As much as we love Paris, sometimes it’s nice to escape the city for a while. Whilst Paris has lots to offer, there are so many other incredible places in France waiting for you to discover. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy a weekend getaway and explore somewhere new, whether it be a historic cathedral city or a beautiful seaside resort. Here is our list of top weekend getaways from Paris.
Deauville is a beautiful seaside town located 200km from Paris in the Normandy region. It is a very popular destination for Parisians, so much so that is has often been described as the ‘Parisian Riviera’! You can walk along the beach (les planches), or rent a parasol and deckchair and enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the sun. The town is very pretty with lots of traditional Norman houses. Deauville is a prestigious resort, famous for its casinos, horse racing and polo. There are two racecourses and lots of high end fashion boutiques to explore. Every September, Deauville welcomes lots of famous Hollywood actors for its annual ‘American Film Festival’. If you have time, make sure you visit Trouville as well, a neighbouring town also known for its pretty beaches.
How to get there: train from Gare Saint Lazare to Trouville-Deauville (2h15)
Mont Saint Michel
Mont St Michel is a tiny island commune just off the mainland in the Normandy region on the north west coast. It is one of the most famous and visited landmarks of France and it welcomes over 2.5 million visitors every year. It is a historic place full of medieval buildings and is classed as a UNESCO world heritage site. It is famous for its historic abbey and monastery, but you can also find lots of small cafés and shops to explore on the island. Although it seems like a tourist destination, the island is actually home to around 40 inhabitants. There are lots of places to visit such as museums, churches and of course the abbey at the top. You can also admire the stunning architecture and beautiful views. To access the island from the mainland, there is a shuttle bus or you can walk across the bay (but be careful of the tide!).
How to get there: train from Montparnasse to Rennes, then train from Rennes to Pontorson-Mont Saint Michel (3h30)
Strasbourg is the capital of the Grand Est region and is one of the biggest cities in France. It is a beautiful city which is influenced by both French and German culture. You can take a boat trip along the river, explore the charming little streets and canals and admire the stunning architecture and half timbered houses. Be sure to visit the cathedral and La Petite France, a tiny island in the middle of the river which is classed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Strasbourg is known as the most ‘bike friendly’ city in France, so hiring a bike is a great way to explore the city. Strasbourg is a great place for food lovers, where you can enjoy the best of both worlds, with French and German inspired dishes and wines.
How to get there: train from Gare de l’Est to Strasbourg (1h45)
Located in the Calvados area of Normandy not far from Deauville, Honfleur is a charming old harbour town which is a very popular tourist destination. It’s known for its beautiful port, which has been painted many times by Impressionist painters in the 19th century. Today it is still a popular place for artists, and you can watch them working away at their easels along the harbour, capturing the stunning views that Honfleur has to offer. There are lots of places to see including the church of Saint Catherine (the largest wooden church in France), the bell tower, and lots of museums, galleries and boutiques. There is a great selection of cafés and restaurants along the harbour. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a meal and admire the beautiful views.
How to get there: train from Gare Saint Lazare to Trouville-Deauville, then bus 20 or 50 to Honfleur