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yk's Trip Report: 10 days in France and Belgium on a budget

yk's Trip Report: 10 days in France and Belgium on a budget

Old Sep 25th, 2008, 01:54 PM
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yk
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I was curious, so I looked up my expenses from previous European trips.

If I subtract airfares from the total...

UK May 2008 solo trip: $233/day
Spain Feb 2008 solo trip: $215/day
London Sept 2007 solo trip: $250/day
Germany April 2007 solo trip: $143/day
Vienna Nov 2006 trip: $355/day for 2

So, the fact that we only spent $290/day for 2 this time, I think we did pretty good.
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Old Sep 25th, 2008, 02:54 PM
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Wonderful trip report! I'm referencing it for my trip to Belgium.

Thank you!

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Old Sep 25th, 2008, 03:04 PM
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Greatly enjoyed your trip report, especially the cost breakdowns. Thank you for sharing!
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 06:56 AM
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ttt

and

Photos can be seen here at Travelerstogo:
http://europetogo.yuku.com/topic/7352
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 07:02 AM
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ohhh going to check out the photos!!
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 08:29 PM
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yk,

I only caught your report today, but thanks so much for posting it. I remember your trip to England, and this trip report was equally enjoyable.

Just a question - I've been to Versailles twice, and I never realized I could catch a SNCF train to Versailles in 15 min. So, the forfait tickets are good on a SNCF train? You also mentioned it was a 15 minute walk to Versailles - is this a different station than the one you get out of if you use the RER C line?
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 08:34 PM
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yk,

Just followed your link to the photos - those are incredible pictures that you got on the Paris river cruise, just lovely. Is the photo of the Eiffel tower at the end of the cruise?

From the rest of the photos, you can tell what beautiful weather you had on the trip - what were the temps like in Paris?
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Old Sep 30th, 2008, 06:16 AM
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Anna1013 - Thanks for reading the TR and looking at the photos!

I never realized I could catch a SNCF train to Versailles in 15 min. So, the forfait tickets are good on a SNCF train? You also mentioned it was a 15 minute walk to Versailles - is this a different station than the one you get out of if you use the RER C line?

Yes, the Forfait Loisirs ticket is good for SNCF trains (thanks to Robespierre who answered my same question months ago). The train leaves from Gare Montparnasse and arrives at Versailles-Chantiers, which is a different station from Versailles Rive-Gauche where the RER-C stops. As I've mentioned, we were given a map leaflet when we bought our Forfait Loisirs ticket, which showed us the route to walk to the Chateau (which is really straight forward).

Is the photo of the Eiffel tower at the end of the cruise?

No, we took the Vedettes du Pont Neuf cruise, which departs from Pont Neuf. So, the Eiffel Tower is about the 1/2 way point on the cruise. The boat makes a U-turn after it passes Pont d'Iéna.

what were the temps like in Paris?
It was in the low 50s in early morning/late evening, and mid-60s during the day. The 2 days we were in Paris it was a bit overcast, so it felt more chilly. Our day at Versailles we had much better weather, though I felt cold as soon as I stepped in the shade.
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Old Sep 30th, 2008, 11:08 AM
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yk,

Thanks so much for your reply! If I ever go back to Versailles, at least I know I have another option.

I'm surprised it was so cold(well, for me that's cold) in Paris for early-mid September, but as everyone says weather in Paris is always unpredictable.
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Old Sep 30th, 2008, 12:41 PM
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I really feel that taking the SNCF train to Versailles-Chantiers is an excellent (if not better) option, esp since we were staying right by Gare Montparnasse.

It would have taken us far longer if we had to take the metro to a RER-C station, then change for the RER which takes 30 minutes to get to Versailles.
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Old Sep 30th, 2008, 07:31 PM
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yk,

again, as I said before up thread aways, thanks for all your info. I am planning a trip in Feb. to A'dam and Bruges and Brussels.

It looks like I will be booking a NWA flight from DFW into AMS and out of BRU. The flights are direct into AMS and on the return it is a hop from BRU to AMS and then direct back home. my question is about our trip to the airport. we have a 7:15 AM departure! ouch.

I know you said it was only 15 minutes are so out to the airport. do you happen to know how early the trains start running? I am hoping being at the airport an hour to hour and a half prior will work. do you have any thoughts on that? I've never had such an early flight before.

thanks...lynda
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Old Oct 1st, 2008, 04:45 AM
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Hi lynda-

I checked the Belgian Railway website, and it looks like the first train from Brussels Central to the Airport runs just before 5am - and every 15 minutes from then on.

But with such an early departure, perhaps it might be easier on you to stay at an airport hotel? I don't know if any is attached to the airport directly.

Otherwise, do you know which hotel you're staying in Brussels? How close/far is it from the train station?

Alternatively, you can spring for a taxi to the airport. According to the airport website, a taxi ride from center of Brussels should be around €35.
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Old Oct 1st, 2008, 06:03 AM
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@ Lynda
The first train from Brussels Centraal to Bru airport is at 4:52, arriving at 5:08. That should be early enough to catch an intercontinental flight at 7:15.
There is a hotel attached to the airport, it's the Sheraton Brussels Airport.
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Old Oct 16th, 2008, 03:37 AM
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yk - Great trip report! I remember when you were planning your trip, so I was glad to hear you had a successful and fun time.

I linked to your report from the Bamberg/Würzburg thread last night, so maybe this afternoon I'll have a chance to check out your photos. We've visited most of the places you posted about, so it will be nice to see them.

There's a possibility we might visit Versailles next year, so thanks for the tip about the SNCF trains.

Robyn >-
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Old Oct 16th, 2008, 05:07 AM
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Thank you for this very informative report!
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Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 08:20 AM
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Great trip report. It's very helpful.
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Old Oct 25th, 2008, 07:59 PM
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Excellent trip report. I'll be in Paris and Brussels early next year and your report gave me some great tips.
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Old Oct 25th, 2008, 08:52 PM
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yk,
Great trip report. It will be cut and pasted for a long time to come.

Thank you. BTW, if you take a cell phone along, you won't have to worry about a travel alarm or a special watch. (one of my favorite travel tips from Robespierre- it was a "well duh" moment for me since I always take my cell phone )

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Old Oct 26th, 2008, 05:48 AM
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LSky - Well, DOH for me too!

I'm glad others are finding this TR useful!
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 04:06 AM
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Outstanding trip report, yk. Your pictures on travelerstogo are beautiful and enticing. Thanks for sharing your vacation.
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