Paris is undoubtedly one of the most amazing French towns, but that does not mean it has no others worth visiting. So I selected some exciting options that you can know in a single day. All of them are historic cities and full of charm, of course.
Most of the suggestions I already know, but I confess that I asked for help from super-safe sources – my father-in-law and brother-in-law, both French – so you can trust.
French cities near Paris
Distance from Paris: 50 Km
Remember the luxurious marriage of player Ronaldo with model Daniela Cicarelli? Then it happened in a beautiful castle built in the small town of Chantilly, just outside the French capital.
Established in the Middle Ages, the castle was home to several families of the nobility. It was also used as a barracks at the time of World War I.
Currently, owned by the Institute of France, it is open to visiting its facilities, including the library where is one of the largest collections of manuscripts.
In addition to the architecture, the castle gardens are also worthy of attention. The place was designed by the same creator of the gardens of the Versailles Palace and the Jardin des Tuileries, so you can imagine how beautiful it is.
The highlight of the place is the castle, but there is still the hippodrome, where there are major horse races, a museum dedicated to horse lovers with shows and all. Oh sure, the legitimate whipped cream you can easily find around town.
◊ How to get there: You can take the regional express train, known as TER, which leaves from Gare du Nord station. The journey takes around 25 minutes, and the ticket goes € 8.70 each way.
Distance from Paris: 88 Km
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Provins is a charming city that retains the architecture and quiet style of past centuries.
Being situated in the middle of the old trade routes between the 12th and 13th centuries, Provins became famous for its Champagne Fairs.
For me, the best part of the tour is merely walking the narrow streets, observing the small details of this secular city. But you also have some places to visit, such as La Grande Aux Dîmes, an area used as a market during the champagne market season, The Caesar Tour, as well as the underground part full of history, especially from the time of the Middle Ages.
◊ Directions: There is the option to go by train, but you need to get off at the nearby town. So I suggest going by car, which is more comfortable and the journey takes around 1h15.
Distance from Paris: 196 Km
For those who enjoy a more beachy vibe, I recommend the town of Deauville in the Normandy region. In addition to a vast stretch of beach, the city has a cute architecture.
A favorite with the aristocracy during the Belle Époque, Deauville had its glory days and was even frequented by Hollywood stars.
The city still retains its fame and is always sought as an elite refuge. In fact, you will come across several luxury brand stores such as Louis Vuitton (the store is cute). It also has a casino that bombs.
Enjoying the trip, you can cross the river and visit the nearby town, Trouville-sur-Mer. Both have the right places to taste the local cuisine and perfect for seafood lovers.
◊ How to get there: It is a little farther from Paris, a train gets you there in approximately 2h. You get from Gare Saint-Lazare station and the ticket costs from 15 € one way.
Distance from Paris: 69 Km
The main focus of this French city is the Chateau de Fontainebleau. One of the largest French royal palaces with beautiful frescoes. The place was the residence of royalty and also of Napoleon Bonaparte during the French Revolution.
It was in this castle that various historical events linked to Bonaparte took places, such as the Treaty of Fontainebleau and his abdication of power. Besides, the palace is rich in history, the garden is charming, as is the adjoining forest that looks even more beautiful in the fall.
◊ Directions: It can be by car, in 1 hour you arrive, or by train from Gare de Lyon station, direction Montargis, Montereau or Laroche Migennes. From there, you take a bus line 1 direction Les Lilas to Chateau station and then just a little walk you will be there.
Distance from Paris: 74 Km
The town of Giverny is tiny, but it attracts many tourists (many from the east), as it was the city where the painter Claude Monet lived. In his home, the impressionist artist created a beautiful garden that inspired many of his works.
Foundation Claude Monet is made up of Monet’s house and its two beautiful gardens: “Le Clos Normand” and “Le Jardin d’Eau.” The first is part of the backyard of the home and has hundreds of flower species – but what really catches the eye (at least for me) are the tulips of various colors. The second garden is across the road, in a space, Monet acquired years later to create his own water mirrors. The place is all inspired by the Japanese gardens. It served as inspiration for the work “The Nymphs,” or Les Nymphéas in French, among others.
