Unusual Day Trips from Paris???

Jun 16th, 1998, 03:46 PM
Posts: n/a
Unusual Day Trips from Paris???

4-5 well travelled, women whose husbands will be attending a meeting in Paris need suggestions for fun day trips to amuse ourselves. We all have been to Paris several times as well as the usual trips ie, Versailles, Giverny, Loire Valley, Champagne etc. Does anyone have any suggestions? Would be best to travel by train, but would also consider a private limo service with driver/guide. Also, has anyone visited the Montparnasse cemetery?? I understand it's very interesting, and I enjoy visiting old cemeteries in Europe. And, if someone out there could confirm that a day trip to Chartres with lunch in that town would be a good idea via train, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.
Jun 17th, 1998, 05:48 AM
Posts: n/a
The book "Day Trips - France" would answer your questions about feasability of the Chartres trip - sounds easily do-able to me, and has many other great day-trip ideas by train. Another day trip we enjoyed was Chantilly and Senlis, also in the book.
Jun 17th, 1998, 09:39 AM
Posts: n/a
Sure, a day trip to Chartres with lunch would be
fine, assuming you have no walking limitations. As
I recall, the cathedral is a bit of a walk from the
train station, but not too far. Chantilly is one
of my favorite, even though I've seen some guidebooks
not recommend it that highly. I thought it was
wonderful--a beautiful chateau, beatiful gardens,
some other interesting artwork inside the chateau,
and even a horse museum nearby if you're interested.
It's quite a walk from the train station (maybe 1-1/2
miles)--if you enjoy walking, it's pleasant, though,
and I've heard you can easily get a cab or something.
Moret-sur-Loing (home of Impressionist painter
Sisley) is also a very nice day trip and a beautiful
little village. I suppose you've been to Fontainebleau,
if not, I preferred it to Versailles. Last summer,
I even did a day trip to Lyon--if you haven't seen
it, you might consider that. It's only 2 hrs by
TGV train from Paris, so is easily do-able in a day.
There are several good museums, a pleasant old town
and town square, interesting geography and cathedral,
etc.--a little something for everyone. And, I was
glad I did it in a day trip rather than staying
overnight on a trip because I think I actually saw
all I wanted to see in a day. I think there's an
8:00 train which gets there by 10 am, I went to
cathedral and old town, then town centre, had a
light lunch, then saw decorative arts and textile
museums, and finished up with light supper in a
brasserie before getting the 7 pm train back to Paris.
Dijon is even closer to Paris and also do-able
on a day trip.
Jun 17th, 1998, 09:47 AM
Posts: n/a
Oh, I forgot, I've seen the Montparnasse cemetery
many times as I've stayed in that neighborhood a lot
(for months), and my favorite hotel is right on the
cemetery. Well, it's right in central Paris so
isn't much of a commitment--you can look at it and
if you're not interested, just go elsewhere. It's
not as interesting as Pere Lachaise, I wouldn't say,
but if someone is buried there whose grave you would
find interesting to view, it's worth a visit.
If not, I probably wouldn't think so.
Jun 17th, 1998, 11:22 AM
Neal Sanders
Posts: n/a
Kam, I can think of three trips that aren't on your "been there done that" list.

The first is Chantilly, and the two descriptions above are quite good; we especially enjoyed the royal stables. I believe we went by car; it is perhaps 45 miles north of Paris, and Michelin can direct you to the "right" kind of restaurant.

The second suggestion is Vaux-le-Vicomte in Melun. We did this by train as a day trip; it is a short taxi ride from central Melun to Vaux, which was the home of a Finance Minister under Louis XIV (I think). The grounds are fabulous, the house is meticulously restored, and the place it in private hands, which in France means the tours are better and less crowded. Vaux is also frequently featured in films.

The third trip is the most ambitious: take the TGV to Dijon, rent a car, and see Burgundy. We did this as a day trip in exactly the same way; leaving at 7 a.m. and returning around 6 p.m. If price is only a minimal object and you want one of the gastronomic experiences of a lifetime (and which you can hold over your husband for years to come), book a lunch table at the Cote d'Or in Nuits St. George. Place yourselves in the hands of the chef, have the tasting menu, and lots of half-bottles of wine. It is one of those "wow" experiences that come along far too frequently. We did it back when the Cote d'Or had one star and was about to be awarded its second; it now has three stars and positively shines.

Hope you have a great trip.. Your advice to other travelers positively shines!
Jun 17th, 1998, 11:26 AM
Posts: n/a
Chartres would be very easy to do in a day from Paris. It is not far. I would guess 1 1/2 hours or less by train. An interesting stop on the line to Chartres would be Rambouillet (spelling) It is a small town that is set in the beautiful countryside of that area. This is the home of the Presidential Retreat of France. The small chateau has a beautiful garden and reflection pond. I believe that they do offer tours at certain times. I do not know the schedule. The chateau is close to the train station. This is about the only thing to see in Rambouillet but might be a nice stop for a meal on your trip to or from Chartres.
I also recommend Rouen, Reims or Dijon. These all can be easily visited in a day. The small suburb of Engiene les Bains (spelling?) to the north of Paris would be fun for a lunch if you have time. There is a manmade lake and boardwalk that dates back to the turn of the century. A large casino and thermal bath spa are also located on the small lake. This was once a lively recreational spot for Parisiens. This suburb is accessable by the small suburb trains. It is about ten minutes north of Paris, just east of Argentueil. The street that runs between the train station and the lake is lined with shops and restuarants. Some of the old charm has been spoiled but I think that you would enjoy it. The restaurant that is located on the old carousel site on the edge of the lake would be my suggestion for lunch. Enjoy and let me know what you think.
Jun 18th, 1998, 06:37 AM
wes fowler
Posts: n/a
Consider Compiegne about 50 miles north of Paris on the banks of the Oise River and accessible by train. The city has an interesting history; Joan of Arc was captured there in 1430 by Burgundians and turned over to the British. The armistice that ended World War I was signed in a railroad car in the forest of Compiegne. Louis XV had a chateau built that became extremely popular with him, his descendents and their mistresses. It now houses a museum of antiquities.

There is a superb family owned restaurant and hotel just outside the town near the forest. It is the Hostellerie du Royal Lieu, 9 rue de Senlis, tel: 44 20 10 24. A glass walled dining room overlooks a lovely, flower laden garden. Regional dishes and an extensive wine list are available. The chef and owner, Angelo Bonechi is a most convivial host.
Jun 18th, 1998, 08:29 AM
Posts: n/a
Thanks to everyone! Now comes the really hard part of getting all of us to agree on a couple destinations!

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