We have recently gone to Paris for a week and planned every minute very carefully! If you read my last post, you saw that we haven’t been as delighted as expected by the city, but we still enjoyed Paris’ staple. Although you can easily spend a full week in the city, there nothing like planning day trips to have another view of the place. I listed here 2 easy 1-day trips you can do from Paris, using the train as well as a 1-day trip, which is technically not a trip but requires a full day!
Transportation and tickets
If you plan to spend a day at Disney, I recommend you try going on a weekday, the crowds are usually less intense and best of all, tickets are cheaper (hint, if you purchase your ticket in advance, you get a discount). In fact, Disneyland Paris is WAY cheaper than Walt Disney World. For a very reasonable price, you can get the equivalent of the park hopper. Take note that there are only two parks. A park equivalent to Hollywood Studio and the other is the equivalent of Magic Kingdom.
So, you have decided to spend a day at Disney, where do we start. Assuming you followed my advice and purchase your ticket beforehand, the easiest way to go to Disney from Paris is to take the RER. The latest is a train system connecting the outside suburbs. Disney gets its own stop, which is the red RER end. Marne-La Vallée is the city in which Disney is built and it’s very easy and relatively affordable to take the red RER (line A) to get to Marne-La Vallée.
For a bit less than 50 Eur round-trip per person you can comfortably travel to the countryside!
Difference between Orlando and Paris
Again, if you are used to Disney World (Orlando) be prepare for a MAJOR cultural clash. When we think Walt Disney World; we think exceptional customer service, attention to detail, cleanliness of the site, magical days… Well… we don’t get that in Paris. Of course, the decors and surroundings are astonishing, but… Parades are late, they always start 15 minutes later than what is announced. No cast member wishes you a magical day and the parks are silent.
I mean… awkwardly silent. In the US, the parks are loud, people scream, laugh get excited… In Paris, people whisper, you hear very well the ambient music. I kind of enjoyed my time there because you know, it’s Disney, therefore there is always something positive you can appreciate, but I prefer Disney World.
If you want to know, I find It’s a Small World to be better in Paris than in Orlando. The haunted mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean are just as fun in one or the other. Although Eurodisney is not, in my opinion, equivalent to WDW, it’s still a good 1-day trip.
Château de Versailles
Transportation and tickets
If you are interested in visiting a very humble home with subtle decorations… well, don’t go to Versailles! If you are in the mood of discovering we the beheaded that jerk and his bitch, this is for you!
Seriously, if you plan to visit a staple, such as Versailles, the Louvre and many others, I highly recommend you get the Paris Museum Pass. It includes many must-see inside and outside Paris, it’s very easy to use and you get to skip the ticket line. Please note, only the ticket line. You need to be ready for all the never-ending security lines.
Versailles is conveniently located just outside Paris, it’s a half-hour train ride. Le Château is located at the very last stop on the line and the castle itself is straight ahead when you get down the train, walk by the Starbucks on the other side of the street and the Castle is about 1km further.
The Castle and its gardens
Once you get inside the castle, be ready for the most outrageous place ever. Strolling the hallways, ballrooms, and bedrooms, always keep in mind this “cottage” was a second home. The Louvre was apparently getting a bit tight (please read the next section about the Louvre) Versailles is a vast display of golden embellishments, marble flooring, and noble wood.
We were at Versailles at the beginning of December, the location is ideally positioned to be super windy. Therefore, it was freezing in the gardens. I assume though that the latest are stunning and worth spending a few hours. If you don’t want to walk the entire area, some trains take you from the Castle to the Trianon and from the Trianon to the Petit Trianon.
If my recollections are correct, it’s around 5 Eur per person to take the train. I suggest you walk on your way to the Trianon and take the train back.
When walking to the Trianon, it’s a nice downhill walk, you can admire the fountains and the flowers (if not in December).
The Château and the gardens are stunning and this 1-day trip reminds me of my past when I used to be a princess!
Technically, this is not a day-trip from Paris, it’s more of a day-trip in Paris. The Louvre, it’s miles and miles of galleries, arts, statues and so forth… Just when you think you have gone through all of it, there is an additional gallery, another hallway that is yet to be discovered.
Plan to spend the day at the Louvre, but also plan to get out at some point. After lunch, we were fed up with art and chef–d’oeuvre, we had to get out. We visited the Sainte Chapelle, which I highly recommend. It gave us a nice two hours break (on which we had to wait 45 under the rain to pass security for the Chapelle) it was very welcome.
Transportation and tickets
Just like Versailles, the Paris Museum Pass will get you access to the Louvre. If you want to skip the line, read this VERY CAREFULLY, you need to reserve an hour of arrival on the Paris Pass website. Not the same day you plan to go, not the day before. SEVERAL days before your visit. We tried to make the reservation the day before and there was no place left. We had to wait in line (again)
To get to the Louvre, it’s very easy. You can either take the Metro, the purple line has a stop nearby called Les Pyramides. Châtelets-Les Halles is quite close too.
My favorite way of transportation in Paris though is walking. Streets are charming and easy to walk if your hotel is less than 3km from the Louvre, I highly recommend walking. Plus, we were robbed in the metro, so the city lost a few “safety” points there.
Take home message
If you are spending a single week in Paris, there is no way you will be able to enjoy it all, but it’s worth it to plan at least one 1-day trip from the city, just so you may see France is not only beige buildings and grey streets!
Safe travels friends!