Now that you’ve seen Paris, what else is there to do outside the city? These ideas are broken down for a quick day trip, or an easy weekend excursion!
For a day…
Perhaps France’s most famous landmark apart from the Eiffel Tower, Versailles is magnificent and palatial, the highest degree of opulence. But despite the golden Hall of Mirrors, or the countless rooms and corridors, my favorite part is actually wandering through the grounds around it! Take a full day to truly soak up the atmosphere and give yourself a chance to get lost between the hedges, visiting other palaces outside the main one as well.
Monet’s Garden / Giverny
Famous for being Monet’s inspiration for his water lily paintings, Giverny is gorgeous on a spring/summer day. You can stroll around in the gardens, stop by Monet’s house, and almost live in one of his paintings.
Doable as a day trip, I recommend this on a weekend trip so you won’t be crunched for time (and so you can stay overnight!) Mont Saint-Michel is an island commune and monastery in Normandy, and one of France’s most recognizable landmarks (fun fact: it inspired the castle in Disney’s Tangled). A population of approximately 44 people actually live on the island, and it’s hands down one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to with the breathtaking intersection between man and nature.
It takes about 3.5 hours to get there via train, tour, or private car. I went on a rainy day, and spent pretty much the whole time climbing stone structures and exploring various viewpoints along the wall. Definitely a magical experience not to miss!
For a weekend…
Around 2.5 hours outside Paris, the beautiful Loire Valley is home to numerous chateaus. My favorite is Chenonceau, which stretches across the River Cher and was once the home of Diane de Poitiers, until Catherine de Medici kicked her out to Chateau Chambord and decided to take over. Basically, Chenonceau is the stuff of dreams. Never have I wanted to own a castle more in my life.
Also worth checking out are Chambord, Chaumont, d’Amboise, and d’Usse. You can even stay overnight in some chateaus that have been refurbished into hotels/Airbnbs!
Apart from its chateaus, the Loire valley is also known for being a wine region, so be sure to stop by a vineyard to taste and learn the process of making wine.
With endless purple fields of lavender and golden sunflower over the summer months, Provence is the birthplace of L’Occitaine and has a history of perfume-making. Take a tour and check out the city of Marseille and the quaint town of Aix-en-Provence.
Looking for a weekend trip out of the country without flying? Try Amsterdam, Brussels or Luxembourg!
Want more? See the full Paris series: