Escaping The Olympic Crowds: 6 Of The Best Day Trips Out Of Paris For Families

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As the world prepares to converge on Paris for the 2024 Summer Olympics, the city will undoubtedly be buzzing with excitement and activity (as well as a fair bit of grumbling, it has to be said). 

While the energy of the Games is infectious, sometimes a break from the crowds is just what the doctor ordered. Luckily, Paris is surrounded by a wealth of family-friendly destinations perfect for a day trip. Here are 6 of the best escapes from the Olympic hustle and bustle.

Château de Versailles

A visit to the Château de Versailles is a must for any family. Located about 20 kilometres southwest of Paris, this opulent palace and its expansive gardens provide a fascinating glimpse into France’s royal history. The kids will be especially enchanted by the grandeur of the Hall of Mirrors and the beauty of the meticulously manicured gardens. Hey, let’s face it; adults will be too.

The estate also offers a variety of family-friendly activities, including boat rentals on The Grand Canal and the enchanting musical fountain shows.

Getting There

  • By Car: Approximately 45 minutes via the A13 motorway.
  • By Public Transport: RER C train from central Paris to Versailles Château Rive Gauche station.

Opening Hours

  • The palace is open from 9:00 AM to 6:30 PM (closed on Mondays). The gardens are open daily from 8:00 AM to 8:30 PM.

Entry Fee

  • Palace tickets start at €18, with multiple different variants available. Entry is free for children under 18. Garden access is free, but special events like the musical fountain shows may have additional fees.

Parc Astérix

Just 35 kilometres north of Paris, Parc Astérix is a fantastic theme park inspired by the beloved French comic series. This park offers a delightful mix of thrilling rides, entertaining shows, and themed areas that bring the world of Astérix and Obélix to life. From the adrenaline-pumping roller coasters to the gentle rides for younger children, there’s something for everyone. 

A popular French amusement park for 35 years, Parc Astérix was awarded the ‘Best Large Park Of The Year’ last year at the prestigious Park World Excellence Awards.

Getting There

  • By Car: Approximately 35 minutes via the A1 motorway.
  • By Public Transport: Shuttle buses are available from Charles de Gaulle Airport. Tickets for the shuttle bus can be bought with park tickets for an additional €11.
  • By bus: BlaBlaCar, Flixbus and Transdev Shuttle serve Parc Astérix from Paris

Opening Hours

  • Open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, with extended hours until 10:00 PM, from July 13th to august 31st

Entry Fee

  • Adult tickets start at €51, children (3-11 years) at €43. Discounts are available for online bookings.

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Giverny & Monet’s Garden

For a more tranquil escape, head to Giverny, the charming village where Claude Monet lived and painted his famous water lilies. Located about 75 kilometres northwest of Paris, Giverny offers a peaceful retreat with its picturesque gardens and the artist’s beautifully preserved home. Children will enjoy exploring the vibrant flower gardens and the iconic Japanese bridge. The nearby Museum of Impressionism also offers family-friendly exhibits and activities.

Getting There

  • By Car: Approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes via the A13 motorway.
  • By Public Transport: Train from Gare Saint-Lazare to Vernon, then a short bus or taxi ride to Giverny.

Opening Hours

  • Generally open from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM, from April to November. Check the official website for specific dates and times.

Entry Fee

  • Adult tickets start at €11, children (7-18 years) at €11. Free entry for children under 7.

Fontainebleau Forest & Château

About 55 kilometres southeast of Paris lies the stunning Fontainebleau Forest and its magnificent château. The forest is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering numerous hiking and cycling trails, as well as opportunities for rock climbing. The Château de Fontainebleau, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is equally impressive, with its rich history and beautiful architecture. Families can explore the grand rooms, the exquisite gardens, and even take a boat ride on the château’s lake.

Getting There

  • By Car: Approximately 1 hour via the A6 motorway.
  • By Public Transport: Train from Gare de Lyon to Fontainebleau-Avon station, then a short bus or taxi ride.

Opening Hours

  • The château is open from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM (closed on Tuesdays). The gardens are open daily from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Entry Fee

  • Adult tickets for the château start at €14, with free entry for children under 18.

Auvers-sur-Oise

Art-loving families will appreciate a trip to Auvers-sur-Oise, a picturesque village about 30 kilometres northwest of Paris. This charming town is famous for its connection to Vincent van Gogh, who spent the last months of his life here. Visitors can follow in the artist’s footsteps, visiting the places he painted and the house where he lived. The village also offers a variety of family-friendly activities, including boat rides on the Oise River and scenic walks through the countryside.

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Getting There

  • By Car: Approximately 45 minutes via the A15 motorway.
  • By Public Transport: Train from Gare du Nord to Auvers-sur-Oise station.

Opening Hours

  • Most attractions in the village are open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Check specific sites for exact times.

Entry Fee

  • Entry fees vary by attraction. The Maison de Van Gogh charges around €6 for adults and €4 for children.

Château de Chantilly

Located approximately 50 kilometres north of Paris, the Château de Chantilly is a splendid destination for a family day out. This stunning château is surrounded by beautiful gardens and a large park, perfect for picnics and leisurely strolls. The château itself houses an impressive collection of art and historical artefacts, and the on-site Living Horse Museum is a hit with children. Don’t forget to try the famous Chantilly cream, a delicious whipped cream with vanilla that originated here and is just so good with fresh fruit.

Getting There

  • By Car: Approximately 50 minutes via the A1 motorway.
  • By Public Transport: Train from Gare du Nord to Chantilly-Gouvieux station, then a short bus or taxi ride.

Opening Hours

  • The château is open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM every day except Tuesday, when it’s closed. The gardens are open daily from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

Entry Fee

  • Combined tickets for the château, gardens, and horse museum start at €17 for adults and €10 for children (4-17 years). Free entry for children under 4.

The Bottom Line

While the Olympics bring an unparalleled excitement to Paris, these day trips offer a perfect respite from the crowds. Whether you’re seeking thrills, history, art, or nature, there’s something for every family just a short journey from the city. 

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