12 Scenic Day Trips from Paris by Train

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If you’re looking for the best day trips from Paris by train, you’re in the right place!

There are few things more romantic than a train ride through the French countryside. And, when you’re based in Paris, it’s easy to take advantage of the many day trips by train that are available.

From charming medieval villages to stunning coastal towns, there’s something for everyone within a few hours of the city! You can even travel all the way to Luxembourg or Belgium.

To help you make the most of your time, we’ve put together a list of the best day trips by train from Paris.

Whether you’re looking to explore the city’s history, enjoy some fresh air, or simply escape the hustle and bustle for a few hours, these destinations are sure to please. So, hop on board and enjoy the ride!

Day Trips in France from Paris

Lyon

buildings lining the edge of a river

Distance from Paris: 243 miles / 2-hour journey

How to get there: Direct train from Paris Gare de Lyon station to Lyon Part-Dieu station with TGV, Frecciarossa or OUIGO

Occupying the strategic position at the confluence of the Rhône and the Saône Rivers, Lyon makes for the perfect foodie day trip from Paris.

Just two hours by train, Lyon is the third-largest city and the gastronomic capital of France. From the cobbled lanes of Vieux Lyon to the checkerboard tablecloths of the city’s famed Bouchons, here are three things you cannot miss in Lyon.

Retrace the steps of ancient silk merchants in Vieux Lyon

One of the largest Renaissance old towns in Europe, Vieux Lyon showcases a well-preserved collection of some of the city’s best examples of French and Italian Renaissance and Gothic architecture.

Spread across three districts – Saint Jean, Saint Paul, and Saint Georges – the area stretches from Fourvière hill to the river Saône.

Characterised by colourful facades and hidden passageways, highlights of Lyon’s oldest quarter that mustn’t be missed include the Église Saint-Paul, Rue Juiverie, and Musée historique de la Ville de Lyon.

Take in the views from Fourvière Basilica

Take the funicular from Vieux Lyon to Fourvière hill to discover Lyon’s pilgrimage site. Home to several unearthed Roman sites, the area surrounding Fourvière Basilica holds historical significance far beyond the construction of the 19th-century church. 

Enjoy the sweeping views across the confluence and Lyon’s urban sprawl set against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains in a fairytale-like scene. Inside, you’ll find extravagant interiors decorated with intricate mosaic designs and elegant stained glass windows.

Indulge in typical Lyonnaise cuisine

At the heart of Lyon’s cuisine culture are bouchons, the understated dining establishments best known for their unfussy menus and checked red-and-white tablecloths. With just 22 certified bouchons in the city, this is your gateway to trying typical Lyonnaise dishes in all their glory.

From duck pate to roast pork, Lyonnaise food is indulgent with generous servings of meat accompanied by key ingredients including butter and onions, and a healthy portion of local wine. Café des Fédérations, Le Bouchon des Filles, and Café Comptoir Abel are three of the best.

Contributed by Bronwyn, travel writer and photographer at Bronwyn Townsend

Strasbourg

colorful buildings on a small river

Distance from Paris: 1 hour and 45 minutes (depending on the train booked)

How to get there: Direct train from Gare de l’Est to Strasbourg with TGV

Strasbourg is one of the best day trips from Paris by train.  The city offers so much it can please almost any interest. 

It is the largest city in the Grand Est region of France and one of four official seats of the European Parliament, so every modern convenience is available.  At the same time, both the historic city center and the neighboring Neustadt area earned spots on the UNESCO World Heritage list. 

When visiting Strasbourg, explore the medieval Grand-Île.  Place Kléber holds a storybook-ready Christmas market in December, and the Strasbourg Cathedral has an astronomical clock that tracks the position of the Sun and Moon and the timing of eclipses! 

Move on to the Barrage Vauban with its amazing rooftop views of the city as you cross it into Petite France’s picturesque canals lined with half-timber houses.

Outside the historic center, tour the wine cellar of a hospital with the oldest wine barrel-stored wine in the world! 

Venture further to Parc de l’Orangerie with a gelato stand, gorgeous green space and a lake, and a stork reintroduction center.  Or pay tribute to Strasbourg’s tumultuous geopolitical past by crossing a pedestrian bridge to Kehl, Germany, a tribute to the friendship between the cities.

