Paris to Brugge info needed

Aug 8th, 2005, 05:22 AM
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Paris to Brugge info needed

We are still considering a visit to Brugge from Paris. We are going to wait until we're actually in Paris to make our decision about going - based on how much we want to do in Paris and if we want to leave for a day.

If anyone has made this trip for a day, can you tell me what transportation you used, how much it cost, how long was the trip and would you do it again or wait until you were making a trip to Brugge.

I have been inclined to wait for another trip to Europe to go, but am now thinking that we'll be there now and maybe we should take a day to go there.

Would love to hear from anyone who's been.
Aug 8th, 2005, 05:35 AM
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Hi TP,

Take the train.

ira is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 05:52 AM
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You can either DIY on the train or take a guided bus excursion. If you like independent travel, than go the train route. The easiest way (IMO) is to take the Thalys from Paris to Brussels Gare du Midi, then change to a local train to Brugge--there are at least two per hour. Look for trains heading to Knokke/Blankenberge or Ostende (Brugge will be the second stop, Ghent is first). It takes 1.5 hours from Paris to Brussels, then another 50 minutes from Brussels to Brugge. Very easy to do. Check for the latest ticket prices; tickets from Brussels to Brugge are quite reasonable, you could do that portion for under $20 round trip (holiday or week-end travel in second class).

It's a beautiful town to visit, but I suggest you go on a weekday, Thursday is best. Week-ends can be very crowded in high season and in the beginning of the week, the museums may be closed. However, if your only opportunity to go is on a week-end and you want to do it, then you should still have a good time--I am going to Brugge this week-end. While you are in Brugge take a boat or carriage tour* (or both if you feel like it).
We have friends who took the guided bus tour from Paris. It was more expensive than the DIY trip (at the time, I think it was about $120 pp), but this was their first trip to Europe and they preferred to have someone else handle the details. They had a very pleasant day.

Although I feel Brugge is best as an overnight trip (it is wonderful at night after the day trippers are gone and completely safe to walk around in), it can still be a highly satisfying day trip.

Your plan to wait and see if you feel like going after you get to Paris is a good one.

I've been to Brugge several dozen times over the last few years and always enjoyed it.
BTilke is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 05:57 AM
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*Re the carriage tours (starting near the Begijnhof), I have to give the carriage owners in Brugge VERY high marks for the care of their horses. I have seen the carriage horses in NY and Philly and the horses often looked tired and dispirited (in summer heat and humidity, who can blame them). But the Brugge carriage horses always seem raring to go and look in peak condition. My favorite is the carriage drawn by an attractive and very lively yellow horse; the carriage is usually driven by a woman with a golden retriever up front keeping her company.
BTilke is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 06:09 AM
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Definitely definitely go to Brugge!! Having just come back from a trip including both Paris and Brugge (amongst other places) I would highly recommend Brugge. We stayed there for three nights so can't offer advice as a day trip from Paris, but did travel to Amsterdam on the Thalys and it was probably the nicest train we used in Europe so would agree that is the way to get there. I also agree the horses are in top condition!
ozgirl is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 06:27 AM
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There are two or three direct Thalys trains from Paris to Brugge (end destination: Oostend). You'll save a few minutes and the (very relative) hassle of changing trains at Bruxelles Midi.
Art_Vandelay is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 06:31 AM
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Although I loved the guided tour offered by Cityrama, I found it to be rushed to do in just one day. I would have preferred spending the night since it was so lovely.
moldyhotelsaregross is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 06:43 AM
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If you do the Thalys to Brugge direct option, you lose a lot in flexibility, and get little convenience in return. There is only *one* realistic outbound option for a day trip--the 7:55 am train and only one return option. And that is only on Saturdays. Weekdays in October only have one departure and it's too late to do as a day trip (the multiple departure times Art cites are for the high season--direct service is much more limited off season).
Changing trains also leaves open the option of doing a quick peek at the highlights of Brussels (the Grand'Place and the Sablon).
BTilke is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 06:51 AM
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Thank you all for your very helpful information. It sounds like it is a possible day trip. Might be fun to add this in. I'll collect all the pertinent information here - train schedules, rates, etc. and take it with us. Then we'll have the choice to go or not.

