Looking for the best weekend trips from Paris by train or by car? You are in the right spot. In this post, we will share the best weekend getaways from Paris within France, and to other countries. Find the best way to reach the destination with sightseeing and accommodation tips for each!
17 Best Weekend Trips from Paris by train or by car
The capital city of France, Paris is well connected to many major cities in Europe by trains and short flights. If you do not wish to rent a car and drive, this is perfect as Paris has a strong rail network and you can reach cities and small towns in the countryside by embarking on any of these wonderful train trips from Paris.
Trains in France are fast and efficient. You can book high speed train tickets online as well. The sooner you book the tickets, it will be easier to get discounts. Many of the destinations mentioned in this post can be reached in less than 3 hours as weekend trips from Paris, thus allowing you to maximise your vacation time!
So whether it is traveling within France from Paris or crossing the borders for another country, you will be arriving/using Gare du Nord – the main train station in Paris.
So here are the destinations you can easily cover in a weekend trip from Paris
Closest cities to Paris by train
- Château de Chantilly
- Mont Saint Michel
- Brussels Belgium
- Bruges Belgium
- Geneva Switzerland
- Cologne Germany
- Frankfurt Germany
- London United Kingdom
Versailles: Best Summer Weekend Trips from Paris
- Train from Paris to Versailles: 45 minutes, one way
- Paris to Versailles by car: 45 minutes, one way
- Where to stay in Versailles: Hôtel Le Louis Versailles Château – MGallery
Versailles is the second most visited site in France after the Louvre Museum, making it one of the most popular and easy day trip options. But Versailles has so much to offer (other than Palace of Versailles).
You can easily arrive in Versailles in about 45 minutes by train plus transfer time to the palace. During summers you will experience long line-ups at the Palace grounds. It is a good idea to book a tour to beat the crowds.
Exploring the Versailles Palace gardens and fountains are amazing in summer. And that’s why it is worth spending a weekend in Versailles visiting the popular landmark and enjoying a relaxed getaway.
Here are some other things worth seeing in Versailles, after the famous palace itself. One of them is the Versailles Cathedral. The cathedral is an example of a pre-eminent Roman Catholic church. The Church of Notre-Dame de Versailles is another landmark, which was built as a place of worship and to serve the needs of the growing town.
A little further away from Versailles is Grand Trianon. It is a hamlet located on the outskirts of Versailles. This was used as a place of refuge for the monarch, and the complex has its own private park and forest nearby.
Located within the complex is Petit Trianon, which was used as a solitary refuge for Marie Antoinette.
After exploring all the landmarks, set aside some time to hang out at Versailles Markets. Buy oranges or other citrus fruits, organic produce here.
READ: From Loire Valley, Normandy to Disneyland, enjoy these day trips from Paris for history and culture lovers
Lyon: Best Weekend Getaways from Paris
- Train from Paris to Lyon: 2 hours, one way
- Paris to Lyon by car: 4 hours 30 minutes, one way
- Where to stay in Lyon: Hotel Carlton Lyon – MGallery Hotel Collection | La Niche St Paul Lyon Airbnb
Lyon is the third largest city in France and it can be easily reached from Paris by train. Known for its historical and architectural landmarks Lyon is a delightful visit for history and culture lovers.
Start by exploring all of Lyon’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites (in total there are 13 heritage landmarks). Traditionally Lyon was known for the production and weaving of silk.
La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière is the most visited site in Lyon, it is a minor basilica in the city. Another cathedral, the Lyon Cathedral is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, and is the seat of the Archbishop of Lyon.
In the afternoon, hang out at the Place des Terreaux. This is a square located in the city center of Lyon (between the Rhône and the Saône, at the foot of the hill of La Croix-Rousse). If you have time on your hands, visit the Lyon City Hall and museum located near the historic square.
You must set aside some time for exploring the Gallo-Roman Museum of Lyon-Fourvière. It is a museum of Gallo-Roman civilization, situated in a wonderful spot – on a hill known as Fourvière, in the heart of the Roman city. You can check out the various exhibits and display rooms here.
