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Itinerary - Paris, Luxembourg, Disney, Brussels/Bruges

Itinerary - Paris, Luxembourg, Disney, Brussels/Bruges

Nov 7th, 2010, 01:01 PM
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Itinerary - Paris, Luxembourg, Disney, Brussels/Bruges

Hi, I'm currently trying to plan a trip from Paris -> Luxembourg -> Paris Disneyland -> Brussels and I'm wondering how realistic this itinerary is.... I've been to Paris before but am going with someone who's never been so we'll need time to go to all the main landmarks. I'm trying to skip Versailles though since it's going to be cold and dreary!

Dec 25-30: Paris
Dec 30-31: Luxembourg
Dec 31-Jan 1: Paris Disneyland (my friend is insisting!)
Jan 1-5: Brussels & Bruges (any tips on where to go in this time span?)

Is it better to make Luxembourg a day trip from Paris? I'm trying not to travel on Dec 29 since it is my birthday... I sort of wanted to make it:

Dec 25-28: Paris
Dec 28-30: Luxembourg
Dec 30: overnight somewhere between Luxembourg & Disney -- maybe even Paris again?
Dec 31-Jan 1: Paris Disneyland
Jan 1-5: Brussels & Bruges

Which itinerary looks better to you? I am personally leaning toward #2 just because I would like to have a nice calm birthday in a place I've never been, but then the Paris time gets very short.

--Any recommendations for the Dec 30 overnight?
--Any general tips on where to go and what to do with our time in Belgium?

I'd really appreciate any input as this is going to be only my second time in France and my first time everywhere else, so I'm pretty excited!
Niomi is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 01:09 PM
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I would think that it would make more sense to go Paris--Disneyland--Luxembourg--Brussels than the itinerary you give, although maybe transportation is more efficient your way than the geography would suggest. But why Luxembourg? Strasbourg might be a better idea.
Michael is online now  
Nov 7th, 2010, 01:16 PM
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It looks like you are arranging this to be at DL on new year's eve.

I personally would do Paris from Dec 25-Jan 1 and do DL as either a daytrip during that time -- or go to DL on the 31 and back to Paris late that night.

Then on Jan 1 I'd head to Belgium w/ or w/o a stop in Luxembourg.

To-ing and fro-ing Paris > Belgium > DL Paris doesn't make much sense IMO.
janisj is online now  
Nov 7th, 2010, 01:44 PM
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Hey, my birthday is the day after yours! I understand you want to spend yours in a new place. Having spent it once in Paris (where I was living) and once in Switzerland (my first visit), I'd say you can do worse than Paris for your special day even if you've been there before. But it's all good no matter where you go!

I agree with the others that there's not a lot of geographical logic to your current itineraries. If you don't want to be in Paris for your birthday, what about leaving immediately for Belgium/Luxembourg? (Have you purchased plane tickets already and are they round trip to/from Paris? Or is your departure from Belgium?)

If you have the flexibility, you could fly into Brussels and out of Paris. Or with a Paris round trip: arrive Paris and spend one night. Train to Brussels next day. Then it could be:
Dec 25 = Paris (get acclimated/re-acclimated to Europe, recover from jet lag etc)
Dec 26-29 = Brussels/Bruge
Dec 30-31 = Luxembourg
Dec 31-Jan 1 = Paris Disneyland
Jan 1-5 = Paris
ggreen is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 03:36 PM
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thanks everyone!
Oh and I am actually flying into Paris and out of Brussels so I need to start in Paris and end up in Brussels.

I saw that it was only 1.5 hrs by train to go from Paris Disneyland direct to Brussels so I was thinking that that part of the trip is OK.

And since my friend wants to spend the night at Disney we have to do at least the 31st & 1st at Disneyland. So then the fixed points of location become:

Dec 25: arrive in Paris
Dec 25-31 split somehow between Paris, Luxembourg and/or Strasbourg
Dec 31-Jan 1: Disneyland
Jan 1-5: Brussels/Bruges

So then the question becomes: should I just stay in Paris Dec 25-31 & do day trips to the other places? or is it worth it to spend a night somewhere else?

is there a way to avoid going back to Paris when we go to Disneyland or do we always have to connect through there?

