Château de Fontainebleau is a great day trip from Paris. It is only 55km outside of Paris, and it is extremely easy to get from Paris to Château de Fontainebleau. It is one of the largest royal palaces in all of France and is filled with beautiful decor and lots of history.
History of Château de Fontainebleau
Château de Fontainebleau is an interesting piece of French architecture. It was a royal Château then became a palace and one of the many residences for the French monarchs. It was used as a palace from the reign of Louis VII to Napoleon III.
The monarchs would go from Paris to Château de Fontainebleau in order to relax and get away from the capital city. The location was favourable because the monarch could easily go from Paris to Fontainebleau for a short retreat and not have to worry about extensive travel.
The palace is now a UNESCO World Heritage sight and is visited by hoards of tourists every year.
The most common (and easiest) way to get from Paris to Fontainebleau is by train. The train rides takes approximately 40 minutes, and it is faster than taking a private car!
The first step to getting from Paris to Château de Fontainebleau is to get to Gare de Lyon station in Paris because that is where the trains to Fontainebleau leave from. Gare de Lyon is the sixth largest train station in Paris, and it is very busy.
You have to take the local Paris metro to Gare to Lyon and then transfer to another train to get to Château de Fontainebleau .
The metro lines that stop at Gare de Lyon are:
The RER lines that stop at Gare to Lyon are:
To figure out to get from where you are staying to Gare de Lyon, click here. This is an interactive map that will help you plan the best route for you to take!
Now that you’re at Gare de Lyon, you will have to exit the Paris metro portion of the station and follow the signs to the actual train station portion of Gare de Lyon. There will be lots of signs, so you shouldn’t get lost.
You are now in the train station portion of Gare de Lyon. You’ll need to take a Transition train (that’s the fancy name for the type of train you will be taking to Château de Fontainebleau). You will want to take a train in the direction of Migennes, Montargis or Montereau. All three of these trains will take you to Château de Fontainebleau.
You need to get off the train at Fontainebleau-Avon. This will be either the second, third, or forth stop depending on what train you take.
How to Buy tickets
You will need to purchase a ticket before you board the train to Fontainebleau. Tickets can either be purchased at a ticket machine or at a ticket booth. You cannot purchase a ticket to Fontainebleau-Avon at the metro stations, so you will have to purchase it once you walk to the train station.
The ticket machines will be purple on the side and have SNCF written on the side. The ticket machines accept both cash and card.
You are also able to purchase your ticket online and collect it at a ticket machine. Simply input your reservation number and the credit card used to purchase the ticket, and you’ll easily be able to collect your ticket!
You can also purchase a ticket at a manned ticket booth if you feel more comfortable with that. Make sure to leave a little bit of extra time if you plan on purchasing your ticket at a ticket booth because there is often a queue.
how to validate your tickets
You have to validate your ticket before you board the train! There will be a square metal box as you enter the platform. You have to stick the end of your ticket in the box in order for it to validated.
Once you get off the train, you will have to take a local bus to Château de Fontainebleau. The bus departs across the street from the train station exit, and you will be able to see the bus stop as soon as you walk out of the station.
It is impossible to get lost on your way to the bus. You will be able to see the station, and you can simply follow the other tourists who are heading to Château de Fontainebleau as well.
You need to take the Ligne 1 (line 1) bus in the direction of Les Lilas. Ride the bus until you hear the stop called Château is announced, and you will get off there.
There is a map inside the bus, so you can track where you are on the route and be prepared to get off when your stop is coming up. You can also get off when the rest of the tourists get off.
After you get off the bus, you have to walk about a block and a half before you get to the palace. There will be signs showing you what direction to walk when you get off the bus.
Château de Fontainebleau is right in the heart of the city. The bus stop you get off at is in a residential area, and it can seem a bit odd getting off there, but you are in the right place!
Tips for riding the bus
You need change to ride the bus so make sure you have some with you!
Make sure you check the bus schedule, so you know what time to be back at the bus stop after touring Château de Fontainebleau
It is polite to give up your seat for elders, people living with disabilities, and pregnant women (but that’s common knowledge everywhere).
Getting from Paris to Château de Fontainebleau by Car
You can drive yourself from Paris to Fontainebleau. It will take approximately an hour and fifteen minutes, but that is subject to traffic, of course.
You take the A6 from Paris (Porte d’Orléans or Porte d’Italia) and take the exit for Fontainebleau. After you exit, you will follow signs that say Château until you get to the palace.
Getting from Paris to Château de Fontainebleau by Coach
You can take an organized tour from Paris to Fontainebleau, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The tours are normally overpriced, and they don’t give you the freedom to do what you want when you want.
