Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Paris for a Week – Looking for a Day Trip Outside the City

Paris for a Week – Looking for a Day Trip Outside the City

Old Nov 25th, 2014, 08:57 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 110
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Paris for a Week – Looking for a Day Trip Outside the City

Hello,

My wife and I will be staying in Paris for a week in the Spring. We will be relying on public transportation while there. I am looking for a day trip destination that we can travel to and back to Paris within the same day, while having enough time to enjoy ourselves while we are there. This will be our first time in France. It would be great to get out of the city for a day or two to see some more rural and tranquil parts of France. I look forward to the responses!

Thanks
VeeDubb is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2014, 09:23 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,038
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Chartres
Reims
Versailles
Fountainbleau
Sens
Bedar is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2014, 09:26 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 634
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Giverny is an easy train ride to Vernon, should be lovely in the Spring!
wunderbar2 is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2014, 09:33 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,066
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There are lots of threads on here about this, and while the search engine doesn't work for recent stuff, here is one example

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...s-422719-2.cfm

French Mystique Tours often gives long lists on this with URLs, and there is a URL in the above that should help you.

There are dozens you can do, so it depends on your interests. My suggestion is if you want "rural" and "tranquil" (most places aren't that tranquil near a big city, suburbs go for miles), I'd suggest Auvers-sur-Oise to the NW of Paris, you can easily get there by RER/suburban train and it is a small village where Van Gogh lived, but there is actually a few interesting things to see there. Just going to most rural towns isn't going to be that interesting, there is nothing to do there all day. see
http://www.tourisme.fr/697/office-de...s-sur-oise.htm
http://www.chateau-auvers.fr/
Christina is online now  
Old Nov 25th, 2014, 09:42 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
For rural feelins yes I second Christina's take on Auvers-sur-Oise and Giverny - quintessential French villages - others are largish cities but nice too - Chartres, Reims, Versailles and Provins, etc.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2014, 09:47 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 4,307
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Recommend "Paris to the Past" - great book that describes day trips from Paris and why you would want to go there.

In Spring, Giverny would be a great choice and maybe Chateau Vaux le Vicomte.

I also loved Reims for the Champagne houses and the magnificent cathedral. Fontainebleu is also nice.
denisea is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2014, 10:08 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 6,818
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
another vote for Monet's Giverny...we were there in early fall and it was still plenty colorful. Pleasant 45-50min. train ride and a little local bus picks up at Vernon station for the very short ride through the couuntry side to the site. There is a cafe' just across the street from the gardens. Check schedules, but if I recall, you catch the Vernon train at Gare St. Lazare. If its palaces you want, then Versailles and Fontainebleau would be your choices. Have a nice outing.
tower is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2014, 10:12 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,552
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just to make it easy for you and any others who search the "day trip from Paris" topic I'll re-post my day trip from Paris list:

If you want to go to anyplace that requires a reservation for train tickets (all TGV trains and many Intercités trains) you'll need to buy them 3 months in advance to get the cheapest ticket prices.
The cheapest train tickets are going to be the local trains near Paris that have fixed prices so you don't need to buy tickets in advance and you can also wait for the best weather day to do a day trip.

Here is a brief list that summarizes many of the most popular day trips from Paris (within an hour and a half by train). With the exception of Reims, Troyes and Rouen I haven't included places that require advance train ticket purchase to get the cheapest train ticket prices. The rest of the destinations are all local trains with fixed prices. There are certainly many other day trips you could also do but this list covers most of the biggies:

Provins (an authentic walled medieval town): http://www.provins.net/
Trains depart from Gare de l'Est. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules. Train ticket is Mobilis Pass zones 1-5.
__________________________________________________ ________________________

Château of Chantilly (wonderful fairytale château, famous art collection): http://www.chateaudechantilly.com/fr/
http://www.chantilly-tourisme.com/
Trains depart from Gare du Nord and arrive at Chantilly-Gouvieux. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ __________________________

Senlis (beautiful small medieval town can be combined with a visit to Chantilly):
http://en.senlis-tourisme.fr/
Take train to Chantilly (see above). Take bus number 15 from Chantilly to Senlis. Bus schedules here: http://www.oise-mobilite.fr/index.asp
__________________________________________________ ___________________________

