Once in Paris, it can be hard to wrench yourself away. The City of Light is home to some of the world’s leading attractions, more than enough to fill any vacation. Yet just beyond the city limits lie many enticing day trips from Paris by train.
To whet your wanderlust, we’ve picked out some of the best day trips from Paris by train. A blend of rail escapades fanning in all directions that deliver alternative perspectives on French culture and history to enliven any Parisian vacation itinerary.
Versailles is probably the least surprising suggestion on our list. For many, the opulent royal palace is a must-see. Raised by the celebrated Sun King, Louis XIV, the spectacularly ornate Palace of Versailles and its equally magnificent gardens spark wonder and awe. It is the definitive royal chateau and an irresistible day trip.
Château de Versailles attracts 15+ million annual visitors, making it one of the most in-demand train trips from Paris. The busiest route is on the RER C train line to Versailles Château – Rive Gauche train station, a short stroll from the gates of Versailles. This Réseau Express Régional stops in central Paris at several landmark stations, enhancing its appeal to vacationers.
Faster services depart from Gare Montparnasse. They include non-stop express RER services that take just 12 minutes. Fast and direct TER regional trains also depart from Gare Montparnasse. Fast services are complemented by slower commuter trains operated by Transilien SNCF (lines L & N,) some stopping at alternative stations in Versailles.
Versailles Day Trip Details
- €4.05 for an RER/TER Île-de-France (IDF) ticket from Paris stations to Versailles Chantiers. Children aged 4-10 travel half-price. Buy in the station.
- €4.05 for Transilien SNCF fares from Gare Montparnasse to Versailles Chantiers (Line N, Zones 1-4.)
- €4.95 for Transilien SNCF fares from Gare Saint – Lazare to Versailles Rive Droite (Line L, Zones 1-4.)
- Transilien SNCF tickets can be purchased at the station or online (e-tickets) at SNCF Connect.
- Up to 8 hourly RER C, TER, and Transilien trains from Paris stations to Versailles Chantiers. Leading departure points are Gare Montparnasse (TER & Transilien Line N) and Saint-Michel Notre-Dame (RER C.) Look for RER trains marked with “VICK” or “VITY.”
- Complemented by 3-4 Transilien SNCF services from Gare Saint – Lazare to Versailles Rive Droite (Line L.)
- Nonstop express RER C trains reach Versailles in 11-13 minutes from Gare Montparnasse.
- Departures from other central Parisian stations and on slower RER C and Transilien SNCF trains take up to 36 minutes.
Things to Do in Versailles
Monet’s Water Lilies (Nymphéas) light up several Parisian museums, most impressively at the custom-built Musée de l’Orangerie. The seductive gardens that inspired the extraordinary series of paintings lie just 50 miles north of Paris, in the picturesque Norman village, Giverny. Few short trips from Paris by train can match the appeal, especially for fans of the celebrated Impressionist and anyone looking to experience France’s rural charms.
Regional TER trains operate under the Nomad banner, the designation for trains covering the Normandy region. The quickest trains to Giverny take 50 minutes and depart from Paris-Saint-Lazare heading to Rouen. With several return trains in the evening, a trip to Giverny is one of the most undemanding Paris day trips by train. Yet, one of the most enchanting.
Giverny Day Trip Details
- Second-class tickets from Paris Saint-Lazare to Vernon-Giverny cost €9 (mini-Tempo booked in advance) or 16.80 at all other times, including on the day of travel. First-class fares are €25.20.
- Fares on better-equipped Nomad trains can be hard to find (services are intermittently available on SNCF Connect.) When available, they start from €11.80 (second-class) and €13.80 (first-class.) Book these trains early for the lowest fares.
- Frequency: Nomad trains from Paris Saint-Lazare to Vernon-Giverny depart approximately every 2 hours.
- Duration: The fastest Paris to Giverny trains take 49 minutes. All journeys are completed in less than 1 hour.
