Want to explore some towns and cities near Paris? From artsy towns and beautiful hamlets to historical and architectural cities, this article has them all.
Paris is not only the capital of France but also the most famous and the most visited city in the country too.
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While there are so many things to do in Paris, sometimes you just want to get away from the hustle and bustle of this magnetic city and explore other places.
Whether you want to go on a day trip or a weekend trip from Paris, there are so many charming and cute cities near Paris that will leave you wondering why you haven’t explored them yet.
Right from Chantilly which is one of the closest cities to Paris to Normandy which is approximately 3 hours away, here is a list of 14 beautiful cities close to Paris that are worth visiting and I guarantee, they’ll leave you spellbound.
I’ve also included some fun facts and unique bits of information so be sure to read those as well.
Before You Go, Here’s How to Plan Your Visit To Paris: Practical Quick Tips
WHERE TO STAY
Best Eiffel Tower Views: Hôtel Le Walt (9.0)
Luxury stay: Shangri-La Paris (9.2)
Mid-range stay: Hôtel Eiffel (8.7)
Budget Stay: People – Paris Bercy (8.9)
Apartment Rental: Résidence Charles Floquet (9.1)
- Don’t forget to take Travel Insurance. Request a free quote from my favorite insurance, World Nomads. (More on this at the end of the article.)
- Prepare your trip extensively with this Paris Travel guidebook.
- Don’t forget a universal travel adapter, a travel neck pouch, and comfortable walking shoes.
- Consider getting either the museum pass or the Paris city pass if you plan to visit a lot of attractions. The city pass comes with free transportation and access to the hop-on-hop-off bus. You can read my Paris museum pass review to see if it’s right for you.
- Book this private transfer from CDG airport to Paris to avoid the hustle of figuring out how to get to Paris.
Psst… Before traveling to Paris or France in general, make sure that you have Travel Insurance! I always use World Nomads on all my trips and I am happy to recommend it to you. You can easily request a quote from World Nomads from here for FREE!
Stunning Towns & Cities Near Paris, France
For convenience sake, I have listed the French cities near Paris from closest to farthest though they may not necessarily be in the same direction.
- Travel time: 25 mins from Gare du Nord by train or 40 mins if you rent a car and drive to Chantilly.
- Where to stay in Chantilly: Budget hotel (2 stars)| Mid-range Hotel (Bed & Breakfast)| Luxury Hotel (5 stars).
Famously known because of an opulent Château which takes on the same name as the city, Chantilly is the nearest city to Paris!
Though Château de Chantilly is usually thought of as just one castle, it is in fact made of 2 Châteaux – the Petit Château and the Grand Château which together form the Domaine de Chantilly.
The entire Domaine houses several museums including the Living Museum of the Horse or Musée du Cheval, Musée Condé, Musée de la Dentelle, Great Stables or the Grandes Ecuries (which are the largest horse stables in Europe), and the immaculately maintained gardens.
Besides the castle, you can also marvel at the Church of Notre Dame of Chantilly which you can find near the Great Stables of Domaine de Chantilly.
If a long walk surrounded by nature is what you long for, look no further than the Chantilly Forest.
While in this beautiful town, don’t forget to try the eponymous French Chantilly Cream (Crème Chantilly) which has influenced the whipped cream business all around France. In fact, whipped cream is referred to as creme chantilly or just la chantilly everywhere in the country.
Before your trip, be sure to buy this Château de Chantilly skip-the-line ticket to enjoy your visit without waiting in line for long.
- Travel time: Paris to Versailles will take you 40 mins to 1 hour by train.
- Where to stay in Versailles: Budget hotel (2 stars) | Mid-range Hotel (Apartment)| Luxury Hotel (5 stars).
One of the easy day trips from Paris you should take is to the town of Versailles which is home to the opulent Château de Versailles or Palace of Versailles, a former residence of King Louis XIV and the former seat of the French Government.
While there, be sure to check out the Hall of Mirrors, the Grand Chapel, Marie Antoinette’s bedroom, Le Grand Perspective for the best view of Versailles, Galerie des Carrosses or Gallery of Coaches in the Great Stables, and the dazzling and beautiful gardens of Versailles.
