Day Trips from Paris
Thursday, 11 Aug 2016
Day trips from Paris are a great idea if you want to discover more of France and experience an alternative way of life to that of the big city. Why not take in one of the smaller towns or villages on the outskirts of the city, go for a hike in the surrounding hills, or visit an out-of-town activity centre? This will allow you to create a visit that is different to everyone else’s experience of the city. You can take a break from hectic city life and experience a slower-paced version of the country you are visiting.
In a new series, Send My Bag takes a look at some of the best day trips from a number of Europe’s capital cities. This week, we explore the top five day trips from Paris.
You can also find out about day trips from London, Belfast and Berlin.
Paris is actually one of those cities with out-of-town attractions that have become as popular its city-centre ones. Most people fit in a trip to the Palace of Versailles and/ or Disneyland while they are in Paris. But there is so much more to see away from the tourist hordes.
Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte
Instead of Versailles, why not take a day trip from Paris to Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte? This 17th-century château is located in Maincy, 55 km southeast of Paris. The Vaux-le-Vicomte estate covers over 1,200 acres and includes stunning formal gardens that visitors may walk around at their leisure or by following one of the suggested routes. Beyond the gardens there are also woodland and streams to enjoy. You can visit four floors of the château itself, which is laid out as though its original residents, Nicolas Fouquet and family, had only just moved out. You can see the sumptuously decorated private apartments and ceremonial rooms, as well as the more modest kitchen and staff rooms in the basement. You can also choose to pay an extra 3 euro to take in the dome at the top of the building, which affords panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. In addition, you can watch an audio-visual display on the creation of the garden by André le Nôtre and wander round the Carriage Museum where old carriages and their accessories are on display. If you can, visit on a Saturday evening between May and October to see the château lit by 2,000 candles! To get to Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte you can take the train (Transilien P, direction Provins) from Gare de l’Est in Paris to Verneuil l’Étang and from there take a shuttle to the château.
Take the same Transilien P train from Paris Gare de l’Est to the end of the line and you will end up in the medieval town of Provins. You will enjoy your day trip to this UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its 58 listed monuments. These include the ramparts that surround the entrance to the old town, dating from the 11th to the 13th century, the 12th-century Caesar’s Tower and the Underground Galleries. Throughout the town you will see examples of medieval architecture, even if you walk down the most unassuming side street. There are plenty of good places to eat in Provins, especially in the Old Town (or the Upper Town). These range from crêperies, to cafés and up-market restaurants. There are also a number of shops that sell gifts inspired by Provins’ medieval origins and many rose products, in a nod to the Rose of Provins. If you head slightly out of the town centre you can visit the Roseraie (Rose Garden) where sun loungers are provided for your relaxation. Provins is a sleepy, quiet town and will provide a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of Paris.
If you take a day trip from Paris to the north-west of the city, you can visit Giverny. This is the location of the home and garden of renowned artist Claude Monet. Visitors can look around both the house, which has been lovingly restored, and the garden, which contains both a flower garden (Clos Normand) and a Japanese-inspired water garden. It is in the water garden that you will see the Japanese bridge and the water lilies that were the subject of some of Monet’s most famous paintings. You can get to Giverny by taking the train from Gare Saint Lazare to Vernon (direction Rouen) and then taking a shuttle bus to complete the journey.
Instead of taking the kids on a day trip to Disneyland, why not try the Parc Astérix, located 35 km north of Paris. There are rides galore at this theme park, from the new attraction Discobélix, to Romus et Rapidus, a river ride, and Le Grand Splatch, a log flume ride. There are also some calmer activities for younger children, such as le Petit Train or the Panoramix Play Area. There are shows to watch together as a family, such as a dolphin and sea lion display and a staged competition between the Gauls and the Romans. You can also meet the Astérix and Obélix characters face to face. By choosing Parc Astérix over Disneyland, you will get to experience the characters and narratives behind one of France’s best loved comics and thus help your kids learn about French culture. To get to the park you can take the RER B train from Gare du Nord to Aéroport Charles de Gaulle, Terminal 1’. From there you can take a shuttle bus to the Parc Astérix.
Parc de Thoiry
Another option for a family day trip from Paris is Parc de Thoiry, an animal reserve that also has a stunning château. You can take the safari park trail by car and see animals such as zebras, elephants and giraffes. Or you can go by foot to see animals like lions and tigers in their enclosures. And, there is the ‘Arche des petites bêtes’, which houses smaller animals, such as reptiles, amphibians and insects. Visitors can also go inside the château. It still has residents, so only the lounge areas on the ground floor and the archive room are accessible. What’s more, you can enjoy the château’s beautiful gardens, and get lost (literally) in its maze. Parc de Thoiry is in the town of Thoiry and is best reached by car, especially if you want to do the safari trail. To get there from Paris, take the A13 from Porte d’Auteuil, then the A12, followed by the N12 towards Dreux and take the exit for Thoiry.
Remember that you can have your luggage sent to your hotel in France with Send My Bag, so that you enjoy your journey to the full, without having to drag heavy bags onto public transport. You also won’t have to wait around at bag drop or luggage carousels, thus speeding up your journey into Paris.
Can you recommend any day trips from Paris? Let us know on our Facebook Page.
Our Most Popular Articles
Days Trips from Berlin
This is the second in our series on the best day trips from European capital cities. This week we take a look at the top five day trips you can take from Germany’s capital city, Berlin. Berlin is typically touted as an exciting, vibrant city that exudes cool. There is plenty to do in Berlin, from eating at fabulous restaurants, to enjoying Berlin’s hipster nightlife, to visiting the many historical monuments that attest to Berlin’s important role in European and world history. This doesn’t mean, however, that visitors won’t benefit from taking a day or two to explore the areas surrounding Berlin, to take a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the city and to experience another side to Germany.
Best Day Trips from London
Although London is a city jam-packed with things to see and do, there are also numerous locations that are well worth a visit as a day trip from London. Send My Bag has chosen its top five day trip destinations that are only an hour or two from London.
Five Unusual Holidays
Why not take an unusual holiday in Europe this year by choosing a destination that you would not normally think of visiting? You could find that you discover some of Europe’s hidden gems. To get you started, Send My Bag have picked out some unusual holiday destinations that you could try.
Top Five Student Holidays That Won't Break the Bank
As we head into the gloomy winter months, it’s a good time to think about booking student holidays. This could be a great chance to really bond with new friends you have made at university, or to catch up with old school friends. As you are having to survive on your student loan and perhaps a few hand-outs from mum and dad, Send My Bag has put together some great destinations for student holidays that won’t break the bank and that will give you plenty of value for money. Whether you like beach holidays, city holidays or fancy a winter getaway, we can suggest the best student holiday for you.
Study for a Degree in France
Want to study for your degree in Europe? Why not choose France with its high quality of living, vibrant cities, excellent food and its numerous world-class universities, such as the renowned École normale supérieure? Read on to find out if you are eligible, how to apply and how much it would cost to study in France.
Moving to France: 7 Things to Bear in Mind
Moving to France is a dream for many craving a slower, more family-orientated pace of life and the chance to swap microwave dinners for the finer things in life. France can certainly offer all that, and more, but you should be aware of some of the country’s idiosyncrasies that may or may not make your move to France slightly more irksome than expected.