Guest post written by Jo Turnbull, for more great travel related posts check out her full blog
Paris is the city of love and attracts millions of tourists every year, but have you ever visited the towns outside Paris? There are many towns and destinations just a short train ride from the city. Here are just 5 recommended day trips next time you are in Paris.
Versailles is one of the most tourist destinations outside of Paris. It is located approximately 10.6 miles southwest of the city which is accessible by road or train, the RER C which takes just under an hour. The Palace of Versailles was the home of Louis XVI and Maris Antoinette who were imprisoned here after the storming of Versailles. Arrive early so you can take one of the many tours around the palace and wonder through the 250 acres of landscaped gardens.
Monet’s Gardens at Giverny
Monet’s private gardens have been open to the public since 1980 and allows visits to visit his home and gardens where he painted his famous water lilies. Head to Gare Saint-Lazare station to Vernon and from there, take a shuttle bus to Giverny. It is best to visit in the spring when the flowers are coming out in bud and before the peak tourist season.
The 16th century palace was a favourite hunting residence for French kings, which was surrounded by beautiful forest. You can spend an afternoon hiking in the dense forest, just bring your hiking boots. The chateau was the primary residence of Napoleon and in 1814, in the central courtyard, he signed his abdication and said goodbye to the Empire. Fontainbleau is a 40 minute train ride from Gare de Lyon and then a further shuttle bus service to the castle.
Treat the kids and head to Disneyland Paris for the day. In 2012 it is now celebrating its 20th birthday and there are up to 40% discounts on hotels. It can still work out rather pricey, so it is best to rent one of the many short term holiday Paris apartments with your family and go for the day. There are two theme parks, so make sure you prioritise what you want to see.
Chartres is located just 60 miles south of Paris beside the Eure river. The town is famous for its Cathedral which dates back to the 12th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Chartres is a picturesque French town but everything closes for lunch, so make sure you either arrive early or in the afternoon. There are two English tours a day which are very popular or you can pick up a walking tour map from the old town tourist office and wander round Chartres at your leisure.
When heading over to Europe, there are a wide range of accommodation available to suit any budget. Instead of staying in expensive hotels, why not state in your very own short term rental apartments in Paris. You can feel like a real Parisien and be in the heart of all the action.