In addition to the Monet Foundation in Giverny, you can visit the Musée des Impressionnismes. Also, do not miss the Église Sainte Radegonde, where Claude Monet is buried, along with his second wife and son.
◊ How to get there: You can choose to rent a car or take an SNCF train, get off at nearby Vernon and then take a bus that takes you to Giverny. The journey by car takes approximately 1 hour and around 1h30 if you take a train + bus.
Read also: Giverny and Monet’s Gardens: Perfect Guide for a day tour
Distance from Paris: 20 Km
The tip here is more precisely the 181-hectare Parc de Sceaux and is lovely, especially in spring and autumn. It is part of the Château de Sceaux, which is used as a museum and hosts several exhibitions during the year.
If you do not want to face the whole world that you have in the Palace of Versailles, this place has a garden that is not to be missed.
◊ Directions: You need to take an RER B towards St-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse, get off at La Croix-de-Berny station, and walk about 15 minutes. To take RER B in central Paris, you have the stations: Châtelet – Les Halles, Saint-Michel – Notre-Dame, and Luxembourg. The whole trip takes about 40 minutes.
Distance from Paris: 91 Km
For those looking for a more historic roundabout, the city of Chartres is a great option. The highlight is Notre Dame de Chartres Cathedral, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Gothic in style, the cathedral was built between the 12th and 13th centuries, and it is pure history!
In addition to the Cathedral, there are two other secular churches worth a visit: the St-Aignan Church and the St-Pierre Church. Both are very lovely and quiet to visit.
When you leave the churches’ circuit, there is the International Center of Stained Glass. It tells the story of this millenary art. Do not miss the fascinating Museum of Fine Arts and the charming streets to walk uncompromisingly.
◊ Directions: You take a train from Gare de Montparnasse station, and the trip takes approximately 1 hour. The fare is 16 euros each way.
Read also: What to do in Chartres, a beautiful historic city near Paris
Distance from Paris: 135 Km
Founded many, many centuries ago, Rouen is a major city in the Normandy region. It is one of several French towns with architecture influenced by the Gothic style. Even today, we can see this influence in some churches in the city, such as Rouen Cathedral.
Controlled by the English for a period, Rouen was where Joan of Arc was imprisoned and executed. Due to this historical fact, there is a museum dedicated to this heroine.
In the city, you can visit various museums, open markets, monuments of the Middle Ages, Street Art. There are still several parks to walk around. Well worth the visit!
◊ Directions: You can take a train to Le Havre, called the Intercités, which leaves from Saint-Lazare station. The trip takes just over 1 hour.
Read more about Rouen ⇒What to see in Rouen: Perfect roadmap for a 1-day round trip
Distance from Paris: 145 Km
Reims is also one of the historical and heritage French cities of UNESCO. The city has the beautiful Notre-Dame Cathedral, as well as several other impressive monuments.
But I really recommend this day trip so you can get to know the region where the legitimate champagnes are made. The idea is to drink this classic straight from the source, accompanied by various delicacies of the area. Want a more unique experience than this? hehe
◊ How to get there: the Best option is to take an express train (TGV), because in less than 1 hour you will be in Reims. The train leaves from Gare de l’Est station, towards Sedan, and you get off at Gare de Reims station.
Read also: What to do in Reims: A weekend getaway guide!
Distance from Paris: 33 Km
Mainly associated with the painter Vincent Van Gogh, the city of Auvers-sur-Oise was the place where this post-impressionist artist lived and painted several works.
Although of Dutch origin, Van Gogh was buried in the cemetery of this French city, next to his brother. It is worth mentioning that Auvers-sur-Oise was also part of the history of several impressionist painters. Charles-Francois Daubigny, Paul Cezanne, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, and Camille Pissarro are some.
In addition to Maison Van Gogh, there is a museum dedicated to wormwood and all its consummation ritual, contemporary art gallery, the Château d’Auvers, among others.
◊ Directions: If you are traveling by train, take a Transilien H towards Pontoise at Gare de Lyon station to Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône. From there, you have to take a second Transilien H train towards Creil and get off at Auvers-sur-Oise station. The whole trip takes a little over an hour.
Is there any other cute city for a day trip from Paris? Tell me in the comments!!