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Netherlands/Belgium/France Itinerary (2 weeks)

Netherlands/Belgium/France Itinerary (2 weeks)

Old Feb 13th, 2020, 07:43 AM
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Netherlands/Belgium/France Itinerary (2 weeks)

Hello, I am looking for feedback on the following itinerary for two weeks beginning in mid-May. My questions are:
  1. I know there is debate about Antwerp vs. Ghent vs. Bruges. With time to see only one place, should we consider skipping Bruges for one of the others?
  2. Is it worth making the stop in Brussels to see the Grand-Place?
  3. With so much to see in Paris, I wish we could have one more full day there. Would it be better to spend only one night in Bayeaux and come back to Paris on the evening of day 12? It may be a tight turnaround to catch the last train—tour ends at 17:45; we will have to pick up our luggage from the hotel, and last train is at 18:42.
  4. Any other general feedback?
Itinerary
Day 1 (Sun): Depart U.S.
Day 2 (Mon): Arrive Amsterdam
Day 3 (Tues): Amsterdam
Day 4 (Wed): Amsterdam
Day 5 (Thurs): Amsterdam - day trip to The Hague
Day 6 (Fri): Train from Amsterdam to Bruges
Day 7 (Sat): Bruges
Day 8 (Sun): Train from Bruges to Paris - stop in Brussels to see Grand-Place
Day 9 (Mon): Paris
Day 10 (Tues): Paris
Day 11 (Wed): Train from Paris to Bayeaux
Day 12 (Thurs): Full day tour of D-Day sites
Day 13 (Fri): Train from Bayeaux to Paris
Day 14 (Sat): Paris
Day 15 (Sun): Depart Paris
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 01:39 PM
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Hi there, on 1. and 2., I would say that the Bruges / Ghent / Antwerp debate is purely a matter of taste and you will have to be the ultimate decider. If it helps: Bruges is beautiful but crowded. Some don't care for the Disney aspects but much of that is mitigated by staying a night there and seeing the town before and after the tour buses have gone. Ghent is Bruges' bigger sister - still a medieval city but with more signs of daily life. A very close second and many go for Ghent instead of Bruges because it is not so crowded. Antwerp is a big city with a wonderful core - the walk from the railway station along the Meir and to the main square is very pleasant. Many like Antwerp more than Brussels, it has a different vibe, but it is not as picturesque as Ghent or Bruges. The railway station is Art Nouveau and is exceptional. And should you see the Grand' Place in Brussels - yes, without question. It is UNESCO world heritage listed and has no other parallels.

Lavandula
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Old Feb 13th, 2020, 04:37 PM
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In terms of staying Bayeux that extra night, I might go back to Paris. My cousin is doing a similar tour but leaving back from Caen which 3 trains past 17:45. There is one at 19:01, one at 19:20 and the last one at 20:22. So you might talk to your tour guide about dropping you at Caen instead. Otherwise, I would bet there will be others on your tour who want to be on the 18:42 train from Bayeux-so if you talk with your tour guide before hand I am sure they can help you make that train. So, in general, if you want the extra day in Paris then I would go back day 12.

Otherwise it looks like a fun trip. We love Brugges but it has been many years and most of our friends feel like they like Ghent better now...

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Old Feb 15th, 2020, 09:38 AM
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I would give Bayeux another day. You should see the 1044 Bayeux Tapestry among other sites.
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Old Feb 15th, 2020, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by HappyTrvlr View Post
I would give Bayeux another day. You should see the 1044 Bayeux Tapestry among other sites.
That would mean it was made before the battle of Hastings that it depicts, in 1066. It may date from 1077 or it may be up to 300 years younger, but either way it is worth viewing.
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Old Feb 15th, 2020, 02:31 PM
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I'd drop Brussels and extend Bayeux
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Old Feb 15th, 2020, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
I'd drop Brussels and extend Bayeux
They're not staying in Brussels. Just getting off the train to walk to and from the Grand Place.
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Old Feb 15th, 2020, 11:33 PM
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Instead of stopping in Brussels . . . I'd change stations in Paris and travel all the way to Bayeaux on Day 8. Then take the early evening train from Bayeaux to Paris on Day 10. That would give you almost two full days in Normandy and four full unbroken days in Paris and eliminate an extra hotel stay.
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Old Feb 16th, 2020, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
Instead of stopping in Brussels . . . I'd change stations in Paris and travel all the way to Bayeaux on Day 8. Then take the early evening train from Bayeaux to Paris on Day 10. That would give you almost two full days in Normandy and four full unbroken days in Paris and eliminate an extra hotel stay.
Honestly I would drop the entire Brugge thing and just take Thalys from Amsterdam to Paris.
Or instead of Amsterdam stay in Rotterdam for the NL days and do Brugge, and Antwerp or Gent as daytrips. Apart from The Hague, Delft or Utrecht.
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Old Feb 16th, 2020, 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by menachem View Post
Honestly I would drop the entire Brugge thing and just take Thalys from Amsterdam to Paris. . . .
That would be my choice too - however I do enjoy Bruges quite a lot. My main point was to not split the Paris time into two different stays but to lump it all together at the end.
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Old Feb 16th, 2020, 01:15 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
That would be my choice too - however I do enjoy Bruges quite a lot. My main point was to not split the Paris time into two different stays but to lump it all together at the end.
Very sane advice
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Old Feb 16th, 2020, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by menachem View Post
They're not staying in Brussels. Just getting off the train to walk to and from the Grand Place.
I know, "staying" here can mean in accommodation overnight or merely a few hours. I read up.
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Old Feb 16th, 2020, 09:09 AM
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I differ on Bruges, the place is a bun fight during the day, but in the evening and with a couple of beers inside you it can be very romantic. Do watch the film first,
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Old Apr 9th, 2020, 05:08 PM
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Thank you all for the excellent advice. Unfortunately we're having to forgo this trip because of coronavirus, but we hope to do it next year instead. I'll be sure to revisit your recommendations then. Hope everyone is staying well.
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