Bruge and Normandy (WWII sites)

Old Apr 4th, 2015, 05:32 AM
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Bruge and Normandy (WWII sites)

My husband and I are planning a 7-day or 10-day trip. I've always wanted to see Bruge, and I'd be happy using Bruge as a base. My husband has always wanted to see WWII sites in normandy. What is the best way to manage this? Any suggestions on which city to fly into / and depart from? We tend to prefer trips that based in one city, with time to relax in a cafe or linger over a meal. We enjoy seeing museums, art, history, but we also like taking time out to relax.
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Old Apr 4th, 2015, 05:55 AM
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Hello Minerve

Not a good plan to base yourself in Brugge to go to Normandy, sites are 500 kms apart, with a car, along the coast mostly (some nice views).
Stay one night (2?) in Brugge than head for Normandy and stay 1-2 nights there.
From Brugge to Normandy, I would suppose going to Lille then Paris then ... would be the best solution.
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Old Apr 4th, 2015, 06:36 AM
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Suggest flying to Paris as a start.
Bruges will not work for Normandy.
Perhaps rent a car at CDG and drive to Bayeux for your Normandy portion of the trip, spending 3-4 days.
Bruges is the "other entire way".
Do you want to spend some time in Paris at all.
It can almost be a day (or overnite) trip from Paris.
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Old Apr 4th, 2015, 06:56 AM
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Brussels will work fine for Brugges and Normandy.

Mark
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Old Apr 4th, 2015, 07:27 AM
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Two bases is clearly the most practical option, Brussels to Omaha Beach would be quite a haul, like commuting from DC to visit NYC.
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Old Apr 4th, 2015, 07:36 AM
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Brussels to Omaha Beach is about 500 kms.
That is not haul, it is a half day drive on modern highways.

Mark
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Old Apr 4th, 2015, 08:54 AM
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Bruges is incredibly beautiful. Kill two birds with one stone.....Base in Bruges and explore numerous WWI and WWII sites within easy day trips:

1) Ypres, Belgium (45 min drive) Great town with a lot of WWI historic sites (Flanders Fields War Museum, battlefield locations, WWI military cemeteries.

2) Dunkirk, France (50 min drive)...Dunkirk War Museum.

3) Waregem, Belgium (50 min drive)....Flanders Field American Cemetery.

4) Waterloo Battlefield, Belgium (80 min drive)...Site of Napoleons' last battle.

Bastogne, France (2.5hr drive) Battle of the Bulge sites/museums/monuments/cemeteries.

5) Arnhem, Oosterbeek, NL (2.5 hrs drive) Operation Marketgarden ("A Bridge Too Far") sites and museums.

6) Calais, France (75 min drive)....Second World War Museum (within a German built bunker)

7) Oostend, Belgium, (25 min drive).....Fort Napoleon (used by the Germans in WWI, now a museum, and the Atlantic Wall Museum, great museum with WWII bunkers, defense fortifications.

Enjoy Bruges and see a wealth of military historic sites by day.

Mike
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Old Apr 4th, 2015, 12:16 PM
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Very good Mike.
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Old Apr 4th, 2015, 12:33 PM
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http://www.rome2rio.com/s/Bruges/Omaha-Beach
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Old Apr 4th, 2015, 12:46 PM
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http://www.rome2rio.com/s/Bruges/Bayeux

This one is driving
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Old Apr 4th, 2015, 12:48 PM
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Sorry, It did not work. Just hit the car option and it will give you the car route.
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Old Apr 5th, 2015, 07:15 AM
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Love the itinerary, Mike. Great suggestions.

One comment... I guess I was not clear. Although I like having a base city, it's not an imperative. Seeing the WWII sites around Bruge would definately satisfy the history bug in me.

But if my husband insists on normandy, could we fligh into Brussels, spent 2-3 days in (or around Bruge), then drive through Normady (spending 3-4 days doing this) and fly home from Paris?

I heard that trains in Belgium are great. I also heard that you definately need a car for Normandy.
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Old Apr 5th, 2015, 07:54 AM
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If you pick up a car in Belgium and drop it off in France, you'll pay a stiff surcharge. Ditto for vice versa. Maybe two rentals is the answer with a train in between.
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Old Apr 5th, 2015, 07:56 AM
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I usually just read and gather information from the Fodor's forums but I've decided I should give it a go and add my "two cents". In 2012 I planned a trip for my family (myself, husband and our 2 twenty something daughters). The three of them are history buffs, I am not! We flew into Paris, spent 3 nights. On the 4th day we took the train to Rouen and wandered awhile, had lunch and then picked up our rental car at the train station (they held our luggage for us while we wandered). We based in Bayeux for 3 nights (Hotel Villa Lara) and used the car to visit the historical sites. On the fourth day we drove up the coast to Brugges to drop the car and used Brugges (Grand Hotel Casselbergh)as a base, travelling by train easily to Ghent, Oostende. We travelled from there to Amsterdam, via Brussels and flew home from Amsterdam. When driving from Bayeux to Brugges we encountered many " bouchons" which added a lot of time to our travels that day (In July). We eventually left the main highway and used smaller roads that ran parallel to the highway to try to avoid some of the traffic. It was a long day and we made it just in time to drop the car before the rental car agency closed. Some of our funniest memories are from that detour (stopping at a small bar near the Belgian border to use the washroom and have an espresso and chatting with the locals who were clearly not accustomed to visitors from afar! They gave us directions to a great view across the channel to England, which contributed to our long day!)
I think I've given more than "two cents" for a first contribution. I'll stop rambling and hope that something I wrote was useful for your planning!
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Old Apr 5th, 2015, 08:19 AM
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I would do Belgian, train it to Caen, easier to pick up car there and do the Normandy sights by car. Drop off car in Caen. Train to Paris and fly out from there. We loved Bayeux as a base. I did the Rome2rio trio planner so you could see options. Not a bad trip at all.
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Old Apr 5th, 2015, 03:33 PM
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For a first time 2 cents--KUDOS!! You actually did what the OP wants to do!! Good job.
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