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Day trips by train from Paris was last updated on the 12th of September 2022 by Lena
Paris is a fantastic destination for a city trip and sightseeing. But did you know that Paris is also a perfect hub to discover most regions of France by taking easy day trips from Paris by train? That’s right, the most beautiful places in France are just a short trip away.
I know this sounds unbelievable. Yet, thanks to the excellent high-speed train TGV, even cities in the south of France, more than 600 km away, require just a short train ride of a couple of hours. Perfect if you are having one or two spare days and are looking for an easy side trip.
Read on to know more about the best train trips from Paris.
No need to rent a car, fiddle through Parisian road traffic, or overdo it with travel planning. Just buy a train ticket and return in the evening. The French railway system is one of the world’s most developed, and it is most of the time quicker, cheaper, more convenient and environment friendlier to cross France by train than by plane.
Before introducing you to the best locations for your day train trips from Paris, a few words on how to take the train in France.
How to take a train from Paris?
When planning to take a train from Paris, you don’t have to worry. It’s very straightforward and no witchcraft. In simple words: Buy your ticket, board the train, and have a good time.
But of course, when traveling in a foreign country, supposedly simple things can cause stress, even anxiety. At least that’s the case for me. Anyway, preparation and knowledge are always a good remedy, so I will share everything you need to know for your day train trips from Paris by train.
Where to buy your Ticket when planning one day trips from Paris by train?
When planning to take a train from Paris, it is best to book your ticket in advance. The simple reason is that the tickets are cheaper the longer the trip is ahead. And consequently, the closer the departure date, the higher the price.
Personally, I use Omio.fr to book my train tickets.
I like them because you can see on a glimpse which departure time has the cheapest tickets available. This makes it easy to compare and find the best option.
Furthermore, the site is very straightforward and user-friendly. It’s in English, and they provide you with mobile tickets. Take a look here.
Buying your tickets online in advance with omio.fr means as well a huge time saver, as you skip the long queues at the train station. Every time I take the train, I am baffled all over again when seeing the queues at the ticket machines and at the ticket counters.
Where is the train station in Paris?
Paris has not less than a whopping 6 train stations, scattered all over town. This sounds complicated, but don’t worry too much about it. All are very well connected. If you scroll down to the best day trips from Paris by train section of this article, I indicated exactly which train station you need to head to.
Ok well, 6 train stations, and they all do make sense because there is a system to it. Each train station serves a different part of France and Europe.
On a side note, they are all rather beautiful architecture-wise, except Montparnasse, the most recent station. All other stations are built between the mid-1800s and early 1900 and maintained their 19th-century flair.
• Gare du Nord
This station is in the 10th arrondissement and is one of the world’s busiest train stations with 220 Mio. yearly visitors. Gare du Nord is connecting not only Paris with the North of France but also with international destinations. It’s here where you catch the Eurostar Train to cross the Channel to London, or the Thalys direction to the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.
• Gare de l’Est
As the name indicates, this train station services primarily regions located east of Paris. It’s just a short walk from Gare du Nord and also in the 10th arrondissement. From here you depart if you’d visit the Champagne region or Strasbourg, but also international destinations like Luxembourg, Austria, and Germany.
• Gare de Lyon
This railway station in the 12th arrondissement serves as your gate to the South. If you are planning day trips out of Paris by train to Lyon or Dijon, you’ll be leaving from here. If you are in for weekend getaways from Paris, for example to the Provence region, the Alps, the Mediterranean Sea, or even Switzerland or Italy – Gare de Lyon is your station.
• Gare d’Austerlitz
You find Gare d’Austerlitz just across the Seine from Gare de Lyon. Once an essential key connection to Bordeaux and southern destinations, today it’s the station if you want to either take a night train or travel to Orleans or the center of France.
• Gare Saint-Lazare
Just a stone’s throw away from the Galeries Lafayette, the Gare Saint-Lazare serves destinations located west of Paris, mainly the Normandy Region. If your day trip from Paris destination is Rouen or Dieppe, this railway station in the 8th arrondissement is for you.