That being said, there are instances where it is better for people to take a coach tour rather than travelling to Château de Fontainebleau on their own. People who are living with disabilities and cannot easily take public transportation or people with mobility issues who want to walk as little as possible.
Paris City Vision offers a guided tour that comes highly recommend (although I have never personally gone on it).
It is easy to get from Paris to Château de Fontainebleau, and it is an amazing day trip. Château de Fontainebleau is so close to Paris that it makes for the perfect day trip.
The most efficient and stress-free way to get from Paris to Fontainebleau is by train. I promise that having to take the train then a bus isn’t as difficult as it can seem to an inexperienced traveller.
The journey is extremely easy, and it is nearly impossible to get lost along the way. The only thing you need to worry about is getting on the right train and getting off at the right stop. Even if you get off on the wrong bus stop, you will be able to walk to the palace because it is a small town.
Château de Fontainebleau is a great piece of French history. I actually enjoy it more than Versailles. It is less busy, just as beautiful, and has some amazing history attached to it.
You won’t regret your trip to Château de Fontainebleau!
Paris is normally near the top of everybody’s itinerary for their first trip to Europe. While Paris as a city is a great place to visit, there are so many sights just outside the city that are worth visiting as well. And, well, who wouldn’t love to take a couple day trips from Paris? The best thing about all of these day trips is that they don’t require lots of travel time, so you can spend most of your day exploring rather than being on a train.
Spending a few extra days in the city and taking day trips from Paris allows you to see a number of important and iconic French landmarks that you would not get to see if you stayed in Paris the entire time. Day trips from Paris also allow you to get away from a cosmopolitan city and see some smaller, charming towns.
Why Take a Day Trip from Paris?
Paris is quite different from the rest of France. It has a different vibe and energy to it. I always find Paris to be fast-paced while other parts of France are very relaxed and idyllic.
Taking a couple of day trips from Paris will allow you to get a better sense of France as a country. When you only visit one city in a country, you only get a feel for the single city rather than the entire country.
France is an amazing country that deserves to be explored. Even somewhere as close as 90 minutes from Paris has a completely different atmosphere than Paris.
Taking day trips from Paris allow you to explore more of France without having to travel from one location to the next and pack and unpack your luggage.
Day trips give you the opportunity to see what else France has to offer with a low level of commitment. If you don’t like a place, you’re back in Paris that evening and don’t have to worry about staying in a city you don’t care for or changing your plans to leave early.
I always advocate for taking day trip if you’re only visiting one city in a country, and Paris has some of the best day trips to offer. There are a wide variety of choices, so people with varying interests can find something that appeals to them.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of day trips from Paris; however, these are my 5 favourites. They are all close to Paris and easy to get to. They are perfect for people visiting Paris for the first time and for veteran Paris travellers.
Now to get down to business. Here are the 5 best day trips from Paris!
The main thing to do in Giverny is visit Claude Monet’s gardens. The gardens are breathtaking. Since they are so breathtaking, they are also quite popular even though other travel sites say Giverny is a “hidden gem”. While it may be a bit off the beaten track, it is still popular enough that you should try to be at the gardens right when they open.
It is simple to get to Giverny from central Paris. The train departs from Saint-Lazare Paris train station. You will need to buy a ticket to Vernon-Giverny.
The train only takes 45 minutes, so it makes for a great day trip from Paris for people who want to spend the least amount of time travelling and a long time exploring the destination.
Once you arrive at the Vernon-Giverny station, you will have to take the shuttle bus the gardens. Because the gardens can get busy, you should try to schedule your train trip, so you are in Giverny in time to take the first shuttle that departs at 9:15am.
Admission to Giverny is shockingly cheap. At the time of writing, the most expensive ticket is €8! For the most up-to-date information on ticket prices, please consult the Giverny website.
Monet’s gardens are only open from mid-March to November, so be sure to double check that the sight is open when you’re visiting.
Giverny has more to offer than the two gardens and Monet’s house (although that would be more than enough to make a great day trip)! When you’re there, be sure to explore the surrounding village a little bit. There are a number of boutique stores and some amazing restaurants that serve beautiful french wine (Sancerre anyone?).
2. Château de Fontainebleau
Château de Fontainebleau is one of Napoleon’s lesser known palaces. However, this does not mean it is not worth a visit. I would even dare to say it is more worthy of a visit than the Palace of Versailles.
The rooms are magnificent, and the palace is home to some fascinating history. There is an audio guide included in the price of admission. You’ll want to use it because it is full of information that enhances your visit.
