The Quick Guide: 12 Essential Day Trips From Paris

The Quick Guide: 12 Essential Day Trips From Paris

Loved Chloe Govan’s recent feature on day trips from Paris? Here’s a quick reference guide to the essential trips. From natural wonders to stunning châteaux to the haunts of favourite artists, there’s something for everyone.

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What to See and Do Outside of Paris


Justifiably the most visited château in the country, Versailles often boasts musical fountains, fireworks and period re-enactments. The palace has played host to everything from Marie Antoinette’s wedding celebrations to scandal and subterfuge.

Cliffs of Etretat

Cliffs of Etretat © Tobi 87 via Wikimedia Commons


These scenic chalk cliffs, along with the distinctive rock formation L’Aiguille, are legendary landmarks on the Norman coastline. Much loved by the Impressionist painters, it was also the setting for Arsène Lupin crime novel The Hollow Needle.

Auvers Sur Oise

Auvers Sur Oise © Lionceau95 via Wikimedia Commons


With its wheat, sunflower and poppy fields, this countryside idyll barely more than half an hour from Paris proved a favourite for many Impressionists, including Vincent Van Gogh – who spent his final days here – as well as Cézanne, Daubigny and Pissarro.

Chateau de Chambord

Chateau de Chambord © Benh LIEU SONG, via Wikimedia Commons


Surrounded by forest, this 440-room former hunting lodge is the largest and grandest of all the Loire Valley châteaux – and it even boasts a double helix staircase designed by Leonardo da Vinci. Horseback re-enactments are a highlight here.

Chateau Cheverny

Chateau Cheverny © Chateau Cheverny


Despite its smaller stature, Cheverny is perhaps the best château for families, boasting a Tintin exhibition devoted to the cartoon detective and his faithful dog Snowy, pus dozens of on-site hunting hounds, incredible gardens and tranquil boat trips.

Clos Luce, Amboise

Clos Luce, Amboise © Wikimedia Commons


This former home of Leonardo da Vinci brings to life the artist’s final years, ensconced in a château provided by the art enthusiast Francis I. Visitors can see his bedroom, his artwork and reconstructions of some of his incredible inventions.

Chateau de Chantilly

Chateau de Chantilly © wikiemedia commons


Rebuilt after its destruction in the French Revolution, this château has since been restored to its former glory, hosting performances by Pink Floyd and even appearing in a Bond movie. Don’t miss the art gallery and Museum of the Horse.

Monet's gardens, Giverny

Monet’s gardens, Giverny © Maison et jardins de Claude Monet Giverny 


The perfect place for an Impressionist art pilgrimage, visitors can explore the late Claude Monet’s house, now a museum, before strolling through the gardens that inspired his best work, complete with water lilies galore.

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris © Disneyland Paris


An undeniable family favourite, the Disneyland Park boasts a Sleeping Beauty castle inspired by Loire Valley châteaux and Perrault’s fairytales, plus a host of rides and attractions for every age group, from swashbuckling pirates to Alice in Wonderland.

Chateau de Chenonceau

Chateau de Chenonceau © Wikimedia Commons


This is another legendary stop-off on the Loire Valley royal route. Henri II’s wife, self-styled ‘evil queen’ Catherine de’ Medici, and his much-loved mistress Diane de Poitiers clashed bitterly over architectural designs, before Diane was evicted altogether.

Clelie Mascaret

Clelie Mascaret © Wikimedia Commons


This is no ordinary cathedral – a UNESCO World Heritage Site where more than two dozen kings had their coronations, the building is even larger than Notre-Dame in Paris, yet it’s remained a well-kept secret in comparison.

Fontevraud Abbey

Fontevraud Abbey © Chloe Govan


An abbey run by monks and nuns who lived in deliberate self-isolation away from the rest of the world, it was later turned into a prison and is now a cultural centre. The tombs of royalty rest here.

From France Today Magazine

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Chloe Govan is an award-winning writer and channel-hopping Francophile with a penchant for Parisian life. After achieving degrees in Psychology and Magazine Journalism and working as a travel editor and columnist, she developed her freelance career, during which she authored 11 books. Whether she is sleeping in a bubble under the stars in the forests around Marseille or horse-back riding with the chateaux of the Loire Valley as a backdrop, her heart can often be found somewhere in France.

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