• Gare Montparnasse
This station is nothing like the previously mentioned ones. The Gare Montparnasse is right by the Tour Montparnasse, both from the 1960s, and you can tell. It is by far one of the ugliest buildings in Paris. However, the train station is very conveniently connecting you with the West and Southwest of France, hence Nantes, the Brittany Region, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Lourdes, and even Spain and Portugal.
What are the Best Day Trips by Train from Paris?
Now that we’ve outlined the basics of train travel in France, let’s see where you can spend a splendid time if you are planning to take a day trip from Paris by train.
1h20 train ride from Paris ≡ Departure from Gare du Nord
Located in the Picardy region, the beautiful city of Amiens boasts of thousands of years of history. The top things to do in Amiens include beautiful architecture, top-class museums, and a range of natural attractions.
Perhaps, the most famous site that Amiens is known for is its 13th-century medieval cathedral. Constructed in classic High Gothic style, the Amiens cathedral rivals Paris’s Notre de Dame.
On the outside of the UNESCO-listed church, you will be greeted with an intricate façade, decorated with numerous figures from the bible. As you step inside you will be impressed by its interiors including the wooden work, stained glass windows, and the chapel.
The city has a charming Old Town, a perfect place to take a stroll along the placid canals. The evening is the best time to come here as you can relax and dine in one of the several riverside restaurants, the live music adds to the whole experience.
Nature lovers will rejoice with a trip to Les Hortillonnages. It is fascinating to see how the swamps have been reutilized as floating gardens. Spread over 300 hectares, these gardens are best explored on a boat trip, much like the canals of Amsterdam. Better still, rent a kayak and float on your own. Perfect for one of the hot August or July months.
Thanks, Vidyut from Tryplzer for the suggestion!
3h train ride from Paris ≡ Departure from Gare du Lyon
Looking for an excellent day trip from Paris? There are many fantastic things to do in Avignon, so you may have a hard time squeezing them all into one day. Avignon is a beautiful historic city in southern France, located where the Rhône and the Durance rivers meet.
Avignon is historically important as the home to the papacy in the 14th century. No visit to Avignon is complete without a visit to the Palais des Papes, honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a tour of this Gothic palace with an interactive Histopad and experience the palace at the height of its power and splendor.
Another of Avignon’s iconic attractions is the Pont Saint-Bénézet, also called the Pont D’Avignon. This medieval bridge is home to a tiny chapel to St. Nicholas. Take the free ferry across the Rhône to get a great view of the bridge and Avignon from the north bank of the river.
Pick up a quick lunch at Les Halles d’Avignon, an indoor market where you’ll find everything from bread to produce to prepared foods. Don’t miss the north façade of the market –its unique ‘green wall’ spans over 300 square meters and is a botanic work of art!
Contributed by Lisa Garrett of Waves and Cobblestones
30 m train ride from Paris ≡ Departure from Gare du Nord
If you are keen on visiting one of the most extraordinary castles in France, the Domaine de Chantilly is a wonderful and easy train trip to take from Paris. From the station in Chantilly, it is a 20-minute walk to the castle grounds. It’s perfect if you are searching for gorgeous places near Paris to visit by train.
The Chantilly Castle consists of two parts: the Pétit Château from the 16th century and the Grand Château which was rebuilt in the 19th century by Henri d’Orleans after it was destroyed during the French Revolution.
Henri d’Orleans was one of the biggest art collectors of his time and as he died without an heir, he passed his collection on to the Institute de France, under the condition that his collections remain intact and stay put in Chantilly. And: Open to the public. Hence, the creation of the Musée de Condé within the walls of the Château de Chantilly, where you can marvel at one of the biggest French art collections. It even contains 3 original paintings of Raphael!
But even if you are not an art enthusiast, Chantilly is well worth a visit. The castle has an impressive reading room, interesting hodgepodge artifacts, and of course, a beautifully landscaped garden.
Finally, the (unverified) history says that it’s in Chantilly where the famous French whipped cream comes from, and you can sample it in every restaurant and tea house.
2h train ride from Paris ≡ Departure from Gare Montparnasse
Bordeaux is the capital city of the Aquitaine region in France and the sixth-largest city in France. The whole Bordeaux region is renowned for its prestigious red wines, and wine connoisseurs travel from all over the world to taste and select the best wines to add to their collections.
