Day trips from Paris you don’t want to miss

Paris is a magical city full of historic attractions. A week’s stay in this exciting metropolis isn’t long enough to take in all the sights. However, just outside the city are some of the most popular attractions in all of Northern France. Families with kids will enjoy seeing the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Arc de Triomphe while visiting the City of Lights, but to get away from the hustle and bustle, the traffic, and the human throngs, consider one of several family-friendly destinations out on the fringe. 

From amusement parks and wildlife preserves to museums, castles, and historic villages, the list of day trips from Paris is too long to mention in detail. On this page, some of the more family-friendly destinations are mentioned along with just enough information to get the juices flowing. Teens and preteens will enjoy all of the attractions listed below, and the parents will be glad they visited these noteworthy destinations as well. 

Day trips from Paris:

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Amusement Parks:

Disney is alive and well in Northern France. Walt Disney Studios and Disneyland Park are located adjacent to each other just outside of the city. A short train ride from Gare de Lyon station brings families right to the entrance of these magical parks. Just like in Southern California or Florida, kids can sign up to meet a princess, ride the spinning teacups, and enjoy “It’s a Small World”. The boys in the family will love the car racing rides and the racing rallies. Families are encouraged to dress their young daughters like princesses before coming to the parks. Yes, that’s the tradition here. 

The Parc Asterix is lesser known but just as enjoyable. It’s just a short coach ride from several Paris rail stations, and it’s worth an entire day. Built around the idea of several famous comic book characters, the park is teeming with rides, workshops, and playgrounds. The sea lion and dolphin shows are fantastic. The new Forest of Dogmatix area is full of exciting surprises. 

Playmobil, located just outside Paris, is accessible via public bus. This park is really something different. A total of 12 play areas are scattered around the property, and families with kids will want to explore them all. There’s a family farm, zoo, a pirate exhibit, and even Viking pillagers on the loose. 

Museums And Landmark Attractions:

The French Aerospace Museum, or Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace, is a must-see for those visiting Paris with their kids. Just outside of the city at Le Bourget Airport and easily reached via public transportation, this is one of the oldest aviation museums in the entire world. The history of air travel is told from beginning to present inside the monstrous hangars. The 1879 Biot-Massia glider, the early biplanes, the WW1 fighters, a Zeppelin airship, and even Soviet rockets are on display. The Concorde 1 prototype is also found here. 

Provins is a museum village that should not be overlooked. The medieval architecture will appeal to adults and kids alike. While visiting the museums, be sure to take in the falconry and equestrian shows. The Ramparts and the Caesar Tower are especially appealing. Several smaller museums are found in the underground galleries. Provins is just a 75-minute drive southeast of downtown Paris. 

The world-famous Versailles Castle is one of the biggest visitor draws in all of France. It and all of the other sights in Versailles can be reached by suburban train or bus. The castle is located about 45 minutes southwest of the city. The magnificent gardens and fountains are worth a day’s stroll. The grounds surrounding the castle itself are huge, tree-covered, and full of statues and monuments. Inside, adults and kids will thrill to the sight of the huge overhanging gold and silver chandeliers, the tall mirrors, and antique furniture. 

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France Miniature is a theme park that focuses on the history of the French people. It’s so-named because here are replicated nearly all of the famous castles, cathedrals, and museums found in Northern and Central France. Kids will love the miniature versions of Versailles Castle, the Eiffel Tower, bridges, and even the Paris skyline. After viewing these amazing models, the kids can go enjoy the playgrounds, slides, and jungle gyms. This unusual museum park is located about 40 minutes driving west of Paris. 

Historic Sites:

Much of the fighting during WWI and WWII took place within 100 miles of Paris. Some of the notable attractions that draw visitors today include Verdun and the Arras & Somme region. Verdun is located about three hours east of Paris near the border with Luxembourg. Memorials, cemeteries, and battlefields are among the attractions. 

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The Arras & Somme region is spread out over several square miles and is located about two hours driving north of Paris. Here is located the largest preserved network of tunnels, mine craters, and trenches from WWI. It’s a fascinating if somber place for families to visit, and it’s one of the most educational day trips in all of Europe. 

Normandy is synonymous with D-Day in June of 1944. It’s pretty far from Paris, and the length of the car trip depends on which beaches are visited. The idea here is a simple one. See where the invasion took place, and hope that nothing like it ever has to happen again. The Caen Memorial Museum is a must-see for adults and kids. Along Omaha Beach are several works of art including huge sculptures set right into the beach sand. 

Organized Tours:

A little further from Paris are some of the country’s best and most famous attractions. Some of these can be visited in one day, but it’s best to go with the organized tour group idea. Most of the destinations are reached by train or bus, and there’s always the overnight stay option. Major destinations that will appeal to families include the Loire Valley, Champagne Region, and the Burgundy Region. 

Remember too that the city of Bordeaux is only about three hours from Paris. It’s listed in the Top 100 Best European Places to visit on many travel sites. Adults and kids will love visiting the Garonne River bridges, the cathedral, and the Basilica of Saint Michael. Also in Bordeaux are the Cité du Vin Wine Museum and the la Bourse reflecting pool. 

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Planning The Ultimate Vacation:

Remember that some of the landmarks and parks mentioned here are not open all year. This is where the travel agent comes to the rescue. It’s best to choose a tour operation outfit that focuses on Paris, France, or Western Europe in order to get the best possible information. 

Remember too that ground transportation should be chosen based on known reliability. For those traveling to Paris by air, check out this Parisian shuttle bus service which can directly drive you from the airport to the heart of the city as soon as you arrive. This transportation company offers quick shuttle service to most downtown Paris hotels and rail stations from de Gaulle International and Orly International airports.

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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