All Aboard! The 5 Best, Most Dreamy Day Trips from Paris by Train

reims france cathedral

Grab your beret and a baguette, it's time for an adventure beyond the Eiffel Tower's shadow! Ever wanted to escape the cobblestone streets of Paris for a day of provincial charm? Look no further, fellow globe-trotters, 'cause we've lined up day trips from Paris that will make you ditch the métro for a train ride through the picturesque French countryside. From majestic châteaux to blooming gardens, each stop is a bonafide OOO destination!

Bonjour, traveler! If you're reading this, chances are you've already got a plane ticket that screams 'Paris' and a passport full of wanderlust. But who wants to be confined to the city limits? Paris, as they say, is only the beginning. Ready to breathe in the sweet scents of Versailles or stroll through Monet's gardens in Giverny? Without further ado, choo-choo your way to adventure with these top 5 day trips from the City of Lights by that art of all arts—le train!

1. Chartres: The Gleaming City of Cathedrals (1 Hour by Train)

chartres france

What's Chartres Got Poppin'?

Forget regular old windows; Chartres is all about what's glowing through the glass of the Chartres Cathedral—some of the most spectacular stained-glass you'll lay your peepers on. They're like a medieval PowerPoint presentation, telling ancient tales of kings and knights in eye-popping color. When you're not deciphering these kaleidoscopic stories, stroll the cobblestone streets and picture-perfect squares to absorb the historic charm.

Must-Dos in Chartres:

  • Witness the luminous treasures of Chartres Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site that'll leave your eyes sparkling.
  • Scale the climb up Petite-Sol hill for panoramic views of the ethereal city with hues that seem to have been plucked from a Disney movie.
  • Rummage through the Market Hall, ogling cheeses and local produce. Grab a snack that's Instagram-worthy and pair it with the Frenchest of picnics.

Blow away the medieval dust at the Eure-et-Loir Museum with modern artworks and impressive Gallo-Roman collections, 'cause even time travelers need a break.

How to Get There:

  • Board the Paris Montparnasse to Le Mans line and hop off at Chartres (
  • Travel Time: 1 hour (approximately)

2. Giverny: Monet’s Dreamy Watercolor Wonderland (1 Hour 30 Minutes by Train)

monets garden in giverny france

Monet, Mon Ami!

Ever wished to step into an impressionist painting? Spend a day ooh-la-la-ing over Giverny's water lily ponds and arching Japanese bridges, all seeping with the essence of Monet's inspirations. This ain't just a day trip; it's a living, breathing canvas straight from the brush of the father of impressionism. It's like he knew the art of growing flowers too!

Blooming Highlights in Giverny:

  • Flutter through Monet's Home and Gardens, living relics of the artist's masterpieces that'll make any petunia plier a little teary-eyed.
  • Wonder at the wisterias and captive colonies of Monet's Japanese Irises, which seem straight out of 'Alice in Wonderland.'
  • Take a leisurely bike ride around the village of Giverny, exploring the quaint streets and surrounding countryside that continue to inspire artists worldwide.

How to Get There:

  • Jump on the Paris Gare Saint-Lazare to Rouen line, and float off at Vernon-Giverny
  • Travel Time: 1 hour 30 minutes (approximately)

3. Versailles: Where “Too Much” is Never Enough (30 Minutes by Train)

palace of versailles

An Ode to Over-the-Top

Step aside, Marie Antoinette, because you're not the only one turning heads in Versailles. This is the microcosm of "Go big or go home," and Château de Versailles leads the charge with its golden gates. Lavishness isn't the only thing Versailles boasts; there's a whole garden behind that bling, with fountains, flowers, and ambition as far as the eye can see.