Located on the border between France and Germany the trip may seem daunting.  However, due to the direct, high-speed trains from Paris, you can get to Strasbourg and start exploring in less than two hours. 

So if you are looking to explore beyond Paris, hop on the train for a beautiful Strasbourg day trip.

Contributed by Megan from Wandertoes

Metz

large canal split by historic building

Distance from Paris: 330 km/ 1:24 hours

How to get there: by Train (TGV) – from Paris-EST to Gare de Metz

A perfect destination for a day trip from Paris is definitely Metz. It is located in the northeast of France, close to the frontier with Germany and Luxembourg, and can be easily reached by train/TGV.

When visiting, you will enjoy plenty of amazing things to see because there is a wide offer of beautiful sites and attractions in this city.

One of the main highlights includes the Moselle riverfront, which enchants with a fantastic panorama. A visit is especially beautiful in summer, when people stroll along the riverbank, have a picnic, or take a romantic boat trip on the beautiful river.

But there are also some more attractions to explore, like the picturesque gardens, a historic old town, and the many delicious French restaurants and fine boutiques. Lovely to see is also the island of Saulcy, a lovely area connected by a bridge with many 18th-century buildings.

Certainly, don’t miss visiting the main attraction of Metz, the Metz Cathedral – Saint-Étienne – one of the most beautiful and largest Gothic church buildings in France.

Furthermore, worth seeing on a tour of the city center is the Opéra-Théatre de Metz Métropole (Opera House), which is one of the oldest opera houses in Europe.

For a sightseeing break, it is worth visiting Place Saint-Jacques, a pretty place known by locals and tourists for its many nice cafés and restaurants.

Recommended by PlacesofJuma

Bayeux

colorful flowers on a small river surrounded by buildings

Distance from Paris: 276 Kilometers

How to get there: SNCF Intercités trains connect Paris and Bayeux, making one stop in Caen it takes 2 hrs 17 mins.

Bayeux is a charming small French village in Normandy and home to the world’s oldest and most famous tapestry and close to the beaches of Normandy and the WWII Museums, Cemeteries, and memorials.

The town centerpiece is the stunning Notre Dame Cathedral de Bayeux which is over 900 years old with incredible stained glass windows a breathtaking interior and a creepy crypt.  

The River Aure runs through the town, and you will spot ancient watermills and flowers everywhere in this charming walkable town centre.

Make time to visit the Conservatoire de la Dentelle which dates back to the 17th century.

Serving the Bishop of Bayeux, two nuns came to the town and shared the art of lace making with the women of the town, and the Conservatoire maintains that tradition.

You can take classes at the Conservatory while in Bayeux.

Don’t miss the Tapestry of Bayeux, a 68-meter-long embroidered cloth that depicts the Battle of Hastings and the Norman conquest of England in 1066.

For dinner make sure you make a reservation at La Rapière which is located on a small ancient lane Rue St Jean. The restaurant is in a natural stone building dating from the 16th century.

Linda and Simon who own the restaurant speak English as do all their staff and the food is absolutely superb. 

Contributed by Faith of XYUandBEYOND

Provins

historic building on a large stone structure

Distance from Paris: 90 km (56 miles)

How to get there: Take the SNCF Transilien P line from Paris Est to Provins

Provins is a medieval city that has preserved much of its architecture and flair into the 21st century.

There are few places that make you feel like you’re traveling back in time like Provins. After leaving the train station walk into the old city center to wander through old medieval alleyways and take in the half-timbered houses that line the cobblestone streets. There is no record of the oldest building in the city but the Roman House is one of the oldest. It was built in the 12th century and is home to the Museum of Provins.

Make sure to visit the Tour César. It has served several purposes during its life and is one of the most prominent, and unique, buildings in the city.  Nearby is the Church of Saint-Quiriace which is mostly notable because Joan of Arc visited it during her lifetime (there’s even a little plaque outside the church). Cafes and restaurants line the squares near the church for a meal with a view.

Provins was fortified like most medieval cities and you can still walk along the ramparts that protected it. It’s free to walk on the ramparts. The best place to start is by Porte Saint-Jean (near the visitor center). There is a walking path along the outside of the ramparts as well.