The grounds and the place’s park also house some architectural marvels of the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon.
The Queen’s Hamlet or The Hameau de la Reine is another beauty in the Palace park that was built especially for Marie Antoinette as an escape place to get away from it all.
If watching an opera, orchestra, or ballet performance is on your bucket list, then you’ll be glad to know that the Royal Opera of Versailles is located here as well. Dress up like royalty and attend a show at night.
While in the town, I’d also recommend checking out the Versailles Market to try out a wide range of French foods like baguettes, crêpes, and cheese but if organic food is what you prefer, then the Jussieu-Montreuil market is the place you’ll want to explore.
You can also admire the architectural beauty of Notre Dame de Versailles before you leave this historical town.
To visit Versailles, you can either go on your own by purchasing this skip-the-line ticket that comes with an audio guide or book this guided tour if you want to learn about the history of the palace from a knowledgable tour guide.
- Travel time: A 45 mins to 1-hour train ride from Paris departing from Gare de Lyon.
- Where to stay in Fontainebleau: Budget hotel (3 stars)| Mid-range Hotel (3 stars)| Luxury Hotel (4 stars).
Since I’ve mentioned Versailles, I should also add the lesser crowded alternative; the gorgeous Château de Fontainebleau located in the beautiful town of Fontainebleau.
Besides its grandeur architecture and the famous Horseshoe staircase, this UNESCO-listed site houses Marie Antoinette’s bed and Napoleon’s throne among other royal artifacts.
The castle is also surrounded by beautiful gardens which take on different designs including the French formal garden style and the French landscape garden.
If you’re a history buff, then the Napoleon Museum of History and Art and the Obelisk of Marie Antoinette will fascinate you.
What makes this castle even more special is that it’s the only château to have been continuously inhabited for 7 centuries by the French royal families with each royal family adding its unique taste and architectural design to what we see today. It is the only château in France to have this honor.
Hikers, picnic goers, and equestrians will be delighted with the scenic Fontainebleau Forest and its offerings.
Psst… Purchase this Fontainebleau entry ticket in advance to make your visit easier.
- Travel time: 1-hour train ride from Gare du Nord or more than a 2-hour drive by car.
- Where to stay in Lille: Budget hotel (3 stars) | Mid-range Hotel (3 stars) | Luxury Hotel (Apartment).
Located just 1 hour away from Paris and at the Border of Belgium, Lille is one of the beautiful cities near Paris that has a mixture of both French and Flemish cultures and languages.
The bustling city center, the beautiful French and Dutch-inspired architecture, and the thriving nightlife all make the city of Lille a cultural hub perfect for both youngsters and history nerds.
The highlight of course is the old town that has a Flemish touch. From the 18th-century houses, cobblestone streets, and baroque buildings, Old Lille will definitely grab your attention.
Stroll around its main square known as the Grand Place to either people watch, rub shoulders with the locals, or even admire the Colonne de la Déesse (The Column of the Goddess).
Some of the other places worth visiting while in Lille include; Maison Natale Charles de Gaulle which is the birthplace of Charles de Gaulle, a former President of France who played a huge role in shaping the history of the country, La Maison Meert to taste the traditional thin-waffle delicacy, Le Palais Des Beaux Arts De Lille which is one of the largest museums in France dedicated to art and antiquities, Citadelle de Lille to learn about the history of the city and so many others.
And while you can visit independently, I recommend booking this 2-hour guided walking tour that will take you through all the major highlights of the city especially if you’re just visiting for a day.
- Travel time: 1 hour by train departing from Gare du Nord.
- Where to stay in Auvers-Sur-Oise: Budget hotel (Bed & Breakfast) | Mid-range Hotel (4 stars) | Luxury Hotel (Bed & Breakfast).
This small and underrated hamlet caught the fancy of none other than the famous artist, Vincent Van Gogh, who lived here for a couple of months before his death. Actually, it is also his and his brother’s resting place.
