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Day trips from Paris

We are renting an apartment for a month in Paris in September. We would like some ideas for some good day trips---perhaps to some small towns worth exploring.... Thanks

Posted by
3580 posts

Rouen, historic and walkable. Jeanne d'arc died there. There is a church dedicated to her memory. Rouen cathedral. Frequent train service. Vibrant small city.

And, of course there is Monet's Giverny with gardens and home intact. Fall isn't the best time for blossoms, but still worthwhile.

Posted by
14251 posts

Actually, I went to Giverny the last week of last Sept and was shocked at how much was blooming. The gardens were really beautiful.

If you do go to Chartres, make sure it is a day when Malcolm Miller does his cathedral tour. He is excellent and it is well worth going on a day when he is presenting since you will have plenty of choice in your selection of days.

Posted by
12 posts

I would second day trip to Chartres. My husband and I did it last year. I have some recollection that Malcolm's tours are twice a day--maybe noon and early afternoon but there is plenty of info. online--well worth his tour if you can catch it and he's still doing it--he's quite elderly. The stained glass windows and church are just breath taking and inconceivable how they were made at the time they were. Very easy train ride from Paris and just walk up hill. Cute little town with plenty of dining options as well.

Posted by
5059 posts

You can visit Reims as a day trip but it will be a long and busy day. You should be able to really do it justice with a one night stay if you get there early in the a.m. and leave late the next p.m. Two restaurants come to mind. Across from the cathedral (which is interesting because of the Chagall glass) is Au Bureau with outside tables and is good for lunch. The other is Le Gran Café on Place Drouet. We went to the Martel champagne place and found it to be very interesting. It is easy to get to on the city bus from the area of the train station. The Museum of the Surrender (?) where the peace treaty ending WWII was signed is also well worth a visit.

Posted by
7078 posts

I stayed in Paris for a month and took day trips to Giverny, Versailles, Chartres. There are so many options that books have been written about them. Here's a website with some good ideas:

http://www.beyond-paris.com/

Posted by
6670 posts

Here is the page re Malcolm Miller's tours on the Chartres Cathedral website. It appears to be current, he normally does two a day till October, except Sundays. Chartres is an easy hour-long train from Gare Montparnasse, and the town is worth exploring as well as the cathedral. A full day would be rewarding.

Versailles of course, a mob scene but uniquely magnificent. See many posts on this board, and the RS guides, about strategies to maximize enjoyment and minimize hassle. Other chateaux, comparable in beauty and/or historic significance but much smaller, would include Fontainebleau and Vaux le Vicomte.

The St-Denis Basilica is a very early example of the Gothic style and contains the tombs of most of the French kings and queens. In a gritty suburb but quite doable by Metro.

I haven't been to Giverny but it's on my list.

Reims is a stretch for a day trip but many people do it. The cathedral is magnificent and there's also a wonderful Roman gate a few blocks north, not far from the station. Champagne is another attraction for those inclined.

Normandy and the Loire are, in my view, too far for day trips. There are some but the schedules look frantic. With a month in Paris, you might consider carving out a few days for one or the other area. Fast train to Tours (Loire) or Caen (Normandy), then rental car. Likewise Burgundy (train to Dijon).

Ina Caro's Paris to the Past describes many nearby historic sights reachable by train, with her appealing personal take on each.

Lucky you, to have a month! Enjoy it all!

Posted by
8230 posts

There are dozens of day trips an hour from Paris. I would suggest getting Simm's book 'An Hour From Paris' and doing some of the trips (she focuses on less well known sites and not easy things like Versailles, Giverny, Auvers sur Oise and Chartres which most guidebooks showcase. (all good) Take a look at:
https://janettravels.wordpress.com/category/day-trips-from-paris/
for some of our recent day trips to get some ideas of interesting and easy trips near Paris.

By September I think the metro/RER system is supposed to be dezoned so you can buy a monthly Navigo Decouverte for September that will go to all zones for the same price.

We will be there the month of October and are also looking forward to many more day trips -- I would particularly recommend Auvers sur Oise where Van Gogh lived his final weeks as well as Chartres (be sure to do a Malcolm Miller lecture at the Cathedral if available -- he must be in his mid 80s by now so this is not always going to be available) and I would also go to Giverny. We went to Versailles about 20 years ago and are not planning to go to the chateau again but are looking forward to spending a day in the gardens -- We just saw the movie 'A little Chaos' - a fiction about the building of one of the fountains and it whet our appetite for seeing those gardens again.

Posted by
41 posts

We are doing a day trip to Reims - I can keep you posted. We leave for Paris in two days!

Posted by
4684 posts

Try Fontainebleau - less crowded and older alternative to Versailles, with some pretty spectacular rooms.

Be aware that the Paris Museum Pass covers a large number of attractions within the wider region as well as central Paris.

Posted by
6 posts

Have a great trip! How long will you be in Paris? Eager to hear about Reims. How do you pronounce it?

Posted by
6 posts

Has anyone been to any of the following villages: Boughival, Eragny, Pontoose, Moret -sur-loing, or Trouville? These are just some that others have mentioned.
Has anyone tried Wili's Wine Bar?
How about the big public libraries like Richelieu? Saint Genevia? Mazarine?

Posted by
2030 posts

I too recommend Chartres and Fontainbleau.
I also highly recommend touring the Loire Valley -- not really a day trip, but fantastic. City Vision has a one and 2 day tour of this area.
I took the 2-day tour and saw everything that Rick Steves shows in his latest Loire Valley show. Highly recommend checking it out.

Posted by
41 posts

@KTMCOOL - 7 days arrive Saturday morning and leave the following Saturday morning. Not Reems. I have a friend fluent in French and has helped with pronunciation - but have I have no idea how to write out the pronunciation. Google translator gives you audio - you should try it.

Posted by
6670 posts

Reims and Rennes are in the same country but not on the same page. "Rahnce" is pretty close for Reims, but the vowel is like "a" in "advocate" and the "n" is just a nasal sound, not a full "n" like we'd do. Not hard to pronounce but best to hear it and imitate. Rennes is just "Renn."

Posted by
6670 posts

bwfields -- It's about 90 miles each way, I haven't been there and don't know the trains. Important cathedral and Jules Verne's house if that interests you. I suggest you post a separate question about Amiens as a day trip from Paris -- you'll get more useful replies sooner and ktmcool won't have to read them all! ;-)