Suggestions for France/Belgium

Old May 1st, 2012, 03:47 PM
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Suggestions for France/Belgium

We will be traveling to Paris and will be flying back from Brussels. Altogether we have 8 days and are planning to spend the first 4 or 5 days in Paris. I'm looking for suggestions for other places to go in the region, preferably picturesque towns, I've heard Bruges is beautiful. Any other suggestions? Is one day enough time for Brussels?
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Old May 1st, 2012, 07:47 PM
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Lille, in France but on the Belgian border, is very picturesque - worth a stop.

I like Brussels and would budget more time, but many Fodorites do not care for Brussels so much and are happy to do it in a day. Why don't you tell us your interests and maybe people can contribute things to see in Brussels so you can figure out for yourself how much time to budget?

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Old May 2nd, 2012, 12:56 AM
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I'd google map the area that covers from Paris up to and including the whole of Belgium. This includes

Reims and Epernay, Arras, Brugge, Luxembourg,Trier, Antwerp, Gent, Charleville-M.

Each of these are worth a good visit. Are you taking a train or driving?
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Old May 2nd, 2012, 05:11 AM
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As others have said, you have several options:

- If you stay close to the direct way, Chantilly right north of Paris boasts a splendid castle. More northwards, you can visit one of the most elaborate gothic cathedrals in Amiens. Brugge is a beautiful medieval city, indeed. Gent, just on the way to Brussel, is also worth a visit.

- Another option requires a short detour. Prom Paris, drive down the Seine valley. On the way, see the ruins of the monastery in Jumieges. Visit Rouen, a fine medieval town. Then proceed to the coast and admire the giant chalk cliffs of Le Tréport. From there, you can either drive along the coast to Brugge (seeing the historic seaside resorts Ostende, Knokke and Blankenberge on the way) or you drive via Amiens.

- A larger, but still doable detour would lead you via Reims (cathedral, champagne), Metz (cathedral, medieval center), Luxembourg, Trier (Roman heritage), Aachen (Charlemagne, cathedral, medieval town) and Maastricht (medieval town) to Brussel.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 06:14 AM
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Bruges is usually the first picked location and i almost did that but went with Ghent instead. It's got medieval churches and towers.... scenic canals (like Bruges and Amsterdam)... a restored castle from the middle ages and a gorgeous square called the Vrijdagmarkt. i just did a trip report for Brussels and Ghent here... and yes, i think you can see the highlights of Brussels in a single day
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Old May 9th, 2012, 01:44 AM
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You can see a lot of Brussels in one day as it's a pretty small city.

Some of my favorites are:
Grand Place of course
Coudenberg place underground ruins -
Grand Sablon and surrounding area -
These are all within easy walking distance of each other.

Other nice areas in Brussels (especially for shopping, restaurants and bars) are Place du Chatelain, Place Brugmann, Rue Dansaert and Saint Gery.

Brussels has loads of great places to eat. See some of my top picks here -

Hope you have a great trip!
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Old May 9th, 2012, 05:04 AM
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I would allocate more than one day in Brussels especially if you are interested in visiting the art museums there. We spent time there last fall exploring the city and taking day trips.

If you stop in Lille on the way north from Paris, you would be close to Tournai which was one of the cities we visited and enjoyed.
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