I know audioguides are a little gross, but if you have a wet wipe in your purse, you can wipe it down and be free of germs!
Château de Fontainebleau is just as easy to get to as Giverny. You will need to take a train from Paris-Gare de Lyon to Fontainebleau-Avon. The train ride is about 40 minutes, so it is another perfect day trip from Paris for people looking to get the most out of their time.
After getting off the train, you will need to take a city bus to the château. Take the Ligne 1 bus in the direction of Les Lilas. You will get off at the stop called Château Fontainebleau.
That may sound complex for a new traveller, but I ensure you that it is incredibly easy. Fontainebleau-Avon is a small train station, so you will be able to see the bus stop from the train station. And you’ll know when to get off the bus because there is a sound system that announces the next stop. Simply listen for the Château Fontainebleau stop and exit the bus.
If you do feel a bit nervous about when to get off, watch the other tourists and exit when they leave, or ask the bus driver when you get on the bus when exactly you should get off.
Tickets range from €10 to €12 (at the time of writing) depending on whether you are eligible for a reduce fare or not. It is reasonably priced for travellers on a budget, which makes it a great choice for a day trip from Paris for budget travellers. For the most recent ticket prices, please refer to the Château de Fontainebleau website.
Château de Fontainebleau is pretty much in the centre of town, so if you have some spare time, be sure to wander through the town to get a sense of the local scene. The food options at the château are limited; however, they have a number of food trucks just outside the gardens in the summer that serve up some delicious food.
3. Disneyland Paris
This is my favourite day trip from Paris because I am a Disney junkie. However, it is fun for everybody no matter whether you are a Disney fanatic or not! I mean who doesn’t love visiting a new theme park and indulging on all the delicious food? Plus Disneyland Paris has a couple of attractions that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
Disneyland Paris is a beautifully designed theme park. It is full of colour and detailed buildings. There is a lot to see at Disneyland Paris, so you could easily spend 2 days in the park. But for moderate Disney fans, Disneyland Paris can be done in a day trip.
Getting to Disneyland Paris requires riding the RER A to the end of the line and getting off at Gare de Marne la Vallée Chessy.
Depending on what part of Paris you’re staying in, this can take anywhere from 10 minutes if you’re staying on the outskirts of Paris near the park of 90 minutes if you’re staying in the heart of Paris.
Not surprisingly, admission to Disneyland Paris is a bit pricey. The average cost of a one day ticket to both parks for an adult ranges from €76 to €107 depending on what day you go. Prices vary depending on whether it is a busy time in the parks or not so be sure to refer to the Disneyland Paris website for the most current ticketing information.
You should seriously consider getting a ticket that allows you entry into both parks. They are extremely close together, and you can easily walk from one to the other in a matter of minutes.
Each of the parks has something unique to see and do. It would be a shame to go all the way to Paris and only go to one of the parks because you didn’t want to spend the extra money to be allowed entry into both.
That being said, if you only buy a single-park ticket, go to Disneyland Paris. It has a lot more attractions, a parade and nighttime show, and all the classic sights and sounds. You will get more bang for your buck if you go to Disneyland rather than the Studios park.
If you’re going to Disneyland Paris (and you should), be sure to get to the parks when they open to avoid the mid-day crowds. Getting there early will help you maximize your time and money. You should also make sure to use fast passes to further maximize your time. There is no sense waiting in a long line if you don’t have to!
Pro tip: Be sure to go under the castle. You won’t want to miss it.
4. Vimy Ridge
Vimy Ridge is a true historical sight. The Battle of Vimy ridge was a turning point in World War One. To read more about it, visit The Battle of Vimy Ridge website. As a Canadian, visiting Vimy Ridge was an emotional experience, and I believe it is important to understand history in order to better understand the current world order and prevent future conflicts from starting.
Not to dissuade you from visiting, but Vimy Ridge is the most difficult sight on this list to get to. You have to take a train from Paris Gare de Nord to Arras. The train ride is approximately 2 hours. After arriving in Arras, you will need to take a taxi to Vimy Ridge. The taxi costs approximately €20 one way.
It is unfortunate that there is not a bus that can take you from Arras to Vimy Ridge because that would be far more economical, and there are normally enough tourists that it would most likely be profitable to run.
In any event, getting to Vimy Ridge is a tad inconvenient, but it is worth the trip if you have any interest in history or WWI.
Vimy Ridge offers free admission as well as a free guided tour to visitors. Donations are optional but in no way required.
Be sure to chat with the guides and staff members during your visit. They are all young Canadians who are incredibly knowledgable and really help deepen your understanding of the events that took place during the Battle.
