Though there’s plenty of excitement and beauty in Paris, the surrounding areas offer many wonders of their own to behold. From the beauty of Versailles to the charm of Giverny and Monet’s Garden, this guide has excellent day trips from Paris, all with wonderful attractions within reach of driving or public transport.
The quiet village of Versailles is accessible by car or train and boasts many of France’s most notable landmarks, such as the Palace of Versailles, which was the focal point of the monarchy during the Ancien Régime. You can marvel at the majestic exterior architecture as well as the lavish interior rooms that feature antiques and artwork.
During a trip to Versailles, you can explore the gorgeous gardens and learn about the village’s history. The Hall of Mirrors located within the palace is a highlight and was the site of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles during World War I.
Though technically in Paris, Disneyland is a must-see attraction that’s worthy of a day trip. You can take a shuttle from Paris to spend the day exploring the enchantment of the theme park and its roller coasters, shops, restaurants, and themed experiences.
Disneyland is suitable for all ages, and adults can enjoy plenty of fun with the thrill rides and studio tours. You can also take in a round of golf or catch one of the magical parades that take place in the various themed areas throughout the park.
Giverny and Monet’s Garden
The charm and beauty of Giverny are a must for anyone visiting Paris. Giverny has been a source of inspiration for many of the masters of impressionism and holds the home and garden of Claude Monet, one of the most famous French painters.
You can enjoy a picnic under the sunlight while viewing classic imagery from Monet’s works such as the iconic Japanese-style bridge. The American Museum of Art is also in Giverny, and there are many vibrant cafes throughout the village. You can reach Giverny by a short drive or train ride.
Located off Normandy, Mont Saint-Michel is a rocky island with historic buildings including a towering Benedictine abbey and ramparts. St. Aubert, bishop of Avranches, built an oratory here after having a vision of the archangel St. Michael, turning the island into a pilgrimage centre. The drive to Mont Saint-Michel is an experience in itself that passes by traditional Norman villages and picturesque countryside, leading to the enchanting views of the unforgettable island.
Belgium is just a short drive or train ride from Paris. Bruges, the country’s historical centre, is filled with stunning architecture that dates back to the 12th century. You could visit the Groeningemuseum, which features works of Flemish painters like Bosch and van Eyck.
Belgian cuisine is a highlight of the experience, so be sure to take the time to visit local cafes and restaurants to sample dishes like mussels and chips with Belgian beer and chocolate for dessert.
The Loire Valley is accessible by car or train and is an excellent day-trip option from Paris. The Loire Valley boasts an array of Renaissance architectural masterpieces. The Château de Chambord, complete with its spires and columns, has a rich history that can be explored through tours. You’ll also enjoy Chenonceau and Amboise, which both boast similar magnificent architectural features. The final resting place of Leonardo da Vinci is also in Amboise village.
The Champagne region is the source of one of France’s most notable products: champagne. You can visit the Champagne region by car or train from Paris, which gives you a chance to learn more about the bubbly beverage’s production and history while sampling the finest batches at a vineyard. Veuve Clicquot and Moët & Chandon are among the noted producers in the region.
Normandy is a must-visit location for history buffs. Just a short drive or train ride from Paris, Normandy is the site of the infamous D-Day invasion and holds many historic landmarks such as the American military cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, Arromanches harbour, and Omaha Beach. You can learn more about World War II and the history of D-Day at the Memorial de Caen and its museum. The area also has beautiful scenery and views that are perfect for strolling around the historic land.