The 7 Best Day Trips From Paris: History, Wine, And Grandeur
Without a doubt, Paris hides a tonne of attractions and activities for any traveller. But what about the French countryside? Take a few day trips from Paris and learn about places and events, which changed modern history.
Explore the gardens, which inspired famous painters. Seduce your palate with exquisite wines. Leave the hustle of the French capital and venture outside the city limits to explore more of France.
Wondering how? Simply join the best day trips from Paris!
1. Versailles: Dive Into The Grandeur Of The French Classicism
One of the largest palaces in the world invites you to explore its 700+ rooms. The State Apartments, the King’s Bedroom, and the Hall of Mirrors are just some of the architectural highlights of the Versailles Palace.
The Palace was used by Louis XIII. His son, Louis XIV, transformed and expanded it. He then moved the royal court and the government of France to Versailles in 1682. Versailles Palace grew from a simple hunting lodge to the centre of the French monarchy within a few decades.
Discover the UNESCO World Heritage monument and journey back to the pre-French Revolution days. See how the French royalties bathed in opulence before the people overthrew them. After you’ve marvelled at the dazzling Hall of Mirrors and the splendid State Apartments, follow in the footsteps of Louis XIV by strolling in the spectacular gardens of The Sun King.
With the pre-booked tours of Versailles, you’ll be able to breeze through security and avoid the lines. Still, have in mind that all those queueing people will eventually get in and fill the rooms of the palace. Therefore, come to Versailles as early as possible in the morning.
The palace’s opening hours are from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. The gardens open half an hour earlier and close half an hour later.
Some of the tours include a guide while others offer you an interactive multimedia solution.
Have in mind that not all day trips from Paris include transportation to the Versailles Palace. However, it is easy to hop on a train and reach the majestic palace in about 30 minutes.
Tip: visit Versailles Palace on a Tuesday or during the weekend. The spectacular musical fountain show happens on these days from April to October.
- Quick 90 min tour of the palace: see all the highlights of the Versailles Palace hustle-free. Included is 1.5-hour guided tour, after which you can continue to explore on your own.
- Versailles and Trianon half-day tour: a self-guided, self-paced tour with an audio device. Explore the King’s and Queen’s State Apartments and the Hall of Mirrors, the Gardens, as well as the Marie-Antoinette’s Estate (Grand Trianon, Petit Trianon, and Queen’s Hamlet).
- Versailles Palace & Gardens full-day excursion: travel from Paris to Versailles and spend the whole day exploring one of the grandest palaces in the world.
2. Giverny: Walk Through Gardens Which Inspired Famous Masterpieces
Giverny is a small town just about an hour and a half away from Paris. Leave the buzzing capital behind and enjoy a scenic drive to Normandy. Discover the home of the Father of Impressionism, Claude Monet.
The famous gardens, which inspired Monet’s paintings, invite you to take a stroll.
Weeping willows shade the water garden. Vibrant wisterias, azaleas, and small ponds full of waterlilies make you forget the outside world. You would feel like walking inside Monet’s incredible world of colour and joy.
Stand on the famous Japanese bridge before stepping into the quaint charm of Monet’s home. Inside, you can admire the precious collection of Japanese engravings.
On the way out, stop at the Studio Nympheas, home to the Foundation’s Shop, and pick up a souvenir.
Afterwards, wander around the Giverny village. It attracted many American artists between 1883 and 1920, and they formed an important artist’s colony.
- Monet’s House and Gardens, and the Museum of Impressionism, minibus transfer: discover the Giverny landscapes, which inspired Monet’s greatest works in an afternoon.
- Monet’s House and Gardens by train and bike: join a bike excursion from Paris. Tour Claude Monet’s gardens. See his unique house, visit the picturesque villages of Vernon and Giverny, and ride along the Seine River.
- Giverny and Auvers-sur-Oise: follow in the footsteps of the French impressionism on a full-day tour of Giverny and Auvers-sur-Oise from Paris. Visit Monet’s house and gardens before discovering where Van Gogh worked during his final days at Auvers-sur-Oise.
3. Mont-Saint-Michel: Marvel At Ancient Fortifications
Mont-Saint-Michel abbey is one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The worship of Saint Michel on the holy mount started in 708. Soon it became one of the most important places of pilgrimage. Benedictine monks began the construction of the abbey in the 10th century.
Mont-Saint-Michel survived the assaults of man, time, and nature. The heroic resistance to the English attacks during the Hundred Years’ War in the 14th and 15th centuries made it a symbol of French national identity.