Château d’Auvers, which is located close to the station, is a 19th-century palace that looks magnificent and is worth checking out.
The église d’Auvers or the Church at Auvers is also another attraction depicted beautifully in Van Gogh’s painting of the same name.
To get your spirits up, quite literally, you can visit the only absinthe museum in the world located in Auvers at the Musée de l’Absinthe. Right from its history to abuse to actually tasting it (if you can risk it), you can experience it all.
- Travel time: A 1-hour drive by car or 2 hours 30 mins by train will get you from Paris to Giverny.
- Where to stay in Giverny: Budget hotel (Bed & Breakfast) | Mid-range Hotel (Holiday home) | Luxury Hotel (Guest house).
This quaint village is famous because Claude Monet lived here for over 4 decades and died here as well. The picturesque surroundings are probably what draws aesthetes here and inspire them.
For example, the Giverny Gardens with the iconic water lily pond and Japanese bridge are what inspired one of Monet’s most famous paintings.
Art lovers can also check out the Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny or Museum of Impressionism Giverny which as the name suggests is dedicated to the art and history of Impressionism.
But if you don’t feel like planning the visit on your own, you can book this day trip guided tour that comes with a professional guide.
This tour will transport you from Paris to Giverny (since there is no direct public transport between the 2 places) and then the tour guide will take you all around the museum and the gardens while telling you about the history of the place and the famous painter.
- Travel time: 50 mins drive by car and 1 hour by train.
- Where to stay in Chartres: Budget hotel (2 stars) | Mid-range Hotel (Apartment)| Luxury Hotel (4 stars).
Chartres is most famous for the Notre-Dame de Chartres Cathedral which is not only a UNESCO World Heritage site but also one of the best-preserved cathedrals from the 13th century.
The two differently built and decorated spires on the exterior with its Gothic art and stained glass windows on the interior are what will grab your attention when you visit the cathedral.
Do not miss the Chartres Light Show or Chartres En Lumieres if you visit between the end of April to mid-October. Once it’s nightfall, 25 buildings across Chartres, including Notre-Dame de Chartres, illuminate with impressive light shows.
Another unique charm of this town is Maison Picassiette, which is a short bus ride away. Raymond Isidore the man who built this house used different bits and materials to decorate it.
You will be fascinated to find everything from glass shards to pieces of wood to bottle caps used in a creative manner.
Plus, the sculpture garden behind his cottage has mosaic replicas of stained-glass windows of Notre Dame de Chartres, an old windmill, and even the Eiffel Tower.
- Travel time: 1 hour 30 mins from Gare de l’Est by train.
- Where to stay in Provins: Budget hotel (Apartment) | Mid-range Hotel (3 stars) | Luxury Hotel (Bed & Breakfast).
The town of Provins is another UNESCO World Heritage site that you should visit if you want to be transported back in time.
Everything about it screams medieval and dates back centuries like the 12th-century medieval tower, Tour César, or the medieval tunnels, Les Souterrains de Provins.
The city also holds a medieval Christmas market annually which you can visit if you go around Christmastime.
The town itself is pretty laidback but it does have medieval shows that you can watch like knights performing with horses and falconry.
You can also visit or attend mass at Saint-Quiriace Collegiate Church, a church where Joan of Arc attended mass.
One of the other interesting things to do in the city is to walk up Saint-Jean’s Gate and climb Provins’ medieval ramparts.
Though some of the walls are no longer there, the few that exist are well maintained so you’ll be able to enjoy the construction that dates back to the 12th-century.
- Travel time: A 1 hour 20 mins train journey from Gare du Nord to Amiens.
- Where to stay in Amiens: Budget hotel (2 stars) | Mid-range Hotel (Apartment) | Luxury Hotel (4 stars).
Situated in the northern region of France, Amiens is one of the cutest cities near Paris.
The Amiens Cathedral or Cathédrale Notre-Dame d’Amiens which is the most famous attraction in the city is also the largest cathedral in France.