In Bordeaux, you can find tens of museums and wineries where you can get to know everything about wine and experience wine tastings. One of the best meals you can have is at the La Brasserie Bordelaise where they offer steak with bordelaise sauce.
The Cité de Vin is a wonderful venue and museum and a tribute to the heritage of wine. But traveling to Bordeaux is not just about wine! The Bordeaux Cathedral is a must-see place to see and by climbing the Tour Pey Berland you’ll admire the impressive 360° view of the city.
Stop by the Grosse Cloche and Porte Cailhau and learn all about Bordeaux’s history. Why not get lost exploring markets such as the popular Marché des Capucines, or, if you like antiques and vintage shopping, the Brocante du Dimanche is your place? Finally, stare at the romantic water mirror in front of the Place de la Bourse in the evening.
Thanks Dan, from Urban Abroad
1h40 train ride from Paris ≡ Departure from Gare de Lyon
For lovers of food, wine, and smaller, charming cities, Dijon is definitely the Paris day trip destination for you!
Dijon is the capital of Burgundy, and you can expect several incredible shops and wine bars selling earthy Pinot Noir and crisp Chardonnay, among other varietals grown in the region. Dr. Wine is a great wine bar to check out while you’re there. Aside from that, Dijon is quite the foodie town from its stunning market called Les Halles to, of course, the mustard.
One thing you must do while visiting Dijon is to follow the owl plaques along the Parcours de la Chouette. The 22 owl plaques will lead you to the top sights of Dijon, including the Notre Dame, Ducal’s Palace, Les Halles, and more!
Once you’ve explored the Parcours de la Chouette, be sure to stop by Mulot et Petitjean to discover pain d’epices, a delicious gingerbread! This shop has a museum where you can learn all about how this tasty treat is made and the history of Mulot et Petitjean. Plus, there are free samples at the end!
Lastly, after all of that exploring, be sure to try some incredible (and affordable) Michelin-Guide restaurants like L’Essential and Parapluie.
Dijon is an incredibly beautiful and fun city to visit, and it is easy to see from a day trip from Paris!
Thanks, Kat from France Voyager for the suggestion
45-minute train ride from Paris ≡ Departure at any RER A station
One of the best day trips from Paris by train for any Disney fan is a visit to Disneyland Paris. Just a mere 45-minute train ride from central Paris, Disneyland Paris combines the magic of Disney with the joie de vivre of French life. Disneyland Paris can certainly be done as a day trip.
The best part is accessing Disneyland Paris is easy as the train station is literally right at the entrance of the park.
Disneyland Paris has two theme parks – Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. Disney fans will notice the similarities of Disneyland Park to Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland Park in California. And just like its beloved sister parks, you will find the main street and a castle, as well as several familiar rides and some that are unique to Disneyland Paris.
The Walt Disney Studios Park is unique, with numerous rides, some of which are not at any of the other theme parks. There is also a Disney Village, which is Disneyland Paris’s shopping, dining and entertainment area.
Recommended by Keri of Bon Voyage With Kids
45-minute train ride from Paris ≡ Departure from Gare de Lyon
Fontainebleau is a history-loaded city located a mere 45-minute train ride away from Paris. It’s a popular weekend getaway among the locals due to its proximity, historic value, and natural scenery. A great way to explore the city is to rent a car and enjoy the beautiful fields and forests in the outskirt area.
Fontainebleau was developed around the Château de Fontainebleau. A UNESCO World Heritage Site that houses nothing less but an abundance of magnificent works of art and a beautifully landscaped Italian Renaissance Garden that rivals Château de Versailles.
The palace was served as a residence for many French monarchs, from Louis VII to Napoleon III. It is imperative to take a walk in the Gallery of Francis I, the impressive chapels, and the Turkish boudoir designed especially for Marie Antoinette.
Outside the palace, Fontainebleau has no lack of refreshing greeneries as it is surrounded by a natural forest. Take a hot air balloon ride in Fontainebleau and prepare to gasp gliding through the farmlands. Another way to enjoy the space is simply by bringing a picnic with a glass of champagne for some fresh air.
The Django Reinhardt Festival is held in the city during summer. The music festival is a highly respected jazz music showcase with a long history in the city. It is now expanded to music in a wide range of genres and performances. Soak in the festive vibe at night where visitors could have some good food and wine in a local joint, dance, and see performances on different stages set up in the city’s streets.