Reims (champagne tours, great historic cathedral, museums):
http://www.reims-tourisme.com/
Take TGV train from Gare de l'Est. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices. Train tickets cheapest if purchased 3 months in advance.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Epernay (champagne tours): http://www.ot-epernay.fr/
Trains depart from from Gare de l'Est. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Fontainebleau (former royal town with famous château):
http://www.musee-chateau-fontaineble...mmaire&lang=en
http://www.fontainebleau-tourisme.com/index.php/en/
Trains depart from Gare de Lyon arrive at Fontainebleau-Avon. Take Bus 1 from train station to château. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules. Train ticket is Mobilis Pass zones 1-5.
__________________________________________________ ___________________________

Versailles (obvious):
http://en.chateauversailles.fr/homepage
http://www.versailles-tourisme.com/en/accueil.html
There are several possible ways to get here by train from Paris. Easiest (least confusing) is to take RER C from Paris to Versailles Rive-Gauche. Use www.ratp.fr for train info.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Château of Vaux-le-Vicomte (the château after which Louis XIV based his garden renovations for Versailles and IMO one of the most elegant château in France):
http://www.vaux-le-vicomte.com/en/
http://www.vaux-le-vicomte.com/en/useful-information
Trains depart from Gare de Lyon and arrive in Melun. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules. Train ticket is Mobilis Pass zones 1-5. Take taxi from Melun to château or in high season use the shuttle bus from Melun to château. See 2nd link above for further transport info.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Rouen (small city, lots to do, wonderful cathedral, medieval old center): http://www.rouentourisme.com/
Trains depart from Gare Saint-Lazare. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules. Tickets cheapest if purchased 3 months in advance. Last minute tickets cost 22.80€ each way (45.60€ round trip).
__________________________________________________ ___________________________

Giverny (Monet's house and gardens):
http://fondation-monet.com/en/
http://giverny.org/giverny/
http://giverny.org/gardens/index.htm
http://www.vernon-visite.org/index.shtml
Trains depart from Gare Saint-Lazare and arrive in Vernon. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices. Look at links above for info about shuttle bus to Giverny, or walking or renting a bike.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Chartres (the famous cathedral and wonderful old medieval town):
http://www.chartres-tourisme.com/en
http://www.discover-chartres.com/

Malcolm Miller Cathedral Tours:

Daily tours of Chartres Cathedral from Easter until late October are at 12 noon and 2.45 p.m. Not on Sundays, and during the winter occasionally or on request.

E-mail address is [email protected].

Trains depart from Gare Montparnasse. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ ______________________________

Compiègne (château with museums, wonderful old town. Can be combined with a visit to the château of Pierrefonds): http://www.compiegne-tourisme.fr/
Trains depart from Gare du Nord. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ _________________________

Château of Pierrefonds (Magnificent fairytale looking château. Reconstructed in the 19th century but magnificent nonetheless. Can be combined with a visit to Compiègne):
http://www.pierrefonds.monuments-nationaux.fr/
http://www.pierrefonds-tourisme.net/
http://www.compiegne-tourisme.fr/Le-...errefonds.html
Take train to Compiegne (see above). There are shuttle buses from Compiegne to Pierrefonds but they are infrequent. Use www.oise-mobilite.fr for bus info. Easiest means of access is taxi from Compiegne to Pierrefonds. The tourist office in Compiegne will assist with taxi service.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Troyes (lovely small medieval city):
http://www.tourisme-troyes.com/
Trains depart from Gare de l'Est. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Auxerre (lovely small medieval city):
http://www.ot-auxerre.fr/
http://www.burgundy-tourism.com/page...erre-1034.html
Trains depart from Gare de Lyon. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Laon (medieval hilltop town with a spectacular cathedral): http://www.laon-tourism.co.uk/
Trains depart from Gare du Nord. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ _____________________________
Crépy-en-Valois (charming little medieval town with 12th century châteaux, abbey ruin, quaint streets, nice park)
http://www.valois-tourisme.fr/ot_cre...nglish_version
Trains depart from Gare du Nord. Use http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ _____________________________
Crécy-la-Chapelle (small charming renowned artists village): http://www.cc-payscrecois.fr/Crecy-la-Chapelle,203.html Trains depart from Gare de l'Est. Transfer at Esbly to the next train for Crécy. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules. Train ticket is Mobilis Pass zones 1-5.
__________________________________________________ __________________________
__________________________________________________ _____________________________
Moret-sur-Loing (charming walled medieval village/artists village):
http://www.msl-tourisme.fr/index.php/francais/accueil
Trains depart from Gare de Lyon and arrive at Moret-Veneux-les-Sablons. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules. Train ticket is Mobilis Pass zones 1-5.
__________________________________________________ ___________________________

