Explore around Paris with no less than 26-day trips from Paris by train. Head all of France and even to neighboring countries for a day, all in under 2-hour train ride from the capital!
My best friend lives in the beautiful capital of France, Paris, and so I find myself traveling to the city of lights frequently. While I absolutely love Paris, something the ever-present throng of tourists is a little overwhelming. In this case, getting out of the city to explore the various places to visit from Paris, by train, is the perfect solution.
Paris is extraordinarily well connected through a system of (high) speed trains to virtually everywhere in the country, as well as the neighboring countries. Below you will find a selection of one-day trips from Paris that are realistic and will allow plenty of time to explore the location.
Where to Go From Paris by Train?
It is my hope that I provide you with enough information to ensure you can easily plan your very own day trip from Paris by train, without the need for a tour! Scroll down to find the various train stations in Paris, how to purchase tickets and which different trains run from Paris.
HOW TO BOOK TICKETS | I always check the schedule and compare tickets for my train trips from Paris via the Omio platform. It’s easy to use, and accepts various payment methods!
Train Stations in Paris
Gare du Nord
Gare du Nord is among the busiest and largest train stations in the world. It connects Paris to both the North of France and international destinations. The station is easy to get lost in (I do regularly) so aim to come here with plenty of time to spare before your train. This is the departure point of the Eurostar to London, Amsterdam & Brussels.
Gare de l’Est
Gare de Lyon
The imposing Gare de Lyon is the station from which southbound trains leave. Taking a day trip to Lyon from Paris by train, or heading abroad to Switzerland and Italy, then this is your departure station. Despite its massive size (3 enormous departure halls), it is very easy to navigate around.
A central hub connecting a lot of the suburbs of Paris to the city itself as well as places west of Paris. The station is absolutely choc-a-bloc during rush hour, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to find your platform!
A decidedly less beautiful building architecturally but nonetheless a very important hub for train trips from Paris in the direction of (south) western France including Bordeaux, Nantes, and Rennes.
A much lesser used station, just across the river from Gare du Lyon.
26 Day Trips from Paris by Train
The below one-day trips from Paris by train have been divided according to travel time: 6 trips under one hour; 16 day trips with a travel time between one and two hours and finally 4 trips a little over two hours from Paris. All feasible to undertake without paying for a tour.
That being said, some of the tours out there do a brilliant job of combining multiple places to visit near Paris and thus I have added them as a footnote, just in case you are short on time or simply prefer to avoid the hassle of figuring out the train system in Paris.
NOTE ON ACCESSIBILITY | Unfortunately the train stations in Paris are not geared towards travelers with limited mobility. It has been my experience that oftentimes escalators are broken or simply not available due to infrastructure being in dire need of a facelift.
6 Train Trips From Rome Under One Hour From the City
1. CHATEAU VAUX-LE-VICOMTE
Travel Time: 45 Min || Entrance Fee: €22 (Château + Garden)
History of Château Vaux-le-Vicomte from Paris: The 17th-century Baroque-style Château Vaux-le-Vicomte was commissioned by Nicolas Fouquet, Louis XIV’s Minister of Finance. It turned out so beautiful upon completion in 1661, that it led to Fouquet’s imprisonment on charges of embezzlement. This event marked a turning point in French history, influencing Louis XIV’s decision to build the Palace of Versailles.
What to do in Château Vaux-le-Vicaomte: Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte offers visitors a chance to explore its 17 majestic rooms and manicured French gardens. Highlights include the Grand Salon, adorned with intricate frescoes, and the opulent King’s Bedchamber.
Why visit the Château Vaux-le-Vicomte: The Castle is much lesser known and as such sees a significantly less amount of foot traffic than the major monuments in Paris. I love coming here in spring to walk around the gardens.
How to get there from Paris: R-train from Gare du Lyon (€7), stop in Melun Station. Here hop on the Chateaubus (€10/person/roundtrip). Purchase your train tickets at the station, and bus tickets to be bought on the bus.
TIME SAVER | Combine a trip to Château Vaux le Vicomte and Château Fontainebleau in a day tour from Paris. Includes transport, access, guided tour and access to the dome of Château Vaux le Comte!
Travel Time: 46 Min
Why go to Reims: Reims is one of the best train trips from Paris for Champaign lovers! Thanks to its vicinity to Paris as well as the walkability of the city center it will not feel rushed if you merely spend one day here.
What to do in Reims: The very first thing I did when visiting for the first time was head straight to the UNESCO classified Notre-Dame Cathedral, next up was the Palais du Tau for a bit of history, the Saint Remi Basilica and the Mars Gate (Porte de Mars). Champaign flows freely in every bistro in the city, but the actual champaign houses are located on the outskirts of town (Veuve Clicquot, Mumm, and Pommery are all present).