Suggested by Knycx Journeying, thanks a lot
50-minute train ride from Paris ≡ Departure at Gare Saint-Lazare
Giverny was the home of impressionist painter Claude Monet and his house and gardens inspired many of his famous paintings, including the iconic water lilies. His former home is open for visitors and makes a perfect day trip from Paris.
The house can be visited on a tour. It does get crowded, and you snake in a line through the rooms, but the house is light and colorful, and you can see many of the real places that you’ve seen in his paintings. His large studio has been turned into a gift shop, where you can stock up on souvenirs.
The highlight, however, is the gardens. There are two main sections, the Clos Normand, which is a beautiful flower garden that changes with the seasons, and a Japanese-inspired water garden. It is the water garden where you can see the water lilies and a small green Japanese bridge that featured heavily in some of Monet’s most famous works of art.
The complex is open from April to October, and buying tickets online in advance is highly recommended, as it’s very popular throughout the seasons. It’s located in the old village of Giverny, and there are several restaurants and shops in the area. La Guinguette de Giverny has a lovely outdoor terrace right on the water’s edge.
Thanks, James Ian from Travel Collecting for the suggestion
1h25m train ride from Paris ≡ Departure at Gare de l’Est
The beautiful city of Metz is the perfect destination for a day trip from Paris. It is located in the northeast of France, near the border with Germany and Luxembourg, and can be easily reached by train.
During a visit, you will have the opportunity to explore the many beautiful sites and attractions in this city: Highlights include the Moselle riverfront, picturesque gardens, a historic old town, and the many delicious French restaurants and fine boutiques.
Metz is located directly on the beautiful Moselle River, a river that is connected by bridges to the island of Saulcy, a charming neighborhood with many 18th century buildings. A visit is especially beautiful in summer, when people stroll along the riverbank, have a picnic, or take a romantic boat trip on the beautiful river.
You should definitely visit the main attraction of Metz, the Metz Cathedral – Saint-Étienne – one of the most beautiful and largest Gothic church buildings in France. Also, worth seeing on a tour of the city center is the Opéra-Théatre de Metz Métropole (Opera House), which is one of the oldest opera houses in Europe. Metz has also its own Centre Pompidou, a museum of modern art.
For a sightseeing break, it is worth visiting Place Saint-Jacques, a pretty place known by locals and tourists for its many nice cafés and restaurants.
Recommended by PlacesofJuma, thank you!
1h45m train ride from Paris ≡ Departure at Gare de l’Est
Nancy is one of those French provincial towns that most people have heard about but that few have visited. Unless you are a fan of Art Nouveau. In this case, you will know that the city is home to the so-called Ecole de Nancy, which spearheaded France’s Art Nouveau movement at the turn of the 20th century.
There is plenty to see that is linked to this art style: the Villa Majorelle, an absolute bijou of a house designed specifically to be an Art Nouveau showcase, or the Musee de l’Ecole de Nancy, also located in the house of a famous Art Nouveau artist. For more in this style, you can visit the basement of the Musee des Beaux-Arts and its Daum collection of stunning glassware.
Sticking with the Art Nouveau theme, have lunch at the Brasserie Excelsior, with its moulded woodwork and stained glass windows, where little has changed in over a century.
But Nancy isn’t only about art. It has the distinction of being home to France’s favourite monument, the Place Stanislas, a marvelous square of great architectural symmetry which happens to be protected by UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
This is the heart of the Lorraine region, so enjoy tasting some of its famous quiches, and top it off with some macarons de Nancy, a specialty people come to taste from all over France.
Thanks for the suggestion, Leyla from Off Beat France
2h train ride from Paris ≡ Departure at Gare Montparnasse
Admittedly, Nantes is one of the often overseen French cities, while, in fact, it is a true hidden gem. The ever-present blend of a strong industrial and naval background and a well-preserved medieval heritage makes Nantes actually one of the most interesting cities in France.
One of the highlights of Nantes is the Château des Ducs de Bretagne, a 14th-century castle with walled ramparts, that serves as well as the Nantes History Museum. It is located in the heart of the Quartier Bouffay, the lovely medieval historical center of Nantes. It’s perfect for a stroll, shopping, or a little break in one of the many restaurants and cafés.