Dec 25-28

do you think it might be doable to do something like this ->

Dec 25
Niomi is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 03:57 PM
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Sorry, disregard the last few lines starting at "dec 25-28" in my last post !
Niomi is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 03:59 PM
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Do you have a special fascination w/ Luxembourg (or Strasbourg)? Paris has a hundred times more things to see/do than either city even for a return visitor. Since your friend hasn't been, I'd divide my time 25 Dec - the morning of 2 Jan in Paris (and do DL from your base in the city) and the afternoon of Jan 2 - 5 Jan in Brussels/Bruges.

Does your friend know the details of Paris Disney? It is not a place one needs to stay overnight, being an easy connection from central Paris. It isn't nearly as large as Anaheim and miniscule compared to Orlando. So I'd spend all day and evening there and then return to Paris.
janisj is online now  
Nov 7th, 2010, 04:50 PM
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Ah, that helps clarify things (and blow my suggested itinerary out of the water LOL).

I'm also wondering about the overnight for DL. Taking that into consideration that your friend wants to spend the night, is it fixed that that night must be New Year's Eve? Again, if that can be flexible, there are more opportunities!
ggreen is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 04:56 PM
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There is no reason to stay at Paris Disneyland - there simply isn;t enough there to keep adults busy for more than a day. And bouncing to and fro Paris makes no sense.

You should just do Disney as a day trip from Paris - it;s only about 40 minutes by train.

Then fly into Paris and return home from Brussels - so once you leave Paris you can see the other places and head straight home rather than wasting time going back to Paris.
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 05:13 PM
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I think it's really difficult to do both DL for December 31 *and* that the OP would like to have a nice calm birthday in a place I've never been. ...Can that place be another French town outside of Paris, or does it have to be another country?
ggreen is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 05:21 PM
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Does a 'place one's never been' have to be a different city? Surely you haven't seen every place in Paris.

Or - how about a day trip to Chartres on your birthday? Lovely city, AMAZING cathedral and other sites, lots of good restaurants/cafes, and easy train journey from Paris.
janisj is online now  
Nov 7th, 2010, 05:27 PM
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Yes, it has to be New Year's at DL, and she really wants to stay there overnight too!

I've always wanted to go to Luxembourg and I thought it'd be a nice place to spend my birthday. On the other hand, if I were to stay in Paris, where is a good place to stay to just relax and not feel completely "in the city"?

I guess I am trying to get away from the hustle&bustle of tourist spot after tourist spot which is why I am leaning toward NOT staying in Paris the whole time...

So: does anyone have any tips for how to make Paris relaxing for 1 person who has been there previously, while incorporating all the basics for the other person who hasn't?
Niomi is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 05:42 PM
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ggreen and janisj, you're right, it could certainly be another part of France. Maybe I could do the Luxembourg part from Brussels instead of Paris?

I'll certainly look into Chartres! Also does anyone recommend Reims?

About Disneyland, I am getting really confused because I know it's small but my friend really wants to spend New Year's there. Assuming I definitely want to be in Brussels on Jan 1, does it make sense to go BACK to Paris at 1 AM on Jan 1 and then travel again by train, when it looks like it's only 1.5 hrs from Disney to Brussels anyway? That's why I was thinking we should just find a hotel to stay in around there.
Niomi is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 05:49 PM
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When you were there before, were there sights you enjoyed that you'd like to see again? Ones that perhaps you've done once and are done with? I'd suggest joining your friend for the former and placing them earlier in your stay; once she's used to Paris, you can split up for a few hours if, say, she wants to see the Eiffel Tower and you want to explore a museum you hadn't seen before. (There are SO many museums in Paris!!)

And IMO Paris is so not "tourist spot after tourist spot" - it's a living city that you can very much make your own. What are things that interest you? Different neighborhoods have different character, so choosing one to stay in that reflects your interests would help. Stay in a hotel or even better an apartment somewhere other than the 1st or 16th arrondisements.

Oh, and Paris at Christmastime is so pretty! In a much less commercial way than what we get stateside.