Things to Do in Giverny
If French history fires your curiosity, Provins in the Champagne region is the ultimate day trip. Integrated into the earliest Frankish kingdom by France’s first king, Clovis, the former Roman encampment is a window on histoire française. Once home to the Counts of Champagne, the cobbled streets have hosted Joan of Arc, Templar Knights, famed medieval fairs, and multiple foreign invaders. Today, more benign visitors visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site to admire the striking medieval architecture and sample a glass of premium fizz from nearby vineyards.
Situated about 61 miles (98 km) south of Paris, Provins is best reached on the Transilien SNCF commuter rail network serving Paris and the Île-de-France (Line P.) Alternative public transport is available, but at 1 hour 23 mins and zero changes, these no-frills commuter services are the fastest and least complicated service.
Provins’s top sights — including the imposing Cesar Tower, historic Tithe Barn, and medieval ramparts — are within walking distance from the station, opening up millennia of history on one of the most rewarding train trips from Paris. Consider grabbing a Provins Pass (from €7.50) if you plan to see several sights; use the tourist land train to save time.
Provins Day Trip Details
- Prices: Transilien SNCF tickets from Paris Gare De l’Est to Provins cost €5 (zones 1-5). Prices are fixed and can be purchased right before travel.
- Frequency: Direct Paris to Provins trains depart hourly throughout the day.
- Duration: Direct Transilien trains from Gare de l’Est to Provins (Line P) take 1 hour 23 minutes.
Known globally for its prestigious racecourse and world-class thoroughbred stables, Chantilly in the Oise département boasts a majestic chateau and vast forest. Although it is probably even more famous as the birthplace of François Vatel, who popularized the eponymous whipped cream that has enriched desserts for centuries. The small town with an outsized influence lies around 25 miles (40 km) north of the capital, making it one of the best trips from Paris by train if you crave a green escape with a touch of aristocratic heritage.
Chantilly Gouvieux station is reached in under 50 minutes on RER trains (line D to Creil) or 25 minutes on SNCF regional TER HDF (Hauts-de-France) trains. Both services depart from Gare du Nord. Onboard facilities are sparse, and little separates the services. Aim for faster TER services, which is also the cheapest way to enjoy one of the best day train trips from Paris.
Chantilly Day Trip Details
- TER HDF trains from Paris Gare du Nord or Gare De Lyon to Chantilly Gouvieux are fixed at €8.70. Purchase in the station. Occasional promotions booked on SNCF Connect reduce the fares to €5.
- Île-de-France (IDF) RER fares (point-to-point) cost €10.05. Children aged 4-10 travel for €5.
- Up to 4 hourly TER (HDF) departures from Gare du Nord to Chantilly Gouvieux at peak times. Off-peak, there is 1 hourly departure.
- RER D trains depart hourly from Gare du Nord.
- Duration: The fastest trains (TER) from Paris to Chantilly take 25 minutes. Slower RER trains take up to 50 minutes.
Things to Do in Chantilly
Another shining star in our guide to the best Paris day trips by train is Troyes. The medieval town’s appeal stems from its colorful half-timbered homes looming over narrow cobbled streets and its location in the heart of Champagne country. The atmospheric town center is a time capsule that transports visitors through era-defining events, from its place at the confluence of Roman trade routes to the setting for various treaties that rewrote French history.
Sitting in the Grand Est region, TER regional trains depart Paris Est for Troyes hourly. The journey clocks in at 1 ½ hours, Monday to Friday. Weekend times are variable. Reservations are not required. Like all TER trains, onboard facilities are limited (no Wi-Fi or catering,) but the Troyes services glide through picturesque towns along the Seine and the Champagne region, alleviating boredom. Troyes leading sights are within walking distance of the station, underlining why the historic town earns a place among the best day trips from Paris by train.
