Whether you’re in Paris for a few days or a few weeks, there will always be beaucoup de possibilités for endless enjoyment in the City of Lights. In fact, it’s generally quite difficult to pull yourself away from the museums and parks and, of course, the food. However, if you’re looking to get some relief from the crowds during the peak season, we’ve got a list of day trips that are ideal for a petite city escape.
Maybe you’re interested in visiting a historic site like Versailles; maybe you’d like to experience the quaint charm of a village in the French countryside; or perhaps you fancy a walk through Monet’s gardens. Whatever the case may be, these trips offer an accessible look into French culture outside of Paris, and will surely enhance the magic of your trip.
Our favorite day trips from Paris, below.
To fully understand France and the country’s legendary history, a visit to Versailles is simply a must. Upon arrival, you’ll be enamored by the stunning 17th-century architecture, not to mention the estate’s sprawling landscape and pristine gardens, all of which are the embodiment of French opulence. Made up of the palace, the Estate of Trianon, the gardens, and the royal stables, it’s not hard to spend an entire day exploring the expansive history of Versailles—and it’s only a 45-minute train ride from Paris.
Monet’s Gardens in Giverny
To spend a day picnicking among the tulips and climbing roses of Monet’s Gardens in the sweet town of Giverny is pure paradise—and a quick 45-minute train trip from the City of Lights. Visitors can stroll through the Clos Normand garden and see both rare and common flowers and plants, the flowerbeds mixed from flowers of varying colors and sizes to yield immense volume. Of course, it’s a must to walk across the iconic, wisteria-covered Japanese Bridge in the Water Garden—we have a feeling you’ll recognize it.
Like something from a storybook, the island of Mont Saint-Michel is a grand Medieval monastery surrounded by stunning monastic structures, ramparts, and an abbey. The commune rises up from the waters of the bay where Normandy and Brittany converge, and beyond exploring the historic architecture (some of which dates back to the 10th century), visitors can enjoy local cuisine and boutique shopping.
Any discerning wine-lover will delight upon arriving in Champagne. Just a quick train ride—roughly two hours—from Paris, both Epernay and Reims are beautiful places to meander through vineyards and get a true taste of the French bubbly that can only be produced right there in the province of Champagne.
In Lille, opportunities to learn about French art and history abound. Known for being home to a UNESCO World Heritage town hall that offers 360-degree views of the surrounding city, Lille is chock full of historic monuments, museums (like the world-class Palais de Beaux-Arts), galleries, and terrific shopping. Pro tip: if you love European markets, head to Lille for the first Sunday of September for the annual Braderie de Lille, which is the largest flea market event in Europe and dates back to the 12 century. The capital of Northern France is just around an hour and a half by train from Paris.