The Quartier Graslin with the Passage Pommeraye is another site in Nantes, that should be on your itinerary. This sophisticated district emerged in the 18th and 19th centuries and is a perfect example of the period’s elegant city planning.
Nr.3 of your Nantes must do list needs to be the “Les Machines de l’île”. This park is truly one of a kind. It’s full of giant machine-operated animal constructions, inspired by Jules Verne and Leonardo da Vinci. Here, you can even ride an over-life-size machine elephant.
1h16m train ride from Paris ≡ Departure at Gare d’Austerlitz
If you are looking for stunning European medieval architecture, art, and laid-back vibes, Orleans is a good day trip destination from Paris. Located right by the broad banks of the river Loire, Orleans is the capital of the Loire region and of course – you guessed it right – the home of the famous Joan of Arc. Jeanne d’Arc is a historic figure that the city did not forget, despite it being almost 600 years since she liberated the Orleans from the English.
Her spirit is everywhere, and it’s impossible to miss it. Hence, you can’t visit Orleans without visiting the house where she lived. Very conveniently, you find the Maison de Jeanne d’Arc in the beautiful old town, another highlight of your day trip to Orleans.
Stroll on cobbled stones through the historic center of Orleans, along with half-timbered Renaissance houses, up to the Cathedral Sainte Croix. The cathedral has Joan of Arc’s footprints all over it. The cathedral celebrates the French national heroine in its beautiful glass windows, that are displaying her life and actions.
Don’t leave Orleans without buying a bottle of the regional specialty: vinegar!
1h train ride from Paris ≡ Departure at Gare de l’Est
A day trip from Paris that is effortless to organize is a getaway to Reims. The city in the east of France is the capital of the Champagne region and the headquarters of the most prestigious Champagne houses. To be exact, only sparkling wines that are made from grapes grown in the region can legally be labeled Champagne. Hence, visiting at least one winery is a must-do in Reims.
But Reims is not only known for Champagne, it’s also one of the most important cities in French history. The beautiful Cathedral of Reims was the coronation place of all French kings and is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
1h20m train ride from Paris ≡ Departure at Gare Saint-Lazare
Rouen, the capital of Normandy is a great city offering a mixture of history, architecture, and culture. With charming medieval houses and impressive Gothic churches, the beauty of Rouen has impressed the greatest artists, including Claude Monet.
To start off your day trip to Rouen, wander the streets of the Old Town. As you stroll along the cobblestones streets of the medieval town, you will be charmed by the colourful half-timbered houses.
Be sure to spend quality time in the Quartier des Antiquaires, the most picturesque street. Located in the heart of the city, it is lined with small antique shops, restaurants with lovely terraces, and cute little alleys. Stop by one of the restaurants to eat a delicious “galette” followed by a crêpe.
In the afternoon, you can follow the footsteps of Joan of Arc by visiting Place du Vieux Marché where she was burned at the stake. It’s also a good place for admiring some architectural masterpieces like the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Saint-Ouen Abbey.
As the city where the “Maiden of Orleans” took her last breath, Rouen does well to pay her homage. There are several museums and attractions in Rouen dedicated to the heroine. Finally, if you want to see Rouen from above, you have to climb the steps of the Gros Horloge. Alternatively, if you don’t mind a little hike, then Sainte-Catherine Hill is the place to go for a unique panoramic view of Rouen.
Thanks for the contribution, Mayi, from Secret Moona
1h45m train ride from Paris ≡ Departure at Gare de l’Est
Strasbourg is a mid-sized city located in France’s Alsace region, not far from the France/Germany border. The city is full of beauty and culture, and the Grande Île is even a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are tons of things to do in Strasbourg when visiting for a day. One of the best things to do is simply roaming around the city, admiring its beauty and architecture. Strasbourg is full of charming half-timbered houses that look like a scene from a fairy tale. La Petite France, one of the city’s historic quarters, is full of narrow, picturesque streets and colorful houses. This area of the city was once home to millers and tanners during the Middle Ages.
