Paris- Belgium trip help pls

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Jul 26th, 2008, 11:31 AM
  #1
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Paris- Belgium trip help pls

We'll be landing at Paris - CDG at 8 am in late October. We stay 12 days and leave from Paris - CDG too. Flight tickets are already purchased, but no other reservations (accommodations) have been made.

We'd love to go to Brugges, possibly Brussels then return to Paris (might possibly go to Luxembourg and/or Strasbourg also). Just wondering if it would be wiser to leave for Brugges directly from CDG or if it'd be easier to get an apartment for the whole 12 days in Paris, then do some daytrips.

I'm a bit hesitant to drag the luggage all over... I think day trips (and possibly 1 overnight trip somewhere in the middle of the 12 days, while our apartment in Paris is still booked) might be easier.

Any advice?

Thanks!
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Jul 26th, 2008, 11:37 AM
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I don't like dragging around luggage either, and I don't like locking myself into plans I can't get out of.

I'd plan to go to the apartment and if I wanted to go to Belgium, I would.

Take the money you save on an apartment rental and treat yourself to an overnight somewhere in Belgium. I would prefer Antwerp to either Brugge or Brussels.
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Jul 26th, 2008, 12:05 PM
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Brussels, just over an hour by Thalys train could be a day trip but Bruges, about 3.5 hours all told each way would be impractical day trip IMO

many people are under plussed with Brussels, IMO one of Europe's least romantic cities

Strasbourg i feel is a true gem, often overlooked.

Luxembourg City is one of the most gorgeously beautiful cities in Europe - there is an awesome gorge bisecting it but not much else of interest - yet a great day trip just to see the lovely gorge IMO
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Jul 26th, 2008, 12:44 PM
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We're doing a similar trip in May and because we were certain we wanted to spend part of our time in Belgium, we have booked apartments in both places. We were able to get a free ticket with miles in and out of CDG on a direct flight so flying open jaw wasn't an option.

Because of how we know we feel when we travel, we're arriving in Paris (flight gets in at 7:00AM!) and staying a night in a hotel near the Gare. We'll leave our luggage at our hotel, wander around Paris, check in when we can, take a short nap, have a great dinner at our favorite Paris restaurant, sleep and then get up and train to Brugges.

We thought about going straight to Brugges from CDG but after 8+ hours on a plane plus all the waiting around in the airport before takeoff, we decided that we'd rather have a break to spend a day walking around Paris (we've been before and know our way around fairly well)and get a good nights sleep before the 3+ hour train ride to Brugges.

We have 4 nights in Brugges in this fabulous apartment: http://www.kanthuisje.com/d3kon/e/e_appcarmers.htm
and we'll probably do a day trip to Ghent. That we'll play by ear. Then train back to Paris where we have 8 nights in this great apartment:
http://vacationinparis.com/apts/id_154.htm

Those great apartments take way advanced planning as they book many, many months in advance, as do all of the best places (in my experience.)But to pre-plan or not is really such a personal thing. Some people love/need total flexibility to see how they feel and play it all by ear and others prefer to have all the details taken care of before leaving so they don't have to make any major decisions while on vacation. It's a matter of personal traveling style, not right or wrong.

I remember an interesting thread about reservations/planning ahead or not for restaurants. Again, personal style. I prefer a bit of both, but I definitely plan ahead for the things I know are important to me and take planning to get what I want, like where I'll be staying and certain special restaurants I know I want to try.
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Jul 26th, 2008, 01:32 PM
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Twelve days is not really a long time--eleven nights. The idea of renting an apt in Paris for the entire time and taking day trips sounds like a good idea.

I'm another person who thinks Brussels is not such a great destination, but Brugge is wonderful. You could keep the apt and pack a small overnight bag and spend one or two nights in Belgium -- possibly Brugges with a stop in Ghent or Antwerp.

Many other day trips from Paris such as Giverny, Versailles, Chartres, etc. Your eleven days will fly by--a month in Paris alone would give you much to see and do.
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Jul 26th, 2008, 02:01 PM
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I enjoyed Brussels very much for a day trip from Paris, and it's very easy to get to, and quick.
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Jul 26th, 2008, 02:10 PM
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I'm slightly biased as I work in Brussels! However, most tourists generally make for Brugges - it's much smaller and quieter, a walled city and, in my opinion, can be done in a day. It would also, IMHO, provide a contrast to Paris. That said, it's not a quick trip from Paris and would likely require an overnight stay somewhere. It does get rather busy with tourists too - especially at the weekends!

Brussels on the other hand is a bigger, more cosmopolitan city with lots going on and perhaps is not so much of a holiday destination. It's much harder to see the whole of it in a day.
Enjoy your visit whatever you decide!
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Jul 26th, 2008, 06:30 PM
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Everyone's replies are very appreciated, thank you! It's fun to see how tastes vary though I'm sure mine will be different than my traveling partner also!

We leave in 3 months from today!! Will definitely be looking for a place to book this week... There are still tons left through paris attitude, so I'm sure we'll find a nice one.

We're definitely going to go straight to the apartment after we arrive in Paris... I hadn't figured the time spent getting to the airport and the waiting... when all that's factored in, it'll make for a long, long day.

Thanks again!
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Jul 27th, 2008, 04:07 AM
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Twelve days is not all that much time in Paris and I would suggest only one day trip at the most, and not an overnight trip at all, unless you go directly to Brugges/Brussels from CDG and come back to Paris. That is a lot of moving around otherwise and you lose a lot of time "getting settled" elsewhere. I always prefer to "strike out" for far points upon arrival--you're already "in transit". And it seems easier to me to finally leave FROM Paris to CDG because transportation is reliable in time for departure.
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Jul 27th, 2008, 04:52 AM
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We also made Paris our base and took a Citirama one-day trip to Brugges. It was a long day but we were given ample time to roam and slept on the drive home. Had very good guides.
We've also taken a Citirama bus trip (again, excellent guides) to Loire Valley-saw 3 chateaux.
Cheaper to rent a car or go by train but it worked for us.
By train, Versaille and Chartres were easy to do independently.
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Jul 27th, 2008, 06:20 AM
  #11
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Again, some interesting comments, thank you!

We are actually sleeping 12 nights, will be gone a total of 14 days (counting the overnight trip). I have been to Paris twice before so have seen all the major attractions, but my travel partner hasn't.

I'd love to go back to the Loire Valley!!! I will check into the Citirama tours...

At first I thought 12 nights was going to be too long, but now I wish we had 22 nights instead!!!

Thanks again
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Jul 27th, 2008, 08:45 AM
  #12
 
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I highly recommend Brugges - it is one of the most beautiful cities I have seen. I would spend a night there it possible.

One note - the trains from Brugges to Paris (and maybe from Paris to Brugges) require a reservation, so make sure you have that situated before you leave. We didn't have a reservation, and it was quite a scramble at the Brugge train station the morning we were leaving for Paris!
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