Other notable museums to include in your weekend itinerary: Confluence Museum, Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon aka Musée des beaux-arts de Lyon.
If you are a foodie, Lyon will surprise you in a good way. Today Lyon is known as the gastronomy capital of France. Try these delicious dishes when you are in Lyon next – Rosette lyonnaise or Salade lyonnaise (lettuce with bacon, croûtons and a poached egg); Saucisson de Lyon (sausage), Andouillette (a sausage of coarsely cut tripe) or Saucisson brioché.
Strasbourg from Paris by Train
- Train from Paris to Strasbourg: 2 hours, one way (fastest train)
- Paris to Strasbourg by car: 5 hours and 20 minutes, one way
- Where to stay in Strasbourg: Hôtel & Spa Regent Petite France
Strasbourg is the capital city of the Grand Est region (old Alsace region). The city is located near the German border, and shares a rich culture German and French influences.
Strasbourg’s grandeur can be explored in the Grand Île and Petite France cobbled streets. These pretty lines are filled with timber-framed houses that are centuries old. Strasbourg has been at the tug of war between France and Germany, and it is evident from the historical, architectural, and cultural nuances. It was home to the European Parliament in the past.
Strasbourg Gothic Cathédrale Notre-Dame dominates the big list of things to see in the city, along with the Rhine River. This sandstone cathedral was the tallest building in the world (since its creation upto 227 years), and is a testimony of the engineering wonders of the medieval period. You can take a sneak peek of the Black Forest from the cathedral, located about 30 kilometres away.
Pay a visit to the Palais des Rohan, a baroque Episcopal palace, built in the 1720s. If interested you can also embark on half day wine tours from Strasbourg.
During winters, Strasbourg is a stunning place to spend Christmas in Europe. It is filled with festive decorations, mulled wine, and is home to one of the prettiest Christmas in France.
Stay at Hôtel & Spa Regent Petite France for the weekend. A stunning 4 star hotel, with beautiful views, a dining room for breakfast (extra charge), and lavish suites.
Paris to Nantes by Train
- Train from Paris to Nantes: 2.5 hours, one way
- Paris to Nantes by car: 4 hours, one way
- Where to stay in Nantes: Zenitude Hotel-Residence Nantes-La Beaujoire
By Cosette from KarsTravels
There’s plenty to see and do in Nantes. When visiting for one day these are the not to be missed attractions: Château des Ducs de Bretagne and Les Machines de L’ile.
The Château houses the Musée d’Histoire de Nantes. The explanation is in French, but each room has sheets with the English version. In the many rooms the history of the castle is told and the history of Nantes from start to finish. You can walk on the walls of the castle and have a fantastic view on Nantes. Reserve approximately 2 hours for the castle.
Make reservations online for the Machines de L’ile, so that you can visit everything in one afternoon.
Start at the Galerie de Machines. Wander around, admire the cleverly made machines and watch the demonstrations. Cross the hall to the second part of the Galerie, with a movie, the craftsman shop and branches to walk on.
Then ride The Elephant. It either takes you from the Galerie to Le Carrousel or vice versa. It’s fun to do. At Le Carrousel make a ride in one of the underwater world themed objects. Expect long waiting times here. Reserve the whole afternoon for the Machines.
A good place to stay is the Zenitude Hotel-Residence Nantes-La Beaujoire, with a swimming pool and your own kitchen.
Paris to Bayeux by Train
- Train from Paris to Bayeux: 2 hours, one way
- Paris to Bayeux by car: 3 hours, one way
- Where to stay in Bayeux: Hôtel Tardif – Noble Guesthouse
By Lynn from Be your own travel guide
Small towns in France are perfect opportunities to learn the history of the region without the crowds but with all the culture. Bayeux is no exception, which makes it perfect for a quick getaway from Paris.
Tapestry Museum (Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux) is one of the oldest and most well-preserved artifacts of all time and is located in Bayeux. Prior civilizations used tapestries to tell stories and preserve history by sewing it onto cloth.
The Bayeux tapestry depicts the conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy back in 1066. Yes, you read that correctly, a THOUSAND years ago. As the tapestry was sewn shortly after the battle, it is considered to be an accurate representation of events at the time. In case you don’t think that is crazy enough, Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family are direct descendants of who would become King William. Wild!
