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France/Belgium - Making changes to my trip and trip length

Hi all,

I had a France/Netherlands/Belgium trip planned before I heard about breakthrough cases being a thing. I also am debating canceling going to Amsterdam since I heard that masks aren’t used there given an absence of a mask mandate. I’m vaccinated and traveling solo.

What would be a good third place to add to a Paris and Belgium (Ghent, Bruges, Brussels) trip? Or maybe I would just remove Amsterdam completely and just save some of my vacation time? Currently I was going to arrive in Paris on a Sunday (September 19th) and stay in the EU until October 2nd. However, if I do just France and Belgium I’m debating just shortening the trip to 10 days. Would that be enough time or should I stick to my 14 day trip plan?

I was thinking I would do 5 days in Paris, 5 in various cities of Belgium. Or doing 14 days but adding another destination. Never been to Paris or Belgium before.

Thoughts?

Posted by
117 posts

Where are you flying to and from? When is this trip? Have you purchased the plane tickets yet?

Hard to advise without knowing a little more about your trip.

Posted by
4875 posts

If you have your flights and scheduled the 14 days to be traveling, why shorten the time? You could enjoy that much time in Paris alone. I haven't been to Belgium but I don't recall anyone here recommending more than five days there. I'd suggest adding all the remaining time to Paris. Besides the many things to see and do there, you could take some day trips to places like Versailles, Chartres, St-Denis, and others. But September is a very busy month for Paris hotels, and you may have to spend some of those days in a different hotel from the one where you hopefully already have a reservation.

Posted by
67 posts

Hi sorry, I should have been more specific.

I’ve only booked a one way award ticket from SEA - CDG on September 18th. I haven’t yet bought my return ticket because I have no clue how long I’m going to stay and what place I should fly back to Seattle from (at first I was going to fly back from AMS, but now not sure anymore). I will plan on applying for the French health pass about 2 weeks before my trip. I definitely would want to see Paris, the rest are add ons, so to say. I have booked 0 hotel reservations, all I have is the plane ticket. Once I figure out timing then I will book.

I’m 23, and this would be my first solo trip. My work is super flexible on when I take vacation, so that’s why I can be super flexible and stuff.

Posted by
117 posts

I’ve only booked a one way award ticket from SEA - CDG on September 18th.

My advice: stick with France.

For a first time trip to Paris, I would spend at least half of a 14 day trip there. Then, assuming you have not spent any time elsewhere in France, I would look at visiting Normandy and maybe the Loire Valley, and return to CDG to fly home.

Good luck.

Posted by
67 posts

Would you say 10 days would be enough for an only France trip? I think doing only France is smarter because less regulations I have to keep track of, and I kind of wanted to save some vacation days for the end of the year.

Was thinking September 19th (arrive in CDG) to September 29th. I just wanted to see mainly Paris with day trips that you suggested. Maybe even Strasbourg. I also don’t mind doing 2 weeks if the experience is that much better.

Posted by
117 posts

Would you say 10 days would be enough for an only France trip?

It would be enough for a Paris based trip that would allow for day trips nearby, like Versailles, Fontainebleau, Chartres, Giverny, the Champagne area (Reims)...and it would allow you plenty of time to see a lot of different Paris neighborhoods, and all the museums you can tolerate. You could have a great 10 day trip basing out of Paris. You will not run out of things to see and do in a 10 day trip to Paris, especially if you add on a couple of day trips.

To visit Normandy, or Strasbourg, those are not realistic day trips. With more time (your original 14 days), you could add one of them on to an 8 to 10 day Paris stay. I think there is more to see in Normandy - the D-Day beaches and memorials, Bayeux, Mont St Michel - and it makes for a nice 2 or 3 night trip, plus travel days of course.

Posted by
680 posts

I have only been Europe traveling solo. I have not been to Paris or any part of France yet. The way to figure out how many days you need in a city is to write yourself a day-by-day itinerary listing one or 2 major activities you want do each day, along with where you will sleep and approximately when you will travel to your next city. I started my last trip to Europe in Amsterdam, then stayed in the Hague, Antwerp, and Brussels. I had a written itinerary for this trip. You should carry a written itinerary with you. On my first 2 solo trips, I had not written myself in itinerary. Then I got wiser and started planning my travel more, in advance. There is no such thing as rules about how many days or nights you "should" spend in a city. There will not be time to see everything. You are just going to see the few museums and sights that look appealing to you and you will acquiesce to skipping some sights and museums.

If you post an itinerary we will see whether it looks doable.

Posted by
67 posts

Thanks, I think I’m just going to take 10 days since I feel like that would be enough for me. Thank you for the day trip suggestions!

Posted by
67 posts

Thanks for the advice Mike. I will do that to help me see how long I really need.

Posted by
937 posts

You could stay in France and travel around the country and see as much diverse culture, landscape and food as traveling between multiple countries. If you get outside of Paris, you'll save a lot on hotel and food. You can take trains between almost anywhere you'd want to go on a first trip. Alsace will give you a taste of Germany, head to the French Riviera for beaches and seafood, close to Spain will provide Basque influence, the French Alps have spectacular mountain views and hiking, for history, cider and soft cheeses, go to Normandy... and these are just the places I've been over a few trips to France. Don't underestimate what you can experience in France. There's a reason France is so popular and it's not just because of Paris.