This is by far the most emotional day trip from Paris on this list, but it is an important one to do if you have the time. Getting there is a time commitment, but it is worth it to learn about the history of the battle field. You always hear about how close the trenches were in WWI but to see them is an unreal experience.
5. Palace of Versailles
How could I have a list of day trips from Paris and not include the most well know? If you’ve done any research on Paris, you most likely know that Versailles is the most popular day trip from Paris. It is an incredible palace, but I think the gardens are the real showstopper.
Getting to the Palace of Versailles from Paris is easy. You take the RER C to Versailles-Château/Rive Gauche then walk for a couple of blocks before you get to the palace gates. You won’t get lost walking to the palace because there will be throngs of other tourists you can follow as well as signs and maps along the walking route.
The train ride takes approximately 1 hour from central Paris.
There are many different types of tickets that are offered at the Palace of Versailles. I recommend the one day passport for €20. It gives you access to the palace, the gardens, and temporary exhibits. To view all the ticket options, visit the Palace of Versailles website.
The palace gets extremely busy, so I would highly recommend you purchase your ticket online ahead of time to avoid standing in line to buy a ticket upon arriving at the palace.
The gardens open an hour before the palace, so if you’re wanting to avoid as much of the crowds as possible, you may want to consider getting to the gardens when they open in the morning, exploring them, then entering the palace as soon as it opens.
Transportation Tips and Tricks
Buy Your Return Ticket Ahead of Time
If you are taking day trips from Paris that requires riding the RER or the underground train system, you can purchase your return ticket ahead of time. This saves you time at the end of the day when you’re tired. You can simply pull out your ticket, validate it, and get on the train.
You can purchase your return tickets at the automated machine. Simply change the departure and return destinations. As long as you don’t validate it, you are good to use that ticket whenever you want.
You are also able to purchase your return ticket from a ticket booth with an employee. Tell them that you want a return ticket as well, and they will sell you on.
Validate Your Ticket
If you are taking the national train, you need to validate your ticket before you board. There will be a yellow box as you enter the platform. Simply stick the end of your ticket in there, and you’re officially validated.
If you’re not sure what to do, either watch the locals and follow their lead or ask an employee how to do it. It is an easy process, so you shouldn’t have any trouble.
You have to print physical paper tickets if you purchase tickets online. This is easy to do if you’ve planned your trip and booked your tickets before you leave. All you need to do is print the tickets that are sent to your email and bring them to the train station with you.
It gets difficult/annoying when you’re like me and plan things last minute.
If you’re staying at hotel, you can ask the front desk to print your tickets for you. They may charge you a small fee, but it will be worth it to have your tickets.
If you’re staying at an Air B&B, you have two options:
1. Print Your Tickets at a Cyber Cafe
This option will require you to find a cyber cafe in the neighbourhood where you are staying then print your tickets from there.
I have had issues when I have tried to do this. My email security did not like that I was using a public computer, so it sent me a validation code via text message. The validation code, however, did not show up because I had my phone data off. I had to turn my data on, receive the code, then input it. It was a very annoying process.
Cyber cafes are inexpensive and won’t cost you more than a couple of euros to use the computer and print your tickets.
This isn’t an ideal option, but it works if you’re in a pinch and need your ticket.
2. Buy Your Tickets at the Train Station
This is another mildly annoying option, but it is what I prefer to do.
You have to purchase the train ticket from the station that you are leaving from. In order to do this, you, obviously, have to find your way to the train station. This is annoying if you’re not planning on doing anything in the neighbourhood the train station is in, and it can take away some of your sightseeing time in Paris.
You are able to buy the tickets at an automated SNCF ticket machine. These are different from the ordinary ticket machines that you buy metro tickets at. You will be able to tell the SNCF machines apart because they will be in an area by themselves away from the metro ticket machines and be purple on the side.
You should try to make time in your itinerary to take a couple of day trips from Paris. There are many day trips from Paris that are easy to get to, inexpensive, and filled with cultural and historical information.
As previously stated, you will be able to learn so much more about France by taking a few day trips from Paris. They are a great way to save time and the hassle of packing and checking into a new hotel.
All of the day trips from Paris on this list are designed to be done in one day without having to get up too early or get home too late.
They are perfect for people travelling with children or solo travellers because they give you the opportunity to see a lot without having to burn the candle at both ends.
There are plenty of other day trips from Paris you could go on, but they often have longer transportation times or are more difficult to get to. Some require renting a car or going on an organized tour while others require you to spend so long on a train that you only have a few hours at your destination.
I love these 5 day trips from Paris because they really do allow you to see a lot without spending too much time in transit. To me, that is the perfect combination for a day trip.