How to get there from Paris: Take the TGV INOUI from Gare de L’Est and get off at Reims Station (€30-€65 euro/ one way). Tickets need to be purchased in advance for this type of train. Check prices online.
TIME FOR CHAMPAIGN | Explore a family-run winery, indulge in 6 tastings and explore the Reims Cathedral with a knowledgeable guide in this top-rated day tour from Paris.
3. CHATEAU DE CHANTILLY
Travel Time: 48 Min || Entrance Fee: €17 (Château + Gardens + Great Stables)
Why go to Château de Chantilly from Paris: This little gem is my friend’s absolute favorite castle near Paris. It is the birthplace of the Chantilly creme (whipped creme) and houses the Musée Condé, and exclusive Art Collection.
What to do in Château de Chantilly: This castle truly embodies the saying “size does not matter”. In fact, there are quite a number of things to do both inside the castle and on the grounds.
Inside the absolute highlight is the aforementioned museum with works of Raphael, Delacroix, and Poussin. The Grand Apartments and the Library with 13,000 rare volumes are another must-see! In fact, they have a program where you can “adopt a book” to help with the conservation of their library.
On the grounds make sure to visit both the French and Anglo-Chinese Garden. The Great Stables are not always open to the public, but to tend to put on events regularly. Check the calendar before going.
How to get there from Paris: Take the TER from Gare du Nord and get off at Gare de Chantilly Gouvieux. From here either walk 1 km or take the regional bus in the direction of Boussac, stop Chateau. Purchase tickets in the station or online (€9/one way) and on the bus itself.
GET YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE | Purchase your tickets online and in advance, especially during the high season when tickets tend to sell out weeks in advance.
4. CHATEAU DE VERSAILLE
Travel Time: 56 Min || Entrance Fee: €21.5 (Palace + Gardens + Estate of Trianon)
Why go to Versaille: Versaille is the single most opulent Château or Palace in all of France. It continues to play an important role in French history and quite frankly, the Hall of Mirrors is probably the most beautiful room I have ever seen, but don’t tell any Parisian that.
What to do in Versaille: Visit the full shebang, splurge on the €21 ticket and wander around the Palace, the Gardens and the Estate of Trianon, because all of it is just so impressive. I spent an entire afternoon exploring until they kicked me out at 18.30 (true story). While the beginning of the Palace visit was definitely busy, it seemed to fizzle out about one hour before closing as people headed towards the gardens.
Practical info: To access the Palace, all visitors must book a time slot. Due to the high number of visitors, admission to the Palace within half an hour of the booked time slot can only be guaranteed for tickets purchased online.
How to get there from Paris: Take the RER from Paris Austerlitz train station get off at the stop Versaille Château Rive Gauche and walk 15 min from here. Tickets can be bought online or at the station (€9/one way).
SKIP THE LINE | Avoid the crowds and book a skip-the-line ticket for both the Palace and the gardens. This ticket includes a guided tour by a local knowledgeable guide.
5. DISNEYLAND PARIS
Travel Time: 60 Min || Entrance Fee: Starts at €81 ( day ticket; two parks; fixed date)
Taking a day trip from Paris to Disneyland Paris is part and parcel of any visit to Paris for many families. I remember visiting the park when I was 10 years old with my parents and absolutely loving it. While I am a big Disney fan, I have in fact not been back to Disneyland Paris since I was a kid.
Disneyland Paris is comprised of two parks: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studio Park. If you want to visit both make sure to purchase the ticket covering two parks. Exploring the grounds of the pair will take at least a full day, if not more! So make sure to hop on the train in Paris bright and early!
How to get to Disneyland Paris from Paris by train: Take the RER train from the Châtelet Les Halles station and get off at the stop Marne-La-Vallée Chessy. Buy tickets online or at the station (€6/one way).
TIP | Do not take any risk and book your entrance tickets in advance, especially during the summer months and local school holidays! Ticket prices go down the more days you stay.
6. CHATEAU DE FONTAINEBLEAU
Travel Time: 60 Min || Entrance Fee: €12 – reduces to €8 one hour before the castle closes.
Why go to Château de Fontainebleau: Once a hunting lodge then the favorite home to numerous French monarchs throughout history including François I, Henri IV, Louis XIII, and Napoleon Bonaparte. This UNESCO world heritage site witnessed the signing of the abdication of Napoleon in 1814.
What to do in Château de Fontainebleau: This castle has over 1,500 rooms (!) with Renaissance masterpieces commissioned by Francis I, lavish interiors decorated by Marie Antoinette, and the state apartment of Napoleon. The total estate is 130 hectares, sprawled out over 3 gardens, 4 inner courtyards, and a vast park. You will need at least 3 hours to visit everything.
