Do you have a thing for all things floral? Headed to Paris soon? French gardens are quite literally the stuff of dreams, and these swoon-worthy day trips from Paris with breathtaking gardens are shining examples. From chateaux to small villages, we’ve got you covered with the best day trips from Paris for garden lovers.
One of the best day trips from Paris with breathtaking gardens is the small village of Giverny. Giverny is located in the Normandy region. It is best known as the former residence of renowned artist Claude Monet. If you’re familiar with Monet’s work, you simply must see the gardens that inspired some of his most famous paintings.
On a day trip from Paris to Giverny, undoubtedly the number one attraction is Claude Monet’s residence and surrounding French gardens. Ambling through the perfect combination of wild and manicured gardens, it’s easy to see where Monet found his most inspiring moments. This, for sure, paved the way for his success as one of the world’s best impressionist artists.
Here, you can also visit Monet’s tomb, which is found at the Eglise Saint Radegonde.
Among the other things to do in town include visiting the Museum of Impressionism and seeing other famous artists’ homes. These include Claude Cambour, Florence Ramier, and Christophe Demarez, to name a few.
Surrounding the village, you can also take in the natural beauty of the place in its many walking and hiking trails.
To reach Giverny from Paris takes just under an hour from Gare Saint-Lazare. Vernon is the nearest stop to Giverny. From Vernon, Monet’s house is approximately 5 kilometers. The walk takes around an hour or a short taxi ride.
Guided tours are also available. However, these are generally much more expensive. Although, many times they add an extra town or sight along with Giverny.
For the most Insta-worthy photos, try to arrive early in the morning, before the crowds descend.
Château de Chantilly
Château de Chantilly, along with a number of other French châteaux, is home to sprawling grounds of perfectly manicured gardens. Every bit as breathtaking as Versailles, but without the throngs of tourists is Château de Chantilly. This is the perfect day trip from Paris with some of the most beautiful gardens.
There’s more to see here than blooming flowers. Château de Chantilly offers incredibly unique architecture and interesting tales of its turbulent history. You can also learn about the unique engineering techniques that were needed to create the perfectly landscaped gardens.
Definitely take advantage of the free audio guide in order to get the most out of your experience. Learning about the history and interesting tales of Château de Chantilly allow you to truly appreciate its majesty.
Be sure to check out the Duke of Aumale’s Library and the stable grounds. The stables often hold equestrian performances. On the castle grounds you can usually experience a temporary art exhibit or historic walking tour.
Gare du Nord is where you catch the train toChâteau de Chantilly . The train ride takes a mere 25 minutes followed by an easy 15 minute walk.
Visitors can take advantage of a combi ticket, which includes roundtrip train fare as well as castle admission (including the castle itself, gardens, stables, and any exhibitions currently on display).
Château de Fontainebleau
Château de Fontainebleau is another highly underrated French chateau doable as a day trip from Paris, and with stunningly beautiful gardens.
Fontainebleau was used as a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of Paris to French royalty. Its close proximity to the French capital allowed it to perfectly serve as an escape to the responsibilities that came with being a royal.
Before exploring the remarkable palace gardens, there are a number of things inside Fontainebleau that are also worthy of a visit. There are actually four museums inside! And three chapels! Some of the highlights include the painting gallery and Napoleon museum. If you appreciate the beauty and the splendor of le Louvre, the Fontainebleau museums should be high on your list of things to see.
Exploring the palace gardens is one of the highlights of a visit to Fontainebleau, making it an obvious choice for a day trip from Paris with breathtaking gardens. The gardens boast over 130 hectares (over 320 acres!) of sprawling gardens, as well as a magical forest to discover.
On the garden grounds you can find the carp pond and its pavilion, which makes a brilliant addition to the garden.
Fontainebleau is a quick, 40-minute train ride from Gare de Lyon. The train leaves hourly, so there are plenty of opportunities to get there depending on your schedule. Take the train to Fontainebleau-Avon, followed by a quick bus ride.
Versailles is without-a-doubt the most popular day trip from Paris – and for good reason. This spectacular palace served as home to the Royal family during the reign of Louis XIV. The palace was besieged in the late 1700s, but still maintains its exquisite opulence and splendor.
Travel back in time as early as the fifteenth century as you stroll through the grand halls, the Galerie des Glaces, the renowned Hall of Mirrors, which has almost 400 mirrors on display! You can also visit Marie Antoinette’s actual apartment, which has been adorned in the exact style of the times.
The imposing palace boasts, not only extravagant rooms and ornate furniture, but some of the most picturesque gardens in the entirety of France. In the gardens, you can also see the Grand Canal, which spans over one mile long. In the spring, which is when you should visit for the best floral displays, you can also see the Versailles fountain show, one of the best spring celebrations in the world. Or, simply get lost in the many winding paths and groves of the Versailles gardens.
Getting to Versailles from Paris is a cinch. There are many different starting points, but you will take the RER Line C. Along the way, you can also see a number of other tourist hot spots in Paris, including la Tour Eiffel, Les Invalides, and Notre Dame.
Rennes is an artistic, historical university city located in Brittany. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was on the up-and-coming list for European Capital of Culture – L’Express elected it ‘most liveable city in Paris’ in 2018. Not to mention, Rennes is one of the best day trips from Paris featuring breathtaking gardens.
In addition to visiting for its garden appeal, there are a number of things to do in Rennes. Amble down the winding cobbled streets of the medieval Old Town being one of the best. Despite the fact that a widespread fire destroyed much of Old Rennes in the eighteenth century, there are still a number of beautifully-preserved, historical areas to explore.
Expect to see gorgeous, half-timbered houses, morning markets where locals buy their produce and fresh meats, and of course, Thabor Gardens.
The Thabor Gardens were created in the late nineteenth century, covering over 24 acres. They include a French garden, an English garden, perfectly manicured lawns, a spectacular botanical garden, and even an aviary! Overall, you can expect to see over 3,000 plant species.
There are numerous events held in the gardens, including concerts, art exhibitions, and more. These usually take place in the summer months.
You can reach Rennes on a day trip from Paris in just under two hours, so plan for an early morning!