Paris Hotels Articles

July 7, 2010

Day Trips And Excursions From Paris

Paris’ reputation as a superb travel destination is well justified – the city is home to an overwhelming selection of attractions – the iconic Eiffel tower, superb Louvre Gallery, landmark Arc de Triomphe… the list goes on and on. However Paris’ location makes it ideal for exploring some of the beautiful surrounding French countryside and smaller towns and cities. If you have the time – and the freedom of a car from Argus Car Hire – it is well worth venturing away from the city to one of the many wonderful destinations just a short drive away. Here are just a few of the possible tours you can make from Paris in your rental car;

1. Disneyland Paris

Europe’s top tourist destination, Disneyland Paris, is just 32 km (20 miles) outside of the centre of Paris, and can be reached by taking the A4 motorway Metz-Nancy (follow the signs). Featuring two theme parks (Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios), as well as ‘Disney Village’, seven themed hotels and Golf Disneyland, the whole complex is near enough one-fifth of the size of Paris itself.

Disneyland Paris is a perfect family attraction, with much on offer for both children and adults. It is widely praised for being more elaborately and thoughtfully designed than its U.S counterparts, although you should still expect to have to queue for the rides, particularly the popular ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ ride, Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain and the Indiana Jones Temple of Doom. There is a fast-pass system in place for those of you who simply cannot deal with the waiting in line.

Yes, Disneyland is always going to be an expensive trip – but if you have a budget to stick to, there are ways of cutting back on your spending while you are there. Food and refreshments in the park are notoriously overpriced – for low cost eats, it is advisable to bring snacks, drinks and sandwiches in with you, and get away with buying just one meal during the day.

2. The Loire Valley

The stunning Loire Valley is renowned for its opulent chateaux, luscious landscape and divine gastronomy and wine. Just two hours drive from Paris in your rental car will open up a whole new France to you – idyllic, aristocratic and peaceful, as opposed to the high-speed urbanity and dense population of Paris. The Loire Valley is a large area with many sights and attractions, and as such, in preparation for your day trip you may want to decide in advance which area you would most like to visit. Otherwise, an overnight stay may be the best option, should you want to spend a little more time in the area. There are many guesthouses, B&Bs and hotels throughout the region, with everything from luxury boutique hotels to more basic and budget-friendly establishments.

Self-drive with Argus Car Hire gives you the freedom to explore different towns and chateaux throughout the Loire Valley at a pace that suits you. Some of the highlights of the Loire Valley region are the Chateau de Villandry, the Chateau d’Usse, the picturesque town of Saumur and it’s imposing Chateau, and the Troglodyte village of Rochemenier. To save on money, you may want to simply appreciate some of the Chateaux from the outside rather than paying for a full tour. The area lends itself very well to picnicking, which is a low cost but very enjoyable way to eat in France – although eating out in this region is highly recommended, as the quality of the food and wine in this part of France is famous.

3. Reims

Just 135km from Paris is the Champagne City of Reims, one of the major centres of champagne production in France (and the world). There is a wealth of attractions to be visited in Reims, including the magnificent Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral, The Palace of Tau and the Porte de Mars to name but a few. Of course, no visit to Reims would be complete without a guided tour in one of the city’s world-renowned champagne houses. The tours are quite cheap, and for the low cost of admission you generally receive a sample of champagne as well as your guided tour. It is a good idea to book this in advance – particularly if there is a particular brand of champagne you are more interested in. Taittinger, Pommery, Ruinart, and Veuve Cliquot are among the famous champagne houses offering tours to visitors.

Be careful if you aren’t staying in Reims overnight – don’t indulge in too much champagne before your drive back to Paris. The limit here id 0.5mg/ml, so perhaps it is wiser to bring some champagne back to Paris with you if you don’t intend on spending the night.

4. Mon-Saint-Michel

Located 201 miles west of Paris, the drive to Mont-Saint-Michel will take somewhere in the region of 4 hours. It’s quite a trek, however the journey is worth the effort, and the drive through Normandy is quite pleasant. Mont-Saint-Michel is a tidal island, being an island at high tide, but attached to the land by a natural bridge at low tide. The peak of the island is the site of the wonderfully preserved and architecturally spectacular St Michel Abbey, a must-see on the island, and a relatively low cost attraction at €8 for adult admission. OAP and students can pay less to access the abbey, and it is free for children. Special rates and discounts are available for groups and schools.

Staying the night on the island is becoming more and more popular, with many tourists taking the opportunity to embark on a ‘night visit’ and witness the tide rushing in at an unbelievable speed. In general, the island is very tourist-heavy, and as such the prices of food etc are relatively high. Budget travelers, it is advisable to bring your own food and refreshments to avoid spending too much on food while you are there.

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