Chateaux day trips from Paris: Fontainebleau, Malmaison & Vaux-le-Vicomte
If the chateaux of the Loire Valley are not enough, or maybe too far for you, you can still get your chateaux to fix at Fontainebleau, Malmaison or Vaux-le-Vicomte.
Fontainebleau is accessible by public transport (train, then a connecting bus to the chateau), which takes around an hour in total. The chateau is closed on Tuesdays and is very busy every Sunday. If you have a Paris Pass or Museum Pass you can use it for Fontainebleau
Vaux-le-Vicomte is not reachable by public transport but if you are heading south from Paris with a car, it is around 50minutes drive. Well known for its candlelit dinners and other spectacles, it is much easier visited by tour if you don’t have a car.
Fontainebleau and Vaux-le-Vicomte can be booked as either combined or individual tours. It is possible to also book the popular Vaux-le-Vicomte dinner as a guided tour
Malmaison, previously home to Napoleon and Josephine, also easily reachable from central Paris. Take the RER or Metro train to La Defense, then the number 258 bus to St Germain-en-Laye, getting off around 25minutes later at the chateau de Malmaison stop. Cross the road and turn left down Avenue de la Malmaison. It’s a 10minute walk to the chateau. I was not able to find any tours that visited Malmaison, so public transport is the way to go here.
Shopping at Marne La Vallée
If the shops in Paris aren’t enough for you, or you love a bargain, then a shopping trip to Marne La Vallée is probably on your list of things to do in Paris in one day. Marne La Vallée is an outlet shopping center selling a range of French and overseas designer brands. In addition to reduced prices, they also offer a VAT refund service, taking a further 12% of the price of your goodies.
Marne La Vallée is easily reached by the RER A train. Just as for Disneyland you need to check you get on the right train as the line divides just outside Paris – you alight at Marne-La-Vallée-Chessy the same as Disneyland. Turn right out of the station and head through the Val d’Europe shopping mall until you reach the outlet center.
If all of that sounds too hard, you can also book the shuttle bus which runs between central Paris and the center.
If World War One history is your thing, rather than the D-day beaches in Normandy, you will want to head to northern France and the Somme. Because most of the places you will want to visit are small towns or in the countryside, you either need a car or to take a tour.
To visit the Somme battlefields by car take the train to Lille or Amiens and then pick up a car.