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Train to Paris for the day from Brussels?

Train to Paris for the day from Brussels?

Apr 3rd, 2007, 11:06 AM
  #1  
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Train to Paris for the day from Brussels?

I will be in Brussels with friends. We are arriving Sat noon and leaving Tuesday. It has been suggested we take the train to Paris, walk around and have an early dinner. I think it is too much to fit in. Any comments or great restaurant suggestions in Brussels?
gomiki is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 11:19 AM
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I've gone to Brussels from Paris on day trips for business and it's manageable. The train trip is only about an hour and twenty minutes long. If you do the trip in reverse (ie Brussels-Paris-Brussels), save it for Monday because stores (and some restaurants) are closed on Sunday in Paris. If you book reasonably far in advance, you should be able to get a price of about 70 euros in 2nd class (return fare). I think the only potential problem is that you are short-changing yourself with respect to your time in Brussels. If you haven't been there before, it's worth more than a day and half.
Kate_W is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 11:31 AM
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Thank you Kate. I agree. I have never been to Brussels and would rather see that city. Or as much as I can. Would you have a restaruant suggestion for a special meal in Brussels?
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Apr 3rd, 2007, 11:53 AM
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Your cheapest ticket on Thalys trains would be the Smilys fare (54 EUR return), but those tickets sell out fast. Book online at either thalys.com or sncf.com up to 90 days in advance. The standard fare, even in 2nd class, is very expensive.

Or you could go to Bruges for the day. Just under an hour by InterCity train for a return fare of 24 EUR. No advance booking needed.

Or convince your friends to stay in Brussels.
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Apr 3rd, 2007, 11:57 AM
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Tim, that was so helpful. Thank you! I am going to do a search on Bruges.
gomiki is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:06 PM
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Hi,
Just had a great meal on Saturday evening at a restaurant called Vert de Gris, located fairly centrally in Brussels, a short walk from the Place du Sablon.
http://www.vertdegris.be/
Beautiful décor, excellent, friendly service and great food (you can see a sample menu on their website, in English). There was a mix of groups and couples eating, so it would be a nice place to go with friends. You can reserve online, though we were advised that it's best to reserve several days in advance to be sure of a table in the main dining room, rather than the smaller dining area upstairs (which was where we were seated - perfectly pleasant but less grand than downstairs).
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Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:11 PM
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I have done this dozens of times from Brussels. It's very easy. FYI, you can buy single metro tickets in the Thalys bar car in case you want to bypass the long lines for tickets at the Gare du Nord.
However, you are in Brussels for a short time and maybe it's better you stay there. Lots of terrific restaurant choices in town...what's your taste and budget?

Offhand, some of my favorites include
Notos www.notos.be getting rave reviews.
Le Chalet de la Foret http://www.lechaletdelaforet.be/
Brasseries Georges For Sunday lunch. Has sort of a Parisian vibe (in a 16th "poodle arrondissement" way). http://www.brasseriesgeorges.be/
Chez Leon, over by the Grand'Place. Touristy but fun.
Lola, on the Sablon. Still popular and au courant after all these years.
Haven't eaten there yet, but there's a new restaurant opening in the revamped Atomium. I hope to try it in the next month or two. The Atomium can be fun, the Barbie exhibit is a hoot. And the place does look cool at night with the sparkling lights.
http://www.belgiumtaste.com/index.php?flash=ok and
http://www.belgiumtaste.com/restoSoir.php

Except for Leon, reservations are highly suggested, probably mandatory.
BTilke is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:11 PM
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hanl, thank you! That looks perfect for us and I like the online reservation system.
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Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:21 PM
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BTilke, we were posting at the same time. Thank you for the suggestions. I was hoping for some input from you! I am really on the fence. I love Paris and have not been there in May. Maybe the special dinner in Brussels and just walking around Paris for the day? I don't think I would want to spend too much time inside. Of course the weather will have something to do with that but we would need to book the train tix now.....hmmmmmm.

What do you think about a day trip to Bruges?
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Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:31 PM
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If you really want to go to Paris, then go! But don't plan a big meal in Brussels same day, you'll be too tired.

Maybe
Saturday...highlights of Brussels, good dinner
Sunday...Paris (if you want to sightsee, stroll and do museums, but not shop). I think it works best to take the 8:30 am (ish) train down, gets in about 10 am, then come back around 6:30 to 7:30 pm, arriving around 8 to 9 pm. Gives you time to wander around Paris, have a simple lunch somewhere, hit a museum, then get back to Brussels before it's too late. You could have a casual dinner near the Grand'Place, even do Leon's that night.
Monday...more Brussels or if you're in the mood and have the energy, go to Bruges. Only 50 minutes away, trains twice an hour, no need to buy tickets in advance.
Tuesday...onwards and upwards, wherever you're planning to go.

Sure it's a hectic schedule, but you still get to see Brussels, Bruges AND Paris, there are worse ways to spend four days...
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Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:33 PM
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BTilke, I've been wondering what Notos is like, as we often dine at a little Thai restaurant across the road from there (Chez Saly, which I would heartily recommend by the way).
Would it a good place to go with my husband for a dîner à deux? Or is it more of a trendy place to go with friends?
(sorry for hijacking your thread, gomiki)
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Apr 3rd, 2007, 01:58 PM
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hanl, that's OK. The more info the better.

BTilke, thank you for the ideas and pushing the time envelope. I see that I could do it all I will need to see what the others would like to do too. That will be interesting!
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Apr 3rd, 2007, 04:04 PM
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Hanl, first thanks for the other two recs, will have to try them.

Yes, highly recommend Notos for you and your husband. It's quite elegant. I love their chicken stuffed with pistachios main course. Their Greek wine selection is very good, quality wines I've never heard of, none of your everyday taverna stuff.

I've dined there alone, with DH and with another couple. Alone, the service wasn't that great and they didn't "remember" my reservation at first. As a couple (or with more than one person), everything was fine. That's my only complaint--they don't treat solo diners very well. For shame!

Every time I've been there, they were fully booked, so I wouldn't try it without a reservation.
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Apr 3rd, 2007, 04:09 PM
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One other place I like although it doesn't seem like it would be any good is Copenhagen up on the Blvd. Waterloo close to the Porte de Namur stop. It's often busy at night. The food is good, not outstanding, but definitely up to standard. And they have a GREAT house cocktail menu. Sometimes live jazz too. Not a bad choice after a day in Paris, easy to get to from the Midi train staion by metro (4 stops up) and not expensive if you order the smaller plates.
And of course, whenever I'm in the mood for chicken, the only place worth going to is Canterbury's by the Ixelles lakes. Or to eat at home, Lienard's on 11 rue Washington near Chatelain. Best poultry dealer in town. And Mme Lienard is such a nice, friendly lady.
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Apr 3rd, 2007, 04:17 PM
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TimS,
Is it possible to buy from Thalys.com if I'm in the US? When I went to the website, I only found 4 choices for shipping address-- Belgium, France, Netherlands, and Germany. Does the site only sell to residents of those countries, or is there some other link that I missed?
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Apr 3rd, 2007, 06:43 PM
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MademoiselleFifi, Pick one of those countries as if you were planning to have your ticket sent in the mail. When you get near the end of the booking process, you'll be given your choice of several options for ticket delivery. Select "Print your own ticket" and proceed to complete the booking, including printing the ticket.
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Apr 4th, 2007, 12:25 AM
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Thanks BTilke, have noted down all your recs for future reference! and will definitely try Notos.
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Apr 5th, 2007, 04:51 PM
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Thanks, TimS
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