Are you curious about the best day trips from Paris in winter? Read on for all you need to know!
There’s nowhere quite like Paris.
The city has a pulsating atmosphere in the summer, that much is true.
But a Parisian winter day has a certain charm.
Imagine wrapping up and walking along the Seine with a hot coffee in hand, admiring views of the Eiffel Tower, seeing the Musée d’Orsay and other indoor attractions and taking in the city’s many festive attractions.
These are just some of the amazing things to do here in the cooler months.
I’d also recommend taking a couple of winter day trips from Paris.
Excellent rail links mean that plenty of destinations, both in France and in neighbouring European countries, are easily accessible from the French capital.
Think Christmas markets, snowy winter villages, fascinating caves and more!
Here’s a full list of the best day trips to take from Paris this winter.
14 Best Paris Winter Day Trips
If you love Medieval cities, Bayeux is definitely one to add to your list.
A charming city landmarked by an 11th-century cathedral, Bayeux is really pleasant for a stroll around. On cold winter days, tourists are few, but the city retains its enigmatic charm.
It’s also worth visiting Bayeux for its museums – which are open year-round.
See the Bayeux tapestry, which portrays how William the Conqueror invaded and took over England, changing the country forever, and dates back to 1066.
There’s also a moving D-Day museum that provides valuable insight into the daily life of soldiers during WW2.
Bayeux was one of the first towns in this area to be liberated after the war, and to this day locals are incredibly friendly to American tourists due to this!
You can combine a trip to Bayeux with Caen and the D Day Beaches, but it’ll take more than one day!
How to get there: Take a train from Paris St Lazare to Bayeux, which takes between two and two and a half hours.
Caen and the D Day Beaches
The D Day Beaches are especially sombre during winter, and when there’s a chilly gale coming over the Channel, they can be very foreboding.
However, they’re open year-round, and they are well worth visiting as a side trip from the French Capital.
The beaches are where British, American and Commonwealth troops landed during D Day, one of the biggest operations of World War Two which ultimately led to this area of France being freed from Nazi occupation, and triggered an end to the war altogether.
You can take a self-guided tour to visit some of these beaches, including Omaha Beach and Juno Beach. It’s also worth visiting the Maisy Battery, which are trenches used by soldiers in the area.
Winter temperatures in this part of Normandy can plummet to 2°C/ 36°F, so do wrap up warm!
How to get there: You can take a train from Paris St Lazare to Caen. It takes a little over two hours.
Public transport is sparse in this area, so it’s best to either rent a car from Paris and drive or take the train to Caen and drive from there.
If you aren’t a huge fan of winter activities like snowing or sledding, then how about sticking around the Paris area and seeing the happiest place on Earth?
Disneyland Paris is an ideal day trip from the capital in the winter.
Sure, it’s technically a Paris attraction, but you’ll spend all day here, so it definitely counts on this list of winter Paris day trips!
Disneyland Paris doesn’t need much of an introduction, but if you are unfamiliar, it’s one of the biggest theme parks in Europe – and of course, everything is Disney themed!
It’s a favorite amongst kids, but there are plenty of rides (including lots of rollercoasters) for adults as well.
It’s open throughout the year, and they have special events during Christmas.
How to get there: Take the RER A train from Nation Station, which takes about 35 minutes.
If you are looking for a winter day trip from Paris that doesn’t place you at the mercy of the elements, visit the champagne houses of Reims.
Beneath this city in northern France is a maze of caves that offer the ideal conditions for that essential second fermentation of champagne.
Each of Reims’ champagne houses occupies a portion of this 200 km network, and many of these offer cellar tours. As these caves are at a constant 12 degrees year-round, it makes no difference if you visit in winter or summer.
Although the houses vary in tone, the experiences are broadly similar. Expect a guided tour of the cellars followed by a champagne tasting or two.
The greatest concentration of champagne houses in Reims are in the Saint Remi area of the city, which is an easy 30-minute walk from the train station. These include big names such as Pommery and Taittinger as well as the more boutique G.H. Martin. Advance booking is essential.