Bayeux Cathedral (Cathédrale de Notre-Dame de Bayeux): Another key attraction to see is the Cathedral of Our Lady of Bayeux. This was the original resting spot of the Bayeux Tapestry before it moved to its own museum.
With a consecration date of 1077, the Cathedral is one of the most ancient Roman-Catholic sites to see in France, and its tall, stained glass windows are typical of this period.
If you’ve ever dreamed of spending the night in a castle, Bayeux might be just the place to do so. Actual castles in Bayeux converted to hotels offer a luxurious experience at a fraction of the price compared to the rest of France.
How to get to Bayeux: As with many small towns in France, it is easy to get to Bayeux by train. It will take just over 2 hours to get to this small town in Normandy. An adult ticket is 40€ one way, which makes it a quick and easy weekend getaway from Paris.
Paris to Chartres Weekend Getaway
- Train from Paris to Chartres: 2 hours, one way
- Paris to Chartres by car: 1 hour, one way
- Where to stay in Chartres: Maison Blanche Chartres
By Leslie Stroud from 7wayfinders.com
Imagine stained glass windows so valuable they were taken down in war and hidden in the countryside to preserve them. Many of the windows date over 800 years old and are priceless artifacts of the middle ages and before. These alone would be worth the effort to see on a day trip from Paris, but combine them with, what many term, the “mini-Notre Dame” and you’ve got yourself an amazing day trip!
The Chartres Cathedral is a short hour drive from Paris, located 80 km (50 miles) southwest of the City of Lights. It has stood nearly a millennia and survived both the French Revolution and both World Wars.
The artwork, sculptures, exterior, and interior will entertain even young travelers (for a little while, at least). Best of all, entrance is free!
You can opt for a guided tour, an additional tour of the crypts, or a guided tour from Paris itself.
Chartres was one of our favorite cities near Paris. The city charms you with darling restaurants, a Fine Art Museum, beautiful gardens, and cute shops. At Christmas time, we loved seeing them erect the 20-ft or so high city Christmas Tree. Each French town usually has its own Christmas Tree and market.
Be sure to also stop by the Massion Picassiette – The House of a Million Pieces. This quaint home amazes with millions of pieces of crockery, pottery, and more built into mosaics. The mosaics cover the floors, walls, ceiling, and furniture. The owner spent over 30 years beautifying his home and it is now a museum to be enjoyed.
Paris to Château de Chantilly
- Train from Paris to Chateau de Chantilly: 25 minutes, one way
- Paris to Château de Chantilly by car: 1 hour 25 minutes, one way
- Where to stay in Chateau de Chantilly: Hôtel Le Chantilly
By Chrysoula from Historic European Castles
The glorious Chateau de Chantilly is a wonderful destination for those who want to discover other interesting sites located around Paris, either for a day trip or a short weekend visit. The Chateau was originally built in the 16th Century for Duke Anne de Montmorency, but was later destroyed during the tumultuous French Revolution and rebuilt in the 19th Century by Henri d’Orléans.
Today, the fairytale castle complex comprises Le Petit Château, Le Grand Château, the Musée Condé, and the Chantilly Racecourse, as well as manicured gardens, lakes, and passages.
Visitors are able to take a tour of the Domaine de Chantilly, discovering the Royal Suites, the Reading Room, the Great Stables, and even the second largest collection of antique paintings after the Louvre! The site also puts on equestrian shows and flower displays for which tickets can be booked in advance.
Located around 50km north of Paris, Chateau de Chantilly can easily be reached by car or train, with direct trains leaving regularly from Gare du Nord. The direct journey only takes around 25 minutes which makes visiting Chateau de Chantilly ideal for a day trip.
It is also one of the nicest options for a weekend getaway from Paris, and you can stay nearby at Hôtel Le Chantilly, a former coaching inn turned boutique hotel that is a warm and welcoming option.