Auvers-sur-Oise (Van Gogh and other impressionist art history):
http://www.auvers-sur-oise.com/heading/heading899.html
Trains depart from either Gare Saint-Lazare or Gare du Nord. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules and prices.
__________________________________________________ ___________________________

Rueil-Malmaison (château of the Empress Josephine and a nice old downtown. On the RER A line and could be combined with a visit to Saint-Germain-en-Laye):
http://www.chateau-malmaison.fr/en
http://www.rueil-tourisme.com/EN/
Take RER A to La Défense and then bus 258 to Château de Malmaison. Also possible to take RER A to Rueil-Malmaison and then walk 1.5km to 2km to old downtown and then to château. Bus number 144 also available from RER station to get to downtown then walk to château. Use www.ratp.fr for transport info.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________

Saint-Germain-en-Laye (former royal town with a wonderful château now home to the national museum of archaeology. On the RER A line and could be combined with a visit to Malmaison):
http://www.ot-saintgermainenlaye.fr/en/
http://www.ot-saintgermainenlaye.fr/...of-archeology/
http://musee-archeologienationale.fr/
Take RER A from Paris to Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Use www.ratp.fr for train info.
__________________________________________________ __________________________

Barbizon (famous artists village, can be combined with Fontainebleau):
http://www.barbizon-tourisme.fr/
Trains depart from Gare de Lyon and arrive in Fontainebleau-Avon. Use www.transilien.com for train schedules. Train ticket is Mobilis Pass zones 1-5. It is necessary to take a taxi from Fontainebleau to Barbizon.
__________________________________________________ ___________________________

IMPORTANT NOTE: When using the http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ website here are a few tips. When entering Paris as your arrival or departure point you will notice a drop down menu appears when you start to type the word ''paris''. Select ''Paris (all stations – FR)'' and this will automatically bring up the correct train station in Paris for your journey. Be sure to uncheck the box marked ''Direct Trains'' to see all options.

If you are redirected to the RailEurope then try again and select ''Antarctic'' as your ticket collection country to avoid being redirected to the RailEurope website. The RailEurope website usually doesn't show all the trains and shows higher ticket prices. Be sure to also look at other ticket purchase options. If you are having troubles with the SNCF website you can try using a new ticket selling website called www.capitainetrain.com. You can also use the German rail site www.bahn.de for schedules but it will not give train ticket prices.

These are the most popular day trips and all are worthwhile but there are many other less popular and equally worthy day trips. I could easily list a couple dozen more but only if what's on this list doesn't interest you. A good guide book for the Île-de-France region should give you more ideas.

You'll need to take a train from Paris to do these day trips. For info on trains in Paris and the nearby suburbs (métro and RER trains and those TER trains that operate within zone 5) use the website www.ratp.fr. Use the interactive map on this website to plan your trip: http://www.ratp.fr/plan-interactif/carteidf.php?lang=uk. Parts of this website are in French so you can use an English language companion site www.vianavigo.com. You can also use www.transilien.com for métro and RER trains and those TER trains that are part of the Transilien network. Some TER trains on the Transilien network go beyond zone zone 5. It's a personal choice as to whether you prefer using the RATP or Transilien website.

A great website to learn about the Paris métro/bus/RER network is www.parisbytrain.com.

For trains that go further beyond the Île-de-France and outside of the Transilien network use the website http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/ A great website to learn about trains in France (and Europe) is www.seat61.com if you have any train questions/problems.