The Versailles Versus:

  • Marvel at the opulence of the Hall of Mirrors; it's basically a selfie spot for history fans and fans of looking fabulous.
  • Frolic in the Gardens of Versailles, where even trees and hedges follow a dress code. Witness a dancing water show, if you're lucky—Louis XIV's playlist not included.
  • The Queen's Hamlet is the ultimate playground for grown-ups who never stopped dreaming. It's where royalty met pretending to be a peasant, complete with quaint cottages.
  • The Trianons bring the petite to royalty—these mini-palaces are a retreat within a retreat, revealing a more relaxed side of Versailles.

How to Get There:

  • Quick and easy from Paris Gare Montparnasse to Versailles Château Rive Gauche—just a half-hour away, and poof, Pegasus!
  • Travel Time: 30 minutes (approximately)

4. Reims: Sip Sip, Hooray! (45 Minutes by Train)

reims france cathedral

The Champagne of Getaways

If Versailles is akin to the crown jewels, Reims would be that frothy goblet of bubbly that's calling your name. Yep, we're talking Champagne—MOËT speak louder than words. But there's so much more to Reims than just its world-famous sip. It's history from the God of the second millennium to the Big One, all threaded through the city's stones like bubbles in a flute.

What You Do in Reims:

  • Make a splash at the Palais du Tau, rubbing elbows with the spellbinding where-kings-get-their-crowns-done location, all part of the Cathedral-Bro story.
  • Savor a tour of the Maison Ruinart, the oldest of the Champagne Houses, and marvel at how anyone gets any work done with all that history lying around.
  • Take refuge in the dark and cool caves of Taittinger, a moody and magnificent locale that's aged like a fine wine.
  • Repel any thought of doom and gloom in the Crypts of the Basilica of Saint-Remi—skeletons and treasures have been the best of friends for quite some time.

How to Get There:

  • Pick up the train at Paris Gare de l’Est and drop off at Reims
  • Travel Time: 45 minutes (approximately)

5. Fontainebleau – Where the Forests Are Royal (45 Minutes by Train)

A royal sojourn just under an hour away from Paris. Fontainebleau isn't just Louie XIV’s pre-Versailles weekend retreat; it's also a dense forest that's got hikers sweating out Facebook status updates amidst its 25,000 hectares.

More Than Just Rococo Rooms

Yeah, the château's got rooms for days – beds for nights, and some very, very rare napoleonbilia. But, passé the plaster and into the trees, Fontainebleau’s forest is synonymous with peace and adventure – the kind that requires sturdy boots and a keen sense of direction. Trust me, no labyrinth at home is going to prepare you for the wonders this forest holds.

  • Chase the tails of history at the Château de Fontainebleau, where corridors whisper secrets from centuries past, and each room boasts a tale taller and more lavishly decorated than the last.
  • Strap on your most daring boots for a romp through Fontainebleau's forest, where the trees stand as silent sentinels over adventures yet to be had, and the paths wink at bold wanderers.
  • Lose yourself (but not literally) in the grand gardens, where fountains play melodies to lovers' promenades, and every hedge hides a new secret waiting to be discovered.

How to Get There

  • Departure Point: Gare de Lyon, Paris
  • Arrival Point: Fontainebleau-Avon station
  • Travel Time: Approximately 45 minutes

Upon arrival at Fontainebleau-Avon station, a bus or a short taxi ride will ferry you to the regal grounds of the Château de Fontainebleau. Each step closer entwines you further into the storied tapestry of France's royal history and the natural splendor of its favored forest retreat.

Final Thoughts

Criminy, who knew Paris by train could be so jam-packed with adventures? While the City of Light might keep you up past bedtime with all its charm, there's a whole tapestry of experiences just a train ride away. Each of these day trips offers a distinct flavor of France, like sampling pâté and pastries—it's the smorgasbord of travel delights, right on your plate.

Remember, it's not the miles you travel, it's the sights you see. Or was it the friends you make along the way? Oh, who cares, really—as long as you're charting new territory, you're golden. Here's to days of exploration, to train rides that make you question reality, and to the adventures beyond the horizon—encore, Paris, s'il vous plaît! 🎭


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