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Beautiful & Easy Day Trips from Paris by Train

Day trips from Paris by train are very easy. Knowing how to make these trips happen, and which day trips from Paris by train appeal to you, is even better!

Transit Hub Makes Day Trips from Paris by Train Easier!

Paris is a transit hub of Europe.  All you have to do is look at a quick air or train travel map of Europe to see the paths all converging on the city of Paris.  This can mean that Paris is a BUSY place.  But it also means it is incredibly easy to do many day trips from Paris by train.  So let’s get down to it and look at our options, and how to make them happen!

Train Stations in Paris

All this talk of Paris as a transit hub in Europe makes the fact that there are numerous train stations in Paris no big shock.  In fact, one of my first pieces of advice when doing a day trip from Paris by train, is:

Make note of which train station from which your train departs!

It’s easy to get in a habit of thinking it is from the station near you, or one you have used before.  It can be a shock if you realize that morning that you need to be at a completely different place by a certain time.

With that said, on to my favorite pics for day trips from Paris by train!

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Rouen: Capital of Normandy Day Trip from Paris by Train

Rouen Cathedral

Rouen, the capital of Normandy, enjoys an extensive history full of intrigue and battles for control.  The beginnings of the city trace back to a tribe of Gaul which later the Normans took over.  In 1150 AD, Rouen was given a charter of self-government before King Philip II Augustus brought Rouen into the French Kingdom in 1204.

But that was hardly the end of Rouen’s tumultuous history.  Following becoming part of the French Kingdom, Rouen still had assassinations, surrendering to Henry V of England, and the excommunication of the English King.  Add in Joan of Arc burned at the stake, and later the Kriegsmarine headquarters during the German occupation, and Rouen has weathered it’s share of momentous history.

The main historic and cultural sites of Rouen are within walking distance of the train station, making it easier to visit.  However, the metro system is very easy to use and hopping on for just one stop can save you some steps if you just aren’t up to the hike or exhausted at the end of a walking-intensive day.

What to see in a Rouen Day Trip

Rouen Gros Horloge

While I can’t include all the sites possibly of interest to everyone in this post, some of the top sites in Rouen are:

  • Rouen Cathedral – This Gothic cathedral was built on the foundation of 4th century basilica, andthe subject of a famous series of paintings by Monet. 
  • Gros Horloge – An astronomical clock with one of the oldest mechanisms in France.  It dates to the 14th century
  • St. Maclou Church & Place Barthelemy – The striking St. Maclou Church is in the Flamboyant style of Gothic architecture.  The square it is located in is Medieval gorgeous – worth walking over for that!
  • Aître St. Maclou – This is a fascinating site!  Because of the Black Death of 1348, 75% of this district of Rouen died.  This ossuary was a result of this, decorated in skulls and bones.  (Because of current restoration work the Aître St. Maclou is unfortunately only open during irregular hours, Monday through Friday.)
  • Beautifully Maintained Medieval Streets – A number of the streets in the historic area have been maintained in their Medieval form.  To explore streets like this, be sure to check out: Rue du Gros Horloge, Rue St Romain, Rue Eau de Robec,  and Rue Martainville.

Joan of Arc Sites in Rouen

Ah, the complex and debated life and death of Joan of Arc.  She was a heroine of the French people.  A heretic, then a saint of the Catholic church.  And people still debate if she was schizophrenic or a heroine.  And the end of her life, her imprisonment and burning at the stake, happened here at Rouen. 

The main Joan of Arc sites are the Joan of Arc History Museum, the tower of King Philippe Auguste’s castle where Joan was questioned, the St. Joan of Arc Church located on the site of her martyrdom.

How to do a Rouen day trip from Paris by Train

Departure Train Station from Paris:

The Train to Rouen departs from Paris St. Lazare train station.  This station can be reached by metro lines 3, 12, 13, & 14.

Train Frequency and Trip Length:

SCNF Trains runs more than 20 trains to Rouen Rive Droite station throughout the day, beginning at about 6am.  The length of the trip varies from 1 hour 12 minutes to 1 hour 41 minutes depending on the stops being made, and almost every train is direct, not requiring a change.

Train Ticket Cost:

The cost of a one way ticket is approximately €13 – €24 depending on which time train you choose.

Special Note on This Trip: Most tickets will be for a train that actually ends in Le Havre, with Rouen Rive Droite being the first stop.  So the departure screens in the train station will be listing it as the train to Le Havre, and then will scroll the stops being made underneath, the first of which will be Rouen Rive Droite. 

Return tickets are similarly prices with similar frequency.  The final return train departs at approximately 9pm.  (Do not rely on this your actual day of travel!  The schedule may be different based on day of week, time of year, and holiday and special event schedules!)