Practical info: Unguided visits grant you access to the Napoleon I Museum and the Grands Appartements. To see the rest of the castle you will need a guided visit, which at present is only available in French.
How to get there from Paris: Take the R train from Gare de Lyon in the direction of Montargis and get off at Fontainbleau-Avon. Tickets can be bought online or at the station (€10/one way).
TIME SAVER | Combine a trip to Château Vaux le Vicomte and Château Fontainebleau in a day tour from Paris. Includes transport, access, guided tour, and access to the dome of Château Vaux le Comte!
16 Paris Day Trips by Train Between 1 and 2 Hours
Travel Time: 1h03
Why go to Lille: Lille is one of the many great places to visit near Paris by train. The city is absolutely brimming with life, thanks to the abundance of students! It is cute, pretty and makes for a great little escape from overflowing Paris.
What to do in Lille: I actually come to Lille quite often as it is very close to my home in Belgium, it’s a great spot to do some (affordable) shopping. First start at the Grand Place, next take in some art at the Palais des Beaux-Arts. Visit the Vieille Bourse and time permitting head to the Citadel of Lille for the best views over Lille.
What to eat in Lille: Lille has a very different cuisine from Paris, in fact, it is much closer to traditional Belgian cuisine. Expect to see many mussels and fries (moules frites), Flemish stew (Carbonade Flamande), and waffles.
How to get there from Paris: Take the TGV INOUI train from Paris Gare du Nord and get off at the Lille-Flandres. Tickets must be purchased in advance, online.
TIME SAVER: Want to get the most out of your day trip from Paris to Lille? Check out this locally run walking tour of the historical center of Lille. The tour takes approximately 2 hours.
Travel Time: 1h07
Why go to Amiens: Canal-lined Amiens in northern France is picture-perfect and off-the-beaten path. Skip the crowds in Paris and head for tranquil Amiens on a trip.
What to do in Amiens: First stop is the UNESCO-classified Amiens Cathedral before heading to the floating gardens of Les Hortillonnages. Stroll through the Saint-Lei district and grab a drink by the canal. Visit the Jules Verne House and climb up the Perret Tower for panoramic views over Amiens.
How to get there from Paris: Take the TER from Paris Gare du Nord to Amiens Railway Station. Tickets can be purchased online or in the station (€17/one way).
Travel Time: 1h10 || Entrance Fee: €13
Why go to Giverny from Paris: Giverny is a really good trip from Paris for anyone who loves Monet. In 1883, Monet discovered the village and decided to make it his home. He purchased the property in 1890, transforming it into an artistic haven. Monet’s famed Water Lily series and the enchanting Japanese Bridge were inspired by his Giverny gardens.
What to do in Giverny: The pink-shuttered house, Monet’s residence, welcomes visitors to explore his private world and studio. The Musée des Impressionnismes, a cultural gem, celebrates the Impressionist movement in Giverny. Beyond Monet’s legacy, discover the Church of Sainte-Radegonde, showcasing Giverny’s medieval history. The village’s charm extends to local cafes and the picturesque surroundings, creating a captivating experience that seamlessly blends art, history, and nature.
How to get there from Paris: Take the TER train in Paris Saint-Lazare to Vernon Giverny next hop on the local bus number 10 direction ECOS Place de l’Eglise and get off in Giverny Prairie. Purchase tickets online (€9/one way).
TOURS | The top-rated tour from Paris to Giverny actually combines a visit to the Château of Versaille and a guided tour of Giverny! Includes a lunch with local products, in a small restaurant by the river. Or opt to simply focus on a guided tour of Giverny with a local guide, including transport from Paris.
Travel Time: 1h15
Why go to Orleans: Nestled on the banks of the Loire, Orleans is pretty, relatively close to Paris and is famously the site where Jean of Arc liberated the French from the British Siege in 1429!
What to do in Orleans: If you have but a day in Orleans, I recommend you start your day in the footsteps of the local heroin, Jean of Arc. Begin at Place du Martroi, where a statue commemorates the iconic heroine. The Maison de Jeanne d’Arc is a great spot to delve into her life.
Next go on the hunt for a few iconic landmarks in the city: The Hôtel Groslot, Orléans Cathedral, a Gothic masterpiece, and Sainte-Croix Cathedral (climb the spire for panoramic views). We ran out of time on our visit but otherwise would have liked to take a Loire River Cruise.
How to get there from Paris: Take the TER from Paris Austerlitz directly to Orleans station. Tickets can be bought in the station or online (prices start at €21/one way).