Paris to Reims Weekend Getaway
- Train from Paris to Reims: 45 minutes, one way (TGV from Gare de l’Est)
- Paris to Reims by car: 1 hour, 45 minutes one way
- Where to stay in Reims: Best Western Premier Hotel De La Paix
By Taylor from Brown Eyed Flower Child
For all of the Champagne lovers out there looking for a wonderful weekend break in France, there is a perfect province for you to explore that is located in the Northeastern part of the country.
Reims is a quaint city that is known as the unofficial capital of the Champagne wine region. It hosts Champagne houses to take a tour through and learn all about the production of the world’s favorite celebratory beverage. Reims also has a beautiful cathedral, great cafés and restaurants as well as beautiful landmarks.
A weekend escape to Reims would not be complete without visiting Champagne Lanson. The house was owned by many prominent figures in France since 1760 and they also have a Royal Warrant with the Queen of England!
During a tour through Champagne Lanson, you will see the fermentation process along with all of the machinery. The most memorable part of the tour was walking through the caves (cellars). They were eerie, fascinating and historical! (The caves used to be an old passageway during numerous French wars and they were also a hospital for wounded soldiers.)
These underground tunnels became Champagne Lanson’s caves in 1926 and they now hold over 20,000 bottles from centuries of production.
The tour of Champagne Lanson is concluded with a wonderful Champagne tasting!
A beautiful landmark to admire is the Cathédale Notre-Dame de Reims (also known as Reims Cathedral). This stunning Roman Catholic church was once destroyed by a fire in 1211, but was quickly replaced by a larger Gothic-style cathedral.
The cathedral holds over 900 years’ worth of royal coronations of the kings of France. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site!
Right next to the cathedral is the Palace of Tau, which is also a beautiful landmark to check out. It is where the cathedral’s treasury is kept.
In addition to Champagne tasting and visiting the historical landmarks, Reims also has wonderful French and international eateries along with beautiful parks to take a stroll through.
Paris to Mont Saint Michel
- Train from Paris to Mont Saint Michel: 3 hours & 20 minutes, one way
- Paris to Mont Saint Michel by car: 4 hours, one way
- Where to stay in Mont Saint Michel: Auberge Saint Pierre
By Nassie from Snippets of Paris
One of the most beautiful and unique sights in the world, about 4 hours from Paris, is the spectacular Mont Saint Michel. A large abbey built on a rock island, surrounded by marshland, Mont Saint Michel is a sight to behold. At low tide you can walk across the marshland, but at high tide, it turns into an island like Cinderella stranded with one shoe.
Legend has it that the archangel Michael appeared to St. Aubert of Avranches in 708 and instructed him to build a church at Mont Saint Michel. Over the centuries, pilgrims would make their way to Mont Saint Michel to pray, eventually building a small village in its vicinity.
These days there are more tourists than pilgrims at Mont Saint Michel, but the spirit of the island remains. The monastery still has around 8 monks who live there full time, along with a local population of approximately 25. You can walk around the monastery, the ramparts of the citadel, and the narrow streets of the village as you explore Mont Saint Michel.
It takes about 4 hours to get there from Paris, and to get there from Paris you can take the train from Paris’ Gare Montparnasse to the city Rennes (2 hours), from where SNCF buses travel to Mont St. Michel (1.5hrs).
Marseille from Paris Train Trip
- Train from Paris to Marseille: 4 hours, one way (fastest one at 3 hours)
- Paris to Marseille by car: 7 hours 30 minutes, one way
- Where to stay in Marseille: Radisson Blu Hotel Marseille Vieux Port
Marseille is one of the prettiest places in South of France. Located only 4 hours away from Paris, you can easily explore Marseille on a weekend getaway. Marseille boasts of 300 days of sunshine.
Being a port city, the coastal vibes in Marseille are very different from any of the other destinations listed in this post. Since time immemorial, Marseille was used as an immigration port and trade center.
Vieux-Port or the Old Port used to be a hub spot for fishermen selling their catch, and today it is filled with colorful boats and places to eat. In Marseille, you must visit the Basilique Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, a Romanesque-Byzantine church.