This UNESCO site which stands tall at over 42 meters (137 feet) will mesmerize you with its intricate façade, oak choir stalls, and gothic carvings.
If you’re a bibliophile and know of Jules Verne or have read his books, then you should also know that he spent a big part of his life in this city specifically in Maison de Jules Verne which now houses models of innovations and the Winter Garden.
For fine art lovers, the Musée de Picardie will amaze you. It includes artifacts and masterpieces right from the prehistoric era.
Also, the Quartier Saint-Leu, a medieval quarter in Amiens will have you exploring and trying out different restaurants, cafés, and boutiques.
- Travel time: 2 hours from Gare de l’Est by train.
- Where to stay in Strasbourg: Budget hotel (2 stars) | Mid-range Hotel (Apartment) | Luxury Hotel (4 stars).
Apart from being a poster town for the Christmas Market or Marché de Noel, Strasbourg offers so much more.
For example, the Saint-Pierre Le Jeune Church has a unique history that you may not know about. Until recently, neither did I.
This neo-Romanesque church started off as a Catholic church and was converted to a Protestant one.
Later on, for nearly 2 centuries, it was split among the Protestants and the Catholics by a dividing wall inside.
In 1898, the New Saint-Pierre Le Jeune Church was constructed and the Catholic congregation moved there and the wall was taken down. It is now back to being a Protestant church.
Then there’s the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg with its beautiful Gothic architecture in red sandstone and stained glass windows from the 12th and 13th centuries.
Even Strasbourg’s historical centre, the Grande-Île district, is a UNESCO-listed site. Beyond the impressive architecture that portrays both the German and French styles, there is so much to do and see in Strasbourg.
From Place Kleber, a beautiful square, Palais Rohan a beautiful palace near Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg to Petite France which is the most beautiful place in the city with its colorful half-timbered houses lined along the river.
With all this beauty, it’s not hard to see why Strasbourg is one of the most beautiful cities near Paris to visit.
To make your visit to Strasbourg smooth, you can pre-book your activities in advance to be guaranteed a spot.
You can either book this Strasbourg guided tour by Segway if you want to discover the city in style or this Strasbourg city center guided bike tour with a local to get the most out of your visit.
- Travel time: 2 hours’ drive by car from Paris will get you to Chablis or around 3 hours by train.
- Where to stay in Chablis: Budget hotel (Apartment) | Mid-range Hotel (3 stars) | Luxury Hotel (Holiday Home).
Located in the region of Burgundy, this medieval town of Chablis is well known for growing Chardonnay grapes and hence known for its wineries.
Besides learning about the whole winemaking process, you can visit the 9th-century Obédiencerie monastery where the monks, the Canons of Saint Martin of Tours, honed the craft of winemaking which eventually led to the white wine of the Chablis region.
Other notable things to do that make Chablis worth visiting include visiting Saint-Pierre and Saint-Martin churches, admiring the beautiful old town, and ofcourse visiting the various vineyards.
In brief, Chablis is one of the towns near Paris perfect for wine lovers!
12. Loire Valley
- Travel time: To get to the Loire Valley region, you will have to rent a car and it takes about 2 hours 15 mins or 1 hour 30 mins by train.
- Where to stay in Tours: Budget hotel (1 star) | Mid-range Hotel (2 stars) | Luxury Hotel (Apartment).
Loire Valley is one of the best regions to savor your wine. Where are the oenophiles at? Besides that, it also has the largest concentration of châteaux in France.
Here, even some of the châteaux have their own vineyards so if you like castles, adore your “Vin” time, and want to feel like royalty while you’re at it, this is the ideal place to go.
Some of the famous châteaux worth visiting include Château de Chambord, Château de Amboise, Château Royal de Blois, Château de Chenonceau and so many others.
And when you’re not drinking amazing wine or getting lost in one of the Loire Castles, take a tour of Tours, a picturesque town located between two rivers (Cher and Loire).
You can immerse yourself in art at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours which houses masterpieces by Monet and Rembrandt.
Here are some of the entry tickets to the famous castles you shouldn’t miss while in the region.
