history, interesting museums, and a good gastronomy. Many people are visiting Rouen on day trips from Paris but this is a city that deserves more than a few hours.

Why it’s worth a Visit

Notre-Dame Cathedral is one of France’s Grandes Cathédrales and a jewel of gothic architecture. This is Monet’s beloved cathedral which inspired his “Cathedrals” series.

Rouen owns one of the most beautiful medieval centers of France. We want to 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 will be a good opportunity to know more about the Saint Patron of France.

Finally, we want to enjoy Rouen’s gastronomy, visit its various markets displaying delicious local products and taste some of the city’s specialties, especially the seafood.

Paris to Rouen on your own

Distance: 126 km from Paris

Paris to Rouen Train: trains to Rouen leave Paris Saint Lazare Train Station hourly. The journey takes from 1h 15 min to 1h 45min. Click here to check the train schedules and all the transportation options (public and private) to Rouen.

» Book your hotel in Rouen now


LYON (Auvergne – Rhône Alpes) 

France Bucket List - Lyon

Lyon, the third largest city in France, is one of the best overnight trips from Paris and it is always a pleasure to visit from time to time. The city is well known for its quality of life, a beautiful heritage from Roman times to Contemporary architecture, and good gastronomy.

Why it’s worth a Visit

Lyon is a great cultural getaway 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. We want to 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.

Lyon is also a great base to explore some Côtes du Rhône vineyards so if you have an extra day in the city don’t hesitate to book a Côtes du Rhone Wine Tour around. If you happen to be around Lyon in December, don’t miss the Festival of Lights on 8th December, the city’s major highlight.

Paris to Lyon on your own

Distance: 463 km from Paris

Paris to Lyon Train: trains to Lyon leave Paris Gare de Lyon hourly. The journey takes around 2 hours. Click here to check the train schedules and all the transportation options (public and private) to Lyon.

» Book your hotel in Lyon now



France Bucket List - Strasbourg

Strasbourg is one of the top cities to visit in France. Strasbourg, in Grand Est, is our next stop and we can’t wait to visit the beautiful and elegant capital of former Alsace region, with German and French influences.

Why it’s worth a Visit

Strasbourg is one of Europe’s most attractive cities with its whole historic center listed as Unesco Heritage site. Also, it is home of international institutions like the European Court of Human Rights and the European Parliament, both buildings with an interesting contemporary architecture. Last but not least, we want to taste its hearty gastronomy and good wines.

Paris to Strasbourg on your own

Distance: 487 km from Paris

Paris to Strasbourg Train: trains to Strasbourg leave from Paris Gare de l’Est. The journey takes around 1 hr 45 min. Click here to check the train schedules and all the transportation options (public and private) to Strasbourg.

» Book your hotel in Strasbourg now


DIJON (Burgundy)

France Bucket List - Dijon

Dijon is probably one of the best weekend getaways in France from Paris. Dijon 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 it’s worth a Visit

Dijon’s historical center is like a trip back in time with the impressive ducal palace, medieval architecture and religious buildings. Also, we want to try and buy Dijon’s mustard, the best in France, and other local goodies like gingerbread. Being Dijon located in the heart of the Burgundy region, world-famous for wine growing, we won’t miss the opportunity to do a tour or other activities around the wine.

Paris to Dijon on your own

Distance: 311 km from Paris

Paris to Dijon Train: trains to Dijon leave from Paris Gare de Lyon. The journey takes around 1 hr 35 min. Click here to check the train schedules and all the transportation options (public and private) to Dijon.

» Book your hotel in Dijon now


LA ROCHELLE (Nouvelle Aquitaine)

France Bucket List - La Rochelle

We have never been to La Rochelle (yet) but from what we have seen in the pictures we imagine this city one of the most beautiful places in France. 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 it’s worth a Visit

La Rochelle has a long history and beautiful heritage. We want to enjoy especially the ocean breeze and the city’s atmospheric 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, we won’t miss to visit the city’s beautiful markets and taste its local products, especially the seafood.

Paris to La Rochelle on your own

Distance: 469 km from Paris

Paris to La Rochelle Trains: trains (TGV) to La Rochelle leave from Paris Gare de Montparnasse. Direct trains take around 2 hrs 45 min to 3 hours to reach La Rochelle. Click here to check the train schedules and all the transportation options (public and private) to La Rochelle.

» Book your hotel in La Rochelle now


CHARTRES (Centre – Val de Loire)

Small Twons Near Paris - Chartres

Chartres is one of the best day trips from Paris, with a cute medieval city center worth exploring again and again. As mentioned, Chartres can be visited on a day trip from Paris by train but if you want to see the city’s Light Show, during the summer, it is a good idea to spend at least one night in Chartres.

Why it’s worth a Visit

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, Versailles Gardens’ landscape architect. Finally, we want to walk the path down to the river Eure dotted with cute small houses, some of them with their private boats.

Paris to Chartres on your own

Distance: 89 km from Paris

Paris to Chartres Trains: trains to Chartres leave from Paris Gare de Montparnasse for a train journey of 1h 15 min. Click here to check the train schedules and all the transportation options (public and private) to Chartres.

» Book your hotel in Chartres now

Did you like our list of the best places to visit in France? Would you recommend us other cities to visit in France for our France Bucket List?


Click here to find what’s in our France Bucket List

Back to France Bucket List Homepage


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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Best Weekend trips from Paris, France Bucket List, Best Day Trips from Paris, Overnight trips from Paris, Weekend Getaways in France, Top Cities to visit in France, Getaways in France #france #travelfrance #moveablefeast

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  • Meagan
    05/18/2018 at 5:43 pm

    Reims was our favorite trip from Paris, and we spent a few days there getting to know this city (so charming!). We also visited Dijon and Strasbourg on the same trip and found tons to love there, too. Definitely need to visit each place for longer because there’s so much to do! Beautiful shots and great writeup!!

  • Renada
    05/18/2018 at 3:19 am

    Thank you for this! I didn’t realize that Strasbourg could be a weekend trip from Paris. I really like your blog and have shared it with others.

  • Kreete
    05/17/2018 at 12:14 pm

    I have always wanted to go to Lyon, but the other spots sound nice too! I am especially excited for the Gothic architecture and the charming streets! I think I would much rather discover France outside of Paris when I finally make it there.

  • Corinne
    05/17/2018 at 4:52 am

    I want to go to Dijon and Lyon, for sure. They are known for the good food in their areas. I agree that if you are based in Paris, they would be great weekend trips.

  • Maggie
    05/16/2018 at 1:34 pm

    I still haven’t been to France. But the towns like these are much more appealing to me than Paris for some reason! They look so quaint and beautiful!

  • Josh
    05/15/2018 at 9:17 pm

    Nice to have a list of handy daytrips, really useful if you’ve moved to a city and have the weekends to travel!

  • Tif
    05/14/2018 at 7:39 pm

    Wow!! I would of loved to know about this 3 years ago while I was there! I can’t believe I never thought about getting out of the city to the nearby towns!!

  • prabhu
    05/14/2018 at 6:52 am

    it seems you enjoyed a lot your trip, paris one of the most romantic place. I would go there next year for honeymoon. Already i planned everything about tour and your posted article is really helpful, thanks for sharing your trip experience.

  • Candy
    05/14/2018 at 4:05 am

    I would love to rent a bike and explore. La Ville Blanche. Harbor cities are so picturesque and I’m sure the food and markets are amazing! Hope you go soon so I can read about you experience there 🙂