Antiquity, countryside and history greet you in Annabel Simms’ book, “Half an Hour from Paris … 10 Secret Daytrips by Train”. First you have to find your way there. Annabel Simms arranges the book like a quality French baguette au levain sandwich: yummy ingredients between the crunchy crusts. This is a book of self-guided walking tours of various lengths.
The RATP (Paris transportation system) has highly upgraded their website. They provide clear information when you find it. Some pages are in English, French and Spanish. Others include German, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Russian, Brazilian. How would a party of five find their way into Paris from the airport?
A day trip to Giverny is easy. The SNCF train from Gare Saint-Lazare takes you to Vernon/Giverny in 45 minutes. Rent a bike across from the train station and take your time pedaling to Giverny. The biggest piece of advice: buy your tickets in advance to Monet’s house. Follow the online ticket links at Foundation Claude Monet. Twenty minutes before departure in the direction of Rouen Rive Droite, the departing platform (voie) is posted. While you wait, enjoy the updated three-level shopping mall at Gare Saint-Lazare. If you want to “powder your nose” the “2theloo” spot is open from 6 am to midnight and is constantly being wiped down and freshened up. Hint on train ticket pricing
The spa town, Enghien-les-Bains, began as the Prince of Condé’s hamlet in 1689. While on a walk near the “pond” in 1766, Abby Louis Cotte happens upon the sulfurous waters. Once the waters are taken to heal an ulcer in the leg of Louis XVIII in 1823, the hamlet becomes a popular destination. The National Assembly declares ts official birth date of 1850. From Gare du Nord, the trip takes less than 15 minutes (seven miles from Paris) to Enghien-les-Bains….