BTilke - why do you think Thursday is best day to go?
Aug 8th, 2005, 07:05 AM
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If you do the Thalys there is an ABS fare - All Belgian stations fare that in combo with Thalys lets you go onto any Belgian station - if buy in US it's free, if buy in Paris i think the ABS costs a few euros so ask about it.
Actually if you want to save tons of money on the train fare you'd book a SMILYS fare - must be done at least 14 days in advance though to get seats in effect must book farther in advance as seats at that incredible price are limited - chose an off-peak day like Tue-Thu - Smilys fares in US thru RailEurope are $31 each way Paris-Brussels and the ABS fare lets you take any train that day to and from Brugge for no additional charge. Normal walk up fare would be $90 each way! Bookings can be made up to 90 days in advance - non-refundable non-changeable. RE has a $15 booking fee and mailing fee. I always recommend BETS (800-441-2387), a RailEurope agent, for these type of booking for their great expertise - i've dealt with them for years - they also don't charge some of RE's mailing fees. You can also check and for special offers.
Whether or not i'd day trip to Brugge is hard to say - if it's the only chance you'll get to see this dreamy city - certainly one of the oldest-looking and cute cities north of the Alps - the Venice of the North due to its many canals - go for it. Leave early and return late because you'll want as much time here as possible.
PalQ is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 07:20 AM
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Thank you PalQ. My daughter really wanted to try and make this trip happen and with all of your advice and others here, I think that we can do it. She'll be thrilled and I'm sure that my husband and I will love it too!
Aug 8th, 2005, 07:43 AM
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Actually to me the train trip will also be part of the memories - thalys trains slice through northern France at speeds up to 186 mph - thru nice countryside with the ubiquitous French villages, each with a tall church steeple protruding from its highest summit, dotting the bucolic scenes.
PalQ is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 07:54 AM
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We did this one day trip Paris-Brugge-Paris on a Wednesday (market day in the main square) just this past June and it is definitely doable. We have been to Brugge many times in the past and we did the trip primarily to replenish our chocolate supply - $300+ of yummy Depla chocolates. But because we had a Europass, we took the TGV to Lille and a local train to Brugge.
baby2 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 07:59 AM
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If buying walk up tickets the Paris-Nord to Lille then changing to Brugge train there would be cheaper and just as quick. Have to change twice however, in Kortrijk, but from one platform to another in this small station.
PalQ is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 08:12 AM
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Thursday has always been my default day to visit Brugge...some restaurants (primarily the non touristy ones) are closed on Mondays, esp. for lunch. Museums are closed on Tuesdays. Wednesdays are the day of our favorite outdoor food market in Brussels and Fridays through Sundays tend to have more week-end day trippers. So...that leaves Thursday!
But you should have a good time any day, although it would be a shame to go for the day on Tuesday when the museums are closed. And I assume Nov. 1 is a holiday again this year, so some things would be closed, wouldn't pick that day (which is a Tuesday, anyway).
BTilke is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 08:46 AM
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..for a oneday trip suggest a tour bus. There is a premium for convenience, but I think it is worth it. I think Paris Vision has a tour too. I would take the train for a multiday stay, but I just cant see running around worrying about connections for a quick trip.
travelbunny is offline  
Aug 8th, 2005, 08:50 AM
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186 mph train to Brussels or Lille go much faster than any bus - most bus tours like this have you getting up at 5 or 6 am and return an exhaustingly late at night. There is minimal transfer time at Brussels - doubt if bus can do it any quicker - there are other benefits to bus tours (and drawbacks) but quickness i don't think it one on this journey.
PalQ is offline  
Aug 9th, 2005, 10:09 AM
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All this information is wonderful - especially that this is a doable day trip! I think we would opt for the train. I don't partiularly like buses and I think we'd rather be on our own, rather than a tour. Our favorite thing to do is follow our curiosities. We just love turning a corner and finding something totally unexpected.

So, thank you so much for all this information. Don't know how I'd plan a trip without this site!
Aug 9th, 2005, 12:05 PM
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But please, please, please remember the city's called Bruges.

If you want to speak Dutch on this board, that's fine (if incomprehensible). But the English for the city concerned is Bruges. That's what the Bruges city council calls it when writing in English, and that's what the regional council, Belgium and the European Commission call it. It's also what we call it.

You don't talk about 'Brussel', you don't talk about 'Athinai' and you don't tell the Italians to stop calling their continent's commercial and cultural capital 'Londra'.

So where did this bizarre conceit about Bruges come from?
flanneruk is offline  
Aug 9th, 2005, 12:09 PM
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lyb is offline  

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