Day Trips from Paris

Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 11:34 AM
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Day Trips from Paris

I have 10 days in Paris. I would like to take separate day trips to Chartres, Fontainebleau, Versailles, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Saint-Denis. Would it make more sense to stay in Paris the entire time or see Paris then get another accomodation more close to my day-trip interests? And if so, where would you recommend? Thank you for all your advice.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 11:48 AM
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I would recommend that you stay in Paris and travel by train to these destinations. For example, you go to the Montparnasse station to take the train to Chartres which is only about an hour trip, each way. If you leave in the mournings, you will have enough time, in my opinion. Just be sure you go to the right rail station since there are five in Paris.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 11:51 AM
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Thank you for your reply. Is there a Paris Guide you would recommend to help with getting train tickets and guiding you to the right train?
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 12:20 PM
Eye Spy
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I highly recommend a day trip to Fontainebleau. Not only is it one of the most important historic chateaux in all of France, but also very accessible via public transport and the train. Just remember how grandiose it is; definitely a long, long day. Same for Versailles. If you haven't been to either, visit Versailles first. You can do Fontainebleau on another trip.

check out Parisian Travel Authority at

Check out Fontainebleau at:

Check out Versailles at

Check out Vaux-le-Vicomte at Vaux, however, is less accessible and you'll have to take a rather costly taxicab from Melun train station to the chateau and then back again.

Chartres is another pleasant trip by train and easily done in one day. YOu can check out train times on
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 01:11 PM
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We spent the day in Brussells, just 1 hour and 20 minutes on the Thalys Train from Paris Nord to Brusslls Midi. Hourly trains on weekends and halfhourly during week.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 01:20 PM
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A suggestion for the day trip to Vaux le Vicomte ( my favourite chateau) would be to rent a car from hertz at gare Montparnasse and drive there and include in the trip a stop in Fountainbleu to see the chateau, have lunch and also a sidetrip to Barbizon.
These stops are all relatively close. The drive out of Paris is not too bad because you can turn right out of the gare and follow the same street till you get to the autoroute. I believe that it is Boul. Maine. Outside of Paris itself, you can easily find the Seine and follow it by car and see some impressive houses and smaller chateau.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 01:47 PM
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When we were planning our two-week trip to Paris last May, we were advised by the experts on this board to make no more than 2 or 3 day trips during our stay, because there was just too much to see and do in Paris. We followed the advice and took 2. (Incidentally, we still didn't see everything in Paris that we wanted to see!)
Based on our experience, I would recommend you follow suit. Which ones? Again, based on our experience, I'd suggest that you research the day trips you mentioned and decide which 2. It's win/win situation, as no matter which ones you select from you list, you'll have memorable experiences.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 02:17 PM
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Thank You! Thank you! Thank you! for all your wonderful advice. I have a lot of fun research to do based on your recommendation. I appreciate each and every comment.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 02:28 PM
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Hi Mike
I have some information on daytrips in my Paris file; if you'd like to see it, email me.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 04:52 PM
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hi, i would recommend Versailles, and Fontainblaues, as this places are marvelous, but giverny, the monet gardens are also worth to be visited
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 05:25 PM
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My favorite day trips have been to Vaux-le-Vicomte and Auvers-sur-Oise. I have a file on these and others.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 05:32 PM
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Mike, I think Saint-Denis is a half-day trip at most. I used to like going there when one could wander among the tombs. They were "fenced off" the last time I was there. Boots
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 05:41 PM
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Paris Walks has a terrific St.Denis walk -well worth it for the history (2 hours). Easily reached on the Metro.
I have had 2 10-day trips to Paris within the last year, and it was hard tearing myself away for the daytrips! I did go to Versailles and Giverny. Next time (in May) Chartres for sure and possibly Fontainebleau. Versailles is a good, long day.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 09:01 PM
Bob Brown
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I endorse the idea of renting a car for driving to Vaux-le-Vicomte and Fontainebleau. Both can be done in one day, and both attractions rank high on any absolute list of premier places to visit in the Paris area.

I tried to see both by train, and taxi in one day. I accomplished the Fontainebleau visit easily. A train from Gare de Lyon took us to the Fontainebleau Avon station rather quickly. A bus, timed to the train, took us directly from the station to the palace gates and back again. The bus route goes right down the main street of the city, which within itself is pleasant and interesting to visit.

Vaux-le-Vicomte was another matter. We got to the train station in Melun ok from Fontainebleau, but there is no bus from the city to the chateau. The taxi was efficient, but the ride out and back was 20 e each way.

