Day stopover in Brussels

May 19th, 2002, 04:30 PM
  #1  
Sanjeev
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Day stopover in Brussels

I will be taking a thalys from Cologne to Paris beg June. Is it possible and worthwhile to to take a few hours break in Brussels and see a few sights before continuing to Paris. Also, is it possible to leave luggage at the Brussels station for those few hours ?
 
May 19th, 2002, 08:30 PM
  #2  
elvira
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You can leave your bags at left luggage at the train station. Brussels Gran' Place and the area around (including Mannekin Pis) can be seen in a few hours. It's definitely worth the stop. Indulge in a bucket of mussels and Belgian beer; buy chocolates and lace.
 
May 19th, 2002, 08:40 PM
  #3  
xxx
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Yes, do buy as much chocolate as you can. It's definitely cheaper than in Paris and it's very good also.
 
May 19th, 2002, 09:18 PM
  #4  
Julie
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This might seem like a stupid question - I will be taking the train from Bruge to Paris and also wanted to stop in Brussels for a few hours. Are there lockers at the train station, and would they be big enough to fit a backpack?
I could rough it and carry along the backpack, but I plan to have it filled with chocolates and lace!!!
 
May 19th, 2002, 11:46 PM
  #5  
BTilke
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You will be coming into the Gare du Midi. There are luggage lockers and a staffed luggage storage area available. You will pass them on your right as you come down from the Thalys and just before you reach the main part of the terminal and the round information booth.
Follow the signs to the Metro station(the big M). Buy yourself either a day ticket or a ticket for 5 or 10 trips, depending on how much time you have for sightseeing. Take the metro, direction Simonis, two stops up to Louise. Do a little window shopping along the Ave. Louise up to the Place Stephanie, turn back and then walk up the Blvd. Waterloo toward the Hilton--this is the district with most (not all) of the top stores. If you want to skip that (you're going to Paris after all), still take the metro to Louise. Get off and transfer to the 92, 93, or 94 trams heading toward the big Palais de Justice. Get off two stops later at the Sablon (you could also walk if you choose; go down to the Palais de Justice and turn right, it's about 5-10 minutes depending on walking speed).
Cont'd. below
 
May 20th, 2002, 12:09 AM
  #6  
BTilke
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Stroll down through the Sablon--and take a minute or two in the pretty little park right at the Sablon. Stop at Au Vieux St. Martin for delicious coffee (and a calorie busting cappuccino, Brussels style, which is coffee served with a whole bowl of fresh whipped cream and chocolate shavings). When you come to the end of the main Sablon square, take the largest street to your right (you turn at a cafe with a big Leffe sign). Follow that as it winds down past shops and cafes (best shops are on the lefthand side). It's about 10-15 minutes to walk from the Sablon to the Grand'Place. You can turn in (to the right) at any of the streets below Place St. Jean and follow the crowds to the Grand'Place. The GP area is full of cafes and restaurants and the GP branch of the Chez Leon is probably the best of the mussel restaurant's chain of restaurants (it's not directly on the Place, though). Of the cafes on the Grand'Place itself, our favorite is Au Chaloupe d'Or (the golden boot). It was the Guild Hall for the tailors in the 17th century; burned down in 1695 under attack from the forces of Louis XIV, was rebuilt in 1696. We think it has the most professional service of the GP cafes. If you go inside and up one story, you may be able to snag one of the tables with a great view of the Place. On your way out of the Place, walk down the rue de l'Etuve to see Mannekin Pis. Don't be surprised if you're underwhelmed.
That should use up your time pretty well; to get back to the Midi Station, either take a cab (about $5-10) or walk up to the Gare Central, take the #1 metro line, direction Stokkel OR Hermann/Debroux (it doesn't make any difference for your destination) and get off two stops later at Arts/Loi aka Kunst/Wet (remember most stations will have two names--one French, one Dutch/Flemish). Change to the number one line, direction Clemenceau. It's 6 stops to the Gare du Midi (in total about a 20 minute metro ride).
On your Thalys ride to Paris, if you're sitting on the right hand side, you will pass a few WW I cemeteries (the right hand side view is slightly more interesting). Make sure you are seated before the train pulls out of the station because for the first few minutes, the train really shifts and twists and it's easy to lose your balance.
Have a good visit!
BTilke (Brussels)
BTilke (Brussels)
 
May 20th, 2002, 08:27 AM
  #7  
Julie
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BTilke - Thank you so much for the reply! I copied your message and and keeping it to take with me this summer!
 
May 20th, 2002, 09:46 AM
  #8  
BTilke
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Thanks, Julie. But I made one error in the second part; on your way back, when you change at Arts/Loi (Kunst/Wet), you're changing to the number TWO line, direction Clemenceau, not number 1, as I originally wrote. The line you get on at Gare Centrale is the number 1 line (Brussels only has two main subway lines).
 
May 20th, 2002, 06:38 PM
  #9  
Julie
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BTilke - Thanks again, I didn't think I would be able to find that info before the trip ('little' things like that don't usually make it onto websites!)
So now I know that I'll be able to enjoy myself in Brussels without the dreaded backpack, plus I probably would have given myself a headache trying to piece everything together once I arrived at the train station...

Thank you very much!
Julie
 
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