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Day trips from Paris recommendations???

My stressed out and workaholic best friend and i have rented an apartment for 3 weeks in Paris ( directly in front of Luxembourg Gardens and Palace) from the time period of Oct 18- Nov 7 th and I was hoping to get some advice on short 2 hour day trips from Paris to plan? ( We nixed the road trip plan from south France as it was too stressful and complex to plan in such a short time period and we are stressed enough! Maximum train time commute would be 2 hours maximum from Paris via TVG. Also- we are reserving a week worth of French cooking classes for our first week there. So far I have :
Lyon-via TVG -takes 2 hours (i believe)

Posted by
2916 posts

With the incredibly efficient French TGV system, you can cover almost half of France in 2 hours trips (e.g., Strasbourg, a 5+ hour drive otherwise). But why not relax and enjoy Paris.

Posted by
22 posts

I totally agree with you- we are planning to stay local for most of our days. I just thought that it would be nice to take a day trip or two per week of some nice wineries on the closer side to Paris.
I with you on relaxing and enjoying. Thank you....:)

Posted by
893 posts

Why not go to Epernay or Reims and enjoy some champagne? Great way to reduce that stress!

Posted by
768 posts

Not a winery, but...Versaille is a very nice and easy day trip, and walking around the gardens is relaxing. Visit when the fountains are running, weekends I believe. Also, Giverny (Claude Monet's home and gardens) was wonderfully relaxing; I don't know what's in bloom in October, but it's worth looking into. I think there is public transportatin to his home, perhaps a bus trip (we had a car). Luxembourg Gardens is a great place for stressed out people to relax! I have such fond memories of that park from our 2009 trip. My 7 year old daughter had a great time on the cool playground and even had a pony ride in the park. Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
2916 posts

I see you like wine. While the suggestion of Reims or Epernay isn't bad, you'll pretty much only get to tour the big Champagne houses with their Disney-like formal tours. Better than nothing, but hardly worth the trip, although Reims itself is beautiful. You might want to look into the Loire Valley, although wineries are pretty spread out. But you might find day tours from Paris, and Loire wines are the best IMO. And for wines while in Paris, check out the following blog post: http://www.wineterroirs.com/2012/09/wine_trip_in-paris.html

Posted by
8419 posts

Other ideas... Vaux-le-Vicomte. It's less than 2 hrs from Paris, it's a wonderful chateau with extensive grounds. Very enjoyable. It's where they filmed "Man in the Iron Mask" with Leonardo di Caprio. Malmaison. Home of Josephine and Napoleon. Both in RS Paris book.

Posted by
22 posts

Thank you Robert, Dina, Kerry and Susan, I am researching now potential wine tours or wineries in Loire -maybe in the cities of Amboise and Tours (although we may take the train in order to cut the costs as the tours seem to be 200 Euros ) and float into some wineries there??? We may do the Loire Valley the first week along with Mont St Michel as the 2nd day trip for that first week as well . We will do Versailles one day then and Vaux le Comte and possibly Fontainbleu in one day together ( since they look close to each other. Reims , Strasbourg day trips for the 2nd week and then Lyon, Beaune, Dijon, For the 3 rd weeks ( 2 day trips per week) . These are the cities that I've chosen as day trips and I plan to do 2 of them per week during our stay. The rest of the days will be spent enjoying Paris. Are all of these cities accessible by train or bus? I also hope that these cities have wineries also to visit. Thank you all ,
Laura

Posted by
46 posts

Laura: I recently asked the same question. One of our fellow travelers recommended a book. We found it and it will be going to Paris with us. It will be a great help. The book is 'Paris to The Past', by Ina Caro. The book describes short trips from Paris by metro or RER. The first chapter starts with Saint Denis and which metro line to take. We have been to Paris many times and I can't believe we never went to many of the places she writes about. We're going in November and can't wait to check these places out.
Jana

Posted by
2916 posts

I've been to most of those cities you mention, Laura. Most of them do not have wineries w/in the city proper (with the major exception of Reims and Beaune, which have negociant houses), and in some cases it would be impractical to get to wineries from them as part of a day trip. But you might be able to find satellite tasting rooms in some of the cities (Amboise comes to mind), or wine bars.