Travel Time: 1h20
Why go to Chartres from Paris: Cobblestone streets lined with half-timbered houses and a gargantuan Cathedral make Chartres one of the prettiest cities in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France.
What to do in Chartres: Explore the Chartres Cathedral with its stunning glass windows. Stroll down the charming Old Town with the famous half-timbered houses and cobblestoned streets. Pop into Maison Picassiette, an eccentric mosaic-covered house or the Fine Arts Museum. Get out of the busy centre and stroll around the banks of the Eure River.
How to get there from Paris: Take the TER train from Paris Montparnasse Hall 1-2 and get off in Gare de Chartres. Purchase your tickets in the station or online (€12/one way).
Travel Time: 1h23
Why go to Provins: Provins is one of the lesser-known places to visit near Paris, despite being classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
What to do in Provins: The well-preserved Ramparts and fortified gates set the stage for exploration. Witness captivating spectacles at the Eagle’s Provins show, showcasing medieval falconry. The César Tower, a symbol of the town, offers panoramic views.
The Underground Galleries take you beneath the surface to explore ancient grain warehouses. Visit the Saint-Quiriace Collegiate Church, a Romanesque gem, and the Grange aux Dîmes, a medieval tithe barn. The Provins Museum immerses you in the town’s history. Enjoy the vibrant ambiance during the annual medieval fairs, making Provins a captivating journey through time.
How to get there from Paris: Take the TER from Gare de l’Est to Provins station. Purchase your tickets in the station or online (€10/one way).
Travel Time: 1h25
Why go to Rouen: Rouen is the capital city of Normandy and it packs a punch. As you have but a day, it will be a question of choosing wisely.
What to do in Rouen: Marvel at the iconic Rouen Cathedral, a masterpiece immortalized by Monet, and explore the medieval charm of the Old Market Square, where Joan of Arc met her fate. The Gros Horloge, a stunning astronomical clock, adorns the heart of the city.
Delve into art at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, housing works by Delacroix and Caravaggio. The Joan of Arc Historial provides insight into her life. Wander through timber-framed houses in the medieval quarter, and relish culinary delights in this gastronomic haven, ensuring a delightful sojourn in Rouen.
How to get there from Paris: Take the TER from Paris Saint Lazare and get off at Gare de Rouen (Rouen Station). Purchase tickets at the station or online (€20/one way).
TOURS | Take a super affordable guided walking tour of Rouen. In 1.5 hours the tour takes you through all the major sites and gives you a solid feel for the city.
Travel Time: 1h24
Why go to Metz: The city of Metz has such a beautiful historical center and it sees very little foot traffic!
What to do in Metz: Metz is perfect for a short trip from Paris. Begin at the majestic Metz Cathedral, a Gothic masterpiece with stunning stained glass. The Centre Pompidou-Metz, a contemporary art hub, showcases innovative exhibitions. Stroll through the picturesque Old Town, dominated by the medieval Porte des Allemands.
The Musée de la Cour d’Or presents a rich collection spanning Roman to contemporary art. Discover the whimsical Arsenal Concert Hall and the Esplanade garden. The Pompidou-Metz and Metz Métropole Opera House add modern flair to this historic city, creating a harmonious blend of past and present.
How to get there from Paris: Take the TGV INOUI from Gare de l’Est and get off in Gare de Metz. This train requires tickets to be bought in advance. Purchase them online (€85/one way).
15. DIJON & BESANCON
Travel Time: 1h34
Why go to Dijon & Besançon: Nestles in the Jura mountains, this part of France is wonderful for nature and hiking enthusiasts.
What to do in Dijon & Besançon: My recommendation would be to spend half a day in Dijon, strolling through the historical center and visiting the Palais des Ducs, before heading out to Besançon to embark on one of the many hikes around the city.
Tip: When I visited in October the autumnal colors were in full swing making the Jura mountains even prettier. That being said, make sure you check the weather forecast as we were unable to visit the upper Jura due to unexpected snowfall.
How to get there from Paris: Take the TGV INOUI train from Paris Gare De Lyon and get off at Dijon station. Tickets must be purchased in advance, online (€72/one way).
16. CHATEAU DE CHENONCEAU
Travel Time: 1h39 || Entrance Fee: €19.5
Why go to Château de Chenonceau: I visited the Loire many years ago on a biking trip – I swear my glutes are still sore from all the biking. This 17th-century French Renaissance castle was hands-down my absolute favorite.
What to do in Château de Chenonceau: A relatively easy side trip from Paris takes you to the Loire Valley. Home to excellent white wine and the densest collection of castles in all of France (300). While it is impossible to see 300 castles in a day (sadly), you can absolutely visit the inside of Château de Chenonceau (the ballroom is chef’s kiss!) and its gardens.
