Paris is such a beautiful city on its own, and has so many incredible sites to see! However, if you have some time to spare, within just a few hours you can be at a number of charming European towns! All of these towns can be traveled to by train, bus or car.
When visiting Paris, Versailles is a must-do day trip and just a short train ride from the center city! Wander through the Chateau to experience the magic of the 17th century which includes the Hall of Mirrors, the Royal Chapel, Historic Galeries, the Royal Opera, and many of the 2,300 rooms that are part of the estate. Step outside of the main palace building to see the beautiful gardens and groves. There is so much to see on the almost 2,000-acre property. However, the crowds can get big during peak season, especially on the weekends. I recommend buying tickets in advance on the official website!
Champagne Wine Region
France is notorious for its champagne, and what better way to experience that than in the heart of the champagne region. The region is composed of a few different cities, but Reims is the most popular one. From Paris, Reims is a short 45-minute train ride outside of the city. There are a ton of different places to visit the vineyards, go champagne tasting, and enjoy the rolling hills! Some other popular cities within the champagne region are Épernay, Sedan, and Troyes.
Mont Saint-Michel is a tidal island in western France with a population of 50. The island sits about half a mile off the mainland and historically was only accessible during low tide. Mont Saint-Michel and the surrounding area was classified as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1979 and brings in 2.5 million tourists per year.
This capital city is a great city to visit on a day trip or long weekend and is a short train ride across the border into Belgium. Visit the Grand Place, Palais Royal, get a famous Belgian waffle or fries, and enjoy the historic city! Brussels is not a giant city and can easily be seen in a day!
Have you ever wondered how famous artists lived and where they got a lot of their inspiration? Well, look no further because less than an hour train ride outside of the Paris city center in Giverny, France. Giverny is the home and gardens of none other than Claude Monet. The House and Gardens are only open in the spring through fall, so plan accordingly! The best time to visit is in the spring when the gardens are in full bloom before it gets too hot! More information and tickets can be found on the Foundation’s website.
The five main beaches of Normandy hold so much history and are the landing spots for the French Allies during the invasion of Normandy, during World War II. The main American troops landing spot is Omaha beach, with the English and Canadians landing at surrounding beaches. A visit here will leave you feeling an overload of emotion, in reverence of the battles that took place and those who lost their lives. There are several sculptures along the beach to commemorate and memorialize that day and those who lost their lives, in addition to several museums around the area.
Experience the magic of Disney! Disneyland Paris offers attractions for the entire family and an enchanting experience that is sure to bring joy to every guest! Between the shows and parades, to Disney character encounters and special surprises, a day trip to Disney will not disappoint. If you are wanting to spend more than a day at the park, they have several hotels and even hotel & ticket packages. Purchase tickets online to save time at the gate!
Just southeast from the Paris city center is the town of Fontainebleau. The town is known for the fabulous Château de Fontainebleau, with surrounding forest and gardens. Visit the palace for incredible history and views! Although forest makes up the majority of the town, there is still plenty to see any do!
Bruges is one of my favorite small towns in Europe. It is filled with canals, medieval buildings, and wondering cobblestone streets. Popular spots in Bruges to see are the Markt, Belfry Bell Tower, and any of the many museums. You can even take a boat trip through the canals. At the very north part of town, you will find the shipping marina as well as beaches on either side.
The capital of Luxembourg sits just 3 hours outside of Paris and is full of diversity. You can wander around the Old Quarter, visit Grand Ducal Palace, admire the Walls of the Corniche, and so much more! The city is easy to get around, which makes it the perfect place to explore on a day trip!
This small town can be found just 24 miles outside of the Paris city center. Chantilly is known for its horse racing track and is home to the Museum of the Horse. This town also gave its name to Chantilly lace and Chantilly cream. Another famous site to see within the town is the Château de Chantilly, which was once the cousins of the Kings of France home. Don’t forget to check out Le Potager des Princes gardens and the Chantilly Forest!
Rouen sits on the Seine River and is the capital of the Normandy Region of France. Known for the Rouen Cathedral, this city is also home to other famous structures like the Rouen Castle and the Gros Horloge astronomical clock. Rouen has many different museums within the city like the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, antique museum, ceramics museum, and more! Between the structures, museums, gardens, etc. there is something for the whole family!
Just a short 2-hour train ride from Paris, Lyon is a great town that you can see in a day (or two)! My favorite things to do in the city are a hike up to the Notre Dame Basilica, Parc de la Tête d’Or, wander through the old town, and more! Although Lyon in a day might be a bit tougher than some of the other cities, it is definitely still possible! Check out my top 6 things to do in Lyon, France for more!
London is a historic city with a lot of modern liveliness, which makes it an exciting adventure. It is the capital of England and the United Kingdom, and a melting pot of different cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds. The weather may not always be the best, but nonetheless, London is a great city to visit any time of the year. It is also one of the more expensive cities in Europe, so plan for that! Check out my Ultimate Guide to London for more!