Dial up a list of Paris day trips and, inevitably, two staples come up: Versailles and Disneyland. One of these made the cut in our “fun and easy” top 10. The other is a theme park.
Now Disneyland Paris hotels abound and serve as popular platforms for harmless holiday family fun. But Versailles is Versailles, and so on, and so on. So peruse top Paris hotels, get your itinerary in order and check out some quality day trips from the City of Light.
Fontainebleau Palace and Park
In what will prove to be a perpetual theme, our first day trip endorsement is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The aesthetical evolution of Fontainebleau Palace and Park, from the 12th century onward, had enormous impact on artistic and architectural movements not just in France but, indeed, across Europe.
Distance from Paris: 70 km
The remarkable Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Bourges is (surprise, surprise) also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a linchpin masterpiece of Gothic design on the continent.
Distance from Paris: 249 km
Hotels in Bourges
Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte
The tony, Baroque Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte in Maincy was one of the most significant manors built anywhere in the mid-17th century.
Distance from Paris: 61 km
The Haute-Normandie village of Giverny is the kind of place you want to retire to, secure a tidy plot of land and garden and paint all day. Claude Monet thought as much. The Impressionist’s “Water Lily Pond”, house, garden and all, is a major tourist attraction.
Distance from Paris: 71 km
Hotels in Giverny
Provins’ UNESCO inscription pronounces “Provins, Town of Medieval Fairs”, which seems like reason enough to take a short rail ride from Paris, non? Bonus: the beautiful medieval hamlet is also famous as a prime cultivator of roses.
Distance from Paris: 96 km
The one absolutely must-do day trip from Paris lives up to all the hype. Take a full day, plan for good weather, pack a substantial, wholesome lunch and roam the 800 ha. gardens until your feet ache.
Distance from Paris: 21 km
Home of mustard, home of cheese, Meaux’s a town that aims to please. Seriously, try the brie.
Distance from Paris: 41 km
The holy triumvirate of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint-Remi and Palace of Tau forms one of the most extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage Sites in France and primary reason to visit Reims. The other? Champagne.
Distance from Paris: 145 km
Hotels in Reims
The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres is over 800 years old and a major landmark (i.e. UNESCO). The handsome town has other superb points of interest, however, from the Musée des Beaux-Arts to the Church of Saint Aignan.
Distance from Paris: 92 km
Hotels in Chartres
Tours has a grand, magnificent cathedral, a notable fine arts museum and was the birthplace Honoré de Balzac. With that in mind, why not bring Le Père Goriot to read on the train?
Distance from Paris: 240 km
Hotels in Tours