I'd love to hear people's favorite Paris daytrips (excluding London and using public transportation). Thanks!
Empress Josephine's Chateau Malmaison which you can get to in about 20 minutes by bus from La Défense. Small and pretty and usually only a few others in the place.
We spent a very nice half day doing Rick Steve's walking tour of Rouen. It is in his France guidebook. It is a lovely combination of half timbered houses, modern shopping, history, and achitecture. We went to the Orangerie in Paris in the morning before we left for Rouen to see some of Monet's works. He painted the Cathedral in Rouen many times over, and we enjoyed seeing the paintings in the morning and the real thing in the afternoon. We took the train both ways and were back in Paris by dinnertime.
Vaux le Vicomte and Fontainbleau
I haven't done many, but I loved Chartres.
St Denis! Be sure your camera battery is charged...:-/
Taking the bus #65 from Gare du Nord, where my hotel is, to Gare de Lyon to take the train to Fontainebleau, not just to see the Chateau but to walk around the town...all very inspiring.
great ideas.. thanks all.
Hi, Melanie....I'll let you know in late May when I return, but I am planning on a day trip to Fontainebleau. A very nice lady on this helpline has given me exact instructions on how to get there and I plan on trying it.
Hi Laurie. I'll be there the end of March and early April so I'll let you know too.
The gardens of Versailles. I know it's not as original as some of the others posted, but the magnificent design and unimaginable scale of the gardens is something to experience. The chateau is certainly beautiful, but exploring the hidden gardens and imagining the liaisons and intrigue that occurred obstructed by careful pruning; biking to Marie's Hameau, pondering what the architects must have mumbled behind closed doors while working on that project; and floating about in my own "barques sur le Grand Canal" with the view of the chateau surrounded by all that grandeur - what a way to spend an afternoon. . .
Hi, Lise . I will be traveling with my daughter (15 yrs old). And we've been thinking about Versailles. But we arrive end of March and stay through the first week of April (its the second half of a London/Paris trip). I was assuming that early April was too early for much to be in bloom. I would love to be wrong...
Just an FYI, the fountains at Versaille only run on the weekends. The first time I was there I was really disappointed to find them off. At least if you know ahead of time you can decide how important that is to you.
I love Versailles, it's very worthwhile and impressive any time of year. I'm probably in the minority, but I was not impressed with the fountains. They weren't anything to write home about, it was way more crowded because they were on, and the music was too loud and obnoxious, imo.
My vote would be Chartres, there are many trains from Gare Montparnasse, about an hour each way. One of the great cathedrals of Europe, lots of original stained glass, surrounded by an interesting neighborhood with medieval buildings and an outdoor market, all a few minutes walk from the station. Malcolm Miller, an Englishman who has lived there for many years, gives a very good daily tour, more info in the RS guidebook. It's a human-scale place, nice break from the metropolis. I agree about the gardens at Versailles. Last year spring was just beginning in early April. The palace was magnificent but appallingly crowded, even on a weekday morning, and appallingly short on basic amenities like food and toilets. Much as we appreciate its grandeur and the historical associations, we wouldn't recommend a visit there.
Here are my favorite Paris day trips. 1. Chartres easy train ride and great stained glass cathedral. Missed the tour by the englishman as he was not present on the day we visited. 2. Giverny Have been there 3 times and still love the gardens and the town. 3. Fontainebleu nice Chateau and not as crowded as Versailles. One of the best MBA business schools in europe INSEAD is in Fontainebleau. 4. Chateau of Chantilly and Vaux-le-Vicomte both easy day trips from Paris 5. Epernay you can visit the Moet et Chandon which offers tours. Nice small town with several good eating places on the square.
6. Disneyland Paris a one time only visit and unusual to see all the Disney creatures talking in French. Last time we visited they allowed smoking which was irritating however France has changed their ways and probably a no smoking park.
If you want a day trip outside of France, you can take the Thalys train to Brussels - only an hour and 20 minutes non-stop. i found the Thalys train very comfortable and efficient. Glenn
Spent January in Paris. With our Railpass we took day trips toin order of personal preference Rouen (a real treat), Chartres, Reims.
Depending on your time and budget, an overnight in both Lyon and Bayeux are worth the costs, too. Different, but beautiful cities.
There are lots of great places to go in France but the OP specifically asked for a day trip from Paris...
I am also looking for interesting day trips from Pairs. We are going to Versailles and do not want to do any of the other chateaux trips. Looking for a charming town. We are considering Reims but I cannot find anything about the town itself only about Notre Damn and Champagne houses.
Jennifer, Carol said it in the first post above... Giverny!
Thanks for all the great ideas!
Rouen was a very easy and lovely day trip.
Melanie - Giverny is my first choice too but you should be aware that Monet's home and gardens open for the season on April 1. Be sure to walk through the village and see the other gardens, homes, and cemetery. Transportation is easy by train to Vernon, then a bus to Giverny. Enjoy!