Troyes Day Trip Details
- TER trains from Paris Est to Troyes are typically fixed at €31.30. First-class fares (€47.00) offer more elbow room and quieter carriages but little else.
- You may find promotional prices on SNCF Connect for €10.00 if booked in advance, so it pays to check online. Promotional tickets are only valid on the designated service.
- Frequency: TER trains from Paris Est to Troyes depart hourly throughout the day.
- Duration: Direct TER trains from Paris Est to Troyes take approximately 1 hour 30 mins.
Gateway to the Loire Valley and early French history, Tours is among the most riveting day trips from Paris by train. On the excursionist menu are the scene-stealing Gothic wonder, Tours Cathedral, and atmospheric medieval center where you want to stop for a lingering aperitif and plate of the local rillettes. And, of course, the star of the show, the Loire. Plus, a handful of intriguing diversions like the Botanical Gardens and a small château.
There is more than enough to fill a day. And you won’t have to rush as Tours is a little over an hour away on a choice of high-speed TGV trains. Classy inOui trains head directly to Tours station or Saint-Pierre-des-Corps in the suburbs (approx. 2.5 miles from the city center.) Connecting trains from Saint-Pierre-des-Corps takes just 5 minutes; book the entire journey on one ticket to save time.
Tours Day Trip Details
- InOui TGV fares direct from Paris Montparnasse to Tours start at €20.90 in second-class and €27.90 in first-class. Wi-Fi and luggage included. Some routes are indirect, requiring a change at Saint-Pierre-des-Corps.
- A budget Ouigo TGV train departs daily from Massy TGV (Paris suburbs). Fares start at €10..
- Slower, indirect services are available, blending TGV and regional TER trains.
- Prices are dynamic. Book up to 4 months before travel on SNCF Connect for the cheapest fares.
- Frequency: TGV trains from Paris Montparnasse to Tours (including via Saint-Pierre-des-Corps) depart every 1-2 hours.
- Duration: The fastest TGV services from Paris to Tours take 1 hour and 17 minutes.
Things to Do in Tours
7. Loire Valley
The former monarchs of France chose an idyllic landscape to build some of the most majestic chateaux. The Loire Valley is an outdoor wonderland threaded with cycle paths and hiking routes. The local wine is world-class, and the villages pretty as a picture. It is an alluring escape from the bustle of Paris, just as it was for the Bourbons.
Saint-Pierre-des-Corps (Tours,) Orléans, and Angers are handy staging points for heading deep into the Loire Valley. We’ve covered a couple in this list.
For the fabled chateaux and vineyards that elevated the entire region to UNESCO World Heritage status, several alternative stations stand out: Saumur (historic town and château), Blois-Chambord (a short bus ride from the breathtaking Château de Chambord,) and Chenonceaux (the fairytale Château de Chenonceau). Just a pick of Loire Valley destinations accessible in 2-3 hours and among the best day trips from Paris by train. The only difficulty will be picking which one to visit. http://www.chateau-saumur.fr/en/
Loire Valley Day Trip Details
- Expect to pay between €10 and €41 to different destinations in the Loire Valley.
- For example, you can book a TER train direct from Paris Austerlitz to Blois-Chambord for just €10 (no pre-booking required.) The château is reachable on a 35-minute bus journey from the station.
- Book early and reach Chenonceaux for €16 (second-class) with a budget TGV (Ouigo) and TER combo (change Saint-Pierre-des-Corps.)
- Alternatively, a TGV from Paris Montparnasse to Angers Saint Laud and then a TER train to Saumur starts at €36 when booked up to 4 months before travel.
- Whichever château you set your heart on, hop on to SNCF Connect as early as possible for the best fares and to help with planning Loire Valley train trips from Paris.
- Frequency: Most destinations in the Loire Valley depart from Paris Austerlitz or Montparnasse. Train frequency varies by destination, with a departure at least every 2 hours (sometimes more frequent) on popular routes.
