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Landing in Paris Sept 22 .

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We are finalizing the details of our trip for Belgium and the Netherlands that we had to postpone from Spring. ( I had to tackle a little Thyroid Cancer . But I'm better than ever!) So back to traveling... Here is our current plan .. Land in Paris approx 9 am on Sept 22 , taking the trains to Bruges for the next 4 nights, leaving by train early Saturday morning to Amsterdam for the next 5 nights. .. I was starting to think 4 nights in Bruges (maybe a day trip to Ghent) might be a bit too long? We are in our late 30's and we really don't like fast rushed travel. We like to relax, walk, take in the sights, hang out at pubs and try to visit where the locals spend their time. We are not ones that need to see EVERY museum and tourist spot either. Since we are landing in Paris we were wondering if spending the rest of that day and night and one more night ( this would really be a tired 1/2 day and one full day) and then going on to Bruges would be beneficial at all? We are of course well aware we would see very little of Paris and would just maybe focus on a neighborhood and enjoy a few parks, walking and drinks/ food.. Just curious ?

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    If you've never been to Paris, I highly recommend spending at least a couple of nights. Correct: with two nights you would barely scratch the surface, but it's a lovely city, and you can see enough to enjoy it no doubt. If your choice is two nights or nothing, I'd go with the two nights.

    Bruges is a charming city (though extremely touristy and not that big compared to the other places), but I think you could certainly get by with fewer nights.

    You don't sound like a "museum person" (I know I'm not) - so may I ask why five nights in Amsterdam? My preference would be three nights in Amsterdam, three in Bruges (with a day trip to Ghent - or you can perhaps stop off the train on the way to Amsterdam, you may pass through anyway, and leave your bags at the station), and three nights in Paris. (instead of 4 Bruges + 5 Amsterdam). I think you would want more time in Amsterdam if you wanted to see all the museums or if you had a lot of day trips planned or something. Out of the three places you mention, Amsterdam is my least favorite, though I'm sure many will beg to differ. I didn't see your earlier threads (if any) about your earlier postponed trip, so I'm not sure what your thinking was about any of these places.

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    4 days in Bruges would be too many for me. I think I spent 3 there and that was too many. It's very small and while it has several interesting things to see, and is scenic, you can't spend 4 days viewing things. And it is very very full of tourists, that's probably its main business, which means it's not going to be like hanging out in pubs with locals in larger cities, where you can get off the beaten track. But if you do a day trip to Ghent, that's not too bad if you don't mind just relaxing, which to me, means doing nothing.

    Are you going to Bruges directly from the airport? If so, I kind of don't think it worth the trouble to go into Paris for one night. If you are going into Paris anyway, you might spend one more day there. In fact, if you are ending in Amsterdam, I'd probably do more like 3 nights Paris, 2 nights Bruges, 4 nights Amsterdam if you have 9 nights. But if you really want to see Ghent, your first itinerary is probably fine, as I said, I wouldn't go to all the trouble of going into Paris for one night if you can take the train from the airport. Instead, you could spend a couple days in Brussels, that fits in better. I enjoyed Brussels although a lot of people disparage it, it seems to me. But it's more interesting than 4 nights in Bruges, for sure (to me).

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    Thank you for the advice.. Let me correct my typo.. We would be in Amsterdam for 4 nights not 5. So in total we have 8 nights. ^ Andrew.. That is what we were thinking about Paris. We intend to return in Spring and focus on Paris and the countryside only. But this would be our first visit. Like you said we would not scratch the surface, but wouldn't plan to. As for museums, we do enjoy a few, but that's enough for us. We like to be outdoors and just stroll. We would have 4 nights in Amsterdam ( in the Jordaan neighborhood on the canals). We do have a couple day trips out of Amsterdam that would fill some of our time. We had planned his trip for Spring to see the flower gardens in Amsterdam while we were there. Maybe 3 in Paris, 2 in Bruges, and 3 in Amsterdam might be a nice split?

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    You guys are young; you can do it without running like crazy. My vote goes for 2-3 in Paris, 2-3 in Bruges and 3 in Amsterdam. Take the RER out of CDG to Luxembourg Gardens and stay there in the 6th (bordering on the 5th). Check Hotel du Jardins Luxembourg, right off park & RER station down quiet alley. You'll love St. Germain and strolling up along the left bank, or just over to Notre Dame past the Sorbonne/Latin Qtr area. Perhaps take in the Rodin Museum and the Orangerie and D'Orsay at most. In Amsterdam, take in the Van Gogh and perhaps skip the Rijksmuseum. Walk all over the bridges through the districts. I hear great things about Bruges and Ghant but they are much smaller cities. We have seen the Paris museums vis-à-vis weather-- if it's gorgeous for strolling we do not do the museums but wander streets.

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    If you are going back to Paris in the spring for an extended visit, then maybe it doesn't make sense to spend much time there on this trip? The weather will be different, though. Things will be blooming in spring and I suspect you'll have more rain than in September. I don't think fall colors will quite be out yet by September 22, but it should be a nice time to be in Paris - sure has been each time I've visited in the fall.

    You could of course spend more time in Belgium - even do a night in Ghent. But you give the impression that you don't like to move around much, so even though it will mean some backtracking, a day trip to Ghent may be better after all from Bruges.

    I don't think three nights in Bruges is necessarily too much if you are doing a day trip to Ghent. It will probably be the most relaxing part of your trip. You will have some hours of training the arrival day and some leaving for Amsterdam, so three nights means only two full days plus whatever is left over the day you arrive. It is possible to get away from the tourists in Bruges, but you might get tired of them after three days I guess.

    Have you considered doing your Paris/France trip in September and doing the spring trip next year as you had originally planned it for this year, so you can see the tulips etc. in Amsterdam next spring?

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