Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
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Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
If you have a spare day in Paris, add a side trip to your Paris visit. France is much more than the capital, and there are endless options for day trips from Paris by train.
Taking a French road trip is wonderful, but it’s not always practical to rent a car for one day. Luckily, you can experience many beautiful places in France on easy train trips from Paris.
From vibrant cities to cozy villages or imposing castles, you’re sure to find your ideal destination on this list of best train rides from Paris covering different France regions. All these Paris day trips by train are direct connections that take 2 hours or less (one way).
Versailles Day Trip from Paris by Train
A trip to Versailles deserves a day in full. You can decide to visit just the Palace and the Gardens or do the Palace plus the Trianons, with the Queen’s Hamlet.
There’s so much to see and do in Versailles that we recommend planning this day trip well in advance. Check out the Versailles guides here below to find the best way to visit Versailles for you.
- Guide to Visiting Versailles
- Palace of Versailles Inside
- Versailles Gardens Map and Top Sights
- Best Versailles Tickets
PARIS – VERSAILLES BY TRAIN: Versailles is well connected with Paris, with train departures every hour. It is only a 40-minute ride by train from Paris Gare Saint Lazare (SNCF trains) or from different stations in central Paris (Champs de Mars, Invalides, and Musée d’Orsay) by RER C trains. It is not necessary to buy train tickets in advance.
Strasbourg Day Trip from Paris by Train
Strasbourg, the capital of the Alsace Region, is also known as the Capital of Europe because it plays host to more than 20 European institutions. Strasbourg is one of the most beautiful cities in France to visit. Strasbourg has an immense historical and architectural heritage, making it the wealthiest city in Alsace. Its city center, developed on the River Ill banks, is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
There are many interesting things to do in Strasbourg that it will be hard to choose. Whether you prioritize sightseeing and ticking landmarks off your bucket list, or simply soaking in the atmosphere of a city, this Strasbourg itinerary comes with many ideas and a couple of restaurant recommendations for one perfect day in Strasbourg.
The list of fun things to see and do in Strasbourg includes:
- Notre Dame Cathedral
- The Petite-France, a picturesque district
- The covered bridges and the barrage Vauban
- Strasbourg river cruise
- History Museum
PARIS – STRASBOURG BY TRAIN: Strasbourg is well connected with Paris, with many departures per day. It is only a 1-hour 50 min ride by TGV train or ICE train (Germany’s trains) from Paris Gare de l’Est.
Nantes Day Trip from Paris by Train
Nantes, is the capital of the region Pays de la Loire. Bisected by the Loire River, Nantes is a youthful and dynamic city that has managed to combine modernity while preserving and enhancing its historic heritage.
Nantes was the former capital of the Dukes of Brittany, so there are many historical sites to visit. Another must of any trip to Nantes is the Machines of the Isle, a quirky project located on the isle in the middle of the Loire River. The Machines of Nantes is also on our list of best things to do in France.
Whether you prioritize sightseeing and ticking landmarks off your bucket list, or simply soaking in the atmosphere of a city, this Nantes itinerary comes with many ideas for your day trip in Nantes.
The list of fun things to do in Nantes includes:
- Castle of the Dukes of Brittany
- Cathedral of Nantes (from outside)
- Graslin neighborhood
- The Machines of the Isle of Nantes
- Jules Verne museum
PARIS – NANTES BY TRAIN: Nantes is well connected with Paris, with 15 departures per day. It is only a 2-hour ride by TGV train from Paris Gare de Montparnasse. During the week, train trips from Paris to Nantes are very common for business, so be sure to book your tickets in advance.
Blois Day Trip from Paris by Train
In Blois, don’t miss to visit the Château de Blois, one of the best Loire Valley Castles and home to seven French Kings! This beautiful French château has four wings built in four different architectural periods: Gothic, Flamboyant Gothic, Renaissance, and Classical.
PARIS – BLOIS BY TRAIN: Blois is well connected with Paris, with many departures per day. It is only a 1-hour 24 min ride by regional train from Paris Austerlitz. Not all the train rides from Paris to Blois are direct, so it is worth checking the train schedule in advance.
Lyon Day Trip from Paris by Train
Lyon, the capital of the region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, is one of the best day trips from Paris by train, especially for a cultural visit. Lyon is a vibrant city well known for its quality of life and its beautiful heritage from Roman times to contemporary architecture.
