Top-Rated Day Trips from Paris
Paris and the surrounding areas are rich in natural beauty and cultural attractions. You can feel far from the hustle and bustle of Paris by only traveling a short distance. All the sites in our list are just a short trip away by train or car from downtown Paris. Keep reading our article to discover the best day trips from Paris.
Château de Versailles
Château de Versailles is a classic French architectural masterpiece and is a must for a day trip from Paris. Jules Hardouin-Mansart designed the Palace of Versailles for Louis XIV. The Hall of Mirrors was created to impress the courtiers of the king. The extravagant and sparkling reception hall contains 17 large mirrors made of more than 300 segments. They reflect the sun, creating an amazing effect. Baroque chandeliers and ceiling paintings renders a stunning and immersive atmosphere. In addition to the Queen's Bedroom with a Rococo ceiling, the chateau also houses the Hercules Salon with one of Francois Lemoyne's Apotheosis of Hercules ceiling paintings. The gardens, created by Andre Le Notre, are full of fountains and well-tended shrubs.
Notre-Dame de Chartres Cathedral
The astonishing beauty of Chartres Cathedral inspired the whole world and even the most skeptical. A day trip from Paris to this UNESCO World Heritage Site demonstrates why: this French masterpiece showcases medieval Gothic architecture, and its stain-glass windows give the cathedral's vast nave a peaceful glow. The cathedral's filtered light creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Stunning windows with intricate details astonish viewers. As a matter of fact, there are windows dating back to the 12th century, such as Notre Dame de la Belle Verriere. A particular highlight of them are the huge roses. Some of the most famous windows include La Vie de la Vierge (Life of the Virgin), and L'Arbre de Jesse (Tree of Jesse), which displays the genealogy tree of Jesus Christ. A spectacular light show is held every evening in Chartres from April until the holidays with illuminations of the historic buildings of Chartres, including the cathedral. Free concerts are offered every Sunday in July and August by the Grand Prix de Chartres (International Organ Festival).
The island of Mont Saint-Michel is a great day trip from Paris. It is the highest point on the island and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The medieval Benedictine abbey looks out over the sea, with elegant cloisters and a majestic church. Mont Saint-Michel is situated on a remote secluded island at high tide, but at low tide, pilgrims can walk to the island just as they did centuries ago. With ancient cobblestone streets and old-style shops, Mont Saint-Michel has a village atmosphere. The tour also leaves time for strolling the narrow streets, checking out the shops, and admiring the views of the bay.
Normandy D-Day beaches and battlefields
D-Day played a key role in World War II when the Allies gained a favorable advantage. The wartime bunkers and tanks still stand on the sandy beaches where they were landed. It is a moving experience for many Americans to visit Normandy's D-Day beaches. One of the bloodiest battles of D-Day took place on Omaha Beach. The largest American cemetery in Normandy is located overlooking Omaha Beach. The Overlord Museum recounts the D-Day landings and the Liberation of Paris nearby. In Caen Mémorial Museum, you can learn more about World War II military history and the Battle of Normandy. A day trip from Paris to the Normandy landing beaches is the best way to discover the history of the D-Day battles in Normandy. During your day trip from Paris, plan a visit to Omaha Beach, Arromanches, and the Caen Memorial Museum and why not take a guided tour for insight into the D-Day battles in a historical context.
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