I will be traveling from Amsterdam to (Macon area) Burgundy and have two nights in between. I'd like to go somewhere new, en route by train. Lyon, Brussels, Bruges are all top choices -- or somewhere else in Belgium?
Stick with Belgium-haven't yet been to Burges, however, both Brussels and Antwerp(especially the diamond sellers near the train station in Antwerp) are worth seeing. You can easily hop from one city to the other by train, and the attractions are pretty close together for the time you have. I would spend two nights in Brussels and day trip to the other two; candidly, its been years since I was in Lyon, and it is(was) cutting edge for French Cusine when we were there, however, I don't really recall much as far as touring is concerned-an opinion.
My personal experience:
Bruges was a nicely atmospheric small town (my second favorite in Belgium after Antwerp). It's nice to be there in the evening when the day-trippers clear out. If you don't like it, you can also take easy daytrips to Ghent, Antwerp, or Brussels.
Lyon was a very nice big city - my second favorite in France after Paris. There's a great diversity of attractions, from Roman sites to the Resistance museum to the film museum. A further bonus is that it doesn't get a high density of tourists.
Brussels was somewhere between bleh and meh. For me, it had the worst attributes of both an unattractive city - except for the Grand Place - and a dull small town. However, if you are in Brussels when ARAU is running one of their Art Nouveau tours, I'd definitely go there for this (you can day trip in from Bruges, as it's only an hour away, connected by twice-hourly trains). The tours get into buildings usually closed to the public, and they take you in a van to far-flung sites otherwise hard to connect. In a city sorely lacking, at least for me, in highlights, this was one definite high point. http://www.arau.org/en/tours
However, you should know that the subject of how to rank the "big four" in Belgium (Brussels, Bruges, Ghent, and Antwerp) is eternally debated. So, you should do some of your own research.
I have stayed in Brussels and Bruges. I would not return to Brussels after spending only one night there. I would return to Bruges in a minute after staying there for 3 nights.
Ghent - not as touristy as Bruges but a lovely working medieval city. Bruges is just a 22 or 23 minute train ride away.
Thanks, everyone. I hadn't considered Antwerp or Ghent, but I will definitely look into them.
Personally, I like Antwerp the best of this group, and has much to do, but others here prefer Ghent or Bruges. Antwerp may have better train connections, but it depends. Although it's a small city, there is an important art museum, and apparently very good food in Lille, France. The city has the nickname "Little Paris" because the buildings are so attractive. But I only spent a day there, for the Palais de Beaux Arts. Don't know if it's worth two nights. Brussels has several really important art museums, but is a gritty, big, city, albeit with important historical monuments.