Lifestyle Paris

Summer is coming : How to reach the beach from Paris by train for a day or weekend-trip

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In August, Parisians leave the city ‘en masse’ to enjoy their holidays. They spend hours in traffic jams on the famous ‘black Saturdays’ to, finally, reach the coast after a long day. Understandable, of course, as there are no beaches close to Paris. But why wait for August? And why take the car? A lot of beaches are easily accessible by train (TER, Intercité), and there are plenty of options for a day or a weekend-trip to the beach, so no need to wait for the holidays to get your ‘sun-fix’! Here are the best options: some classical ones, but also some options you probably haven’t thought of!

The Classic: Deauville – Trouville

The classical option for most Parisians is to head to Deauville, and that’s why it has been nicknamed ‘the 21rst arrondissement of Paris’. So expect to see quite some Parisians, especially on sunny weekends. But there are good reasons that it is so popular: Deauville has a beautiful, large, sandy beach, and the neighboring village Trouville is also very charming and definitely worth a visit. Perhaps the best part is that it is very easy and quick to get there. The quickest train reaches the Trouville – Deauville station in just over 2 hours (others take a bit more than 2,5 hours) and from there it is 15 minute walk to the beach. No busses, shuttles or taxis needed!

Train times and tickets are available on https://www.sncf-connect.com Train times change regularly, but for a daytrip: Take the direct train from Paris St Lazare to Trouville – Deauville around 8 AM or 10 AM and be back in Paris 12 hours – and a lot of sun and sea – later.

The Closest: Saint Valery sur Somme or Le Crotoy

The closest beach from Paris by train is in Saint Valery or in Le Crotoy. These two beaches are located in the magnificent Bay of the Somme that is well known for its beauty and its rich fauna. Swimming is not always possible due to the extreme tides, but it is an excellent spot to enjoy the long beach, observe large colonies of seagulls and other wildlife, or explore the bay in a kayak or by kitesurfing. The villages of Le Crotoy and Saint Valery sur Somme are also worth discovering.

You can reach this beautiful natural attraction (considered as one of the most beautiful beaches of France) in less than two hours from Paris. A direct train from Paris Gare du Nord takes you to Noyelles sur Mer in 1h45min. Here, you can either rent a bicycle next to the station (30 min ride to Le Crotoy), or take a tourist steam train that takes you around the bay and stops in Saint Valery and Le Crotoy. A perfect daytrip from Paris, not necessarily for swimming, but for the beautiful nature and pleasant beach.

Take the direct train from Paris Gare du Nord to Noyelles-sur-Mer. Train times and tickets are available on https://www.sncf-connect.com.

The Most Elegant: Cabourg

Cabourg is the most classy beach destination that is easily reachable from Paris by train. Although it takes a bit longer than going to Deauville / Trouville, Cabourg has the charm of the Belle Epoque with its Casino and Grand Hôtel (prominently described in Marcel Proust’s In search of lost time), combined with a large, pleasant beach of fine sand, and of course its typical Blue White beach umbrellas.

The train journey takes around 3 hours from Paris St Lazare to Dives Cabourg. You will have to change trains in Trouville – Deauville, but that’s all. From the train station Dives Cabourg, the beach is only a short walk, so no need for a bus once you arrive.  As Cabourg takes slightly longer to reach, consider making it a weekend trip to fully enjoy the beach, sea and the romantic village of Cabourg.

Take the train from Paris St Lazare to Dives – Cabourg (change trains in Trouville – Deauville station). Train times and tickets are available on https://www.sncf-connect.com.

The Most Surprising: The Côte d’Azur

The beaches on the Atlantic coast are nice, but sometimes the sunshine is lacking, the water is too cold, or you are just dreaming of the turquoise beaches of the Côte d’Azur. Fret not! You don’t need a long holiday, just a week-end is sufficient to enjoy the beaches of the Côte d’Azur thanks to the night trains that are back in operation since the end of 2021. You can easily take the night train to Marseille, Cannes or Nice on a Friday night to wake up on Saturday morning to the smell of the Mediterranean. This way, you will manage to be one of the first persons on the beach and you can enjoy it the full week-end. Take the night train back to Paris on Sunday night, and arrive perfectly in time for another working week in Paris.

You have the choice between multiple beaches that are easily reachable by train. You can of course go for the (pebble) beach in Nice or the (sand) beach in Cannes. Train stations of both cities are close to the beaches, approximately a 10-15 min walk. If you feel like something else, consider the stunning Mala beach in Cap d’Ail (take a local train in Nice to Cap d’Ail, the beach is a 10 min walk from the station) or the Plages du Soleil in Golfe-Juan (get off the night train in Cannes, and take a local train to Golfe Juan, the beach is 5 min from the station)

Take the direct night train (intercité de nuit) from Paris Austerlitz to Cannes or Nice. The train currentmy leaves Paris around 8h50pm and reaches Cannes around 8h40am and Nice around 9h10. For Cape d’Ail, change trains in Nice, for Golfe-Juan in Cannes. Exact train times and tickets are available on https://www.sncf-connect.com.

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