Monks left the abbey in 1790. It became a historic monument a century later. Continuous restoration works aim to return Mont-Saint-Michel abbey to its former glory.
On a day trip from Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel, you can explore the site at your own pace. An information booklet will help you learn the fascinating history of the abbey.
Tip: due to the location of Mont-Saint-Michel abbey on an island, the high tides might affect the opening hours. Make sure you check if the abbey is open at the time you want to visit on the official website.
Furthermore, according to a fellow blogger, it’s best to visit Mont St. Michel before 10 AM – or not at all!
- Entrance ticket to Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey: discover the UNESCO World Heritage site in your own time.
- Full day guided tour with lunch and transfer to Mont-Saint-Michel: explore the history and culture of Normandy as you travel from Paris to the village of Mont-Saint-Michel. Visit the medieval buildings in the village and enjoy the beauty of the French countryside.
4. Normandy D-Day Beaches: Visit Places Where Europe’s History Was Written
This glorious day trip from Paris will take you to several places where the face of modern Europe shaped. Explore the beautiful Normandy countryside and tour the D-Day landing sites. Discover the rich traditions of Normandy and tease your taste buds at a typical cider and calvados farm.
This day trip will lead you to the historical battlefields and landing beaches along the Atlantic coast. A stop at the Utah Beach Landing Museum is a must for any history buff. It is housed in an original German bunker on the beach where the first American troops landed.
Learn about the complicated planning behind Operation Overlord. Hear the touching stories of ordinary men and women whose actions shaped the face of Europe. Admire the unparalleled views over Utah Beach from the museum. Then explore one of the few remaining B-26 aircrafts in the world.
Afterwards, stop at a traditional cider-making orchard. Seduce your palate with the exquisite ciders and apple brandies, calvados. Next, enjoy a Normandy-style lunch of freshly prepared seasonal produce in a restaurant overlooking the port of Grandcamp Maisy.
After lunch, travel to Pointe du Hoc to see the German cliff-top defence that was heroically taken by US Rangers during the D-Day landings. Overlooking the English Channel, the site remains much as it was over half a century ago. You can still see the original German fortifications and the crater scars, made by the bombs.
Pay your respects to the fallen at the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer overlooking Omaha Beach. It is the last home of Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., son of President Roosevelt. The Medal of Honour recipient is buried here, along with almost 10,000 brave fellow soldiers.
Last but not least, enter the Omaha Beach Visitor Centre to learn what went wrong during the Omaha Beach landings.
- Guided tour of the Mémorial de Caen Museum, a tour of the D-day Landing Beaches, including lunch, no transfer from Paris: explore the landing beaches and key World War II sites of Normandy on this full-day history tour. Visit the Mémorial de Caen museum. Stop for lunch at La Terrasse Restaurant. Then continue to Arromanches, Omaha Beach, and Colleville-sur-Mer.
- Full-day tour from Paris to the Normandy D-day Landing Beaches and Mémorial de Caen Museum, including lunch and transportation: travel back in time to the days of World War II and see the famous Landing Beaches of Normandy on a full-day trip from Paris. Learn about the Allied campaigns to liberate Europe from the Nazis. Enjoy lunch and tasting of cider and calvados drinks.
5. Loire Valley Castles: Become A Royalty For A Day
A day trip to the Loire Valley is like wandering in fairy-tale land.
The tours usually show you three different castles before taking you back. Have in mind, that Loire Valley is home to more castles than you can ever see on a day trip from Paris!
Tip: to fully appreciate the beauty of the valley, you’ll definitely need more than a day to explore the castles. If your schedule allows it, plan how to spend a couple of days with this Loire Valley itinerary.
Walk in the flower gardens of the Château de Chenonceau, and gaze at the delicate arches that cross the Cher River. The palace is also known as the Chateau des Dames because several extraordinary women played major roles in its history.
The castle was built in 1513 by Catherine Briconnet, embellished by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici, and saved from destruction during the French Revolution by Madame Dupin.
Continue to Chambord to explore the largest castle of the Loire Valley.
Marvel at the extravagant architecture and double-spiralled staircase of the royal Château de Chambord. The most majestic castle of the Loire Valley features 365 chimneys, 440 rooms, 14 staircases, and 800 turrets. They all reflect the extravagant architecture of the French Renaissance.
Additionally, hundreds of columns and spires adorn its roof. The elaborate roofline resembles the skyline of a big city. The castle also features an intricate stone staircase, designed by Leonardo da Vinci.
End the day at the former home of King François I. See the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci in the Amboise village and the Château d’Amboise. Confiscated by the monarchy in the 15th century, it was a favourite royal residence.