How to get there: As the crow flies, Reims is around 80 miles northeast of Paris and is served by regular trains from Gare de L’Est. If you catch the non-stop TGV you will be in the champagne capital of France in 45 minutes.
By Bridget from The Flashpacker
The capital of France’s Normandy region, Rouen is located to the Northwest of Paris.
The city is known for its beautiful preserved regional homes and its landmarks – and the best time to see all the sights in Rouen without tourist masses is from January to March.
The colorful buildings stand out in winter, especially if the city sees snowfall (not super common, but you may get lucky!).
It’s worth visiting for the Rouen givrée, which is an event organized each Christmas.
Visitors can expect to see the whole city decorated with lights, and they can take part in a parade and the Christmas market.
The city of Rouen is also known for its historical significance – Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in the city and you can visit a museum dedicated to her.
It’s also worth seeing the public fine art museum of Rouen, known as the Musée des Beaux-Arts, which shows important Renaissance pieces.
The museums in Rouen are best experienced in winter because they don’t get quite as busy.
A snow garden (Jardin de Neige) for children is installed in front of the fine art museum and the city also organizes music and game shows for kids, making Rouen a great getaway for families in winter.
Of course, when in Rouen, you shouldn’t miss visiting the great cathedral and the Gros Horloge.
How to get there: It takes 2 hours to get by car to Rouen from Paris or about 1 1/2 hours by train, which is 85 miles (around 137 km).
By Paul from Paulmarina
Rotterdam in the Netherlands is one of the best winter day trips from Paris – in fact, it’s a great winter city break in Europe.
Visitors can easily plan a Rotterdam city walking tour to visit a number of historic and modern buildings, prestigious museums, and great markets while keeping warm indoors.
Start the working tour at the eccentric Cube Houses in the city center, right next to the Blaak Train Station. These colorful and striking houses are stacked in cubes at an abnormal angle of 55 degrees. One of these cubes is opened to the public so that visitors can see the interior!
Moving on, the Kunsthal Rotterdam (the Art Hall in Museumpark) is a trendy gallery showcasing artworks from international artists.
The Old Harbor and Maritime Museums feature houseboats where the Rotterdam locals live – the museum has an impressive collection of ships that were constructed centuries ago.
Finally, no trip to Rotterdam is complete without dropping by the Market Hall.
This is an amazing food hall where diners can sample all kinds of food and fresh produce.
The spacious interior of the market is decorated with Christmas lights and projections during the holiday seasons.
How to get there: Rotterdam is about 370 kilometers away from Paris and the best way is to take the Thalys train. There are 15 direct trains between the two cities daily, and the journey takes about two and a half hours.
By Kenny from Knycx Journeying
Lyon is an excellent choice for a winter day trip from Paris. There are many excellent things to do in Lyon year-round, as well as some special celebrations in winter.
Chocolate lovers will want to visit Lyon in mid-November to enjoy Le Salon du Chocolat, Lyon’s annual chocolate festival.
On the third Thursday of November, partake in Lyon’s Beaujolais Nouveau Festival and help celebrate the tradition of the new Beaujolais wine being released for sale.
On the days surrounding December 8th, be amazed by Lyon’s Fête des Lumières. Lyon’s many attractions, including the Basilica Notre-Dame and the Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste, are illuminated with light shows during this fantastic Festival of Lights.
Even if you can’t make it for a specific festival, there is still plenty to enjoy in Lyon in the winter. Be sure to explore the traboules, secret passageways connecting Lyon’s narrow streets. The traboules were used in Lyon’s silk trade and also by the French resistance during WWII.
Lyon’s trompe l’oeil murals are one of its signature attractions. These incredibly realistic paintings decorate entire sides of buildings, and they will have you looking twice to determine if it is a mural or a real cityscape!