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Reims:  Capital of Champagne Day Trip from Paris by Train

Day trips from paris by train | Reims Cathedral

Early Reims is a study in expedient political moves.  Originally developed by the Gauls, the people then happily assisted Julius Caesar in his mastery of northern Gaul.  Then, as the Roman empire gave way to barbarian hordes, Saint-Remi led Clovis to Christianity.  In appreciation of what had been given him, Clovis made Reims the city of the coronations of the kings of France.  Thus, this is where Joan of Arc had Charles VII’s coronation.

WWI brought severe damage to the cathedral, and work has continued until present day to completely restore it. In May 7, 1945, Germany officers signed an unconditional surrender in what is now the Surrender Museum in Reims.

What to see in Reims

  • Notre Dame de Reims – the sight of the crowning of French kings, this gorgeous 13th century Gothic cathedral must be seen.
  • Palais du Tau – Just beside Notre Dame and now houses the cathedral treasury.
  • Carnegie library – beautiful art deco library gifted to the city after the destruction of WWI.
  • Champagne Houses – a number of vinyards and cellars open for tours and tastings in Reims.  You can take the CityBus to the locations throughout the city.
  • Place Drouet d’Erlon – a lively pedestrian square at the intersection of café and shop lined streets.
  • Musee de la Reddition – location of the official surrender of Germany at the end of WWII.  The room and table, untouched since the signing, as well as the museum of other WWII artifacts.

How to do a Reims Day Trip from Paris by Train

Departure Train Station from Paris:

The Train to Reims departs from Paris Gare de l’Est train station.  This station can be reached by metro lines 4, 5, & 7.

Train Frequency and Trip Length:

SCNF and TGV INOUI Trains runs approximately 14 trains to Reims Ville station throughout the day, beginning at about 6:30 am.  The length of the trip varies from 40 minutes to 2 hours and 22 minutes depending on the stops and train changes being made. So this is one of the day trips from Paris by train where you really want to pay attention to those details as you purchase your ticket.  I’m a big fan of the no-train-change ticket to simplify my life.

Train Ticket Cost:

The cost of a one way ticket is approximately €10 – €44 depending on which time train you choose.  (Note that the 40 minute, no-train-change ticket is one of the cheaper ones, so that’s a win.)

Return tickets are similarly prices with similar frequency.  The final return train departs at approximately 8:30pm.  (AGAIN:  Do not rely on this your actual day of travel!  The schedule may be different based on day of week, time of year, and holiday and special event schedules!)

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Brussels:  Capital of Belgium Day Trip from Paris by Train

Brussels, or Bruxelles-Ville, is the capital city of Belgium.  This area has been the settled since as far back as anyone can trace, but the beginning of it’s history seems to start with a chapel built in 695 AD where Place Saint Gery is now.  The city was officially founded in 979 AD, but grew in prominence during the 12th century under Duke of Brabant.

Thereafter, the city went through periods of prominence when it was exporting luxury items to the likes of Paris and Venice, and when Charles V reigned from 1519 to 1559.  Also through times of waning fortune, as when it opposed Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, and when it was left in ruins by King Louis XIV of France.

Today Brussels has not only the historic sites, but is also a center of business.  In addition, with the European Parliament here means there is much political activity.

What to see in Brussels

  • Grand Place – one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, showcasing Baroque, Gothic and Louis XIV architecture.  UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Brussels City Museum – this museum features maps and 3D model recreations of the city as it evolved over the middle ages.  It also houses the costumes of the famous Mannekin Pis.
  • EU Parliament – This ruling body in Europe has a complex in Brussels.  Both the Hemicycle, where debates and votes are held, and the House of European History are open for tours.
  • Place Sainte-Catherine – just steps from Grand Place, this square is lined with street-side cafes for every taste.  With the Church of St. Catherine overseeing all the activity, it’s a less hectic place to stop for a bite and watch the scenery.
  • Mont de Arts – This garden area is surrounded by wonderful museums, and from the top an impressive view of the city can be had.

How to do a Brussels Day Trip from Paris

Departure Train Station from Paris:

The Train to Bruxelles Central departs from Gare du Nord train station.  This station can be reached by Metro lines 4 & 5,  RER lines B3, B5, & D4, and Transilien lines K, & H.  (Whew!)

Special Note on this trip: This is the first of the day trips from Paris by train where buying your train ticket well in advance matters – a lot. Buying a ticket 2 months in advance means there are 6 different trains departing before noon to travel from Paris to Bruxelles Central.  Buying a ticket one day in advance means, at this moment, there are none.  So be warned.