Alternatively, visit Château de Cheverny. This castle will enchant you with its elegant décor. 17th-century furniture and Old Master paintings prove the sophisticated taste of its owners. The countless rooms of the chateau reflect a highly refined style, particularly the King’s Chamber, the Dining Room, and the Arms Room.
- Full-day Loire Valley Castles trip from Paris: Chenonceau, Chambord, and Amboise: Escape the hustle and bustle of Paris and spend the day among the lovely castles of the Loire Valley. Join a 12-hour small group day tour to the grandiloquent Renaissance castles of Chenonceau, Chambord, and Amboise.
- Full-day Loire Valley Castles tour from Paris: Chenonceau, Chambord, and Cheverny: Take a day trip from Paris to visit some of the most famous castles of the Loire Valley: Chambord, Cheverny, and Chenonceau. Bask in the glamour of the French royalties as you learn the history of the fairy-tale-like castles.
6. Champagne Wine Tour: Seduce Your Palate With Exquisite Tastings
300 years ago, Dom Perignon pioneered the production methods, which made champagne the world-renowned drink it is today. Spend your time on a day trip to the Benedictine Abbey in Hautvillers and explore the famous winemaker’s workshop.
Visit the abbey and see where he worked. Learn about the dangers of exploding wine bottles. The search to stop this phenomenon inspired many of Perignon’s innovations.
Stop at a family-run winery. Discover how they have been making champagne for three generations. After lunch, step into the cave of Moët et Chandon beneath the famous Avenue de Champagne. Enjoy a tour and tastings.
Alternatively, you can discover the history of the French sparkling wine on a full-day e-bike tour of the Champagne region from Paris.
Arrive by train in Epernay. The commercial capital of the Champagne wine region is located on the banks of the Marne River. Explore the city’s narrow streets, before riding into the charming Champagne countryside.
Pass by historic vineyards and villages. Pedal through the beautiful countryside while learning the region’s fascinating history. See how Champagne is made and meet local producers at some of the best Champagne houses.
- Luxury small-group Champagne day trip: from the abbeys of Benedictine monks to Champagne Street, uncover the history of the iconic sparkling wine and learn how it’s produced in the modern world.
- Champagne Region day tour by train and e-bike: explore the charming vineyards and ancient villages of the Champagne region on a full-day e-bike tour. Pedal from the historic Champagne capital of Epernay. Stop at two Champagne wine estates for tastings. Round-trip train tickets from Paris are included.
7. Disneyland: Provoke Your Inner Child
Enter the fairy-tale land of Disney’s characters, excellent entertainment, and attractions for the whole family. Strikingly close to Paris, Disneyland invites you to incite your inner child and enjoy an unforgettable ride.
The Magical Kingdom of Disney heroes offers endless fun in five magical lands. Experience your favourite stories from the classic Disney films. Here’s where fairy tales come true.
The thrills at Disneyland Park, Paris come in all shapes and sizes. Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain Mission 2 offer a rush for the grown-ups. The little ones can sail around the globe at It’s a Small World. Find extraordinary family fun in every corner of the Park, from the Pirates of the Caribbean to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups.
Don’t miss the main attraction, a meet and greet with beloved Disney characters. On top of all the wonderful attractions and characters, there are lots of spectacular family parades and shows to enjoy all year round.
- Day Pass, Flexible Day Pass, or Multi-Day Pass: enjoy a magical time at Disneyland Park, or get a 2-park ticket to visit Walt Disney Studios Park as well. Meet all your favourite Disney characters and see the world of Disney’s films.
- Ticket and shuttle bus: hop aboard the Disneyland Paris Express shuttle bus for a magical day out for the whole family. Enjoy this unique experience with transport from the centre of Paris and entrance tickets to the Disneyland parks or the Walt Disney Studios Park.
- Ticket and train transfer: add a new element of fun to your Paris visit and head to Disneyland Paris and/or Walt Disney Studios on a 1-day ticket. Travel from the city centre by RER A train, with the 40-minute journey leaving you off right in front of the amusement park.
Explore France On The Best Day Trips From Paris!
Although Paris offers a myriad of (unusual) things to do, leaving the French capital for a day trip or two should be on your travel list as well.
Whether you’re a history buff, interested in the opulent Renaissance architecture or the World War II battles, an art or champagne aficionado, or a Peter Pan searching for a thrill rollercoaster ride, these day trips from Paris will show you a different and amazing side of France.
So, tell me: Which of the tours inspired you the most? What do you want to explore first?
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