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Paris Day trips, Bayeaux, Brugge via Brussels

Paris Day trips, Bayeaux, Brugge via Brussels

Jun 2nd, 2002, 07:46 PM
  #1  
FHurdle
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Paris Day trips, Bayeaux, Brugge via Brussels

My wife and I are spending six nights in Paris and are planning two long day trips. We are bound and determined to lay our heads down in Paris each night, so these will have to be day trips.

Trip one is to Bayeaux, and the American cemetery at Colleville-sur-mer. Will we be able to see both the tapestry and the cemetery without undue hassle? Any closing times for the cemetery? I will be only the second family member to visit my uncle's grave, and so don't want to miss it, as this is the reason for our visit. We were planning to take the train, but would a package bus trip be better? And how hard will our transportation problem be?

Day trip two is to Brugge, with perhaps a few hours to walk around Brussels. It looks like the train ride is simple, with a switch in Brussels. I realize five or six hours doesn't do Brugge justice, but if that is my time budget should I go for a window of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., or 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.?

We were really just going to the Grand Place is Brussels, and to see the whiz kid. (Also we'll get some fries and a waffle!) As a teen I visited a museum featuring Leopold's Congo plunder. Is it near the train station?

Any travel tips are solicited!

Frank
 
Jun 3rd, 2002, 01:55 AM
  #2  
Daniel
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The American Cemetery near Omaha Beach should be open 8-18. Tel. 33 for France(0 in France)2 31 21 97 44.
 
Jun 3rd, 2002, 02:34 AM
  #3  
BTilke
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Hi Frank,
First I would suggest be flexible. There's always a chance you'll enjoy yourself so much in Paris you'll decide not to do the day trips...but...here's a possible Brussels/Brugge itinerary.

Catch the Thalys at 8:55 am (I'm using the schedule that starts June 16). You arrive in Brussels at 9:20, at the Gare du Midi on tracks 3 to 6. Follow the crowds down to the main part of the station and then look for signs to a big M--that stands for metro. At the metro buy a ticket for one ride (you won't need an all day or multi trip ticket). You have two choices--catch the metro (direction Simonis) up to the Louise stop and change to the 92, 93 or 94 trams heading to the Sablon (they will going toward the big Palais de Justice building [a domed buiding with scaffolding] rather than up the Ave. Louise). Get off at Sablons (about two stops) and walk through the pretty Sablons area. Stop for coffee at Au Vieux St. Martin or any of the other cafes on the Sablons. Go to the end of the square and turn right on the largest of the many streets (you'll see a cafe with a big Leffe sign), follow that down toward the Grand'Place.
If, instead, you want to go straight to the Grand'Place, take the metro (direction Simonis) up to Arts Loi station (also called Kunst Wet) and change to the #1 line, direction Baudouin OR Bizet. Take it three stops (Parc, Gare Centrale, De Brouckere) and get off at DeBrouckere. The Grand'Place is about a five minute walk away (note: your metro ticket is good for one hour of travel and includes all transfers--you validate the ticket in the little orange boxes).
Take a look around the Grand'Place, then head down the rue l'Etuve to see whiz boy (you will probably be disappointed!). As you leave the Grand'Place, you'll see a bronze sculpture of a reclining figure on one wall--it's the custom to run your hand along the statue and make a wish. Anyway, after seeing "the boy", head up to the Central Station (across from the Meridien Hotel) and catch a train to Brugge. The trip takes about an hour; there are two trains per hour--one has Ostende as its final destination, the other Knokke/Blankenberge. Your train will make two stops before Brugge (Brussels Midi and Ghent).
Figure you arrive in Brugge about 1 pm. Take a boat or carriage tour then wander around. Take in a museum or two, have a bite to eat, etc.
If you catch the train leaving Brugge about 7:30 pm, you will arrive at Brussels Midi 50 minutes later (don't go back to Gare Centrale!), in time to catch the 8:40 pm Thalys back to Paris, arriving 10:05 pm. However, if you're worried that you might miss the Thalys if the Brugge-Brussels train is delayed, catch the train from Brugge about 7 pm.
This is a LONG day and you'll be beat!! But you'll have seen the highlights of Brussels and Brugge.
Note: in Belgian train stations, there are large yellow signs throughout posting the times the trains leave, destination, and the track number.
Have fun!
BTilke (Brussels)
 