Other landmarks to include in your Marseille itinerary are Le Corbusier’s influential Cité Radieuse complex and Zaha Hadid’s CMA CGM Tower. We highly recommend taking some time to wander and explore the colorful winding lanes of Marseille.
It is important to know that Marseille has a bad reputation as an unsafe destination for tourists. Although there is some risk in popular landmarks, especially pickpockets or tourist safety at night, you must use your judgement and no venture into unknown areas at night. And be very mindful of your belongings.
Paris to Avignon, France
- Train from Paris to Avignon: 4 hours, one way
- Paris to Avignon by car: 6 hours 30 minutes, one way
- Where to stay in Avignon: Hotel D’Europe
By Supriya from Fun Travel Og
A two and half hour fast train from Paris could get you to the medieval city of Avignon in France. Often used as a base to explore the villages and lavender fields of Provence in June-July, this small city itself has several attractions, making it worthy of a day or a weekend.
Located on the banks of the Rhone river, the city is most famous for a monumental landmark, Palais de Papes, or the Popes’ Palace, which has been the residence of seven Popes. It is one of the most impressive Gothic structures in all of Europe and a Unesco World Heritage site.
Today this fortified palace of those times is open to visitors who can admire paintings, tiled floors, a chapel, and scenic views. A visit to the palace can take up to two-three hours. Next, for a panoramic view of the city, head to Parc de Rochers des Doms. Many visitors also pay a visit to the ruins of Pont du Gard, which is a great way to learn about Roman history in a magnificent setting.
For a fabulous covered farmer’s market head to Les Halles food market which is open from Tuesdays to Sundays. Two other places not to miss are Pont d’Avignon, a 12th-century bridge on the river, which used to have 22 arches, only 4 of which remain today, and the town square, Place de l’Horloge which has several cafes, boutiques, and restaurants.
To complement your visit, stay at the historical Hotel D’Europe, built in the 15th century, and located in the vibrant town square.
Weekend trips from Paris to other countries
Due to the location of Paris (in western Europe), it makes for a convenient base for further exploring more of Europe. You can venture to other countries from weekend trips from Paris via high speed trains or cheap flights from Paris.
If you wish to learn how to make the most of your trip to Paris or generally in Europe, take our free 7 day Europe trip planning email course.
Nearest Schengen country from Paris + Options for short flights from Paris
This note applies to those who are traveling to Paris France on a Schengen Visa. On a Schengen Visa, you can explore these nearby countries from Paris, without applying for an additional visa. A single entry Schengen Visa is sufficient as long as you remain within the Schengen zone. Check out our detailed guide to the Schengen Visa here.
**The United Kingdom is not part of the Schengen Zone.
Nearest Schengen countries to visit from Paris
Bruges: Romantic getaways near Paris
- Train from Paris to Bruges: 3 hours and 30 minutes, one way (fastest train 2 hours and 30 minutes)
- Paris to Bruges by car: 2 hours 45 minutes, one way
- Where to stay in Bruges: Hotel De Orangerie
From one romantic city to another, you will love Bruges. Located in Belgium, Bruges is often known as the ‘Venice of the North”. Filled with medieval structures, Bruges rose to prominence in the 14th and 15th centuries due to the expansive canal system. Many of these landmarks are still intact and have preserved much of the city’s charm from invasions and modern world wars.
The center of Bruges is only 20 minutes walk away from the train station. Head to the Markt Square first. This is one of the primary attractions in Bruges, and looks like a fairy tale place that you see in picture-perfect postcards. Spend some time here exploring the markets, and eating out.
At the center, do check out the Belfry Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as the Bruges Historium where you can learn about its history!
In the late afternoon, opt for a brewery tour in one of the two popular places in Bruges – Half Moon Brewery or th Brewery Bourgogne des Flandres. In the evening, you can enjoy a canal tour or see the sun go down on the beautiful city.
There are other items to add to your Bruges weekend itinerary like the – Lake Minnewaterpark, Choco-Museum, Saint John Hospital – a 800 year old hospital.