Paris and many of the places nearby in Île-de-France are divided into zones, numbered 1 through 5. Paris is in zone 1 and areas outside Paris are in zones 2 through 5. Some of the destinations I mentioned are in zone 5 (Provins, Fontainebleau, Moret-sur-Loing, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Crécy-la-Chapelle, Barbizon). For these journeys it will be more cost effective to buy a one day Mobilis pass for 16.10€ for zones 1 through 5. This will be cheaper than the point to point tickets round trip. Plus, this pass is good for unlimited travel on all public trains and buses for one day in zones 1-5. Buy it first thing in the morning before your first métro ride and it gets you to your train station, your round trip tickets, any buses you need to use at your destination and any traveling you'll do in Paris when you return. Before you use the ticket make sure to write your name and the date on the ticket. You can buy these passes from the ticket machines in métro/RER stations. The machines have an English language option. If so, look for the one day Mobilis pass option. When you get to the screen that lists your zones to choose from press zone 1 and then press zone 5. You can also buy them at any ticket counter. They are good for 60 days so you can buy it in advance if you want to be prepared. It's not valid until you write your name and date on it and validate the ticket on your first métro/RER trip or at the train station. If you buy the ticket at a main line train station before boarding a train be sure to stick it in the machine that validates tickets and it will punch your ticket.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2014, 11:49 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Impreesive - awesomely impressive FrenchMuystique - but I do suggest you investigate Provins, a wonderful medieval old town, ramparted, and add to your list - very easy day trip from Paris.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2014, 12:06 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,552
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Um, Provins is the very first destination on my list.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2014, 01:32 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,337
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think it is fine to want to do a day trip, but I would suggest you make the choice and have all the particulars of how to do it at the ready, and loosely schedule it for the last part of your week in Paris--AND see if you really want to take a day out of the city. Be flexible.
You've never been before--you may want to stay more than you realize.
Gretchen is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2014, 01:56 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 2,560
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Will you have a full week in paris (7 days) or 5 days on the ground with a day of travel on each end? If you have 5 days, it would be very easy to fill that time in Paris alone; with 7 days, a day trip would be doable and probably a bit of a respite. Will you be looking for a tour company or doing it on your own? If you would look at a very long day tour, perhaps find something going to Bayeux and the D-Day beaches if you're interested in history. If your interest is more around chateaus, gardens, etc, then the above suggestions are fine.

Just knowing the number of sites in Paris, your time could be consumed there alone!
cmeyer54 is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2014, 06:14 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,100
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
bookmarking
Iwan2go is online now  
Old Nov 25th, 2014, 06:32 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 4,350
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
bookmarking

Not planning to return in the near future, but geez, I sure won't find a comprehensive list like FMT's when I need it. Thank you.
michele_d is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2014, 08:00 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 200
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wonderful thank you . I'm in the midst of planning our trip in May so most helpful.
trumps is offline  
Old Nov 25th, 2014, 08:46 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,262
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 1 Post
Holy smoke, I think FMT's post just beat Stu's posts on the South of France and San Francisco!

Having been fortunate enough to have lived in France and been to Paris more times than I have fingers and toes, for the first trip to Paris and getting the feel you want, Giverny, without hesitation. And if you are agile enough and the weather is decent, take the Fat Tire bike tour, which is all inclusive from Paris.

https://paris.fattirebiketours.com/t...dens-bike-tour

I did their Paris night tour a few years back, and it was so much fun!
Surfergirl is offline  
Old Nov 26th, 2014, 02:29 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 110
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wow, so many great suggestions! I will review them all in detail. I would like to visit the Palace of Versailles. Which of the small towns mentioned would be feasible to combine with Versailles as a day trip. The small medieval towns sound the most interesting to me. Accounting for travel, we will have 5 full days in Paris, so I plan to only venture out one of the days and spend the rest of the time in the city.

Thanks again for all of the help!
VeeDubb is offline  
Old Nov 26th, 2014, 04:52 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 7
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I spent a day at Versailles and loved it, mostly because I enjoy history and looking at gilded rooms and ornate furniture. My two companions were a little bored but enjoyed walking through the gardens. I wish I had planned another day trip when I was in Paris - definitely bookmarking this page.
fivefeet is offline  
Old Nov 26th, 2014, 05:46 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,926
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You can bike with FMT himself. He does tours in and around Paris that get great reviews. You'd get a bike ride and a tour of villages and beautiful countryside.

http://www.frenchmystiquetours.com/

VeeDubb, if you're not a regular on the France forum, you may not know about FMT's many photo reports of his travels by bike around Paris. Here are links to two of my favorites.

http://anyportinastorm.proboards.com...2936=undefined

http://anyportinastorm.proboards.com/thread/4740
Coquelicot is online now  
Old Nov 26th, 2014, 05:54 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,552
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks everyone.

VeeDubb - None of the small medieval towns I mention are on the same rail line to Versailles or could easily be combined with a day trip to Versailles. Versailles has 3 train stations and the stop Versailles-Chantiers is on the same rail line as Chartres so it is technically possible to see both on the same day but it would be a very long day. I suggest seeing those places on separate days.

If you want to combine a magnificent château with a medieval town then the Château de Chantilly and the town of Senlis could be combined on the same day. Senlis and Provins are the two best medieval towns near Paris and the nice thing about the château in Chantilly is it is never crowded but it obviously lacks the Louis XIV associations.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:47 PM.