Initially a modest manor, it transformed in the 16th century under Catherine de’ Medici, who expanded the castle over the river. Its unique design earned Chenonceau the moniker “The Ladies’ Castle,” as it was influenced and adorned by influential women. Make sure to purchase your tickets in advance!
How to get there from Paris: Take the TGV INOUI from Paris Montparnasse Hall 1-2 to Saint-Pierre-Des-Corps Station, here transfer to a TER that takes you to the station of Chenonceaux. For the TGV, tickets must be purchased in advance, online (€30/one way), the TER tickets can be purchased in the station.
TOURS | The top-rated day tour from Paris to the Loire Valley includes a visit to both Château de Chenonceau and the majestic Château de Chambord as well as a stop in the picturesque village of Blois.
Travel Time: 1h40
Why go to Poitiers from Paris: Poitiers in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region is another often overlooked city that looks straight out of a storybook. Located on the UNESCO classified Way of Saint James and an important university town means plenty of things to see, and vibrant bars to grab a drink afterwards.
What to do in Poitiers: I passed by Poitiers briefly on my road trip through Nouvelle Aquitaine but had nowhere near enough time to explore the city properly. If it is your first time start at the Notre-Dame la Grande, a stunning Romanesque church. Next head to the Palace of the Dukes of Aquitaine, a medieval marvel showcasing the city’s history.
Stroll through the picturesque Old Town, with timber-framed houses and lively markets. Don’t miss the captivating Baptistère Saint-Jean, one of France’s oldest Christian buildings!
How to get there from Paris: Take the TGV INOUI from Paris Montparnasse Hall 1-2 directly to Poitiers station. Tickets must be purchased in advance, online (€35/one way).
Travel Time: 1h48
Why go to Strasbourg from Paris: Whenever Christmas rolls around I take a yearly trip to either Strasbourg or Colmar. There is simply no better place in France to be completely immersed in Christmas vibes. The half-timbered houses and flower-lined canals are of course equally pretty in summer and wildly different from anything Paris has to offer!
What to do in Strasbourg: If it’s your first time and you are heading here for Christmas than simply enjoy the Christmas market in the historical center. Expect an interesting blend of French/German foods (Flammkuchen alongside Tarte Flambé) and of course, mulled wine galore. This region also does mulled wine made with white wine, something I had never seen anywhere else before!
For first-time visitors to Strasbourg, make a beeline for Old Town, La Petite France, with its half-timbered houses and picturesque canals. Do not miss the gargantuan Strasbourg Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and save time for a stroll along the charming Rue du Maroquin and Rue des Dentelles, adorned with vibrant flower boxes.
How to get there from Paris: Take either the high-speed ICE-train or the TGV INOUI from Paris Gare de L’Est directly to Strasbourg. Tickets must be purchased in advance, online (€50/one way).
Travel Time: 1h40 || Entrance Fee: €16.4
Why go to Amboise from Paris: Talk about one of the prettiest places in France, and it comes with a spectacular castle! I went just to visit the castle, but actually really enjoyed the little village too. Little did I know this was Da Vinci’s final resting place.
What to do in Amboise: Start off with a visit to the Château d’Amboise, originally built in the 11th century to survey the Loire Valley. Leonardo Da Vinci spent the final three years of his life living right here! The castle is not as grand as others in the Loire Valley but a visit to the Royal Appartments and the Chapel of Saint-Hubert, Leonardo Da Vinci’s final resting place, is worth it!
The castle visit should not take more than a few hours giving you plenty of time to explore nearby Clos Lucé and its gardens (a museum showcasing Da Vinci’s inventions and artworks), Amboise Historical Center and the Pagode de Chanteloup (Chinese-style pagoda with the best views).
How to get there from Paris: Take the direct TER from Paris Austerlitz station and get off at Amboise train station. Tickets can be bought at the station or online (€65/one way).
TICKETS | Purchase your tickets to the castle in advance
Travel Time: 1h50
Why go to Rennes from Paris: Rennes is one of the best trips from Paris by train I have undertaken in recent years. The beautiful historical center is almost entirely made up of half-timbered houses and by gosh people are super friendly here!
What to do in Rennes: I spent a day in Rennes at the cusp of Autumn and quite literally ate all the caramel sale (salted caramel, a local specialty) I could get my hands on and walked around the market and the historical center for most of the morning. Do not miss Parc du Thabor, Rennes Cathedral, Rue des Chapitres (half-timbered houses galore), and Rue Saint-Michel.