Paris to Brussels Belgium by train
- Train from Paris to Brussels: 1 hour 45 minutes, one way (fast train)
- Paris to Brussels by car: 3 hours, one way
- Where to stay in Avignon: easyHotel Brussels
As part of our Europe trip, we left for Brussels from Paris via Thalys High Speed train (from Gare du Nord), and it took us less than 2 hours. This makes Brussels a great weekend city break option from Paris.
The capital city of Belgium has so much to offer – from the medieval Grand Place to the European Union Headquarters to comic history to tasting Belgium chocolates, waffles, and beer.
The city centre of Brussels is the perfect spot to start exploring the city. The Grand Place or the Grokt Markt is the most visited attraction in Brussels. You can easily find it, and the central train station is also located nearby.
Although many of the buildings surrounding the square are actually a replica of the original grand place guilds (from 1690s), this is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Spend time here exploring the beautiful architecture, eat or embark on a horse carriage ride.
If you have time on your hands, visit the Brussels Town Hall and Brussels City museum.
The Belgian Comic Strip is a must visit on your weekend trip from Paris. This lane is full of murals, including that of Tin tin. There is also a comic museum dedicated to the colorful world of comics called the Comic Strip Center.
Another favorite is Saint-Hubert Royal Galleries, This shopping mall is super stunning, and it dates back to the 1850’s. Other popular attractions to check out in Brussels are the Atomium Park, Mont des Arts, Mini Europe and the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
Paris to Geneva Switzerland by train or flights
- Train from Paris to Geneva: 3 hours, one way via TGV Train
- Paris to Geneva by car: 5 hours 20 minutes, one way
- Where to stay in Geneva: Aparthotel Adagio Genève Mont-Blanc
From Paris, you can take a weekend trip to Geneva by train. High speed trains will take you there in 3 hours. This is also an excellent option if you are considering short flights from Paris. Paris to Geneva flights start at $70 USD one way, takes 1 hour.
Geneva is located at the southern tip of expansive Lake Geneva. Completely different from the pretty Parisian lanes, Geneva is a natural beauty and a financial center of Switzerland. From Geneva you can soak in views of Mont Blanc and everywhere your eyes go, you will see the Alps and Jura mountains.
The Jet d’Eau is a must visit landmark in the city. It is a large fountain in Geneva, and can be seen at all times of the year. Geneva is home to many international agencies and you must take time to explore the United Nations headquarters – Palace of Nations.
Wander the historic center area of Place du Bourg-de-Four. This square is filled with fountains, restaurants, gelaterias, and shopsAlso visit the St. Pierre Cathedral here, which is the largest cathedral in the city.
Geneva has a lot of history and art museums to keep you busy on a weekend getaway from Paris, France.
Paris to Cologne Germany by train
- Train from Paris to Cologne: 3 hours 30 minutes, one way – high speed train/Thalys
- Paris to Cologne by car: 5 hours +, one way
- Where to stay in Cologne: Cologne Marriott Hotel
From Paris, you can easily make a weekend trip to Cologne. An ideal cultural city break, Cologne is located in western Germany, with the River Rhine flowing through the city.
The rich history of Cologne dates back to 2000 years, and the stunning twin spired Cologne Cathedral is its showstopper. This cathedral stands tall in Old town and is filled with gilded medieval reliquary. The cathedral lights up during Christmas with festive decorations and markets. From the old town, you can soak in river views too.
Close to the Cathedral is the Museum Ludwig, which showcases 20th-century art, including many masterpieces by Picasso, and the Romano-Germanic Museum houses Roman antiquities.
One of the newest attractions in Frankfurt is the Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum, aka Chocolate Museum, which was opened in 1993. It is a nice place to see the chocolate making process in action!
Paris to Frankfurt Germany by train
- Train from Paris to Frankfurt: 3 hours 40 minutes, one way via ICE
- Paris to Frankfurt by car: 6 hours, one way
- Where to stay in Frankfurt: Hilton Frankfurt City Centre
Frankfurt is a German city, filled with cultural attractions, historic and modern architecture and is an amazing getaway option. Fast trains from Paris to Frankfurt am Main take around 3 hours and 40 minutes.
In the old town of Frankfurt is the stunning Römer, which is a medieval building and has been the city hall of Frankfurt for over 600 years. The Haus Römer is the prime landmark at the Römerberg plaza.