Lyon is also considered France’s capital of gastronomy, so it is an excellent place for enjoying good food and wine. Take the time to learn about Lyon’s food specialties and, of course, try them!
Whether you prioritize sightseeing and ticking landmarks off of your bucket list, or simply soaking in the atmosphere of a city, this Lyon itinerary comes with many ideas for your day in Lyon.
The list of fun things to do in Lyon includes:
- Cathédrale Saint-Jean
- Lugdunum – Musée et Théâtres Romains
- Fourvière Hill and Basilica
- Old Lyon and the Saône River Banks
- Parc de la Tête d’Or
- Musée des Confluences
PARIS – LYON BY TRAIN: Lyon is well connected with Paris, with many departures per day. Lyon is less than a 2-hour ride by TGV train from Paris Gare de Lyon. During the week, day trips from Paris by train to Lyon are very common for business, so be sure to book your tickets in advance.
Dijon Day Trip from Paris by Train
After the monks, the powerful Dukes of Burgundy dominated art and culture across Europe. With their help, the Burgundy region and its wines gained considerable economic and cultural standing. Don’t miss the Palace of the Dukes in the heart of Dijon, it is very impressive!
The list of fun things to see and do in Dijon includes:
- The Hotel de Ville
- Jardin des Ducs
- Musée des Beaux-Arts, in the Palace of the Dukes
- The Old Town
- Notre Dame Church
- Central Market
PARIS – DIJON BY TRAIN: Dijon is well connected with Paris, with train departures almost every hour. It is only a 1-hour 38 min ride by TGV train from Paris Gare de Lyon.
Rouen Day Trip from Paris by Train
Rouen is one of the easiest places in Normandy to visit on a day trip from Paris by train. Bisected by the Seine River, Rouen was the capital of the Duchy of Normandy from 911 to 1204. Because of its numerous churches, abbeys, and other religious buildings, Rouen is nicknamed the ‘city of a hundred bell towers.’
Disputed by the French and the English throughout the Hundred Years War, it was here that the English imprisoned Joan of Arc and burned her alive on May 30, 1431.
Rouen has an incredible and well-kept medieval heritage. Roen’s cathedral, world-famous thanks to Monet’s paintings, is one of the world’s highest.
The list of fun things to do in Rouen includes:
- Explore the medieval streets of Old Rouen
- Joan of Arc History Museum
- Museum of Fine Arts
- Visit some of the city’s impressive churches
- A picnic at Jardin des Plantes
PARIS – ROUEN BY TRAIN: Rouen is well connected with Paris, with many train departures per day. It is only a 1-hour 34 min ride by regional train from Paris St Lazare.
Bordeaux Day Trip from Paris by Train
Bordeaux, world-famous for its wines, is the capital of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and one of the most elegant cities in France. Bordeaux’s historic center is a UNESCO world heritage site thanks to its unique collection of 18th-century private mansions. These beautiful houses reflect the wealth of Bordeaux when it was the busiest port in France trading in wine and goods from all over the world.
The list of fun things to do in Bordeaux includes:
- La Cité du Vin
- Musée du Vin et du Négoce
- Place de la Bourse
- Le Miroir d’Eau
- Saint-André Cathedral
- Port de la Lune (the UNESCO perimeter)
- Les Bassins de Lumièrees
PARIS – BORDEAUX BY TRAIN: Bordeaux is well connected with Paris, with many train departures per day. It is only a 2-hour ride by TGV train from Paris Montparnasse.
Lille Day Trip from Paris by Train
If you are looking for short train rides from Paris, Lille is an excellent choice. Lille is the capital of the region Hauts-de-France and an interesting cultural hub with a large student population. Its direct and fast train connection with the French capital (only 1 hour by TGV) makes Lille an attractive destination for a day trip from Paris by train.
In the middle ages, Lille was a rich fair town part of the County of Flanders. Many Flemish influences remain from that period, especially in the city’s architecture and gastronomy.
Vieux Lille is the city’s historic center, characterized by 17th-century brick townhouses and cobbled pedestrian streets. Don’t miss the Grand Place, a beautiful, large central square, and Lille’s beating heart.
The list of fun things to do in Lille includes:
- Palais des Beaux-Arts
- Old Stock Exchange
- View from the top of the Belfry of Lille
- Vauban’s Citadel
- Musée de l’Art de de l’Industrie de Roubaix
PARIS – LILLE BY TRAIN: Lille is well connected with Paris, with many train departures per day. It is only a 1-hour ride by TGV train from Paris Nord.