In the afternoon I hopped on a little electric boat to glide through the L’Ille canal, a surprisingly large green oasis in the middle of Rennes with Les Ptits Bateaux Rennes, which is great if the weather is sunny! Boating in Brittany is a favorite pastime of both locals and tourists alike!
TIP: Try and plan your day trip on a Saturday so you can attend the Marché des Lices (07.30 am to 01.30 pm). The market has over 300 stalls filled with local producers, artisans and craftsmen. Come hungry because boy are you in for a feast!
How to get there from Paris: Take the TGV INOUI from Paris Montparnasse Hall 1-2 directly to Rennes. Tickets need to be bought in advance online (prices start at €35/one way).
Travel Time: 1h56
Why go to Lyon: Lyon is the gastronomical capital of France
What to do in Lyon: For first-time visitors to Lyon, embark on a culinary journey in the gastronomic capital of France. Begin at Old Town (Vieux Lyon) with its Renaissance architecture, traboules (alleyways) and hidden courtyards. Clamber up the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière for panoramic views.
Indulge in local delights like Lyonnaise salad, quenelles in a traditional Bouchon. Explore Les Halles de Lyon-Paul Bocuse, the best food market in town. Take a boat cruise along the Saône River and wander through the Croix-Rousse district. Savor traditional praline-filled pastries and Beaujolais wine.
How to get there from Paris: Take the direct TGV INOUI from Gare de Lyon in Paris to Lyon Part Dieu station. Tickets need to be bought in advance online (prices start at €30/one way).
FOODIE TIP | Visit five different restaurants, bakeries, and artisan shops around Lyon, and indulge in Lyonnaise specialties such as Pike quenelle (dumplings) with rice, Cervelle des Canuts (cheese dip), and pink praline brioche, accompanied by regional wines. Check prices and availability.
Travel Time: 2h
Why go to Brussels: As a local this question almost seems superfluous. Brussels has one of the prettiest Main Squares (Grand Place) in Europe, it is the birthplace of Art Nouveau and we do some very good beer, chocolate and waffles.
What to do in Brussels: If you have but one day in Brussels you will want to make sure to squeeze in the Grand Place, Manneken Piss, the Victor Horta Museum and perhaps the Brussels City Museum. Time permitting stop by the newly renovated La Bourse.
How to get there from Brussels: Brussels is a very easy train trip from Paris! Simply get on the Eurostar in Paris Gare du Nord and get off in Bruxelles Midi. Tickets need to be bought in advance online (prices start at €45/one way).
MUST DO | My absolute favorite tour in Brussels is Hungry’s Mary’s Beer and Chocolate Tour. I did it a few years back and found so many new little chocolate shops that even as a local I did not know!
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Travel Time: 2h10
Why go to Bordeaux: Often dubbed as the little sister of Paris, Bordeaux is quite simply spectacular. From the architecture to the wealth of museums and not to mention the proximity to vineyards!
What to do in Bordeaux: Oddly enough Bordeaux is one of the most popular day trips by train from Paris. Many Parisians have chosen to relocate to Bordeaux while working in Paris. Start at the Place de la Bourse, an architectural marvel facing the Garonne River. Wander through the historic Old Town, where the Bordeaux Cathedral and charming squares captivate.
I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art while my partner loved the Cité du Vin, celebrating the region’s viticultural heritage. The weather gods were not on our side, if not I would have taken a river cruise along the Quai des Chartrons!
How to get there from Paris: Take the TGV INOUI from Paris Montparnasse Hall 1-2 directly to Bordeaux Saint-Jean train station. Tickets need to be bought in advance online (prices start at €55/one way).
Travel Time: 2h20
Why go to London: I believe the answer to that question is pretty self-explanatory! London is positively brimming with restaurants, attractions, historical buildings and very good theater shows.
What to do in London: There is so much to do in the city, and it is sprawled out across a very large distance. If it is your first time in London then you will want to hit up the classics: Big Ben, Tower Bridge, British Museum, Westminster Abbey, and end the day with a show in the West End.
Some great shopping can be done in Covent Garden, the 7 dials, Carnaby Street, Soho, or on Bond Street. My absolute favorite museum is the National History Museum after which I usually pop in for a coffee next door at the V&A’s museum coffee shop as it is spectacular!
How to get there from Paris: If you are looking for easy day trips from Paris then London is about as easy as it gets. Hop on the Eurostar at Paris Gare du Nord and get off at London St. Pancreas Station. Tickets need to be bought in advance online (prices start at €60/one way).
BOOK TICKETS | Getting from Paris to London requires hopping on the Eurostar. This train ride can get very expensive if booked last minute. Compare prices on Omio and book the cheapest fair.
Travel Time: 2h20
Why go to Luxembourg: Luxembourg has the most eclectic mixture of people, architecture and activities on offer. Despite being tiny it manages to have a wine-growing region, a cider-producing region, great hiking, and some stellar castles.