If you’re visiting in the summer plan for a medieval festival. The town will come alive with knights, jugglers, parades, and even a ball. It’s definitely a fun way to experience the medieval city.

Contributed by Jami from Celiac Travel Pack

Disneyland Paris

people walking around entrance to amusement ride

Distance from Paris: 20 Miles

How to get there: Take Line A of the RER train system to the Marne-la-Vallee station which is adjacent to Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris (formerly Euro Disney) is a must-do day trip from Paris for any Disney fan. 

Located in Marne-la-Vallée, France, Disneyland Paris is actually comprised of two parks – Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. The parks are relatively small, and you can easily experience all the highlights in a day.

Top attractions include Pirates of the Carribbean, Space Mountain, Mad Hatters Tea Cups, Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy (Ratatouille: The Adventure) and so many more! 

Disneyland Paris also has Disneyland Village. Like Downtown Disney in the USA, Disneyland Village is a fun collection of shops, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues. There is no admission required to experience this part of the resort!

What sets this destination apart from its counterparts in the USA (Disneyland in Anaheim, California and Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida) are the authentic French touches everywhere.

Wonderful architecture, signs, decor, and unique touches can be found all over the parks. It’s this immersion in French charm and culture that makes a visit to this Disney destination an experience not to be missed!

Disneyland Paris is located just 20 miles east of Paris and can be reached in 40 minutes by train. The most popular way to travel from the city to Disneyland Paris is on the RER (Regional Express Network) commuter trains.

You can also take Eurostar, but that is a more expensive option. Either way, the Marne-la-Vallee train station is literally steps away from Disneyland Park, Walt Disney Studios Park, and Disneyland Village.

Contributed by Gwen from California Family Travel

Chateau de Fontainebleau

gold and velvet covered throne room in a historic chateau

Distance from Paris: Approx. 60 km, or 1 hour 15 minutes on the train.

How to get there: From Gare de Lyon, take the RER R train to Fontainebleau-Avon. You’ll find this train upstairs with the Grande Ligne trains, rather than downstairs with the Metro and other RER line trains. After you arrive at Fontainebleau, you’ll see a bus stop across the parking lot from the train station that says “Chateau”. Use a metro ticket to board this bus. It stops directly across from the Chateau, but you may want to get off a bit earlier (Bibliotheque stop), and walk the last block rather than waiting for the bus to circle round to the Chateau stop.

Chateau Fontainebleau sits right in the town of Fontainebleau, making it easy to wander around town and grab an ice cream or sit at a café. You can’t miss it- its grand circular front staircase is remarkable. 

The Chateau often gets overlooked for the more famous Versailles, despite having many grand rooms to visit and none of the crowds! 500 years old than Versailles, every French monarch lived here for almost 800 years- including such famous figures as Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and Napoleon.

The Chateau has over 1500 rooms, though only a portion is on view. Highlights include the highly decorated Grand Hall, as well as the sumptuous Chapel.

Napoleon’s throne room is on view, as is the table where he signed his abdication before heading to exile at Elba. Leave some time to explore the extensive gardens. You can explore on foot or take a small train that circles the gardens in a loop. 

It is closed Tuesdays. The Chateau is free to visit on the first Sunday of the month, with the exception of July and August.

Contributed by Cynthia from Sharing the Wander

Mont Saint Michel

large canal leading towards historic church

Distance from Paris: 340 km – 380 km (or between 3 – 4 hours) depending on the route you take.

How to get there: There are various options, but the easiest is to take a train from Gare Montparnasse to Villedieu-Les-Poêles, and from there, you can take a bus to Mont Saint Michel. The bus fare is catered for when you buy the train ticket from the SNCF website.

Mont Saint Michel is undoubtedly one of the best day trips from Paris. Located on the coast of Normandy, this landmark looks like a mystical castle rising from the sea during high tides, but a closer look will treat you to a stunning fortified community.

Like many French landmarks, the history of Mont Saint Michel is quite interesting. It all started with Archangel Micheal appearing to Aubert of Avranches (bishop of Avranches) to construct a church on a rock to honor him.

Although it didn’t happen instantly, over the years, the vision became a reality, and the Abbey as we know it today was constructed.

