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Beyond Paris: Artistic Escapes and Tranquil Retreats


As the sun rises over Paris, casting its golden glow upon the city’s historic streets and iconic landmarks, a world of artistic exploration awaits beyond its bustling boulevards.

For those with a passion for creativity and a thirst for inspiration, day trips from Paris offer an enriching journey into the heart of French artistry and culture. Embark on a voyage of discovery as we venture beyond the city limits to uncover hidden gems and timeless treasures that beckon to us artists and designers.

1. Boulogne-Billancourt: Art and Nature

Just beyond Paris lies Boulogne-Billancourt, a haven of art, history, and natural beauty. Explore the tranquil oasis of Bois de Boulogne, perfect for a leisurely stroll amidst lakes and hiking paths. Immerse yourself in art and culture just south of the park at the Musée Paul-Belmondo to visit the artist’s finest sculptures or explore the Musée des Années 30, which showcases treasures from the Art Deco era.

How to Get There: A 30-minute trip from Les Halles on metro line 1.


2. St-Denis: Gothic Grandeur

Explore the Basilica of Saint-Denis, home to the largest collection of funerary sculptures from the 12th-16th centuries. Discover the history and heritage of this vibrant suburb, with its mix of ancient architecture and modern innovation.

How to Get There: A 10-minute trip on the RER D from Gare du Nord to Saint-Denis.


3. Vitry-sur-Seine: Artistic Revival

Experience the vibrant street art scene in Vitry-sur-Seine, with colorful murals adorning its walls. Visit the MAC VAL museum to discover contemporary French art from 1950 to the present. Explore the town’s trendy bistros and cafes, offering a taste of local cuisine.

How to Get There: A 10-minute train ride from Gare d’Austerlitz to Les Ardoines on the RER C.


4. Parc de Sceaux: Garden Escape

South of Paris lies the Parc de Sceaux, a beautiful estate with sprawling formal gardens and a small château. Enjoy a leisurely picnic beneath the cherry blossom trees and explore the park’s picturesque surroundings.

How to Get There: A 50-minute trip from Gare du Nord to Parc de Sceaux on RER B.


5. Auvers-sur-Oise: Van Gogh’s Inspiration

Experience the charm of Auvers-sur-Oise, a picturesque village that inspired Vincent van Gogh and other influential artists. Walk in the footsteps of the legendary painter as you explore the quaint streets and visit his final resting place.

How to Get There: A 42-minute train ride from Gare du Nord to Méry-sur-Oise on train H.


6. Giverny: Monet’s Masterpiece

Step into the world of Claude Monet in the picturesque village of Giverny, where the legendary Impressionist painter found his muse. Lose yourself in the vibrant hues of Monet’s magical gardens, immortalized in his iconic water lily series.

How to Get There: A one-hour train from Saint-Lazare to Vernon – Giverny. There’s a shuttle bus from the Vernon train station to Giverny.


7. Fontainebleau: Renaissance Retreat

Discover the Renaissance brilliance of Fontainebleau, home to a magnificent château and sprawling forest. Explore the interiors adorned with intricate frescoes and ornate furnishings, then venture into the forest for a tranquil retreat among towering trees and hidden pathways.

How to Get There: A 45-minute train from Gare de Lyon to Fontainebleau-Avon on train R.


8. Château de Versailles: Grandeur and Opulence

Step back in time to the marvel of the French monarchy with a visit to the Palace of Versailles. Marvel at the opulent halls, intricate gardens, and priceless art collections that define this historic landmark.

How to Get There: A 50-minute train from the Musée d’Orsay to Château de Versailles on the RER C.


9. Normandy: Coastal History and Scenic Beauty

For a day trip or weekend getaway, consider heading west to Normandy. Known for its pivotal role in World War II, this coastal region retains much of its wartime legacy amidst its historical charm. Walk along the historical D-Day beaches or spend a day climbing to the top of Mont Saint-Michel and visiting the shops.

How to Get There: Normandy is a region, it takes roughly two hours and 30 minutes to get there from Paris.


10. Loire Valley: A Renaissance Wonderland

The Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasts a tapestry of architectural marvels, lush gardens, and rich history. Bike between the castles that inspired the ones in classic Disney fairytales. Don’t miss Château de Chaumont and Château de Chambord, the best in the area in my opinion!

How to Get There: A one-hour and 30-minute train ride from Gare d’Austerlitz to Blois. From there, you can rent a bike, catch the bus, or take a taxi to any number of castles in the area.


Day trips from Paris offer a wealth of artistic experiences and tranquil retreats, inviting travelers to explore new landscapes, immerse themselves in rich cultural heritage, and recharge in serene settings. Whether wandering through Monet’s gardens in Giverny, marveling at the grandeur of Versailles, or tracing Van Gogh’s footsteps in Auvers-sur-Oise, each destination offers a unique opportunity for inspiration, reflection, and rejuvenation. As you venture beyond Paris, may you discover the beauty and creativity that await just a short distance away!

Written by Nada Ibrahim, edited by Meredith Chadwick
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