London, Paris, and Brussels 2014

Nov 19th, 2013, 06:29 AM
  #1  
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London, Paris, and Brussels 2014

Hello all,

My husband and I are planning a trip to London, Paris, and Brussels in February 2014 (yes, I know it will be cold, but it's the only time we can travel next year).

I am looking for advice on hotels and train transportations between the cities.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Thank you in advance!
leverett10 is offline  
Nov 19th, 2013, 06:42 AM
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London to Paris is via Eurostar trains thru the Channel Tunnel - in about two hours now - to Gare du Nord - buy your tickets at www.eurostar.com and nab some nifty discounts if you book way early (but those are non-changeable non-refundable)

Paris to Brussels is via Thalys trains (www.thalys.com) and similarly booking early gets the limited in number discounted tickets - walk up and buy tickets on either Eurostar or Thalys means paying a whole lot more than early booking - again non-changeable nor refundable. Travel time to Brussels is about 1.25 - are you returning to London - then the Eurostar train links Brussels to London - www.eurostar.com again.

For lots on these trains and trains in general check out these IMO fantastic sites - www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com - check this site for great info on the discounted ducats.
PalenQ is offline  
Nov 19th, 2013, 06:57 AM
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Why Brussels?

And where are you going into and back from?
BigRuss is offline  
Nov 19th, 2013, 07:19 AM
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My husband really wants to go to Brussels and we have had friends that loved it. Do you have a recommendation for another destination easily accessed by train from Paris?

We are planning on flying into London and out of Brussels. Another reason we picked it was super cheap flights from these airports. We have not booked the tickets though, so are open to suggestions!
leverett10 is offline  
Nov 19th, 2013, 08:30 AM
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Funny how Brussels always evokes the "either totally hot or totally cold" responses.

If your husband really wants to see Brussels, plan on having enough time to do so - the days will be short, weather might be very inclement and getting around becomes a bother, so don't be in a rush. There is a lot to see for those who have the interest in what's there to see, while others see the Grand' Place and Manneken Pis and eat a waffle or moules-frites and off they go.

See this website for lots of "hidden gem" suggestions - your husband may already know these, but maybe others would like to learn: http://tinyurl.com/kmsw37k

Realize that there are three train stations - Midi (= south), Central (walking distance from Grand' Place and old center), and Nord. Plus the train station out by the airport of course. Not all trains stop at all three, but if you have to make a quick switch it's no big deal.
michelhuebeli is offline  
Nov 19th, 2013, 08:42 AM
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If you are not loving Brussels, you can easily do a day trip to Bruges.
Judy is online now  
Nov 19th, 2013, 08:59 AM
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How long is the entire trip?
janisj is online now  
Nov 19th, 2013, 09:06 AM
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We will have 10 full days
leverett10 is offline  
Nov 19th, 2013, 09:32 AM
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Wouldn't shirk Paris or London for time in Brussels, and 10 full days will scratch the surface of London and Paris with an even split . . .
BigRuss is offline  
Nov 19th, 2013, 09:42 AM
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Have you been to London & Paris before?
Judy is online now  
Nov 19th, 2013, 09:45 AM
  #11  
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I have been to Paris once before for a couple of days, but it was a long time ago, so I barely remember it. We have not been to London or Brussels.

If we skipped Brussels, are there any day trips you would recommend from Paris that would be fun?
leverett10 is offline  
Nov 19th, 2013, 10:03 AM
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leverett: I'm think the point some are making is to skip Brussels to spend more time IN Paris and London.

That said, you could have a great time spending 3 days in each locale. Brussels (IMHO) doesn't need 3 so go straight to Bruges, spend two nights and return to Brussels for a day or two and fly out.

Assuming you stay near the Grand Place its an amazingly short train trip to the Brussels airport.
Bitter is online now  
Nov 19th, 2013, 10:06 AM
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If we skipped Brussels, are there any day trips you would recommend from Paris that would be fun?>

Chartres and its great Gothic cathedral

Reims - Champagne cave tours and another dynamite cathedral

Versailles - well to me it is in Paris but many say it is not
The Loire Valley - take a train to Tours and hook up with mini-buses that take you to some of the great chateaus of the Loire, like Chenonceau

Fontainebleu

Giverney - a village where Money lived in his older age - his house and gardens are famous

Auvers-sur-Oisae - Impressionists flocked here too and Van Gogh shot himself in a cornfield - many of his paintings are shown as reproductions spoted right after the and other artists (Cwzanna) painted them.

All of these are easily done by train.

Farther afield - Normandy and the D-day beaches - take train to Bayeux then mini-bus tours to the nearby beaches and military cemetery at Colville-sur-Mer.
PalenQ is offline  
Nov 19th, 2013, 10:13 AM
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I've been to all three of them and my DH and I didn't like Brussels at all.

We arrived in Brussels from Holland and this EU gateway city comparing to cities in Holland were just really bad. Not much to see & do with some safety concerns even when we stayed at really high end locations.

I'd think you are better off do a day trip to Brugges.
calflu is offline  
Nov 19th, 2013, 10:13 AM
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If your husband wants to go to Brussels, go! I think it's a great city, with possibly the best food in all of Europe. And as mentioned, if it doesn't suit you, hop on a train to Bruges, which for a first-time traveler is exceedingly hard to dislike.

I would allocate more time to London and Paris than to Brussels, though. And don't forget to factor in traveling time between places and subtract it from your actual on-the-ground time.

We can't reasonably suggest hotels until you state your budget, preferably in euros and GBPs.
StCirq is online now  
Nov 19th, 2013, 10:14 AM
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There was a post on this forum in the last week with a truly amazing list of Paris day trips.
Bitter is online now  
Nov 19th, 2013, 11:06 AM
  #17  
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Thank you all for your advice! I think we decided to skip Brussels to focus on London and Paris.

The question then becomes - are there any hotels or hotel websites you recommend for the trip? We would like to be in the heart of both cities and close to the main attractions. The budget would be around $100/night.
leverett10 is offline  
Nov 19th, 2013, 12:06 PM
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>>The budget would be around $100/night.<<

That is not terribly realistic. $100 is approx £60 and €70 - which is about hostel/shared bath range. But since you aren't going to Brussels - and don't have to pay for the extra transport - shouldn't you be able to raise the budget a bit? ($100 isn't even doable via Priceline in London)
janisj is online now  
Nov 19th, 2013, 12:07 PM
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Meant to add -- but IF hostels are OK w/ you they can fit in your budget w/ a teensy bit to spare.
janisj is online now  
Nov 19th, 2013, 12:11 PM
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($100 isn't even doable via Priceline in London)>

It's doable for me - staying in a now 30 pound B&B - eating a hearty breakfast and doing the supermarket dine in room or on park bench leaves me way under the 100 pound mark - not for everyone for sure but it is possible, right in greater London if not right in central London - my Eltham B&B is a 20-minute train ride from Charing Cross.

Many sites in London are free - British Museum; Tate galleries; V&A, etc
PalenQ is offline  

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