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Drive or take the train from Paris-Brugge-Amsterdam?

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Drive or take the train from Paris-Brugge-Amsterdam?

Old Jan 29th, 2001, 11:13 AM
  #1  
Kristi
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Drive or take the train from Paris-Brugge-Amsterdam?

My husband and I will arrive in Paris in early Sept. When we depart for Brugge and Amsterdam, should we rent a car, or take the train? If we rent a car, any suggestions on which company? Any recommendations on which route to take? Thanks! Kristi
 
Old Jan 29th, 2001, 11:30 AM
  #2  
Thyra
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Kristi, for Paris Brugge Amsterdam route, I would definately take the train. They are easy to use, and will save you loads of stress! It is very challenging to drive in Paris, and I think you'll find that parking in Brugge, Paris and Amsterdam is difficult at best. (all three cities with fine public transportation, gas also Extremely expensive in Europe ($2.00 per LITRE or more if I recall correctly) If you are really interested in seeing some small outlying countryside, I always recommend you train it between cities, then rent a car for a day outside of say, Amsterdam to explore the countryside. Trains IMO are the best way to go. If you check out
http://www.raileurope.com
You can get a great deal of information on schedules and costs, however it is better to buy your tickets at the trainstations in Europe to avoid paying surcharges, unless cost doesn't matter and you would like having them in your hands in advance.
 
Old Jan 29th, 2001, 01:34 PM
  #3  
Patrick
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As much as I often encourage people to rent a car in Europe, if your plans are mainly for those three cities without a lot of stops and/or overnights between, then there is no question. Take the train! It will be far easier, and even quicker in this case.
 
Old Jan 29th, 2001, 04:51 PM
  #4  
George
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Just another vote for the train. This route is so congested you wouldn't enjoy it in a car. It would be like driving from NYC to DC.
 
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 04:53 AM
  #5  
Eddie
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Well a voice of dissent here. I would vote for the car. We arrived in Paris mid-morning on a Sunday, picked up our car, drove to Brugge with stop at Chantilly on way, and did not find it congested at all. It was a very nice drive and we enjoyed having the car for the freedom to explore the country side etc. Parking is not a big problem in Brugge since there are many large lots and some of the hotels provide parking (as ours did). I do not object to the train, it all depends on if you would like to roam around the countryside and explore the small villages etc.
 
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 05:24 AM
  #6  
Rex
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A borderline voice of dissent.

You might rent a car IF:

you are driving back to France to turn it in,

or

train to Brussels, and spend three days (or more) there, including a day trip (or more) into Holland (not necessarily Amsterdam - - parking is difficult in the most central parts, and there are plenty of other interesting Dutch destinations). One day car rentals, or picking up in one country and returning another add greatly to your cost, and the train will indeed do this route very nicely.

One of the principal ideas of having a car is getting to places NOT served so well by public transportation; lower lodging expenses in such less well-visited places often can (nearly) wipe out the cost of car rental.

Try www.travelocity.com and www.autoeurope.com for some good car rental quotes. Reserve here, but not in any arrangememnt you can't back out of, penalty-free. Rarely, there are last-minute, at the counter deals.

Use www.euroshell.com or www.mappy.com for help mapping out routes.

Best wishes,

Rex
 
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 07:57 AM
  #7  
wes fowler
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Kristi,
I wouldn't recommend driving from Paris to Brugge. The drive is hardly scenic and the highway jammed with commercial traffic (you'll be particularly frustrated as you sit in a traffic jam and catch sight of a high speed Thalys train zooming by just to the left of the highway).

For a truly fascinating and unique experience, I would recommend renting a car in Belgium and driving to Amsterdam. Here's why:

In the early 1950’s a massive disaster struck Zeeland. Dikes were breached on over 60 locations as a result of a monstrous North Sea Storm (think of the movie “The Perfect Storm”). Agricultural crops were destroyed by deposits of silt and sand, nearly 50,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, hundreds and hundreds were drowned. Within seven years the dikes had been rebuilt. Recognizing the dikes’ fragility, the Dutch undertook the Delta Plan, one of the true engineering marvels of the 20th century. In less than twenty years, starting in 1957, all but two of the inlets to the river delta were dammed and an enormous storm-surge barrier constructed. This monster consists of two man made islands and over 60 immense concrete piers between which huge steel gates are suspended, to be dropped when tides and storms threaten the Zeeland farmlands. The Delta Expo exhibit on Neeltje, one of the artificial islands, is situated in one of the barriers and gives fascinating insight into this engineering feat. After experiencing it, you’ll agree with the saying “God made the world, but the Dutch made the Netherlands.” As you travel N57 (and that is the route to take from Vlissingen) through Middelburg to Schouwen island, you’ll find Delta Expo just about in the center of the Oosterscheldedam. Recognize, as you drive through Walcheren, Nord Beveland, Schouwen, Goeree and Voorne, that you are well below sea level for the entire trip.

The distance from Brugge to Breskens, the Netherlands, is only about 30km. In Breskens you can take the ferry to Vlissingen and pick up Rte N57,drive the Delta plan to Rte 15 just before Vlaardlingen. Take Rte 15 east to Alblasserdam and Kinderdijk. There, at Kinderdijk you’ll find 19 windmills that once drained the Alblasserwaard. The windmills, of various types dating to the early 1700s , line either side of a canal and offer a stunning view. One is open to the public to show a miller’s home. It’s interesting to compare the 18th century means of controlling flood waters with the 20th century’s Delta Plan. This itinerary, not easily traversed by train, offers a fascinating introduction to the Netherlanders ongoing efforts to hold back the sea.


 
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 06:47 PM
  #8  
Kristi
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Thanks for all the terrific input, and especially Wes Fowler's geological tour of the Netherlands! I'm thinking of compromising -- taking the train from Paris to Brugges, then driving from Brugges to Amsterdam and parking the car at the train station. Maybe have a 3-4 day car rental between Brugges and Amsterdam. Any other fabulous suggestions are welcome!
 

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