How to get there: Lyon is 393 kilometers (244 miles) from Paris as the crow flies. The best way to get to Lyon is by high-speed train, which will take just under two hours from the Paris Gare de Lyon station.
Lisa from Waves and Cobblestones
Not many places in France are as enchanting in winter as Strasbourg.
Strasbourg is the capital of the Alsace region, best known for its wine-making tradition, German-influenced half-timbered houses and exquisite Christmas Markets.
The Grande-Île is a historic center of Strasbourg and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is compact and walkable, so it is possible to see all the main attractions in Strasbourg in one day.
Wander the cobblestone streets of the picturesque La Petite France quarter, cross the Covered bridges and climb the Vauban Dam viewpoint for a panoramic view.
Admire the majestic Strasbourg Cathedral, which is the symbol of the city. See the Astronomical clock shown inside the Cathedral, and climb the viewing platform for the best view of the city!
The most popular time to visit Strasbourg is for the charming Christmas Market in December (one of the best Christmas markets in Europe) as Strasbourg is the self-proclaimed French Capital of Christmas.
If you want to avoid the crowds but still enjoy the Christmas atmosphere, plan your visit from mid-November to mid-January, avoiding December.
As the days are shorter in winter, Christmas lights illuminate the city at 6 pm.
How to get there: The best way to reach Strasbourg for a day trip from Paris is by train. The distance between the two cities is about 400km (246 miles). On average, a journey takes just under 2h in each direction.
By Natali from She’s Abroad Again
If you want to visit somewhere a little warmer, why not head down south to Bordeaux?
The perfect winter getaway, Bordeaux is less crowded than during the summer months and you’ll be able to visit hotspots like Saint Emilion in peace.
While it won’t be incredibly warm – it’s not really a winter sun destination – the weather is going to be much milder than in Paris so you’ll get a welcome break from the freezing cold!
Walk around the city, visiting places like the Place de la Bourse, the Quais de Bordeaux and La Grosse Cloche.
Of course, no trip to Bordeaux is complete without trying some authentic French wine.
While there usually won’t be a wine harvest during winter, you’ll still be able to visit authentic wine caves and wineries dotted around the area around Bordeaux.
On a rainy day, head to the Musee d’Aquitaine to see incredible artifacts and historical pieces of art.
The Bassins de Luminaires is another great exhibition with an interactive light show that will take you to another world!
How to get there: The train journey from Montparnasse Station to Bordeaux takes just over three hours.
By Victoria from Guide Your Travel
Colmar, France is the perfect day trip from Paris in winter!
Colmar is located right on the border with Germany, in the Alsace region of France.
This means that the village has a lot of German influence, particularly in architecture and cuisine.
The houses in town are all timbered, like a Bavarian village, and sauerkraut, flammkuchen, and bratwurst feature prominently on the menus.
Although France is filled with cute small towns, Colmar really takes the adorable factor up a notch.
Everything in the village looks picture perfect, with squares throughout the town, fountains, and quaint streets. The cherry on top is the Petite Venise area, which features a canal and rows of colorful houses.
Why visit in winter? Well, from late November through the end of December, the Colmar Christmas Market is running. You can visit one of 6 markets, admire all the Christmas trees around town, eat gingerbread (a regional specialty), go ice skating, and shop for Christmas items around town.
Outside of the Christmas season, Colmar is a great town to visit in winter because you can enjoy it during the low season.
Tourism is of course much higher in the summer (and Christmastime!), with lots of visitors and tourists around, but in January, February, and March, Colmar sees WAY fewer visitors.
You can walk around and soak in the atmosphere and beauty of this village in a much more leisurely way! Definitely plan to save a day during your visit to Paris for a trip to Colmar!
How to get there: The train from Gare de L’est to Colmar takes around 2.5 hours.
By Stephanie of The Unknown Enthusiast
Château de Chenonceau
If you’re dreaming of exploring château after château while you’re on your winter France trip, good news – you don’t need to go that far out of Paris.
