Paris as a day trip?

Old Mar 20th, 2003, 08:43 AM
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Paris as a day trip?

Is it possible to stay in Belguim,(Brugge or Brussels area) and take a day trip by train to Paris? Here's my dilema. My daughter wants to see Paris' my husband is afraid with the war the feelings against Americans may be strong and is hesitant to go to Paris. We have stayed at a great b&b in near Brugge before, and I thought maybe a compromise would be to travel by train in and out of Paris?
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 08:51 AM
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All of this is IMHO only......

But, possible, yes,,,,,worth it: NO.

What you propose is complicated, requires that you have everything you need during your day trips with you, and I believe, simply not required if you want to visit Paris.

Yes, people may have "negative" feelings towards the US Government's recent decisions, but having just returned from a trip to SE Asia including "heavily" Muslim areas,,,,,
I found that individuals feelings about the US Government are easily "separated" from their feelings about US Citizens.

I hope you can convince your husband that nothing terrible is likely to happen to you in Paris, or at least that nothing "worse" is likely in Paris than in Brussels or Brugge.
Best wishes for a great trip! Dave
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 08:52 AM
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yes, it is certainly possible, that's a lot of hours travel time for one day but do-able (2-3 hrs one way? others will know for sure). I'd recommend going it from Brussels, not Brugge, it will be quicker. Some people go from Paris to Brugge for a day trip, so you can do the reverse
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 09:11 AM
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Your husband might be interested to know that the Belgian government's stand against the war is just as strong as the French government's opposition!
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 09:18 AM
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If your husband doesn't want to go to countries whose governments disagree with ours, that's his option.

However, I would absolutely not worry about strong feelings against American tourists in Europe. For one thing, tourism is already down. For another, as has been posted many times this week, reasonable people are able to make a distingtion between individual citizens and their governments. That goes for us and for "them."
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 09:25 AM
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It would be a long day, but you could do it. However, there's a lot to see in Paris...if Paris is what you really want to see, I say stay there.

Regarding feelings of antiwar, yes, they exist in Europe. I saw two demonstrations today...one in Siena and another here in Lucca. I am currently sitting at an internet cafe, and people here are listening to war news on the radio. I understand what's being said, because they are translating the English of U.S. leaders. A couple people here are jeering and laughing out loud.

But you know what? When I get up to ask a question, in my obvious American accent, the man smiles and offers his help. Many don't like the war, but that doesn't mean they don't like you. As Elaine says, I have found people have judged me as an individual.

I hope you enjoy Paris, however you decide to do it.
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 09:40 AM
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Hi
If you can't convince hubby that he's wrong, there is a THALYS train from Brussels-midi to Paris Nord that takes 1:25. Leaves 8:10, 8:40, 9:10.

The train ride will cost more than staying in Paris.
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 09:42 AM
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Thanks everyone. You were very helpful. I'm going to share all these posts with my family, and I think we will probably go to Paris. He was just nervous due to some of the things being said. If he's still uncomfortable it's great to know that we could go in for the day if we needed to. We both love Paris, and I'm determined not to let politics intefere with our love of travel. Your encouraging words will help.
Thanks again.
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 10:29 AM
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traveldanni,

He is probably hearing the discouraging comments from people at work that are themselves anti French.

I am traveling to France next week, and I have been hearing how bad the French will be to me. But I am only hearing it from bigots who dislike the French.

Keith
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 11:03 AM
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As a previous poster indicated, the high speed train is the way to go. I did this a couple of years ago and it was fine.

Try to get a "mini-fare"...it is about 1/4 of the cost of a normal ticket.

Email me at [email protected] with any questions.
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 03:26 PM
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I've done that dozens of times from Brussels. It's very possible, but resign yourself to a LONG day and to being very tired at the end of it.

I usually caught the Thalys in Brussels around 7:40 am, arriving in Paris Nord at 9 am. You can buy individual Paris metro tickets on the Thalys (but not the carnet of 10 tickets). It's worth doing to avoid the lines for metro tickets at Gare du Nord. Then off to a cafe for a cup of coffee, and then sightseeing (or whatever) from about 10:30 am.

The hardest part is that you have to be out and about all day. No going back to a hotel room to crash for even a few minutes. I found myself getting tired around 4 pm and would go to a cafe for a pot of tea. After that, I simply walked around--the Luxembourg Gardens is a good late afternoon place to stroll. I usually tried to catch the 9 pm train back to Brussels, so I had an early dinner at an informal restaurant (Cafe du Marche on the rue Cler, for example). Make sure you get to the Gare du Nord in plenty of time, you do NOT want to miss your train back! Friends of ours did that once on a busy week-end, the later Thalys were all sold out and they had to take the late night "milk train" that took several hours.

If you are going from Brugge, take a regular train to Brussels Midi and then pick up the Thalys (ditto for the return). That will give you much more schedule flexibility.

If you plan to go to Paris more than once during your trip, stay overnight instead of doing two (or more) day trips.
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 07:56 PM
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Thanks for the detailed posting. We were feeling pretty good about going and then just read a posting saying friends were spat on this past weekend.
If we plan to go by train we can always change our minds if the situation gets worse. We really like our B&B hostess, and could always spend extra time in Belguim or Holland.
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Old Mar 21st, 2003, 10:58 PM
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Unless you somehow advertise the fact that you are american tourists, emblazoned baseball caps, etc how would the average citizen know that you are not french? I'm sure the french people at the moment have more on their minds than trying to pick out who and who is not a tourist.
You should not generalise about people just because their government has made a difficult decision, and don't forget decisons can always be changed.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2003, 06:03 AM
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I'm not French, but I can pick out American tourists fairly easily in Paris, even when they don't have any special logos, caps, etc. Partly it's the way they dress and carry themselves, as well as various things they are carrying with them which you can usually tell came from the US (guidebooks, etc), but the most obvious is when they talk. Unless they plan to be silent and never speak to each other or anyone else (ie, never speak to a waiter, clerk, etc) on the trip, I think a lot of people will know they are American.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2003, 06:51 AM
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There are absolutely no anti- feelings against American tourists here in Belgium, nor in France.
I'd say go for it! We go to Paris very often and I agree with BTilke, it is exhausting, but worth going.
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