From Paris -trains with a view...?

Old Mar 6th, 2001, 07:50 PM
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From Paris -trains with a view...?

Thinking of traveling with Husband and 11 yr old son from Paris to somewhere by train. We will have spent 5 days in Paris, and thought a train ride to another country would be fun. Have Sat, and Easter Sunday open, before returning home on Monday. Have hotel set in Paris, but after reading and reviewing maps (first trip), we thought it might be fun...Ideas welcome from all Fodors friends....
Old Mar 6th, 2001, 08:00 PM
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Close by is Tours and the Loire valley. Probably too far for the two days you have is Lausanne, a really lovely location. Wherever you go, better plan ahead for travel on Easter weekend.
Old Mar 6th, 2001, 08:03 PM
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You could overnight in Western Germany via Strassbourg. I suggest it because as you move into Germany or Switzerland it is so clear that you are in another country with the change in architecture and that might be fun for your son.
Old Mar 6th, 2001, 08:26 PM
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I think that Belgium is the clear cut answer.
Old Mar 7th, 2001, 01:06 AM
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The lady asked for trains - with a view?
Your replied emphatically that Belgium is the clear cut answer.
Apart from the Ardennes, which you did'nt specify is there one single train ride in the whole of Belgium with a worthwhile view? Apart from the 90% which consists of totally dreary run down industrial wasteland.
Would the unsuspecting even they know they have left France, unless they travel North of Brussels.
As for Brussels itself, it now seems to exist solely for the convenience of thousands and thousands of Eurocrats, and we all know what thrilling lives they all lead. And as for the buildings they work in - lets not talk about those architectural abominations please.
Please don't take offence Rex, I am genuinely curious. I have noted over the last few months I've been on Fodors that you are constantly suggesting and promoting Belgium, if only to catch a Virgin Express plane to somewhere else, and I've got to say I really cannot understand why.
Please tell me what I'm missing.
Old Mar 7th, 2001, 04:12 AM
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Based on the HEADER - - perhaps you are right - - i DO owe a mea culpa.

But I was responding to this statement in Jana's post.

"We will have spent 5 days in Paris, and thought a train ride to another country would be fun."

And I submit that excursions to Bruges, Ghnet, Leuven or Liege are very worthwhile alternatives to places within France that are not often considered by visitors to Paris. I also like Maastricht, even though it is not Belgium per se. I am generally in agreement with you about Brussels - - about as exciting as Lille - - which is to say - - not very.

I never intend to "promote" Belgium as a gem of Europe out of proportion to its wonders. I just happen to think that many travelers would rather take a 2 hr flight to Rome or Milan than a long, long rain ride there. And it makes the most sense economically, if one adds Belgium as an alternative, second French-speaking destination (and cut Paris a day short). Otherwise, the economics of traveling to Brussels for a cheap flight is less compelling.

And if the desire is to see another country, Belgium fulfills that objective more easily, and with less fatigue than Spain, Andorra, Luxembourg, Monaco, Switzerland, Germany, Italy or England.

Of course, if one considers flying to another country, then a jaunt to Dublin on Ryanair might be an even better choice (for something different).

Best wishes,


Old Mar 7th, 2001, 06:58 AM
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Hi Jana,

I know you specified another country, but I agree with the poster who suggested taking the train to Tours and visiting the castles of the Loire Valley. You can either do this as a day trip from Paris or stay there for a few nights. The castles are amazing and I think you and your husband and son would love them

I also agree with Rex that Belgium is a short train ride from Paris. I have been to Brussels and was not enamored of it, but on this trip I am taking the train from Paris to Bruges which is supposed to be wonderful. I think it takes about 2 hours by train.

Of course the other obvious option is London, which does not take that long to get to from Paris by train via the channel tunnel.
Old Mar 7th, 2001, 08:06 AM
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I love riding on trains, so I would like the following trip for myself (great scenery, lots of variations):

Leave Paris early morning, arrive Geneva late morning, stay overnight; leave Geneva next morning, arrive Avignon via Valence early afternoon; stay overnight; leave Avignon late afternoon and arrive Paris earling evening.

If too much train, then do Paris<>Geneva (3 1/2-4 hour train ride each way), for great scenery and a different country.
Old Mar 7th, 2001, 09:39 AM
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It's not scenic the entire way (since you go underwater), but I always enjoy taking the Chunnel to London, which is about 3 hours each way.

My sister is an artist, and she has painted some lovely landscapes while making this journey. Some of the landscape is industrial, but much of it is pastoral: beautiful green meadows dotted with sheep.

You could also stop in Ashford instead of London, and have a look around Kent (it's also only 2 hours vs. 3).

When we go, my husband and I have sprung for the extra $ and gone 1st class, but it's not really necessary -- the Eurostar trains are lovely. You now get a reduced fare when you book roundtrip, and there are often special fares advertised.

Check out Eurostar's U.S. website: or just go to

Have fun!
Old Mar 7th, 2001, 11:06 AM
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I would definitely go to London for this trip as someone suggested above; secondly, I like the idea of Geneva (but not coming back to Avignon, etc, that would be too much train for me and I don't remember that route as being very scenic). I don't think Belgium is scenic nor very interesting as a whole (Bruges is nice) and would never choose that over London. It isn't that different from NE industrial France, either. I think your son would find London fun (and not find Belgium fun) and very different. I remember once I was studying at L'Institut Catholique in Paris one summer and the teacher asked us all what we had done before coming to Paris or something, and I said that I had been to Belgium but that it was very flat and kind of boring, and the teacher and many other students really laughed a lot--later I found out that the Belgians are sort of the brunt of jokes in France like Polish jokes here. I'm not sure of the traffic differences, but that is a very heavily-traveled tourist weekend.

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