I'm headed to France next week and I will be staying in Paris. I will use only public transport. How do I calculate what destinations are within a 1/2-day travel (go in the morning, stay the day and go back to sleep in Paris).

For example, I would like to go to Chamonix. Is it a 1/2-day travel?

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    What do you want to use as transport? Trains, planes, cars, buses? With an extensive TGV network you can get quite far, for example – user141 Feb 19 '13 at 17:37
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    ...As far as London, Brussels and Amsterdam. – mouviciel Feb 19 '13 at 18:24
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    @Andra he does say public transport, so cars are probably out. – Mark Mayo Feb 19 '13 at 18:51
  • @mouviciel, ok but these are not in France. – Maître Peseur Feb 19 '13 at 19:54
  • @MarcelC. to point out how far he actually can go on a 1day trip – greg121 Feb 21 '13 at 11:36

Here is a list of cities that i think are worth at least one day and where you can go in less than 2 h of train from Paris.

I list the time by car because you can use car-sharing with covoiturage.fr or covoiturage-libre.fr

  • Brussels, its beers, fries, chocolate (train 1 h 20, car 3 h) (Belgium)
  • Chartres, its cathedral (train 1 h, car 1 h)
  • Dijon, its mustard, champagne (train 1 h 40, car 3 h)
  • Lille, its flemish architecture, cheese, beers, fries (train 1 h, car 2 h)
  • Metz (train 1 h 20, car 3 h)
  • Orléans (train 1 h 10, car 1 h 30)
  • Reims, its cathedral (train 40 min, car 1 h 30)
  • Rouen, its cathedral (train 1 h 10, car 1 h 30)
  • Troyes (train 1 h 30, car 1 h 50)

My list is totally subjective, don't hesitate to get information on these cities to make your choice.

(Chamonix is too far away to do in one day.)

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    Don't forget the Chateaux of the Loire - they're well worth a visit and only 1-1.5 hours by train! – Gagravarr Feb 21 '13 at 10:06
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    if you add the TGV you can add (at least) the cities: Lyon (2h), Marseille(3h) (2013 European culture capital, there are a lot of events going on), Strasbourg(2h20), Nantes(2h20), Rennes(2h20), and you can think of Grenoble(3h+), Bordeaux (3h20), Geneve(3h20). With night trains or planes, you can add Nice, Toulouse at least. But train can be pricey, try to get a discount pass if possible (if you're young or old or travel on weekends), and book way ahead. – Vince Feb 21 '13 at 11:04
  • Nancy, Besançon, Amiens .... – Maître Peseur Feb 21 '13 at 11:50
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    Luxembourg, Bruges, Antwerp, ghent .... as cities outsude France seem to count too. – Maître Peseur Feb 21 '13 at 11:51

There is no single resource. It depends on the mode of travel. I suggest you start making a list with the place you are interested in. If you don't know yet, start with a map, pick some places and check.

The high speed trains (TGV) are quite efficient. You can check schedules here. There is also an international version of that site.

For more regional destinations (e.g. Versailles) check the Transilien website.

With the efficient train network, flying is hardly interesting. Nevertheless, it is still wort trying. Just check on Matrix Airfare Search what's available.

There is an intercity bus network in France, but it is not particularly relevant if you want to make a return trip in a single day. If interested, have a look at the list of companies who are serving Paris.

I would not do a return trip from Paris to Chamonix in one day. It takes least 5h30 to go there. An about the same to go back. On the other hand, you can consider taking the night train. It leaves Paris at around 11PM and goes to Saint Gervais. From there you can proceed to Chamonix by regional train. Arrival at 9:50PM. You can leave Chamonix at 7:14 PM to arrive in Paris the following morning a bit after 6AM.

Or travel during the day and simply spend a night in Chamonix, if you can.

  • I went on the TGV website you posted and calculated how much it would cost me. I'm not quite sure I did it right: would I be spending around 100€ in that trip? – JLagana Feb 20 '13 at 20:12
  • Would other methods of traveling be cheaper? – JLagana Feb 20 '13 at 20:12
  • Sorry for the questions, but the website is in French! ^^ – JLagana Feb 20 '13 at 20:13
  • voyages-sncf.com – JLagana Feb 20 '13 at 20:15
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    Click on the flag on the top right and choose your preferred version. E.g. tgv-europe.com/en – Maître Peseur Feb 20 '13 at 20:16

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