Arc de Triomphe

Looking forward to a fantastic summer of sport in France, and particularly Paris? How about combining Paris with your France family holiday but without the cost of staying in central Paris and the hassle of driving into the city? Here’s our guide to some great locations just outside Paris, whilst allowing you to easily access the sights and delights of the capital city. Base yourself in the calm and beauty of these lovely areas, whilst also enjoying the key Parisian landmarks - the Eiffel Tower or the Champs Élysées spanning from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde, and much, much more.

Giverny Gardens

On the way from the ferry port to the environs of Paris, Giverny, on the banks of the river Seine in Normandy, is well worth a stop. Claude Monet lived here for many years until his death in 1926, and his house and exuberantly colourful gardens, including his famous Japanese inspired water garden complete with lily ponds, can be visited. In the small village of Giverny, stop by the Museum of Impressionism, built on a hillside, in the very place where Monet painted his famous “Haystacks” in the 1890s. A few steps away is the Hotel Baudy, an old boarding house visited by artists like Cézanne and Rodin, and now a café and restaurant. Finally, further on Claude Monet street is Sainte-Radegonde church, the final resting place of Monet where you can pay homage at his flower filled family grave, as well as visit some WWII memorials.

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Reims

Champagne Tourist Route

Next stop is the famous Champagne region, which surrounds Paris on the northeast side, with the city of Reims the gateway to the region. Easily accessible from Paris by TGV, it’s hillside vines, houses and cellars are considered so
special that they are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

In the heart of the historic city centre, is one of the most impressive gothic cathedrals in Europe, Cathédrale Notre Dame de Reims and the place where 25 French monarchs were crowned King of France. Even older is the Porte de Mars, a 3rd century triumphal arch and the widest remaining Roman archway in the world. Reims was badly affected by World War I, but with the rebuilding effort in the 1920’s and 1930’s, wonderful Art Deco architecture can be enjoyed in the market area of Halles du Boulingrin, the Carnegie Library, and the Opera of Reims.

Visiting some of the world-famous Champagne houses is essential to the region, with an extensive Champagne Tourist Route to discover, fully mapped among the vineyards and terraced hillsides where villages, châteaux, and churches are nestled.

Within Reims, focus on Saint Nicaise Hill where you can visit famous producers such as Tattinger, Veuve Clicquot or Pommery.

Château de Rambouillet


Or head south to the royal town of Rambouillet, which lies on the edge of a vast 200km2 forest, and is famous for its historical castle, the 14th century Château de Rambouillet, which used to be King Louis XVI’s residence in the 18th century. Outside are magnificent grounds featuring canals, as well as formal landscaped gardens.

And not to be missed by train enthusiasts - the Rambolitrain museum devoted to model railways and toy trains, with an exhibition of no fewer than 4,000 collector’s pieces!

Paris is less than 1 hour from Rambouillet, and it’s also perfectly located for visits to the nearby magnificent Versailles and its royal palace and gardens, as well as it’s equestrian academy.

Bois de Vincennes

Closer to Paris is the Bois de Vincennes, on the southeastern edge of the capital and the largest public park in the city. It houses the city’s Zoo Parc Zoologique de Paris, as well as the magnificent Parc Floral de Paris, a botanical park with exciting playgrounds for older children. Previously royal hunting grounds, there is a royal château, Château de Vincennes, with massive fortifications and a moat, boats to rent on the lakes and ample green lawns to picnic on. It’s a great base on the outskirts of Paris away from the concrete of the city, but still on the city’s metro line.

Château de Chantilly

Why not base yourself less than 30 mins from Paris by train in Chantilly, the place that gives its name to the sweet, whipped cream (believed to have been created by a chef in the town’s château kitchens in the 17th century) but also famous for its equine heritage and racecourse. That chateau is the beautiful Château de Chantilly which along with its Great Stables featured prominently in the Bond movie “A View to a Kill”. It is home to the Condé Museum, one of the greatest art collections in France, and the Museum of the Horse dedicated to equine art and culture and with plenty of fascinating facts about horses.

Just 20 kms away is Parc Astérix, the 2nd largest the theme park in France with up to 50 attractions and live shows as well as on-site hotels. Based on the comic book series, it is especially renowned for its thrilling roller coaster rides, incorporating themes from the history depicted by cartoon character Astérix the Gaul.

Meaux on the Marne river

Brie de Meaux cheese

Not far is Meaux, a former episcopal city with a wealth of well-preserved heritage, situated on the Marne river and famous for its Brie de Meaux, as well as its mustard. The town’s landmark site in the historic centre is the gothic Saint-Étienne cathedral built from the 12th to the 15th centuries, and the nearby Bossuet museum, a former episcopal palace now dedicated to the art and history of the city, complete with stunning formal gardens, the Jardin Bossuet. Also in the town is the famous Musée de la Grande Guerre - the largest museum in Europe on World War 1 and a must-see attraction for history buffs.

For those more interested in gastronomy, the Maison of Brie de Meaux gives the history of this famous cheese, and showcases the different stages of production, from the milk harvest to maturing in the cellar.

Just 20 minutes away in the Marne valley, and needing little introduction, is the magic of Disneyland Paris, where young and old can be enthralled in the 2 parks (Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park), as well as the Disney Village with its shops, restaurants and shows.

Paris Map


  • Car: 3 hours from Cherbourg and Calais ports
  • Train: Vernon to Paris St. Lazare from 55 minutes (Vernon 7km by car, bus or taxi to Giverny)

Reims / Champagne

  • TGV: Reims ➔ Paris Gare de l’Est, from 46 minutes

Rambouillet / Versailles

  • TER: Rambouillet ➔ Paris Gare de Montparnasse, from 36 minutes
  • RER Line C: Versailles Château Rive Gauche station

Bois De Vincennes

  • Metro Line 1: Château de Vincennes station

Chantilly / Parc Asterix

  • TER: Chantilly Gouvieux ➔ Paris Gare de Nord, from 24 minutes
  • Parc Astérix: A1 motorway, between exits 7 & 8. Park shuttle Paris CDG T3 RER Line B

Meaux / Disneyland Paris

  • TER: Meaux ➔ Paris Gare de l’Est, from 39 mins
  • Disneyland Paris: Car: Blvd de Parc, 77700 Coupvray Train: RER Line A to Marne-la- Vallée/Chessy


Tourism Office:


Tourism Office:


Tourism Office:


Tourism Office:


Tourism Office:
  • Chateau de Chantilly, including the grounds and Stables, and the Condé Museum:
  • Park Astérix: Book park tickets and on-site hotels with


Tourism Office:
  • Meaux tourism office:
  • Saint-Étienne cathedral: Free entry • Musee Bossuet & Gardens: https://www.
  • House of Brie de Meux: info/tickets available on Meaux tourism office website
  • VMusee de la Grande Guerre: https://www.
  • Disneyland Paris: Book park tickets and nearby hotels with


  • Metro/RER: Information, maps ticket prices on
  • Car: Paris is part of a permanent lowemissions zone (ZCR), designed to reduce CO2 emissions in major cities
  • Some very polluting vehicles may have restrictions including being banned from entry, check your car here:
  • Display of a “Crit’Air” sticker is required to be allowed entry during certain times, even for foreign registered cars
  • Apply ahead of time on the official website