The best day trips from Paris

Château de Chantilly, photo by Guillaume Cattiaux

Paris is the kind of city where you’d have to make an effort in order to get bored, but as all large cities after an extended stay anyone would feel the need to escape the urban bustle for a while. If you are spending a long vacation in Paris and you want a break from sightseeing and indulging in gourmet delights, why not take a short trip outside Paris? You don’t need to go far, because there are lots of interesting destinations and attractions close enough to Paris so that you can go and return the same day. If you want to take a gander on the outskirts of the French capital and consider these ideas for the best day trips from Paris.

Versailles

The resplendent former royal home built by the famous Sun King, Louis XIV, is still one of the most visited sights just outside Paris. Versailles is not located in Paris proper, and you should definitely devote at least one day to exploring the palace, the vast grounds and gardens (in spring and summer you’ll have a hard time leaving the manicured gardens with their flowers, follies and fountains), as well as spend an hour or two exploring the town and its historical streets.

Monet’s Garden, Giverny

Monet's Garden, photo by Juergen Kurlvink on Flickr

The lovely garden of famous impressionist painter Claude Monet is only a few hours’ drive from Paris, and it is a must-see attraction if you like art. The beautiful garden has been an inspiration for Monet, and it is featured in several of his most famous paintings. Many of the flowers blooming in the garden are as Monet planted them, and in spring and summer the place is an explosion of colors and fragrances.

Chantilly

If you take the train from the Gare du Nord, it takes only half an hour to reach Chantilly, the town where the delicious cream of the same name was invented, but also where one of the most famous castles in France can be found. Château de Chantilly is made up of two castles, the Grand Château (destroyed in the French Revolution and rebuilt in the 19th century) and Petit Château, dating back to the 16th century.

Provins, Seine-et-Marne Department

Provins, photo by Tim Herricks

The small town of Provins is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its medieval history as a famous fair town. The Champagne Fairs that played a very important role in the economy of medieval Europe took place in Provins, and the town still has a very pleasant medieval air. The city walls are well preserved, and you can see the intact Tour César  dungeon, as well as various medieval buildings scattered around town.

Marly-le-Roi, Yvelines Department

Marly-le-Roi used to be a royal town, and the site of the Château de Marly, the residence of King Louis XIV, destroyed in the French Revolution. Nothing remains of the castle but the town is still well worth a visit if the glamour of Paris gets too much. The narrow, paved streets of Marly are lined with colorful buildings and small shops selling crafts and traditional goods.

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