Jun 3rd, 2002, 09:26 AM
  #4  
nora
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A train from Paris to Bayeaux takes about half a day. Something important to think about is how you plan on getting to the cemetery, the transportation system is not very extensive in this area of France. I sugest renting a car or extensive pre-research of buses from Bayeaux to the cemetery area. Also remember you need a way back from the cemetery to a train station to get back to Paris. What are your plans for Bayeaux, are you just going to see the Tapestry or other things, and the outlining areas and Beaches? If you have time I recommend going to the War Museum, but you'd have to check about public transportation to the museum.
Additionally the train from Brussels to Brugges depending on the day needs to be checked before hand so you do not get stuck waiting at the train station for a long time for a way to get back to Brussels. I would recommend going to Brugges from 9am to 3pm if that is your window, the shops and attractions will be open, and there is not a lot of night activities to do in Brugges. Additionally, your plan for Brussels is good, don't forget to eat at a resturaunt - the city has great food.
 
Jun 3rd, 2002, 10:01 AM
  #5  
StCirq
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A daytrip to Bayeux from Paris is arduous enough without contemplating a train. Bayeux is 166 miles from Paris - add another 10 to Colleville-sur-Mer. It will take you half a day to get to Bayeux by train (counting the time from leaving your hotel). You'll need lunch by then. You'll need to walk to the tapestry (maybe 10 minutes) or take a cab. You should allow at the very least half an hour to see it. I don't know how to get to the American Cemetary by public transportation, but I don't recall ever seeing anything but tour buses parked there, or going by the entrance. At any rate, you'd probably need to figure in another hour to get there (actual driving time plus getting to wherever the bus leaves from, plus accommodation for the schedule). You'd want at least an hour at the cemetery itself. By now it's mid- to late afternoon, and you've got to get back to Bayeux to take a long train home again. And even worse, you've been within 20 minutes of the Mémorial Museum in Caen,which is absolutely deserving of another 2-3 hours. If I were going to attempt this, I'd rent a car, leave Paris at the crack of dawn, spend the night in Bayeux, and return the following day.

Brugge, on the other hand, is do-able in a day and by train.
 
Jun 3rd, 2002, 02:06 PM
  #6  
zzz
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I did the daytrip from Paris to Bayeaux 2 years ago. I rented a car and drove to Caen to see the memorial museum(don't miss it), then on to Bayeaux for the tapestry and cemetery. Be sure to walk down to the beach at the cemetery to see the old fortifications. I don't remember what time the cemetery closed, but I remember reading somewhere that they play Taps at sundown. There is an office at the cemetery that can direct you to your uncle's grave.

The trip will take all day and will be exhausting. But it was one of the highlights of my last trip to Paris.

I suggest renting a car on the west side of Paris so you don't have to drive in the crazy city traffic. Navigating from Paris to Bayaeux was easy and the drive was very pleasant.

Good Luck!

 
Jun 3rd, 2002, 09:52 PM
  #7  
FHurdle
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Thanks for the tips. I perhaps should have mentioned that this is our fifth trip to Paris in five years, so we will have time for a couple of side trips.

The Brugge part sounds easy. As for Bayeaux and the cemetery, it looks like the train is out. So we'll either rent a car (I drove from Nice to Paris once) or take a bus trip. My guess is that we'll go for the car.

Again, thanks for the input. I was afraid the train wouldn't work to Bayeaux, but had hoped otherwise.

Frank
 
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