Where to go for your Day Trip Out of Paris….
You could spend years in Paris and still not see every single thing the city has to offer, but sometimes you may find yourself needing a change of pace. When this happens, there are plenty of day trips out of Paris that will be sure to fit your needs.
History buffs, art lovers, and those who simply need a break from the city life will find places to see that will tweek their interests.
I have compiled a list of 10 interesting day trips from the City of Light, but the adventure shouldn’t end here. Choose one of these destinations, and then let yourself get lost for a day!
Explore dirt roads and have a picnic next to a little pond; just because you’re in a foreign country doesn’t mean you only need to see the most exciting sites.
Your little picnic outing may turn into one of your greatest adventures abroad………
1. Parc de Thoiry: Who would have thought you could see zebras in France? Well, you’re in luck. A long safari trail (accessible only by car) allows you to come close to zebras, bears, lynx, macaques, and many more animals.
Other parts of the park include a walk-able glass tunnel where you are separated from lions only by a pane of glass which will be sure to give you shivers as you come so close to these magnificent creatures.
If you come at feeding time, you can watch the lions and tigers being fed from behind the safety of the glass tunnel. There are also beautiful zoological gardens housing the Komodo Dragons, and stunningly gorgeous sculpted garden to explore.
There is a huge 23oom long Yew Tree maze with 9 bridges to cross and lots of detours to trick you into losing yourself!! We spent ages getting lost and getting the giggles.
The Thoiry Castle itself is full of amazing history with richly detailed ancient tapestries, gorgeous to die for antiques and family portraits to marvel over, giving us an insight into what life must have been like so long ago. The architecture is stunning and even more so when you consider this place was built entirely by hand.
You can explore the whole place by yourself or have a guided tour by a guide who is dressed in period costume. If you take a tour, you will learn much more about Thoiry Castle and its history. I would recommend taking a full day to explore and take a picnic lunch or buy lunch there. All of this only an hour drive from the city and one of the best day trips outside of Paris!
Address: Rue du Pavillon de Montreuil, 78770 Thoiry, France
Phone:+33 1 34 87 40 67
Sunday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Monday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Wednesday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Thursday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Friday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
2. Disneyland: Wait, we’re not in the US anymore. But those who are secretly ( at whatever age )still fascinated by the childish fantasies of Disney can indulge in either Parc Disneyland or Parc Walt Disney Studios. The two theme parks offer more than 50, yes 50, rides, shows, parades and attractions, so you definitely will not get bored.
There are rides to suit the most sedate and easily scared of people, or, you can go to the extreme opposite and take a ride on the RC racer for kids or the very terrifying heart stopping Tower of Terror!There is so much to do here that really I would suggest getting there first thing to make the most of your day out at Disneyland. Only 35km away from the city, you can easily transport yourself into another world for a day and be back in time for dinner!
Disneyland® Park in Paris
08:00-10:00 : Extra Magic Hours
Walt Disney Studios®
3. Giverny: Art history buffs will instantly recognize these iconic gardens – filled with the same lilies Claude Monet was inspired by – but even those who aren’t as knowledgeable about Monet’s work will be awed by the beauty of Giverny. You can even stand on the very same bridge covered in wisterias that Monet once stood on! There are walled gardens,perfumed gardens and peaceful gentle water gardens with wonderful color combinations of plantings to wander through. The little village of Giverny is a must visit also with its little lane ways, quaint old houses and lovely gardens. If you have some spare time, drop into the Museum of the Impressionists which has changing exhibitions of impressionist art on show. There are also lovely gardens to vivist at this museum
Giverny is only a short 45 minute drive from Paris’ Gare Saint Lazare station, making this a great day trip from Paris! Be sure to take a delicious picnic lunch to enjoy as your explore these beautiful gardens which have influenced world art and artists.
The Gardens are open to the public April to October from 9.30 am – 1800.
Closed November through to March.
4. Provins: Transport yourself to an ancient medieval town slightly over an hour outside of Paris. Provins is a short day trip back into history, filled with medieval buildings, walls, and fortresses. It’s much calmer than the city and allows for a very pleasant relaxing afternoon – the town is easily toured by foot or by a little tourist train that trundles through these ancient streets.
Provins is known for its rose cultivation, especially the The Provins Rose Garden which has so many different rose plantings and is the home of the Rosa Gallica Officinalis which was brought back during the crusades and is said to be ancestor of all our modern day varieties.The Rose gardens also feature a healing herbs garden showcasing just how valuable herbs are for treating all sorts of illnesses. so be sure to grab some rose jam or candy before you leave!
In the Upper Town there are many artisans creating beautiful ceramics and stoneware for sale as well as delicious home made goods for sale from breads to jams,cakes and cheeses, wines and apple ciders and more….Take some time to troll around the Upper Town and make sure to stop into the Tourist Information Center so you don’t miss anything….There are many shows to catch at various times depicting what life was like way back then and are well worth making time to see. From medieval knights to what was life like in a French Court to the ancient sport of Falconry, even musical concerts.
If you enjoy walking through the French provincial countryside there are many walks to choose from to suit all abilities and ages. Ramble along paths trodden by hundreds of feet over hundreds of years and visit quaint little villages, old churches and monasteries, well tended fields and marvel at the beauty of the country side. i highly recommend taking a picnic lunch along to enjoy as you sit and take in the views. Definitely a day trip to remember. Oh, and remember to take your camera!
