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To do a day trip or not...

Arkansas
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To do a day trip or not...

Our very first trip to Paris is getting closer and the one big thing my wife & I are undecided on is whether or not to take a day trip to Brussells.

We both love the idea and would love to see Brussells. But we really don't want to shortchange our time in Paris.

We will be there 5 1/2 days. Since this is our first trip to Paris should we just pass on a day trip or will there still be enough time to really have a great "Paris experience"?

I know this is a "it depends on what you want to do" kind of question. But I would love some thoughts that we could chew on. Thanks!

Denver, Colorado
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1. Re: To do a day trip or not...

I did a daytrip to Brussells and it was a very easy, enjoyable experience - and a nice change of pace from Paris. You can eat breakfast and dinner on the train, and the center square of Brussells is amazing - the most beautiful architecture, in my opinion.

5 1/2 days in Paris itself could be great as well. That one day could give you more time to either explore another part of the city, or revisit some favorites.

Basically, it's a no lose decision - you will love your trip either way :)

Nashville, TN
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2. Re: To do a day trip or not...

Not just a what you want to do question, but how much you want to spend. To get from Paris to Brussels, you need to catch the Thalys (Paris Gare Du Nord to Brussels Midi). Tickets for the Thalys use a pricing scheme similar to airline tickets. The cheapest ones go on sale 90 days out from day of travel. Fares go up as you get closer to your travel date and the cheaper fares sell out. Reservations are required and you must travel on the train reserved. Tickets are non-changeable/non-refundable unless you purchase the more expensive fully flexible ticket.

Puget Sound
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3. Re: To do a day trip or not...

If it were any city other than Paris, I would be tempted to do the side trip for a change of pace. But as you will indeed learn, Paris has an ambiance like no other place, and few people are ever happy to be leaving. Couple this with the jet-lag loss, packing/unpacking, etc, and 5 1/2 days becomes far too short a period of time. Settle-in and enjoy.

Lords Valley...
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4. Re: To do a day trip or not...

First trip, 5 1/2 days, I would stay in Paris.

Toronto, Canada
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5. Re: To do a day trip or not...

I would also stay in Paris. Are you flying from the US into Paris? If so, that first day is generally pretty low key. And what's the 1/2 day - are you leaving for somewhere else midday? If so, there's not a lot that can be accomplished on that last day.

So if you have basically 4 clear days and it's your first trip to Paris, I think you would be better off staying put and enjoying what Paris has to offer.

Arkansas
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6. Re: To do a day trip or not...

The 1/2 day is our arrival day. We arrive at CDG around 9 AM. I expect that half day to be low key

Canterbury
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7. Re: To do a day trip or not...

Depends on what you want to see in Paris.I would rather spend a day in Brussels than a day in Versailles or most of a day in line/visiting The Louvre.

Best of all though would be 5 1/2 days in Paris minus all of the above.Different strokes.

California
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8. Re: To do a day trip or not...

If it were me and my choice was between having a good time that 1) included spending a lot of time on a train and spending money on a train fare or 2) didn't require any time on a train and didn't cost extra money, I'd go with 2) every time.

But that's me. In this situation, it really depends more on how much you really want to see Brussels. But if it's feasible for you to come back, why don't you save Brussels for another, longer trip?

New Hampshire
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9. Re: To do a day trip or not...

It really depends on what you have planned for Paris and whether you'll even have time to get around to some or all of that.

As mentioned, train tickets purchased in advance can cost up to 50% less, so it's best to decide as soon as the lowest fares are available.

If you've never traveled to Europe, you won't know until you've arrived how quickly you'll recover from jet lag. If you've purchased train tickets ahead of time, you'll be committed but may not feel up to such a long excursion. On the other hand, if you have a strong desire to see Brussels, that may keep you going.

If you're planning to use a museum pass in Paris, keep in mind that must be used on consecutive days.

Another consideration is weather.

Tampa, Florida
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10. Re: To do a day trip or not...

I wouldn't -- just because I'm never a big fan of long rides for a day trip -- and because I'm not a fan of Brussels.

5 days in Paris won't be too much -- and there are dozens of easy day trips that would take you an hour or less by train.

If you spend much time waiting in a line at the Louvre, it's because you didn't do your homework and tried to enter through the Pyramid. The Porte des Lions or the Carrousel entrance are both significantly easier access to the Louvre -- there's a short wait for security, and then you basically just walk into whatever part of the Louvre you'd like to see after making a quick purchase at any of the automated terminals around the perimeter of the atrium, which take American credit cards.