Throughout history, Mont Saint Michel has been used as a pilgrimage place, a home to monks, and a prison at one time, and today, it is one of the most visited places in France.

On your day trip to Mont Saint Michel from Paris, you can admire the beauty of the Abbey, walk along the city ramparts, and probably the most exciting is to walk around the bay when the tides are low! Just make sure to go at the right time to avoid being stuck when the high tides come.

Other exciting things to do in Mont Saint Michel include walking through the various streets exploring all the hidden gems and restaurants, visiting the small cemetery of Mont Saint-Michel, and although not impressive, if you still have time, you can visit one of the museums of Mont Saint Michel.

And for foodies, you may want to try a typical Normandie omelet prepared at La Mère Poulard along the Grand Rue or simply just watch how it’s made if you can’t make sense of the high price attached to it.

Contributed by Esther from Dreams in Paris

Giverny

Distance from Paris: 70 kms / 50 minutes by train 

How to get there: The easiest way to get to Giverny from central Paris is to take the train from Paris Gare St Lazare to Gare de Vernon-Giverny. Trains depart several times daily, and the journey takes around 50 minutes.

Giverny is a delightful place to visit, just 70 kilometres northwest of Paris, and very straightforward to get to by train from central Paris. 

Upon arrival in Giverny, jump on the little tourist train that transports you from Gare de Vernon-Giverny to Monet’s Garden in Giverny. The tourist train provides an interesting commentary en route on the area. 

A bus also departs regularly from the train station to Giverny car park, just a short walk from Monet’s Garden. 

Allow at least two hours to stroll the property, especially the Japanese gardens. Ideally, arrive early and avoid visiting on weekends if possible to enjoy exploring these beautiful gardens that inspired impressionist artist Claude Monet without the crowds. 

From there, take a walk through the pretty village of Giverny. Stop at one of the many cafes for coffee or a light lunch. Pop in one of the many tiny art galleries along the way. 

On the other side of Giverny, stop by the local church and visit the grave of Monet. 

When it’s time to leave, take the bus or tourist train back to the station. If you are feeling more energetic, why not follow the walking trail along the train track, and walk the five kilometres back towards the station? It’s a lovely walk through the French countryside. 

Contributed by Sarah from Life Part 2 and Beyond

Rouen

aerial view of a city with a large church

Distance from Paris: 130 kilometres

How to get there: take a regional train for 1.5hrs from Saint Lazare station

Rouen is an excellent day trip from Paris: it’s easy to reach, cheap, and you’ll find many things to do just by walking around the town. 

The train is direct from Gare St Lazare, and you can easily explore this beautiful town in Normandy on foot from the train station. It only takes a few minutes to walk to the heart of the city.

The cobbled streets for pedestrians only are very charming with their beautiful half-timbered houses and the unique Gros Horloge.

Take a detour to the Palais de Justice nearby and, of course, to Notre Dame de Rouen, France’s highest cathedral.  Surprisingly, it’s not the only interesting religious building nearby.

Just a few hundred metres further, the Abbatiale St Ouen is stunning too. Arts enthusiasts should not miss the Beaux-Arts Museum, France’s second-biggest impressionist art gallery.

And those who like history will be interested in seeing the square where Joan of Arc was burnt.

Finally, if you have time and don’t mind walking a bit more (or catching the bus), the view from the top of Mount Sainte Catherine is lovely. 

For your lunch break, you’ll find many squares in Rouen with a few restaurants with terraces if you’re visiting during summer. Rue Eau de Robec is also a good choice. Alternatively, if you’re on a budget, you can bring a picnic or buy a sandwich and eat it in the Gardens of the Hotel de Ville (Town Hall).

Contributed by Eloise from MyFavouriteEscapes.com

Bordeaux

pristine buildings lining a river at night

Distance from Paris: 590km

How to get there: Hop on a direct train from Paris Montparnasse station to Bordeaux St-Jean station for a 2 hour 15-minute journey through the beautiful French countryside. Shave ten minutes off your travel time by using the high speed TGV INOUI service. There are 19 trains from Paris to Bordeaux daily, making your day trip from Paris easy to organise.

If you’re on vacation in Paris and want to see more of the country, a day trip to Bordeaux will not only transport you through the most delightful landscapes; you’ll get to see the capital of Aquitaine and the world capital of wine!