In fact, Château de Chenonceau is easily accessible from Paris as a day trip!
The enchanting Château Chenonceau lies in a forest just outside the village of Chenonceau in the Loire Valley. The French castle is open every day of the year from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm.
Once the hunting grounds of the French Kings, the forests around the château are striking in winter and a long-graveled drive through the forest leads you to the lion gates of the castle. From there you pass the formal gardens until you reach the river.
Château de Chenonceau was fought over by six powerful women in French history including Diane de Poitiers, and Catherine de Medici.
Rival gardens commissioned by these royal women surround the castle which spans the river Cher.
This makes for a unique sight, at any time of year, but especially in winter when the forest, dusted with snow, gives a feeling of isolation.
This only adds to the fairy tale nature of the Chateau, especially as the crowds are a lot smaller in winter!
How to get there: Chenonceau is easily reached by train or road from Paris, taking about 2.5 hours. Trains leave from Montparnasse station to Chenonceau via Tours.
By Monique from Trip Anthropologist
Visit Besançon in the Eastern France Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region for snow, great food and epic scenery!
This part of the country has a long history of cheese-making (Comté anyone?), authentic historic villages and an old-time tradition of watchmaking.
The average temperature in winter is 7°C/ 45°F, so be sure to bring a lot of warm clothes for your day trip!
There are plenty of snowy slopes that surround Besançon, and it’s possible to purchase day passes for snowshoe hiking, snowboarding or skiing when you arrive – generally, passes are much cheaper than the Alps!
Those who are not a fan of taking to the slopes can visit the Museum of time or head out to nearby Arbois to keep warm over a few delicious glasses of local Jura wine which is cultivated in and around Arbois.
How to get there: Besançon is located 414 kilometers or roughly 260 miles from Paris. High-speed trains run daily between Paris Gare de Lyon and Besançon and take anywhere between 2h40 and 5 hours depending on the number of stops you take.
As it’s quite far, I’d recommend choosing the route with the shortest travel time.
By Caroline from Veggie Wayfarer
With a population of half a million, the city-state of Luxembourg is a fantastic winter day trip from Paris.
Admire historic buildings like forts and the Old Quarters of Luxembourg, possibly covered in a blanket of snow.
Also worth visiting is Vianden Castle in the north of the country or Beaufort Castle, which is just half an hour from Luxembourg City.
Luxembourg City starts getting ready for Christmas in November, and throughout the latter part of the month and December, you can explore the City Christmas market.
Also, don’t miss celebrating Candlemas Day on February 2nd, which is a festival marking the return of light.
Also, don’t miss out on the “Wine Cheese Enjoy” festival at the beginning of February, where you can sample delicious Luxembourg products.
The city-state is visitable for a day, but there’s enough to do here to stay for a weekend as well. One of the best places to stay in Luxembourg City is the Grand Hotel Cravat.
How to get there: Take a train from Gare L’Est to Luxembourg, which takes just under three hours.
By Paulina from Paulina on the Road
If you’re visiting Paris in the winter months, why not hop over to the UK?
While the British capital is on another land mass, the Eurostar effortlessly connects the countries, with less than three hours of journey time.
Jump from the City of Lights to another dynamic and timeless capital; both are European cities with so much to see.
In London, you can explore the 13th century cathedral Westminster Abbey, go inside the Tower of London which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, see the glorious Big Ben and go shopping on Oxford Street.
Popular winter activities include visiting Winter Wonderland, a Christmas funfair with festive markets, and ice skating at Alexandra Palace, which is especially magical at Christmas.
How to get there: The Eurostar is a direct train from Gare du Nord to London St Pancras. Tickets must be purchased in advance, which you can do on their website.
Best Winter Day Trips from Paris!
There are so many places to visit in France in the winter months – and luckily, many of these places are accessible from Paris.
Whether you want to explore the French countryside, admire cities with architecture from the 12th century, find winter sun or even partake in snowsports, these are all possible on a wintery day trip from the capital of France!