Since moving to Paris I have yet to run out of incredible events, attractions, restaurants and shops to visit and explore. However, even living in one of the worldʼs most exciting and intoxicating cities canʼt kill (most) travelerʼs “need to get away” instinct. Itʼs vital to change up your scenery and not become stuck in a monotonous pattern, wherever you are in the world.
While living in Europe places me in close proximity to so many wonderful and diverse countries, itʼs also nice to have fresh new destinations accessible in an hour or less commute. After living in Paris for nearly six months, Iʼve put together my favorite day trips from Paris.
*For Navigo Pass holders: all of these trips have no extra transportation cost! These destinations are reachable using various RER lines.*
1. Provins, France
Stepping off the train into Provins feels like instantly traveling back in time. Each building you stroll by is more unique than the last and the whole town looks as though youʼve walked onto the set of Beauty and the Beast. Donʼt just take my word for it though. Provins, located approximately 1.5 hours from Paris by train, is actually an UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known as the town of medieval fairs. In fact, they hold an annual Medieval Festival which has taken place since 1984. Provins is an easily walkable town with a special French charm that I have yet to find anywhere else. If youʼre looking for an alternative to the busy city hustle of Paris, Provins is the perfect escape. Donʼt leave Provins before you explore the Tour César and see the well-preserved city walls.
2. Domaine de Chantilly: Chantilly, France
Home to an exquisite château, dreamy gardens, horse stables, museums, art; Chantilly has something that everyone will love. The main attraction of the town is the Domaine de Chantilly, which holds all of these exciting attractions. Once you hop of the train skip the Uber and take a walk throughout the city on your way. Youʼll be able to pass by one of the oldest horse racing tracks in all of France, Chantilly Racecourse. Once you arrive at Domaine de Chantilly youʼll have the option of visiting the chateau, the grounds, the great stables and the museum of the horse. You can purchase these separately if youʼre short on time, but itʼs worth spending the entire day exploring. Château de Chantilly is a complete hidden gem and one of the most superb châteaux in all of France. It even holds the second largest collection of antique paintings after the Louvre. Grab your family, friends or significant other and spend an extraordinary day discovering Chantilly. Be sure to stop by a Boulangerie or Pâtisserie for a taste of Crème Chantilly.
3. Château de Fontainebleau, France
Located in a small, quaint French town just south of Paris, Château de Fontainebleau does not disappoint. Although best know for its château, Fontainebleau itself is worth exploring so wake up early enough to allow time to discover this charming town. Château de Fontainebleau has been the home of countless kings and queens, emperors and empresses dating back to 1137. This château is dripping with history among its 1500 rooms which include several galleries, a theatre, chapels, and museums. If you love architecture, youʼll be impressed by the remarkable display of French architecture as well as the châteauʼs infamous horseshoe staircase. After visiting the the château grab a meal in one of Fontainebleauʼs local restaurants and get a feel for this cute French town.
4. Château de Versailles: Versailles, France
This destination hardly needs any explanation and it wouldnʼt be a day trip list without a mention of Versailles. More specifically the infamous Château de Versailles. Getting to Versailles from Paris is an extremely easy journey. Thereʼs no need to book a special driver, bus or van to reach the city. You can purchase a cheap RER ticket minutes before boarding, venture approximately thirty minutes out of Paris, and walk ten minutes to reach the château. For visiting, keep in mind that the château is closed on Mondays. On sunnier days be sure to pack a picnic for relaxing in the stunning Versailles gardens. Versailles will leave you with a head full of knowledge, incredible pictures, complete exhaustion and sore feet (wear your comfiest shoes). Donʼt miss visiting Marie Antoinetteʼs Estate as well – located deep inside the Versailles gardens.
Photos: Hanna Jobes
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