One of Strasbourg’s main attractions is the incredible Strasbourg Cathedral. The cathedral is known for its ornate Gothic facade, its 13th-century stained glass windows, and its famous Astronomical Clock. Entrance to the cathedral is free, but you must purchase a separate ticket to see the Astronomical Clock in action.
Strasbourg is known as the “Capital of Christmas” so visiting the city during the holidays makes for a truly magical experience. The city transforms into a Christmas wonderland, with beautiful light displays and some of the best Christmas markets in all of Europe.
Recommended by Sydney from A World in Reach
30m train ride from Paris ≡ Departure at Gare Montparnasse or RER C Stations
Versailles is a must-do day trip by train from Paris, as it is just outside the city and a drop-dead gorgeous palace with so much history surrounding it. Versailles is very high on the list of things Paris is famous for. A visit to Versailles must start with a self-guided tour of the palace, which is absolutely jaw-dropping in its opulence and size.
Versailles was the project of King Louis XIV, who called himself the Sun King and wanted to consolidate power in the crown. Versailles was his way of showing everyone how important, grand, and even God-ordained he was.
You’ll see gold leafing, heavy fabrics, fancy architecture, beautiful chandeliers, grand staircases, and of course, the famous Hall of Mirrors. After you conclude the palace tour, you have the opportunity to explore the expansive gardens and park.
You can also hop over to the Grand Trianon, Petit Trianon, and Queen’s Hamlet, which are smaller residences on the grounds built for the king and queen to “escape” from the court and have a little more privacy.
Plan for 1.5 to 2 hours for the palace tour, and a minimum of 2 hours for the grounds, but 4 hours is really better. You’ll definitely want to buy a timed entry ticket to avoid standing in long lines at the palace entrance.
Thank you, Stephanie from The Unknown Enthusiast, for the recommendation
2h train ride from Paris ≡ Departure at Gare du Nord
Beautiful Antwerp, the city known as the fashion capital of Belgium and the diamond capital of Europe. While the city might seem small in size, it packs a punch on both the culinary and cultural scene.
Coming from Paris, your first stop will be the incredible Central Station, credited as one of the prettiest stations in all of Europe. Inside, you will find some of the city’s best diamond shops, as well as an outstanding marble staircase leading up to the train tracks.
Lovers of museums will want to check out the Rubens House, Red Star Line Museum, Plantin Moretus Museum and het MAS. The latter has some of the best sunset views over the city, to be enjoyed from the viewing platform on the top floor. Shop until you drop on the Meir, the Nationalestraat and the Kammestraat or go antique hunting in the Kloosterstraat.
Grab een bolleke (the iconic beer from the Antwerp-based brewery De Konick) on the Grote Markt (main square) while watching the fashionably dressed locals pass by, surrounded by 16th-century gabled houses.
In an ideal world, you spend a full weekend in Antwerp. This allows you to head out towards Antwerpen Berchem and explore the magnificent belle-epoque villas dotted around the Cogels Osylei, followed by a walk around the very hip Zurenborg area (which contains some of the city’s coolest bars & restaurants).
Contributed by Caroline from Veggie Wayfarer, thank you!
2h40 train ride from Paris ≡ Departure at Gare de l’Est
Luxembourg is one of the well-preserved, less-visited, and often overlooked destinations in Europe. It is only two hours of a train journey from Paris and is the right destination if you are looking for a one-day trip.
Luxembourg city is a mix of vintage surroundings, old museums, beautiful streets, and breathtaking views. This city is nice to visit because it attracts fewer visitors than Paris and is calmer. It is perfect for a soothing vacation when you want to get away from the city rush.
Luxembourg has a lot to offer when it comes to things to do. On your visit, make your way to Chemin de la Corniche to witness the marvelous views of bastions. Take the hiking trail to Mullerthal, which is also known as Little Switzerland of Luxembourg. It is surrounded by green forests, beautiful trails, and refreshing streams.
Do not miss the 100-year-old steam train at Fond de Gras and explore the wineries of Moselle Valley. You also should try the Gallic-inspired cuisine at Au Vieux Moulin.
Make sure to bring comfortable shoes as you will be walking a lot.
Where to stay in Luxembourg you ask? Consider Park Inn by Radisson in Luxembourg city and book in advance.
Thanks, Paulina from Paulina on the Road
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