What to do in Luxembourg: A day trip to Luxembourg from Paris is well worth it, even if the travel time is a bit long. I recently spent a few days in Luxembourg and my absolute favorite thing to do was to hike in Mullerthal.
If hiking does not tickle your senses, stick to Luxembourg City and walk around the historical center, step inside the Bock Casemates, and take the Pfaffenthal panoramic elevator. Alternatively, make use of the free public transportation and head to Vianden Castle.
How to get there from Paris: Take a TGV INOUI from Paris Gare de L’Est and get off in Luxembourg. Tickets must be purchased in advance, online.
Travel Time: 2h28
Why go to Bruges: There is nothing quite like the UNESCO-classified Historical Center of Bruges. The city feels like you have stepped right back into the Middle Ages. It is one of the most beautiful places in Belgium, if not Europe.
What to do in Bruges: I love to start my visit at the Grote Markt (Main Square) with the colorful gabled houses. If you are not afraid of heights, make your way of the Belfry for the best views of Bruges, weather permitting take a little canal cruise (it’s touristy but fun to do), stroll through the beguinage and the rest of the historical center.
How to get there from Paris: Hop on the Eurostar from Paris Gare du Nord and get off in Brussels Midi. In Brussels Midi take the local train in the direction of Blankenbergen, get off at the station Bruges. For the Eurostar leg of the journey, tickets need to be booked in advance. Tickets for the local train in Belgium can be booked in the Brussels Midi station.
SAVE TIME | Taking a day trip from Paris to Bruges by train is very long. Bruges is magical and worth spending enough time in to explore. It might be worth looking into taking an organized tour from Paris for this particular trip, just to make sure you do the city justice!
The Various Train Destinations From Paris on a Map
Have a look at the interactive Google Map to get an idea of where the various train rides from Paris discussed above are located. Yellow pins are places near Paris reachable in under one hour, red pins are reachable between one and two hours and purple pins are slightly longer than 2 hours.
Where to Stay in Paris
Using Paris as a basis to explore the various places around the city is a great idea. Finding a hotel in Paris might seem a little daunting – there is so much choice! Here are a few of my favorite, locally run and sustainable picks. Or simply check the various hotels in Paris available.
NEAR GARE DE L’EST: Hôtel Hor
Located 6 min walk from both Gare de L’Est and Gare du Nord. The hotel has a 24h reception, a little inner garden, and a terrace. Fully accessible to visitors with limited mobility. Good value/money proposition.
NEAR EIFFEL TOWER: Hôtel Duquesne Eiffel
Located in the 7th arrondissement, one block away from the Eiffel Tower. This mid-range hotel offers views of the Eiffel Tower and is surprisingly good value/money for the location.
BUDGET OPTION: Hotel Litteraire Marcel Ayme
This boutique hotel is located 350 meters from the Moulin Rouge and a 10-minute walk from the Sacre Coeur. Certain rooms have a view over the Eiffel Tower. Overall good value/money considering the location.
Train Travel from Paris – The Practicalities
Types of Trains to Take From Paris
RER (Réseau Express Régionale): Network of five suburban train lines that pass right through the city center, connecting outlying towns (within île de France) to the capital. When riding the RER you will need to use your ticket to exit the station, so do not lose it!
TER (Transports Express Régionaux ): France’s regional train which connects the entire country. They are your general run-of-the-mill commuter train. The TER trains and are slightly slower and make significantly more stops than the Intercity train.
INTERCITE: A fast train that connects larger cities to Paris. They usually cover a slightly longer route than the TER trains and are slightly slower and more budget-friendly than the high-speed trains. Tickets can be bought right before boarding the train, no prior reservation is needed.
NATIONAL HIGH SPEED TRAINS (TGV INOUI): Highspeed trains owned by the SNCF (French National Railway). Comparable in terms of price and amenities to Eurostar. Tickets need to be bought in advance. Connects large French cities to Paris via rail.
NATIONAL HIGH SPEED TRAINS (OUIGO): The low-cost variant of the TGV inOui. No frills high-speed train. Tickets need to be bought in advance.
INTERNATIONAL HIGHSPEED TRAIN EUROSTAR: Are run by a privately owned company and are the most expensive trains. They have plenty of amenities (free wifi, bar car and for some destinations a “silent car”). Tickets need to be booked in advance. Eurostar trains connect Paris to London, Lille, Brussels, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
INTERNATIONAL HIGHSPEED TRAIN ICE: Run by Deutsche Bahn (German National Railway) and are comparable in price to the Eurostar trains. They have plenty of amenities (free wifi, “no sound” car, etc.) and need to be booked in advance. ICE trains connect Paris to Germany.