- Duration: Depending on your final destination, budget 1½ to 3 hours for destinations in the Loire Valley on the fastest train routes from Paris.
Things to Do in the Loire Valley
8. D-Day Beaches (Bayeux)
History buffs will know Bayeux for its 900+-year-old tapestry depicting the epochal Norman invasion of England. It is also the leading location for reaching the 5 D-Day landing beaches. Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery are reachable by taxi (20 minutes.) Bus tours depart Bayeux for the other beaches and memorials, making it a busy but viable day trip for anyone who wants to pay their respects and see where history was made.
Nomad (Normandy region) trains head direct from Paris St Lazare. Essentially enhanced regional trains with Wi-Fi, vending machines, and upgrade options comprising the fastest and most comfortable local transport. In Bayeux, bus tours, car hire, and local taxis make all the beaches accessible; it pays to book ahead to save money and maximize your time on one of the best Paris day trips by train.
D-Day Beaches (Bayeux) Day Trip Details
- Booked early, Nomad second-class fares from Paris St Lazare to Bayeux start at €19. First-class from €25.70.
- Prices rise as seats are sold, and you can expect to pay at least €47 for last-minute bookings.
- Numerous companies offer D-Day beach tours from Bayeux. Book one and lock in your seats with SNCF Connect.
- Frequency: There are typically 8 daily direct trains from Paris to Bayeux, with an additional 4 services requiring a connection in Caen.
- Duration: The fastest trains from Paris to Bayeux clock 2 hours 18 mins. Indirect services via Caen add approximately 20 minutes.
Read our in-depth article on reaching the D-Day beaches from Paris:
Things to Do in Bayeux
Whether partial to a glass of champagne or just craving a rural escape, Épernay rightly graces our shortlist of Paris day trips by train. Winery tours and a gourmet odyssey await in the capital of Champagne country. Hit the fabled maisons de champagne, enjoy a gourmet meal, and return to Paris with a wallet-busting bottle of bubbles. One of the best day trips from Paris by train for gourmands and oenophiles.
Less than 90 minutes on a TER regional train lands you at the heart of the Champagne region. TER trains are unflashy and have minimal onboard facilities. But prices are fixed (no booking required) and more than comfortable for the quick journey. Grab a window seat and watch Paris melt into rolling vineyards of international renown.
Épernay Day Trip Details
- Prices: Direct TER train fares from Paris Est to Épernay are fixed at €27.10. Buy in the station or on SNCF Connect anytime.
- Frequency: Direct trains from Paris to Épernay cater to commuters and daytrippers. That means hourly services in the morning and late afternoon, slowing to a service every couple of hours during outside peak times.
- Duration: Direct trains from Paris to Épernay take around 1 hour 20 minutes.
Things to Do in Épernay
The historic port town of Dieppe — 2 ½ hours from the capital — is an underrated contender for the best trips from Paris by train. It will appeal to travelers keen to explore the ‘real’ France. Compact and walkable, the city boasts medieval buildings, narrow cobbled streets, and a photogenic chateau surveying the town. Add to the mix a lively harbor, inexpensive restaurants serving classic Norman fare, and compelling history, it’s an enticing prospect for intrepid explorers.
As with other Norman entries in our guide to the best day train trips from Paris, Nomad regional trains via Rouen are the key to exploring the region. Nomad trains are well-equipped regional trains, so you can expect Wi-Fi and moderately palatable vending machine refreshments. But only to Rouen; after Rouen, the journey is completed on standard regional trains with limited facilities.
Dieppe Day Trip Details
- Prices: Second-class from Paris St Lazare to Dieppe via Rouen Fares as low as €16 when booked early on SNCF Connect (up to 4 months ahead of travel.) First-class fares from €27.60.
- Frequency: Up to 11 daily services from Paris to Dieppe with a single connection in Rouen.
- Duration: Most services from Paris to Dieppe via Rouen take 2 hours and 19-20 minutes.