Paris is the cultural capital of Europe. With food, art and fashion in abundance Paris has something for travellers with all interests from history to architecture to music.
With so much to see and do inside the city limits many travellers fail to escape the bright lights of the city. When you’ve had your fill of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and Notre Dame de Paris get your day pack at the ready and head a little further afield to explore all that France has to offer.
For savvy, skimpy packed travellers the best travel cameras are alway those on our smartphone; reliable and always ready to capture the moment. Although none of our 5 Best Day Trips from Paris are particularly adrenaline fuelled a GoPro style camera is always handy for snapping fish-eye landscapes.
The daypack for travel will always include your recyclable water bottle, your sunglasses and your map! Make sure it’s light and has a waterproof cover as weather in Europe is unpredictable at the best of times!
The small medieval town of Provins is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is steeping in interesting European history and quaint, rustic architecture. From Paris Provins is easily accessible by public transport. From Gare de L’est trains to Provins depart at 9.46am daily and take just an hour an half. A single ticket can be purchased at Gare de L’est train station on the day of your trip for as little as 11 EURO. Trains run every hour from 9.46am so for those who like to sleep in, fear not! You can reach Provins and return to Paris in an afternoon should a whistle-stop visit be up your street.
Provins still houses the Ramparts and Fortified Gates from the medieval era. The town welcomes guests to explore these relicts and has a visitors centre in the heart of the town for tourists to learn more about Provins’ rich heritage. A walk around the Ramparts takes just 20-minutes with plenty of photogenic places to stop for selfies and wide panoramic shots. Most people re-enter the town square via Saint Jean’s Gate.
Provins’ Market Place is host to a great range of bistros and classic French cafes that serve fresh patisseries or bigger plates like Croquet Madam. These small and cosy pubs and cafes are a great place to meet locals and hear their best kept sightseeing secrets before hopping back on the train to Paris!
#2. The Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles is one of Europe’s most iconic landmarks and with a rich and raunchy history makes for a wonderfully informative and leisurely day trip from Paris. The Palace of Versailles is just a short one hour train journey from Gare du Nord, alternatively you can start your trip from Saint Lazare train station too, there is little difference in the timing.
The Palace of Versailles has beautifully landscaped and immaculately kept gardens that visitors are invited to stroll around and explore. As the French sun shines over the Palace walk in the wake of the regal Kings and Queens before you.
Entry to The Palace of Versailles is free for everyone under the age of 18 and free to EU citizen under the age of 26. A day pass to the Palace includes entry to the gardens and ground, which in themselves can take a whole day to explore. Entry ticket also permits visit to The Hall of Mirrors, Museum of the History of France and the King’s Grand Apartments.
A visit to Palace of Versailles is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see France’s regal history in all its glory…and to feel like a King or Queen just for the day!
#3. Mont St Michel
Mont St Michel is a breathtaking island on the Normandy coast. Mont St Michel is a truly breathtaking and photogenic day trip from Paris. Many travellers chosoe to spend a night in this rural Normandy community as the sunsets behind Mont St Michel are beyond spectacular. Located at the mouth of the Couesnon River this island commune is welcoming and wonderful to explore. Remember to bring your travel cameras to capture this beautiful scenary.
A visit to Mont St Michel takes you back to the year 708…thats right! Not 1708 but 708! Mont St Michel has become a pilgramage site for Benedictine Monks for centuries.
From Paris Mont St Michel is a bit a trek.You must catch the train from central Paris to Renne and then from Renne catch the public bus to Mont St Michel; the latter part of the journey takes just over an hour and is totally worth the wait.
You may wish to pack more than just your day pack when heading to Mont St Michel as once to arrive in the peaceful and laid back French town you won’t want to leave! A touch of island life in northern Europe!
If you’re heading to Mont St Michel and decide to spend the night then on your way back to the great city of Paris be sure to incorporate a little visit to the beautiful village of Giverny.
The home of impressionist painter Claude Monet the village of Giverny welcomes guest the world over to visit and explore the great painters former home and gardens. Fine Art enthusiasts would be interested to hear of the Musée des impressionnismes Giverny that highlights the most influential work of the impressionist art movement.
Lille, although two and half hours away from Paris, makes for a great long-haul day trip to the Belgium border. A buzzing and vibrant cultural hub the city of Lille has plenty to explore.
On a whistle-stop day your you could visit the Lille Cathedral, Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille and Musée d’Histoire Naturelle de Lille. For lovers of history and biology the Musée d’Histoire Naturelle de Lille is a must visit with zoological and geological artefacts on display.
After a hearty dinner in Lille’s main market place at one of many wonderful French bistro’s be on the train back to Paris and tucked in to bed by midnight!
Escaping the City…
Paris is a great central spot to place yourself for exploring further afield in France. Whether you want to nip just past the city limits or head far out to the Belgium border there are a whole host of different options to explore.
This list is far from comprehensive but certainly gives you an idea as to how much amazing history and exciting culture there is to explore in France.
Linda is Founder/ Main Editor of blog EasyTravel4u.com . She is passionate about traveling and loves to write about her adventures.You can find out more about her writing following her on Twitter and Facebook.