Bordeaux is a vibrant city where Roman, medieval and contemporary architecture sit side by side and where wine and regional gastronomy are celebrated. 

Wander the historic city centre to see the famous Miroir d’eau (Water Mirror) on the Place de la Bourse, one of the most photographed places in the city. A slightly older attraction is the 35-meter-high Porte Cailhau, which was built in 1494 as the main entrance to the city. 

Other must-sees include the Basilica of St. Michael, famous for La Fléche (the spire), the 114-meter high bell tower which dominates the building. Make sure to climb to the top for wonderful views of the River Garonne and skyline of Bordeaux, and the Monument aux Girondins, with its high column, water fountains, and horse statues.

After you’ve explored and had a stroll along the river, head to the district of Bacalan for La Cité du Vin, a museum dedicated to wine in a highly modern building.

Whether you’re a wine expert or just enjoy drinking it, the museum has something for everyone. You will discover the history of wine, wines from across the world, and how wine is made.

You can, of course, sample many of the wines of the Bordeaux region during your visit!

Contributed by The Gap Decaders

Paris to Luxembourg Day Trips by Train

Luxembourg

aerial view of a city center with white, peach, and tan buildings

Distance from Paris: 178 Miles ( 4h 5 min approximately)

How to get there: You can take a train from Paris Gare De L’Est to Luxembourg

As France and Luxembourg are so close to one another, visiting for a day trip from Paris makes a great decision.

The tiny area of Luxembourg makes it an ideal destination for a one-day trip. With a very small population of 500,000 people, this country can be considered a town. In fact, the place is so small that it is itself called the capital of Luxembourg.

Taking the train from Paris to Luxembourg is a quick and easy option. Keep in mind that Gare de l’Est is where these trains leave from in Paris. The Paris Gare de l’Est station operates a direct TGV line to Luxembourg.

To reach the high-speed line on the outskirts of Paris, they pass through densely populated areas. And then it’s a little tour east through Champagne country to Lorraine.

Leaving the high-speed track in the Moselle Valley, the train follows the river north via Metz and Thionville, and then it’s just a 20-minute journey over the border into Luxembourg.

Due to its long and influential history in Europe, Luxembourg is home to a rich cultural heritage. More than that, if you take the train journey, you will find that it is among the most beautiful sites on the whole continent.

Wondering where to stay in Luxembourg? Consider DoubleTree by Hilton Luxembourg as it attracts many tourists and has great ratings.

Contributed by Paulina from Paulina on the Road

Day Trips from Paris to Belgium

Ghent

old buildings on a river connected by a bridge

Distance from Paris: ~ 2.5 hours by train or 300 km

How to get there: Take the train from Gare du Nord in Paris to the Brussels – South Railway Station, then change to another train in Brussels to arrive at Gent-Sint-Pieters

Spending the day in Ghent, Belgium is like walking into a medieval storybook setting with the buildings, the canal, the cobbled streets, the crisp morning smell, and the beautiful sunshine. Ghent is a perfectly charming European town that is one of the best day trips from Paris by train.

Meander along Korenlei Street next to the canal in the center of the historic district as you walk past the Korenmarkt and St. Nicholas’ Church to tour St. Bavo’s Cathedral. 

St. Bavo’s has 300 crazy narrow steps to reach the bell tower! But the view is totally worth the effort. (Note * there is an elevator that you can take part of the way up).

For lunch, enjoy the quaint but tasty SoupLounge on Zuivelbrugstraat. The offerings are fresh, tasty, and filling with vegan and gluten-free offerings. Every day the cafe offers four different soups “prepared with love”.

Enjoy a boat tour along the canal after exploring St. Bavo’s Cathedral where you get up close and personal with The Gravensteen or “Castle of the Counts”. This medieval castle has a gatehouse, keep, ramparts, count’s residence, and stables. And don’t overlook the castle’s unique collection of torture devices.

If you happen to be in Ghent at night, stand on St. Michael’s Bridge for a beautiful vista of the romantic side of Ghent.

Contributed by Jolayne from simplyjolayne

We hope you enjoyed this post on the best day trips from Paris by train. Enjoy your trip!

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