You could base in Paris and as janisj suggested, spend a day and even a night in another town on your birthday. Chartres and Chantilly came to mind; not sure what Giverny is like in the winter but that could be good too...
ggreen is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 05:55 PM
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Oops meant to add Reims to that list - glad you mentioned it! In addition to all the kings buried there, it's the birthplace of champagne - what better place to celebrate your birthday?

As for the DL conundrum. I've never been, so not sure about the logistics re: train stations. If you didn't know, trains in Paris leave from different stations depending on the direction they're headed. So actually regardless of whether or not you overnight at DL, you'll need to know if and how to get from Point A to Point B for Brussels.

One option is as you've said, overnight at DL, return to Paris and connect to the Brussels train. The other is to make sure your hotel in Paris is near one or the other station (probably the DL one), return at 1am or so, sleep, check out of said hotel and be on your way to Brussels. I think that's what I'd do...
ggreen is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 06:15 PM
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...And now I've looked up the train situation - apologies for previous vagueness and, it turns out, unnecessary extra detail!

I've now learned that to get to DL, you take RER A with a time of 40 minutes from the Nation station on the east side of the city, and the Thalys to Belgium departs out of Gare du Nord. There is no direct metro line from Nation to Gare du Nord, but you can easily take RER A to Chatelet Les Halles and switch to RER B or D to Gare du Nord.

I still think I'd prefer to return to Paris in the wee hours of the morning of the 1st, stay in a hotel you can get to from RER A (and to which you're already checked in), then set off for Gare du Nord after a few hours of shut-eye. IMO, I'd rather not leave all the travel for the one day but rather get back to Paris, regroup, then continue on...

I hope this helps!
ggreen is offline  
Nov 7th, 2010, 06:21 PM
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Thank you for all the suggestions, I'm getting really excited now to go and feeling a lot better about it!

On my last trip I saw Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Versailles, Louvre, not very much. It was way too much of a touristy vacation because we stayed right near the Louvre and didn't really know where to go or what to eat! I would really like to go to the Louvre again but other than that I just want to enjoy the atmosphere, go to cute shops and cafes, enjoy good food, etc.

I am thinking I would want to add in the following day trips --

Chantilly OR Chartres, Reims, Luxembourg

which of these would be the best place to spend 1 or 2 nights?
Niomi is offline  
Nov 8th, 2010, 02:13 AM
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It's worth bearing in mind that there are direct TGV trains from Disneyland (Marne-la-Vallée station) to Brussels. I think there are three or four per day, and the journey time is under two hours, so it could well be quicker and easier than going into Paris to get the Thalys train from the Gare du Nord (although, admittedly, the Thalys trains are much more frequent).
hanl is offline  
Nov 8th, 2010, 05:37 AM
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Why are you interested in Lux? To be honest, its a nice city but rather boring. I travelled there for work and cant imagine spending more than a day there on vacation, and it would be WAY down my list of places to visit on a vacation. The centre is very small, food is good - but expensive - but other than that I didnt find it very interesting.
jamikins is offline  
Nov 8th, 2010, 05:38 AM
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Niomi, you mentioned wanting to return to the Louvre. (And staying in that area - no wonder you didn't get a feel for residential Paris!!) If you're interested in museums, is it for art? history? what period? Paris covers it all, in loads of museums large and small. Or if not museums... did you like the stained glass and/or history of Notre Dame? Do you like picturesque views of the city? Shopping? what kind? Music?

For example:
* I almost always return to the Musee Rodin. I love both the sculptures and the way they are set in the house and grounds; it's a lovely sanctuary.
* Despite being on the tourist roadmap, I'd also suggest the Musee d'Orsay, mostly for the Beaux Arts structure itself and the view from behind the large clock faces (though I wouldn't disregard the artwork housed there LOL).
* I haven't been back to Paris since they reopened the Orangerie (it reopened the day I was leaving!), but I used to love sitting among Monet's water lilies, feeling surrounded by his vision.
* Good or great views from: the top of the Centre Georges Pompidou; the top of the Printemps department store; Sacre Coeur (the steps in front and especially from within the dome); the top of Tour Montparnasse.
* Window and other shopping along the grands magasins; housewares near the stock exchange in the 1st; browsing antique stores and art galleries in the 6th...

Give us an idea of stuff you're interested in and we'll go from there.
ggreen is offline  

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