Is Brussels worth the time/effort?

Old Mar 20th, 2001, 10:16 AM
  #1  
Jacqui
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Is Brussels worth the time/effort?

I will be in Paris in late May and wanted to visit either Brussels or London just for the day. I know this isn't practical, but want to make the most out of my time. I've read and heard that Brussels isn't that great of a European city to visit. Based on your experiences, is this true? <BR>Thanks!
 
Old Mar 20th, 2001, 10:39 AM
  #2  
just
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Despite getting a bad rap, Brussels is a vibrant city, with a stunning square. It has a different feel than Paris, though, but I know people who like Brussels better than London. Having said that, as is true with all large cities, some of Brussels' attractions are not centrally located. You could spend several days there. The food and drink are wonderful, too. Having said all of that, depending on how long you will be in Paris, there is a lot to do in and around that city, w/o the time and expense of traveling to London/Brussels.
 
Old Mar 20th, 2001, 10:50 AM
  #3  
Jim Rosenberg
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Jacqui, you will probably get plenty of folks here telling you that Brussels isn't worth it. I will respectfully disagree in advance. For a one-day trip, you can take the Thalys from Paris to Brussels and it takes less than 1.5 hours one-way. Brussels is plenty interesting enough to fill your day. The problem with London is that it will take you more than 3 hours each way in transit and it's a rather overwhelming place to deal in a short period of time. It will also cost you more money and would be a VERY long day, indeed. By comparison, the key sites in Brussels are fewer and more concentrated. The metro and tram system is easy to use. I'll send you a link to a travel journal I have on Paris (far from a COMPLETE treatment) and you will find an entry on the "Thalys Train to Brussels" with a couple of pics. Happy trails!
 
Old Mar 20th, 2001, 01:09 PM
  #4  
Shanna
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Brussels is a lovely city and the area around the Grote Markt a great place for meandering, lunching, dining, shopping and just generally getting a feel for this pretty little city. The people are extremely nice - which you will appreciate after Paris. I'd do Brussels before London which is so huge one wouldn't know where to start and it would be terribly hectic.
 
Old Mar 20th, 2001, 01:35 PM
  #5  
Al
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The Grote Markt is in Bruges; the Gran' Place is in Brussels. Brussels is worth a day, especially if you catch the red double-decker sightseeing bus that stops in front of the Centrale Station and covers the city and nearby attractions such as the site of the World's Fair of 1958. Given a choice, I would opt for time spent in Bruges (or Brugge, if you wish). Brussels has become an office town; it's worth a day, no more.
 
Old Mar 20th, 2001, 02:39 PM
  #6  
Martha
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I did the day trip on the Thalys fast train the last time I was in Paris. It was a fun day trip. As mentioned previously you can see the highlights easily in a day, plus get a good meal of mussels, and buy plenty of chocolates (Leonidas being my favorite) if you need gifts for peolple back home.
 
Old Mar 21st, 2001, 01:27 AM
  #7  
Btilke
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I live in Brussels and my answer is: it depends. How much time do you have in Paris? Have you been there before? How badly do you want to see Brussels? Would you prefer to visit Brugge (Bruges) instead? <BR>If you've never been to Belgium, I suggest you go to Brugge instead. But DON'T buy a Thalyis high speed ticket all the way to Brugge!! They only run a couple of times a day. Instead, book a Thalys ticket to Brussels, then buy a ticket at the train station for Brugge. The trains run twice an hour and the ride takes 50 minutes. <BR>In Brussels itself, yes, the Grand'Place is wonderful. The Avenue Louise area is pretty too, although the shops are no different from what you'd see in Paris. <BR>The Grote Markt in Brugge is like a smaller version of the Brussels Grand'Place. <BR>It really hinges on how much time you have and how badly you want to see Brussels. <BR>Warning: the area around the Gare du Midi is NOT safe. The train station itself is also a haven for pickpockets. So be advised. <BR>Btilke
 
Old Mar 21st, 2001, 01:59 AM
  #8  
Tracy
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Hey Jacqui - is it worth the time or effort? No. <BR> <BR>Brugge or Antwerpen will be precious vacation time better spent if you're set on Belgium. Otherwise I'd say daytrip within France (the daytrip return to London would be exhausting) - how about the Normandy beaches or Champagne country? That's where the Parisians go . . . <BR> <BR>Good luck planning your trip!
 
Old Mar 21st, 2001, 01:16 PM
  #9  
Shanna
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Actually, Al, my early introduction to Belgium was via Dutch books and maps, so for me the Gran Place will always be Grote Markt. It did cause problems when I finally went - totally lost with the names all in French.
 
Old Mar 21st, 2001, 01:52 PM
  #10  
museumgoer
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Nobody mentions the fabulous museums in Brussels--and the fabulous art nouveau buildings. Those alone would take a couple of days.
 
Old Mar 21st, 2001, 02:24 PM
  #11  
KT
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Regarding the name of that big old square: Brussels (Brussel/Bruxelles) is officially bilingual, although in reality French predominates. So the square is called the Grand'Place AND the Grote Markt on street signs and maps. There plenty ot other Grote Markts, too, in other Flemish cities and in Dutch cities.
 
Old Mar 21st, 2001, 02:32 PM
  #12  
KT
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Correction to my previous post: There plenty of other Grote Markts, too, in many Flemish cities and Dutch cities. Brussels isn't really a Flemish city. Sorry.
 
Old Mar 21st, 2001, 03:07 PM
  #13  
Jim Rosenberg
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Just a note that btilke, who has posted above, was extremely helpful to me when I was seeking information on this subject a couple of months ago. Everything was a breeze with her advice and she REALLY knows the score on this topic. Thanks!
 
Old Mar 21st, 2001, 04:24 PM
  #14  
Phil
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I was in Brussels for two days with my wife and we enjoyed it very much. They have a military museum which is worth seeing. Also, get lost in the city center...there is a square that gets lit up a night which took our breath away (we like old buildings). We stayed at the Hotel "Metropole" and I would recommend staying there if you have the time and if rooms are available!
 
Old Mar 21st, 2001, 06:21 PM
  #15  
Betsy
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When you add on stations waits etc the round trip to London in a day from Paris would total at least 8 hours and possibly more. <BR>I'm not a fan of Brussels and if I had a day to kick around I'd day trip outside of Paris to say the Loire, Rouen,Chartres, Giverny, or perhaps Reims. If you want to go to Belgium the adivce regarding Brugge is one I would second. Brugge is a wonderful place, but would make for a long day.
 

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