Of course Paris has plenty to keep visitors happy for weeks on end. But. Sometimes it’s great to get out of the city. To see what else France has to offer.
The best city day trips from Paris
It’s really easy to get around and about by train from Paris. We’ve chosen 10 captivating cities you can easily visit on a day trip from Paris. Historic, gastronomic and architecturally fabulous, you’ll get to see a truly different view of France and all are easy to reach and return within a day…
Yes – you can do Provence from Paris in a day. Choose the high speed train and it take 2h 36 minutes from Gare de Lyon (earliest train just after 6 am) to Avignon TGV. From Avignon station you can walk into the city, see the Palais des Papes, the monumental palace of the popes in the 14th century. Lunch at a fabulous café, wander the streets, dance on the Pont d’Avignon if you feel like it. It could be a long day but if you really want to have a taster of Provence, and you really only have a day to do it from Paris – it can be done. The last train from Avignon to Paris is just before 8pm.
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At around 1 hour 50 minutes by TGV train from Gare de l’Est, the beautiful town of Strasbourg in Alsace is a fabulous day trip.
Must-sees including a magnificent Gothic cathedral, it’s one of the most beautiful in France. Strasbourg has a fairy-tale like town centre, UNESCO listed Petite France district, and a network of canals which are perfect for a relaxing boat ride. There are heaps of museums, fabulous restaurants and superb wine bars where you can indulge in a glass of local Riesling or Gewurztraminer before you catch the train back to Paris. And, a year-round Christmas shop for a memorable souvenir even if you’re not there for the famous Christmas markets. Honestly, one day is not enough for this unmissable city…
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45 minutes by train from Gare de l’Est lies Reims, the capital of Champagne. From the station you can walk to some of the best Champagne houses including Mumm (15-minute walk), and Charles de Cazanove (5 minutes) for a tour and tasting. On the outskirts of town, Ruinart is the favourite Champagne of the French and oldest Champagne house in the world. But you’ll need to take bus no. 3 from the station and walk 5 minutes from the Crayeres stop (total 20 mins – it’s worth it!).
There are also loads of little boutique Champagne bars including the fabulous Pol Couronne, where you can taste and buy affordable vintage Champagnes from the family-run company.
“The city of coronations” or “the city of Kings” as it’s known, houses the great UNESCO-listed cathedral Notre-Dame de Reims, where French kings were crowed for 1000 years.
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Visit Champagne vineyards and villages by train from Reims
Epernay is each to reach by train from Reims
Bordeaux is now just 2 hours from Paris by fast TGV despite the 300 mile distance. From Bordeaux St Jean Station, hop on a tram to the city centre to discover the wonderful UNESCO listed architecture of the “Pearl of Aquitaine” as the city is known. Visit a unique wine museum, splash in the Miroir d’Eau water sculpture and soak up the ambiance of sunny Bordeaux with a glass of regional wine. Ancient churches, Place de la Comédie, fabulous museums, foodie heaven and divine wine bars…
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If you love cities filled with beautiful, historic buildings. If you love fantastic food and wonderful wines. And if you love museums, galleries, sitting at terraced cafés watching the world go by as you sip a delicious local wine, impossibly fabulous street markets, great wine bars and a vibrant friendly vibe, then add Dijon to your must-see list.
This amazing city has all these things by the bucket load including one of the best markets in France… and more.
At just over an hour and a half from Paris Gare de Lyon, Dijon train station is in the city centre and totally walkable.
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5 More cities easy to reach from Paris for a day trip
Lille – about one hour by train, culture by the bucket load, Flemish architecture and amazing shops and restaurants
Chartres – A pretty old town and a world famous Gothic Cathedral…
Amiens – amazing cathedral and wonderful floating gardens, miles and miles of canals, like a green Venice, filled with islands of flowers and artworks (article in our free ezine The Good Life France Magazine).
Troyes – half-timbered houses and cobbled streets, museums and Champagne!
Versailles – The chateau of course, but also a fabulous town and amazing street market.
More on things to do in France: www.ukfrance.fr