Located at the centre is also the Frankfurt Cathedral, also known as the Imperial Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew. It is a Roman Catholic Gothic church and is the largest religious building in the city. This site had been the site of three churches in the past. The church has stood as a symbol of national unity, especially in the 19th century.
During winters, you can visit Christmas markets here at the city center. We highly recommend taking a walking tour of Altstadt (old town) to learn about the city’s history.
For art lovers, head to the Städel Museum. This museum was awarded the ‘Museum of the Year 2012’, and it is home to one of the most important collections in Germany.
Another must do activity here is to embark on a canal tour in the evening to enjoy the night lights in Frankfurt.
Paris to London United Kingdom (non Schengen)
- Train from Paris to London: 2 hours 25 minutes, one way – high speed train
- Paris to London by car: 5 hours 30 minutes, one way
- Where to stay in London:
London deserves at least 4 to 7 days to explore the city’s major highlights. But that doesn’t mean you can’t explore London on a weekend trip from Paris. With the Thalys high speed train, you can visit London in less than 3 hour ride.
From the Gare du Nord Paris you can take the train to Thalys. At the train station in Paris, the platform departing for London is separate from Schengen countries.
If this is your first time traveling to London, remember that London is not a Schengen country so you have to get a separate visa. Passport holders from the United States and Canada do not need a visa for a weekend trip to the country.
For a 2 day trip to London, stay in and around the main attractions like the Big Ben, Tower of London, Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace and take a tour to explore the heritage sites. Taking a day tour to visit the major sites is worth it, if your itinerary involves checking out the London bucket list in a short trip.
Another option is to take a sightseeing cruise on River Thames, and finish the day at the London Eye or Shard.
If you prefer a more relaxed trip to London, visit 1 -2 museums (The British Museum, Museum of London, or Natural History Museum), and then relax at Kensington Gardens, or Kew Gardens. Shop at the Piccadilly Circus, or Oxford Street.
Train Tips for Best places to visit from Paris France
Here are some quick tips for taking trains in Paris to other towns in France, and other countries.
It is important to know that the French Railways (SNCF) have the fastest trains in Europe. They are safe and reliable. Tickets reservations cost about $35 USD+ plus the rail pass for the day.
You can also book same day tickets from the train station in Paris for intercity trains. Many do not require advance booking or reservations. We recommend reservations if you are on a short trip, and your itinerary is set. We do the same, as we travel from Canada – and there is not a huge difference in prices. We rather be safe and secured with the booking than face the disappointment of not being able to travel that day! We recommend the same if traveling from the USA.
Also, it’s best to book to get cheaper fares and to guarantee a seat, especially for High Speed Thalys Trains. Thalys tickets can be purchased online (just book it, if your dates are set, it is much cheaper than buying on the day of).
For intercity trains, you can buy TER French intercity train tickets from any station. You will need to use a credit card at an automated machine (no cash) or from a ticket window or an automated machine. Note, automated machines don’t accept foreign credit cards, another reason to book ahead of time.
FRANCE PARIS TRAINS
Here is a quick cheat sheet to show train options from Paris to nearby areas and other countries,
- Gare du Nord or Paris Nord: Main terminal for SNCF network for Paris. Find TGV, Eurostar, Thalys Intercity trains, TER Picardie, Transilien, and RER trains here for destinations north of Paris, along the Paris–Lille railway, including Brussels, London, Amsterdam, Cologne
- Paris Gare de Lyon: This one of the busiest train stations in France and Europe. Use this station for trains in the south of France like Marseille. Or head to the European microstate of Monaco – Monte Carlo (takes 9 hours and 22 minutes).
- Gare de l’Est or Paris-Est: This is located in the 10th arrondissement. Catch high-speed trains as well as multiple destinations night trains from here. High speed services include – Luxembourg, Frankfurt, Strasbourg, Munich
Air travel might be a cheaper option too, to consider. However, remember that you will have to spend at least 2 hours at the airport before you depart domestically or internationally.
We hope you enjoyed this list of city guides and weekend trips from Paris for your upcoming trip!
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