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Side trip to Belgium between Amsterdam and Paris. Stay in Brugge or Brussels, want to see both.

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Jan 8th, 2007, 02:21 PM
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Side trip to Belgium between Amsterdam and Paris. Stay in Brugge or Brussels, want to see both.

We have two days for Belgium leaving Amsterdam sometime on Easter Sunday 2007. Should we stay 3 nights in Brugge and day trip to Brussels or in Brussels and daytrip to Brugge? We would have Easter Sunday evening, Monday and Tuesday. I assume most things are closed on Easter Sunday evening and finding a place for dinner will be challenging in either city.

We leave for Paris on Wednesday. It seems because of our schedule it would make sense to base in Brussels as we would leave from Brussels to Paris on an early am train.
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Jan 8th, 2007, 02:38 PM
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Everything will indeed be closed on Easter, and also on Easter Monday. You won't have a problem to find a place for dinner though.
If you base in Brussels you're more central and there are far more (Thalys) trains going from Brussels to Paris than from Brugge (over Lille).
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Jan 8th, 2007, 02:55 PM
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MyriamC: Because the chocolate festival will be going on in Brugge, I am hoping that some things will be open on Monday, to accomodate people attending the festival. I may be wrong, but that is what I am hoping.

Our intent originally was to base in Brussels and daytrip to Brugge to simply walk around and take in the city and a canal boat ride and eat.
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Jan 8th, 2007, 02:59 PM
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I would suggest stopping and seening Brussels on your way to Bruges and then sleep in Bruges.

There are large locker facilities in the Brussels train station. Get an early train from Amsterdam, put your bags in a locker and wander around for a few hours. Yes, things will likely be closed, but you can still see the outdoor hilites. Then catch the train to Bruges in the evening and sleep there. That gives you two full days in Bruges.
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Jan 8th, 2007, 04:57 PM
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Easter is a very big tourist week-end in Bruges. It can get very crowded. But that means that a surprising number of places will be open (although not "regular" stores, i.e., those that don't rely solely on tourist business).
In Brussels, things will be a lot quieter. But if you are in Brussels over Easter Sunday, the chic restaurant Lola (on the Sablon) should be open. Make your reservations as soon as you can, because it WILL be booked solid for Easter (assuming it's open...it was open at Christmas).
Another good Easter choice in Brussels, if it's open, is Brasseries Georges. About the same €€ category as Lola...that is, moderate to expensive depending on what you order.
Bruges and Brussels have very different vibes, which one you should pick as your base really depends on your tastes and agenda. If you've never been to Bruges, then perhaps that would be more fun for you.
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Jan 9th, 2007, 04:44 PM
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BTilke: Thanks for the restaurant info. Do you think they will be opoen for dinner or only lunch? We expect it to be crowded everywhere at Easter and I am sure we will not be disappointed.
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Jan 10th, 2007, 02:58 AM
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Lola should be open for dinner. Their number is 02.514.24.60 (if you are calling from outside Belgium, call 32 2 514 24 60). Note: this is a modern, stylish place. If you want something old-fashioned, fingers crossed that Brasseries Georges will be open:
http://www.brasseriesgeorges.be/ (but I don't know if they're open on Easter Sunday).
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Jan 10th, 2007, 02:17 PM
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BTilke: Thanks for the phone number. I checked the internet and found some information regarding Lola's hours and a few review of the restaurant. We will definitely try to get a reservation. I find Fodors a great site for personal recommendations and I truly appreciate yours.
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Jan 12th, 2007, 04:27 PM
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My vote is for Brugge. I spent 4 days there for before the holidays and fell in love with the people, food and architecture. We stayed at the Erasmus and the owner Tom treated us like family! Large rooms for Europe, great restaurant for lunch and dinner, the bar had at least 75 different beers and an excellent european breakfast included with board. The hotel is a 2 minute or less walk from the central market and belfrey and has a few rooms overlooking the canal. I had one of the most amazing meals of my life at the Kardinaalshof.(if you enjoy exquisite courses while being treated like a Queen, and I worked for a 4 star restaurant for years) Madame and Frankie were the epitome of graceful, kind and elegant hosts. Honestly I floated the whole 4 minute walk back to the hotel. I could go on and on... Extra bonus is the Chocolate Festival!!! I have hoarded my Sweertvaegher pralines from everyone and I only have 2 left! Can I give you some $! Ha ha. Whatever you do it will be great, the belgian people I met were fantastic. Have fun! I'm jelious!
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Jan 14th, 2007, 11:39 AM
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francefling: Thanks for the vote for Brugge. Because we are arriving on Easter and Monday is a holiday, we are not sure what will be open, including restarants. I am assuming because of the Chocolate festival the "tourist" things will be available. Sweertvaegher pralines sound delicious and I will look out for them. Thanks for the info on the hotel also.
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