TGV LYRIA: Jointly run by the SNCF (French National Railway) and the SBB (Swiss National Railway). These trains are comparable both in price and amenities to the Eurostar trains. They connect Paris to various destinations in Switzerland. Tickets must be booked in advance.
Purchasing Tickets & Taking the Train in Paris
How to purchase train tickets
Taking trips from Paris by train requires you to purchase tickets. For the high-speed trains you will need to book in advance (this can be done by comparing the price on Omio). For regular trains, you can purchase them via SNCF Connect app (the website is not very user-friendly) or at the SNCF vending machines in the stations.
When purchasing a train ticket at the train station in Paris, you will need to be sure not to mix up the tickets for the Metro, TER and RER trains. Metro and TER tickets can be bought from the same machine, the RER tickets are a different vending machine (marked Billets Grandes Lignes).
Finding the right track
In the larger train stations of Paris your track (quai or voie) will be announced anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes before boarding. Most stations have large digital screens on which you will see both your train, as well as the departure platform.
The larger stations have electric turnstiles, automatically validating your ticket. Should this not be available, make sure to find the yellow SNCF box to validate your ticket before boarding the trains.
Useful information: Check the latest timetables and book your tickets for both domestic and international trains online.
Store Your Luggage When Exploring Places Around Paris
If you are taking a side trip from Paris and need to store your luggage, there are plenty of affordable options.
INSIDE PARIS TRAIN STATIONS: Gare du Nord, Gare de l’Est, Gare de Lyon, Gare Montparnasse and Gare de Marne-la-Vallée Chessy have luggage storage facilities. Maximum length of storage: 72 hours. Prices vary between €5.50 to €9.50 per day, according to the size of the locker. Accept (credit) card payment. Service is not always 24 hours!
OTHER LUGGAGE STORAGE IN PARIS: Citylocker Paris offers fully automated luggage storage facilities across the city. Pick up and drop off between 8 am and 10 pm, prices start at €2/day depending on the size of the locker.
FAQ About Train Trips From Paris
What is a close train ride from Paris?
The closest train ride from Paris mentioned above is to the Château Vaux-le-Vicomte or to the city of Reims in the Champaign area of France.
Where can you go by high-speed train from Paris?
INSIDE FRANCE: Lille, Calais, Reims, Metz, Strasbourg, Dijon, Grenoble, Lyon, Avignon, Perpignan, Nice, Bordeaux, Biarritz, Lourdes, Toulouse, Nantes, Rennes.
TO OTHER COUNTRIES: Belgium (Brussels); Netherlands (Rotterdam, Amsterdam); Luxembourg (Luxembourg City); Germany (Köln, Munich); UK (London); Switzerland (Basel, Geneva, Lausanne, Bern, Zurich); Italy (Milan)
Is Brussels worth a day trip from Paris?
Heading to Brussels for a day from Paris is definitely worth it, provided you take one of the first trains in the morning. The easy connection (2 hours) will ensure you have plenty of time to get an idea of what Brussels has to offer.
Day trips from Paris by train to other countries
Paris is very well connected via rail to its neighboring countries. Realistic day trips from Paris include trips to Belgium (Brussels, Bruges) and Luxembourg (Luxembourg City). If you have a weekend you can definitely extend that list to include the Netherlands (Amsterdam), Switzerland (Lausanne), Germany (Aachen, Köln) and even Italy (Milan).
Which cities are closest to Paris by train?
There are a number of cities close to Paris and easily reachable by train including Reims (46 min); Lille (1h03); Amiens (1h07); Chartres (1h20); Rouen (1h23) and Orléans (1h33).
The Best Day Trips to Take From Paris via Train
My top five places to visit near Paris are Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte, Chateau de Versaille, Rennes, and Giverny in France and Brussels in Belgium. Each of these places can be easily reached from Paris, leaving you with plenty of time to explore and learn about their plentiful history.
Highspeed trains require tickets to be purchased in advance as the seats are assigned. The rule of thumb is akin to airline tickets, last-minute purchases are pricy. Compare prices via Omio. The RER, TER and INTERCITE trains do not have assigned seats. Purchase your tickets via Omio or directly at the station.
MORE TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR VISITING FRANCE
EASTERN FRANCE: Complete guide to the Jura mountains
SOUTHERN FRANCE: Villages in Dordogne you do not want to miss
SOUTHERN FRANCE: Castles in Dordogne worth visiting
SOUTHERN FRANCE: Explore Rocamadour, the prettiest village in France
SOUTHERN FRANCE: What to do in picture-perfect Saint Cirq Lapopie