If you are in Paris for at least a week, you will be able to see the sights at a more leisurely pace and you will have time to get out of Paris to see some other great places in France. If you are adventurous and don’t want to spend money on a tour which takes you by bus from Paris to any of the places listed below, then hop on the Metro or SNCF train and do it yourself. Here are just a couple:
1. Chateau de Versailles
At the Metro, buy a “Paris to Versailles Rive Gauche” ticket as it covers zones 1-4. You will be taking the RER C with the destination Versailles Rive Gauche. The Palace of Versailles is only a 5 minute walk away from the station. The entire trip will take about 1 hour. This website is helpful: http://parisbytrain.com/paris-to-chateau-versailles-by-train/
-Order your tickets to tour the palace online, ahead of time.
-Be prepared for CROWDS, particularly in the summer
-The grounds are free to walk about. It’s the palace that requires a ticket.
-If you have time, consider renting a bike and riding around the grounds which are spectacular. The bike rental place is just inside entrance to the grounds.
-There is more than just the chateaux. Be sure to check out the Grand Trianon, Petit Trianon, and Marie Antoinette’s hamlet. More details are in the post, “Marie Antoinette’s Petit Trianon and Hamlet“.
2. Chateau de Fontainebleau
From the Gare de Lyon (main line), take the train for either Montargis Sens, Montereau or Laroche-Migennes, descending at Fontainebleau-Avon station, then take the ‘Ligne 1’ bus destined for Les Lilas, descending at the ‘Château’ stop.
Located 96 km southwest of Paris, this city is well known for its famous cathedral and stained glass windows.
4. Chateau de Chantilly
James Bond movie was filmed here
5. Chateau Vaux-Le-Vicomte
This magnificent estate was envisioned by Nicholas Fouquet, Superintendent of Finances under King Louis XIV in the 17th Century. The chateau and gardens were created by Le Notre and Le Vau.
Monet’s house and gardens
-home of Napoleon’s wife, Empress Josephine de Beauharnais