5. Rouen: Spending a day in the very same city that Joan of Arc spent her last days? Très cool. This city is packed full of incredible Gothic architecture including the famous Notre Dame Cathedral and the churches of Saint Maclau and Saint Ouen. You’ll even be able to catch a glimpse of the same tower that Joan of Arc was held in before her execution. Of course, Rouen is not just about Joan of Arc.
Check out the Big Clock, Gros Horloge, which dates back to about 1528. You can climb the 100 stone steps to see the inside of this medieval clock tower to see how it works. The bells ring on the hour and are deafening! There are a few rooms you can tour and listen to an audio guide at your leisure. From the top you can look out over the panoramic view of the city of Rouen.
Rue St Romain features old buildings from stone and wood. The stone was limestone and very chalky, weak, so they used oak as well which was plentiful and very strong. Often the walls were also made from a mix of stone pebbles,mud,straw and manure as a filler as thee materials were cheap and at hand.It is easy to imagine stepping back in time a couple of centuries as you wander this street with its little adjoining lane ways.
Its worth having a look at the Plague Cemetery. During the Great Plague, shockingly about two thirds of locals died from the plague! This was a mass grave because so many people died so quickly there were not enough left to deal with burying of bodies so they were simply thrown and covered with liquid lime to speed up the decomposition rate.Ugh!! Its hard to imagine how awful it must have been…. There are many macabre carvings of skulls, crossbones,gravediggers tools and depictions of people doing a death dance around the cemetery.
Wander down the little lane ways and explore Rouen, there is so much to see and each corner has another view to marvel over.When you have worn yourself out, replenish your energy with at any of the plentiful cafe’s and restaurants here.
6. Bois de Vincennes: Remember that picnic I mentioned earlier? Located only 17 minutes from the city center, this is the perfect place for a lakeside lunch. This park alone houses four different lakes, so take your pick and find the perfect spot to lie in the sun for a relaxing afternoon. There are plenty of paths, 27 km of them, for jogging, horse riding and biking, and even places to rent bikes if you didn’t bring your own! Bois de Vincennes is also home to bike racing and horse racing venues, so check ahead of time for schedules if you’re interested in attending.
Click here for comprehensive information –http://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument
7. Versailles: Yeah, yeah; this was a given and without doubt, one of the best side trips from Paris. No trip to Paris is complete without a day trip from Paris to the Chateau de Versailles. The palace has a whopping 250 acres of stunningly perfect gardens, which alone is enough of a reason to make the trip. There is a self guided tour you can take at your leisure through the Palace or take a guided tour. to make sure you see everything on offer. Marvel at the Kings and Queens of times past and how extraordinary their lives were, the grandeur and vastness of scale is awe inspiring. The powerful court of King Louis XIV set the standard of European culture and it still continues today to some extent.
You can visit the Kings Vegetable Gardens, a whole 22 acres of vegetable garden which is still productive.It is a sunken walled garden and as well as vegetables has many fruit trees and when in season you can buy the fruit and vegetables on offer.
Take a little time to visit Marie Antoinette’s hamlet as well to get an interesting peek into her life.
Its probably best to arm yourself with a day pass or a 2 day pass to skip the crowds as Versailles does get very popular and there is simply so much to see.
This is a very comprehensive site and will answer all your questions.
8. Normandy: History lovers rejoice – a trip to Normandy will allow you to traipse along the WWII landing beaches and battlefields. Other attractions include the American and British cemeteries, Pointe du Hoc, and Falaise d’Etretat. Pointe du Hoc is where a group of American soldiers risked their lives climbing massive cliffs, while Falaise d’Etretat provides a treat for the eyes with the chalky white appearance of limestone cliffs.
9. Crécy la Chapelle: Nothing beats the blues better than a trip to the Parisian countryside. This charming little town – located only one hour from Paris – features moats, bridges, and farmers markets filled with fresh produce and cheeses. A quiet little town, Crécy la Chapelle is home to small medieval houses, watermills, and an abundance of rolling fields.
For information about Crecy la Chapelle, click here.
10. Reims: You can’t possibly make a trip to France without going on at least one Champagne tour. Spend a day in Reims which is an easy day trip from Paris, and tour the famous wine cellars, learning how the wine is made and tasting many delicious samples. Not only famous for its wine, Reims is home to a gorgeous cathedral – where the Kings of France come to be crowned – as well as a stunning Romanesque Basilica.
Reims is also a university town, there are many possibilities to further your education here, even as simply learning how to speak French or perhaps a course in engineering or gastronomy.To study here would be a delightful experience as Reims is so picturesque.
There are so many cafes and restaurants to visit which are a perfect compliment to your bed and breakfast stay while you visit the many wineries about Reims itself
Beyond the City of Light: Day Trips Out of Paris
Whether you want to immerse yourself in a historical medieval town or simply take a day off from the city by basking in the sun next to a lake, there is a day trip out of Paris that will provide you with the adventure you’re looking for. I know there are so many places to see within the city, but take a little time off and explore everything else that France has to offer! I promise you won’t regret it.
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