- Skip-the-line ticket for Château de Chambord
- Priority entrance ticket to Chenonceau Castle
- Château Royal d’Amboise Entrance Ticket
- Chateau de Blois Entry Ticket
Alternatively, you can just book this full-day Loire Valley guided tour that will take you through 3 of the above castles including wine tasting and a transfer from Paris if you don’t want to plan anything.
- Travel time: 2 hours 30 mins by train or 5 hours by car from Gare de l’Est.
- Where to stay in Colmar: Budget hotel (2 stars) | Mid-range Hotel (4 stars) | Luxury Hotel (2 stars).
Colmar is one of those cities near Paris that looks like it came out of a picture postcard.
This idyllic town with its bucolic setting will transport you back in time. The old town with its intricate, cobblestone pathways, timber-framed, colorful houses, and medieval buildings will charm their way into your heart the minute you set foot in the town.
What’s more, you ask? Well, it lies on the Alsace wine tour route along with other smaller villages in the vicinity.
If riding in a boat through the canals of Venice was on your bucket list of things to do but the crowds put you off, Colmar offers a less crowded alternative in Little Venice.
The canal area with its two dreamy bridges albeit small will offer you just as much if not a more scenic and romantic setting.
If you happen to be here around Christmas, then the Les Marchés de Noel are worth staying for.
One of the other things not to miss out on is this 2-hour Segway tour of Colmar to get a glimpse of this beautiful city in style.
- Travel time: A 2 hour 45 mins drive by car and around 2 hours 30 mins by train.
Located along the English Channel, Normandy is one of the cities close to Paris that sits on years of history (and terror in some instances)!
What sets Normandy apart compared to other closest cities to Paris is that it has a little bit of everything!
Visit the town of Étretat to the North of Normandy to enjoy a cliffside picnic while enjoying the breathtaking view of the English Channel or admire the beauty of the white chalk cliffs.
The famous D-Day beaches out of which Omaha beach is the most popular is a 1 hour 30 mins drive from Normandy if you fancy some sunbathing while learning more history about the D-day landing.
Another site worth making a trip to is the Mont Saint-Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, whose abbey rises to 100m (328 ft.) tall. (Make sure you buy this entry ticket to Mont Sant Michel in advance.)
But beware, during high tide, it becomes an island accessible only by one road. The Abbey has 350 steps to the highest point but the view from there is worth the effort.
You can also explore the Museum of the Battle of Normandy to learn more about WWII, wander around Honfleur, chill on the beaches of Deauville, or visit Château de Fontaine-Henry which is the most beautiful castle in Normandy.
If you don’t want to plan a thing, you can opt for one of these tours below.
Final Thoughts on the Closest Cities to Paris
I hope you liked my picks of the best cities close to Paris. Of course, it’s none-exhaustive but I’d add more as explore other towns near Paris.
Let me know which of these cities around Paris you have visited or plan on visiting.
NEVER TRAVEL TO PARIS WITHOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE
One of the biggest mistakes you’ll ever make when planning a trip to Paris is to forego Travel Insurance!
You might think that it’s expensive, but when you think of how much it will save you when you lose your valuables or even get sick, then you’ll know that it’s NOT that expensive!
There are many Travel Insurance companies out there, but I love World Nomads! They cover almost every single thing you might face/do while in Paris or even France in general, it is easy to request a quote, and if you ever need to claim, the claiming process is not a rat race!
I’ve used World Nomads on all my trips, and I am confident and happy to recommend it to you!
No worries if you’re not yet ready to book your trip, you can request a free quote from World Nomads here and see if it suits your personal needs!
Check out these posts to help you plan your trip to Paris
- Nontouristy things to do in Paris
- Stunning views from the Eiffel Tower
- How to plan a perfect picnic in Paris
- Big mistakes to avoid while traveling in Paris
- Things to know before traveling to Paris
- Skip the lines tickets for popular Paris attractions
- Best Hotels in Paris with Eiffel tower views
- Things to do in Paris at night
- How to skip the long lines in Paris
- Best places to get stunning views of the Eiffel Tower
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