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Rail network makes day trips from Paris easy

By Scott Hartbeck, TravelPulse
Published: June 8, 2024, 5:07am
2 Photos
Chateau de Chenonceau on the Cher River, Loire Valley, France.
Chateau de Chenonceau on the Cher River, Loire Valley, France. (Javarman/Dreamstime) Photo Gallery

Paris and it’s surroundings are enthralling. Thanks to France’s extensive rail network, all of the following day trips are within easy reach.

The Loire Valley

Famed for its fanciful fortifications, the allure of the Loire Valley lies less than two hours from Paris. Visit some of the most famous chateaux in France and get whisked away into a fairy tale in this romantic region.

Dijon

Yes, this is where the mustard comes from, but there’s much more to Dijon than condiments. Food is a highlight of this city less than two hours from Paris though, as the always-buzzing Les Halles farmers market is a great place to start your exploration and pick up a snack or two. The city is also home to some characterful timbered architecture, the Musée des Beaux-Arts and a gorgeous Gothic cathedral.

Versailles

A splendid address full of significance in world history and over-the-top opulence, Versailles is one of the most adored palaces on the planet — and only around 30 minutes away by train. Visit to walk in the footsteps of French royals in some of the palace’s thousands of rooms before admiring the spectacular Hall of Mirrors, which is the place where the infamous treaty to end World War I was signed.

Disneyland

Why not? Located less than an hour from the city by train, Disneyland Paris pairs up the quintessential magic of the North American parks with a touch of French panache. Both Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park offer familiar attractions and unique features, in addition to the ability to grab a glass of bubbly from one of the signature champagne carts.

The Champagne Region

Speaking of bubbly, why not take a day trip to one of the most famous wine regions in the world? In less than an hour from Paris, you can be in the royal city of Reims, admiring a stunning cathedral before heading out into the regional vineyards. After meeting up with Moët & Chandon, make your way to the nearby town of Épernay to sample the sparkles being poured on the famed Avenue de Champagne.

Giverny

A breezy 45-minute train ride from the city, Giverny is an adorable village home to the setting that inspired the iconic Claude Monet painting Water Lilies. Even if you aren’t an art aficionado, you are sure to be swept away by the beauty of Monet’s House and Gardens, where you will feel like you are stepping through one of his artworks.

London

London makes for a great day trip from Paris. After a quick 2-hour and 20-minute train trip through the French countryside and Channel Tunnel, you’ll arrive at St. Pancras station in the heart of the U.K. capital. From St. Pancras, it’s just a quick Tube trip to stroll along the South Bank of the Thames or take in Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the rest of the A-list attractions in the city.

Normandy

The train will take just over two hours to reach most places in Normandy, but it is well worth it. Visit Bayeux to learn about the Bayeux Tapestry (which tells the tale of the Norman Conquest of England) before striking out on one of the many tours of the D-Day Landing Beaches, museums and cemeteries that set off from the area.

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