Additional problems developed later when we tried to take an evening train back to Paris. I have described that episode elsewhere and will not repeat it here.

If Fontainebleau alone as an objective is sufficient for the day, then freelancing with public transportation is quite easy. But, if you are doing both, I think your own means of transportation would lead to more efficient use of time and money. The only difficulty I foresee is getting back to Paris through rush hour traffic around 5 PM.

The difficulty with a bus tour is that the one we took did not allow enough time to tour the gardens as much as we wanted. We got to see them, but not to the extent desired.

The other issue that was raised in this discussion was that of time to visit attractions in Paris itself. I think you will have enough time to visit a wide number of places in 10 days, if you plan efficiently. I personally allocate carefully my time at the Louvre based on my interests. There is a lot to see there, but unless you are a real art lover, I am not sure how well two days there would be spent. After seeing about 50 paintings from the Italian Renaissance, they all start to look alike to me.

Also, don't ignore many of the so-called second tier attractions in Paris. We discovered the Musee Jacquemart Andre, Musee Nisim de Camondo, and Hotel Soubise last year. It made me wonder why I missed them the first two times. Well, the answer is simple, I did not know about them the first my first visit, and I ran out of time the second. So I saw them the 3rd time around.

I thought the Musee Picasso not worth the effort, but Picasso lovers will say otherwise. It depends on what you like. Some people recommend the Musee Marmottan. My own view is that it is great if you want to see various stages of Monet's works, but if Monet is not your man, then Marmottan loses some of its attraction.
Old Jan 3rd, 2003, 05:30 AM
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Ron, could you give more details about your day trip to Auvers-sur-Oise? Thanks.
Old Jan 3rd, 2003, 10:11 AM
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How much does it cost to rent a car for a day in Paris? I like the idea of renting it at Gare Montparnasse, as suggested above. Has anyone rented either there or elsewhere for day trips?
Old Jan 3rd, 2003, 11:56 AM
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All of those are so close to Paris that it wouldn't make sense to move hotels. Given you want to do a lot of day trips and will be in Paris I while, I strongly recommend you buy the book "Day Trips in France" by Earl Steinbicker. It will give you all the details on itineraries, what to see, and even maps in the day trip areas so you know how to get from the train station, etc.

I don't think they include St-Denis, but that's easy as it's right on the metro line and they have a good online web site with info (plus the tourist office is very close to the metro stop; the basilica is right in front of the tourist office). I have info on that day trip (and two others) on my Paris web pages at

Go to my Paris pages, then at the bottom of page click "off the beaten path" for my day trip info. There is also details on a day trip to St-Germain-en-Laye, which you also could consider.

I've been to Auvers and really liked that one a lot, also. They have a good web site with walking tour maps, lists of interesting sites and info, etc, so you don't need much more:
That has been discussed in several posts on here, also, and should be easy to find with a search. That's easy to get to by taking RER to Pontoise and then transfer to a sub. train to Auvers for a bit.

You can take metro/RER to Saint-Denis, Auvers, Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte (to Melun), but need the SNCF train for Fontainebleau and Chartres.
Old Jan 7th, 2003, 12:15 PM
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We just got back from Paris and enjoyed a day trip to Chantilly and Senlis. Senlis was a marvelous old town with ancient Greco-Roman walls, great shops and restaurants, and the cathedral that inspired Notre Dame. We took the train from Paris Nord to Chantilly, and used the local bus to get back and forth between Senlis and Chantilly.
Horse enthusiasts should really consider this day trip as you get to see the magnificent stables at Chantilly, the Living Museum of the Horse, horse exhibitions/shows, and two horse museums in Senlis - Museum of the Hunt and Museum of the Horse.
Old Jan 7th, 2003, 02:47 PM
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The highlight of a trip to Auvers-sur-Oise is the impressionist show at the Auvers Chateau. They have a web site.

When planning these day trips it is a good idea to consult the SNCF [Traveling in the Paris Region] web site for train schedules, because there will be options and time variations. For example, the trip to Melun can be three times longer on the RER than the regular train.

I have assembled a file that I am happy to e-mail.
Old Mar 9th, 2003, 11:14 AM
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Does anyone know if Giverny is do-able on your own without a car? Train to Vernon and ? I'm taking a friend who has never been to Paris, and that would be my No. 1 choice for a day trip (plus Versailles).

Elaine & Ron, if you are still checking, I'd like your file on day trips. [email protected]

Christina, I tried accessing your site to no avail, but my computer has been recalcitrant lately.
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