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Paris to Bruges and back

We are planning a side trip from Paris to Bruges, Vimy Ridge, perhaps Flanders Field. Can it be done in one day or should we stay in Bruge one night? Is it advisable to return and fly back to Canada via Paris?

Posted by
20332 posts

How are you traveling? Seems like a lot to cover in one day.

Posted by
3122 posts

I would stay overnight. As another comment suggests, you'd be best with a rental car if you want to see all three of these locations. I think it would be really impractical to try to do this in one day from Paris.

As for flying back to Canada, you should compare costs for a straight round trip to/from Paris versus open jaw with a return from, say, Brussels or Amsterdam. Consider the cost of getting from Bruges back to Paris vs. to your chosen airport.

Posted by
7502 posts

Bruges is a long journey from Paris. While there are lots of war sites in Belgium, many of them take planning (especially transportation-wise) because they are not part of major cities. The Search box for this newsboard will help you a lot in researching those special sites.

Just one of these (two ideas) is more than can be done in a day-out return.

If you are asking "Should I buy an "open-jaw" air ticket to return from my last destination?", the answer is certainly yes. These often cost no more than a simple round-trip. But it depends on destinations available from your home city, which you have not filled-in on your visible public profile. Bruges certainly is so far from Paris that it would be crazy to return (to Paris) from Bruges (and spend a single night in Paris, for safety) just to fly home without continuing the vacation. ("open-jaw" is another possible search term you could use in that Search box. See also our host's free hints: https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips

In my experience, even if you fly a two-segment flight home, it's easier and cheaper than returning to a place like Paris from far away. You have to think more critically if you have to take a second segment in your home country as well!

BRU airport is not particularly close to Bruges, although it's easy to get to, with two trains, no reservations needed.

Posted by
20332 posts

You will need a car to visit Vimy Ridge and Ypres (Flanders Field). You can rent in Paris, visit those 2 sites. If you want to fly out of Brussels, you should then drop the car in Lille, France and continue to Bruges by train. There is one direct train every hour from Bruges to Brussels airport at 31 past the hour taking 1 1/2 hours. Probably need 2 nights in Bruges.

Posted by
5046 posts

I agree with Sam. Having visited these sites as part of a more extensive battle site tour, I can say that a car is definitely a necessity just to get to the various sites. And it would be a shame to miss a visit to the Beaumont-Hamel memorial if visiting Vimy Ridge. This is absolutely not a day trip. I would suggest staying the first night in Ypres, then the second night in Bruges. But you will need to drop the rental car in France to avoid some truly eye watering drop off charges. Whether to fly home from Paris or Brussels depends on flight availability to your home airport. But if flying home from Paris, you would need to return there the night before your departure.

And since it will be December, make sure you have adequate outerwear and footwear.

Posted by
9784 posts

And since it will be December, the days will be SHORT. therefore you need even more time to see things in the daylight.

Posted by
15998 posts

If you wisely choose to stay overnight in Bruges - highly recommended - make sure your one FULL sightseeing day is the one most attractions are open. Some of the museums are closed on Mondays; others, such as the excellent Groeninge Museum, on different days (that one is closed on Wed. and some holidays).

https://www.visitbruges.be/en/things-to-do
https://www.visitbruges.be/en/things-to-do/culture-and-heritage?field_tags%5B351%5D=351

I would fly open jaw out of Brussels instead of going all the way back to Paris but yes, it could depend on where you're flying to.

Posted by
2005 posts

You can take a TGV / highspeed train to Arras, takes less than one hour. Rent a car there to go to Vimy Ridge and Ypres. Stay one night in Bruges and drop the car off back in France in Lille. Train back to Paris or Brussels.

Both Arras and Lille have lovely city centers too and Ypres is nice enough to see more than just the Flanders Fields museum. Certainly worth is the Christmas market of Lille. Get informed where to park the car in Bruges and know it will already be dark around 5 PM.

There is plenty to do during the two days! Or probably three?

Posted by
1070 posts

That seems like an awful lot. For reference, my own trip to Vimy Ridge was Eurostar from London to Lille in the morning; renting a car from Lille; having a good visit to Vimy Ridge; and getting to Bruges by evening. You could perhaps do a similar thing from Paris (instead of starting in London as I did), but adding Flanders (I assume you mean Ypres / Passchendaele) seems like a bridge too far.