Posted by
83 posts

On this website check out today's (9/17) European Travel News. Guardian piece on day trips from Paris. Excellent info.

Posted by
69 posts

Congrats on what sounds like a great trip. We stayed in an apartment in Paris, then traveled by tgv to tours and rented a cr right at the train station. While we planned to do only chateau country, we changed plans after talking to the waitress at dinner the first night and visited two wineries in the area. One was marc bredif I believe and another was a vouvray winery. They both had extensive caves and fabulous tours and tastings. Bredif is on the main drag along the river and charges for the tours,but there are several smaller places where the tour is fun and free. We had no idea there was such a strong winery presence in the area, but visiting the vintners was one of the highlights of our trip. We also did a day trip to Versailles. Frankly it was very crowded even though we were there at opening. I loved Chenenceau in the Loire valley. We went later in the day and had the castle to ourselves, and the guards were such kind people, ready to share their knowledge and love of the place with us and our two teens. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
69 posts

Congrats on what sounds like a great trip. We stayed in an apartment in Paris, then traveled by tgv to tours and rented a cr right at the train station. While we planned to do only chateau country, we changed plans after talking to the waitress at dinner the first night and visited two wineries in the area. One was marc bredif I believe and another was a vouvray winery. They both had extensive caves and fabulous tours and tastings. Bredif is on the main drag along the river and charges for the tours,but there are several smaller places where the tour is fun and free. We had no idea there was such a strong winery presence in the area, but visiting the vintners was one of the highlights of our trip. We also did a day trip to Versailles. Frankly it was very crowded even though we were there at opening. I loved Chenenceau in the Loire valley. We went later in the day and had the castle to ourselves, and the guards were such kind people, ready to share their knowledge and love of the place with us and our two teens. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
2916 posts

Joan mentions Chenonceau, which is a spectacular chateau. And there's an added bonus if you like wine (at least there was 14 years ago): there's a winery tasting room on the grounds of the chateau. I had been there a couple of times before, so while my wife, niece and niece's husband toured the chateau, I went to the tasting room.

Posted by
11292 posts

Lyon is a great idea (I loved it). Strasbourg is just over your time limit (2 hours and 20 minutes each way), but Nancy is closer, and I liked it better. If you can do a two day trip, you can go to Strasbourg on day 1, then see Nancy on day 2 and head back to Paris that night (you could stay in either city overnight). However, day trips by TGV will be pricey unless you book in advance, and then you are locked in to non-exchangeable and non-refundable tickets. Another book a friend of mine used and liked was An Hour From Paris. It includes the famous daytrips (Versailles, Chantilly) and lots of others (20 in all). The advantage of this is that all are by regional transit, so you can do them at the last minute with no financial "penalty."

Posted by
206 posts

GIVERNY is amazing. Easy trip by train. Even better if you have already checked out Monet's Water Lilies at L'Orangerie (walking distance from your apartment). I recommend going early in your trip, so you have time to go back before your trip is over, that's how much you will love it.

Posted by
6 posts

Hi Laura, Chartres Cathedral is a short train ride from Paris from Montparnasse train station - about an hour train trip at the most. Take a Malcolm Miller tour of the cathedral - very intersting. Monet's Gardens at Giverny are well worth the trip as well - train from Gare St. Lazare. There's also a wonderful art museum down the road from Giverny which featurs American artists who came to study in France. Rouen is a little over an hour from Paris and is worth the trip I think. Have a great trip! Anne
Mystic, CT

Posted by
22 posts

What an incredible amount of advice I've...received from everyone here! I can't thank each one of you enough! I have decided to extend my trip for 5 More days and I am going from original Oct 17 th through to Nov 11 th now. With everyone having raved so much about Loire Valley, I had to go for a few days. I've rented a room for 2 nights in Amboise . I will be traveling alone at this point in my stay so I would like to find the easiest way to get there from Paris to Amboise ( less expensive and fastest preferably)on Wed and Thurs Nov 7 th and 8 th - I am thinking about using the Train at Austerlitz station in Paris instead of the expensive TVG ?
Is this the least expensive and most uncomplicated route to go ( not renting a car) Laura

Posted by
2916 posts

From what I remember the train to Amboise from Paris doesn't take too long even if it isn't the TGV, so I'd recommend that.