Train Frequency and Trip Length:

Thalys trains run every 30 minutes to 1 hour from Paris Nord to Brussels Central, beginning at 6:13am.  The trip takes 1 hour and 35 minutes and requires one train change.  However this train change is at Bruxelles-Midi, and there are trains every few minutes to take you the remaining 4 minutes to Bruxelles-Central.  So it is not a high stress change. In fact, if it really stresses you, you can walk the distance in about 20 minutes or less.

Ticket Cost:

If booked well in advance, a one way ticket can be purchased for €29, but can run to €56 for higher volume times. If you go last minute, the price can run over €100 if purchasing only a day or two in advance.

The final return train of the day departs around 7pm, and also has the one train change at Bruxelles-Midi. (But, again, Do not rely on this your actual day of travel!  The schedule may be different based on day of week, time of year, and holiday and special event schedules!)

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Strasbourg:  Capital of Alsace Day Trip from Paris by Train

| Paris to Strasbourg Day Trip | Paris to Strasbourg Train | Strasbourg Train Station

From a Celtic village, to a Roman garrison town, to the Strasbourg of the Middle Ages – the free city in the Holy Roman Empire – this city was prominent throughout history.  Strasbourg is where “La Marseillaise” was composed.

Through the years the city has flipped back and forth between being part of Germany and France a number of times.  Most recently, the city was annexed by Germany in 1871, then returned to France at the end of WWI.  Then, was annexed again by Adolf Hitler in 1940, to then be again liberated in 1944.

Today, Strasbourg is the capital of the Alsace region, and an easy launching point for a day trip through the wine region of the area.  The historic center of the city has been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site and kept beautifully preserved.  Strasbourg is also home to one of the locations of the European Parliament.

What to see in Strasbourg

| Paris to Strasbourg Day Trip | Paris to Strasbourg Train | Strasbourg Train Station
  • Notre Dame Cathedral Strasbourg – Gorgeous, intricately stone-worked cathedral built from 1277 to 1439.  Inside is a famous astronomical clock with a documentary-style movie teaching about it.
  • Palais Rohan – this building was home to cardinals and none other than Napoleon.  Today it is home to museums to tour while visiting.
  • Place Kléber – the largest square in the city and the center of many shopping opportunities.
  • Barrage Vauban – a medieval bridge that provides excellent views of Petite France and Strasbourg from it’s rooftop walk.
  • Petite France – The most picture perfect views in Strasbourg are in this area.  If you are looking for half-timber houses with flowers spilling from window boxes, this is your stop.
  • Parc de l’Orangerie – If you are up for boating on a lake, exploring a waterfall, spotting storks in the stork reintroduction center, or just some yummy gelato while lounging on the grass, this is your stop!
  • European Parliament – Another location of the European Parliament.  The Hemicycle is open for visits just as the Brussels location is.  Here in Strasbourg there is also the Alsace-Moselle memorial where you can learn about the Alsace region.

There is more to see and do in Strasbourg, check out more on the best things to do in Strasbourg. And to make it easy to reach those out of the way places, my post on how to use the Strasbourg Tram.

How to do a Strasbourg Day Trip from Paris by Train

Departure Train Station from Paris:

The Train to Strasbourg departs from Paris Gare de l’Est train station.  This station can be reached by metro lines 4, 5, & 7.  (A train to Strasbourg can also be taken from directly from Charles de Gaulle airport if that is more convenient for your travel.)

Special Note: This is also one of the day trips from Paris by train where buying your train ticket well in advance matters – a lot. Buying a ticket 2 months in advance means there are 8 different trains departing before noon to get me from Paris to Strasbourg.  Buying a ticket one day in advance means, at this moment, there are two and they are pricey.

Train Frequency and Trip Length:

SNCF and TGVINOUI run trains every 20 to 45 minutes beginning at 6:40am.  The trains to not have any changes, but can vary in time from 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours 22 minutes depending on number of stops.

Ticket Cost:

If booked well in advance, a one way ticket can be purchased for €16, but can run to €70 for higher volume times. If you go last minute, the price can run over €70-€98 if purchasing only a day or two in advance.

The final return train of the day departs around 8:15pm, but, as always: Do not rely on this your actual day of travel!  The schedule may be different based on day of week, time of year, and holiday and special event schedules!

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Hopefully this will get you started planning your own amazing day trips from Paris by train. Be bold, give it a shot, and explore a beautiful, historic area of the world.

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Paris, France: Enhance your trip to Paris with one (or more!) of these beautiful and easy day trip from Paris by train. All you need to know to get you started planning your adventures! | #Paris #Travel #Train #Daytrips #Strasbourg #Reims #Rouen #Brussels

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