We will be going to Europe in Feb. and would like to know if two days is enough time to see Paris or if we need more. We have 7 days and also want to see Brussels and London as well.
I can't resist a comment on Nigel's post . He has done you a great favor by spelling out in detail what you will encounter. When we started to travel in Europe three years ago , London was our first destination , and Nigel must have been tailing us from touchdown at Heathrow all the way . His comments are spot on as far as every moment . He really gets it right ( always ! ) His post brought us a smile and a few laughs as well . Bob from Connecticut also echoes afurther sentiment : while three days each in London and Paris might work , the week in either or would absolutely make even more sense . We also spent ten days in Paris in 2011 and it wasn't enough . We are going back this coming fall for ten more ! P.S. I don't think one can ever get enough of either London or Paris !!!
Does your allotted time include travel ( a somewhat time consuming factor ) ? In any event , I would skip Brussels and divide my time more or less equally between Paris and London , flying open jaw , of course . Have a great time ,they are great cities !!
With 7 days (how many nights will you actually have?) I agree that skipping Brussels and dividing the time between Paris and London is a better plan. Will you be going anywhere else, or will you just have the one week in Europe? You should fly into London and home from Paris, or visa versa, to save time.
I agree with the others. Skip Brussels. Take the Eurostar between London and Paris. Book ASAP at eurostar.com to get the lowest discount fare that still is available. Last-minute tickets bought at the station are very expensive. Discount fare tickets are for a specific departure date and time and are non-exchangeable and non-returnable. Be sure you can commit before booking.
No, I don't believe that 2 days is sufficient to do and see enough of Paris more than perhaps seeing the outside of a few things. The same answer would apply for London. I'll show you why. You say you have 7 days. For example,
Day 1. arrive by overnight flight from Austin via DFW to London. You will be jetlagged and very tired; more like a zombie on the first day. If you land at about 7am (dunno, only an example), by 9am you will have your luggage and be through Immigration and Customs and looking for the Underground. Half an hour to get some money, use the toilet, get your bearings and get tickets to get into London and get onto the Tube. You will arrive at your London digs an hour or so later, So by 11 you will drop off your bags and try to figure out London. You'll have time to see one attraction, perhaps, and get some food. You will be tired so will go to bed early (maybe not you but many many people do) and that's Day 1 done. Day 2. Most of a full day, after you get moving, to see 2 or 3 things at high speed in London. Day 3. Check out after breakfast and catch the Eurostar mid morning to Brussels. The 10:58 arrives at 14:04 in Brussels. Get to the hotel, drop the bags, freshen up and you have the rest of the afternoon to look at the Grand Place. Day 4. To see much of the first rank of Brussels attractions, get some chocolate and eat mussels and frites. Day 5. Check out after breakfast and take the (example) 10:01 Thalys train to Paris, arriving 11:23, just in time to check in at your hotel and have a 2 hour Parisian lunch then time to see the Eiffel Tower and perhaps go past somewhere else before dinner. ... more ....
... con't ... Day 6. Maybe half a day at the Louvre, maybe go up the Eiffel Tower, maybe see something else. Day 7. Just enough time to check out after breakfast to get on the RER out to the airport in order to get there at least 3 hours before departure. You're on your way home. - = - I don't want to be a wet blanket, but is that how you want your trip to be? Wouldn't you want to leave Belgium for your next trip when in addition to Brussels you could get to Bruges and Ghent too? Bruges deserves at least 2 nights, I think that the same could be said for Ghent. At least 4 nights to see Brussels, Ghent and Bruges well. Paris really needs 4 nights to see at all well, so does London. Note how much of your precious time is spent traveling and checking in and out. Don't underestimate how much like a zombie jetlag will make you.
We spent 10 days in Paris recently, and wished we had more time. For a 7 day trip, I would pick either London or Paris.
The first time my husband and I went to London we took the Eurostar to Paris. We had 8 days total, so we were able to whet our whistles in both places, but like Bob says, a 7 day trip would be ideal for one or the other, but likely not both That being said, if you are dead set on seeing more than one city in 7 days, then skip Belgium!
I agree with the others. Nigel's scenario is uncannily accurate. To answer your literal question, two days isn't nearly enough "time to see Paris" and do it justice at all. Same for London. I haven't been to Brussels but I'd want more time there too. I suggest you pick either London or Paris for your week. You'll have enough time to see most of the "top-rank" sights (depending on your interests of course) and maybe a day trip to somewhere else nearby. If I had to choose one, and hadn't been to either, I'd choose Paris. But if I hadn't had a few years of high-school French way back in the last century, I might choose London just for ease of communication. (They speak a language, actually several, resembling what we know as English ;)).
You cannot see three big cities in seven days and enjoy it. I would stick just with Paris or London. For each of them you need at least 5 days (min.) to have enjoyable experience. 2 days would be OK for Brussels.
REally, 7 days and three big cities, well two at least, I would so dump Brussels and just do Paris and London, actually I would dump two and only do one city but thats my travel style.. can you even sqeeze in a few more days, PAris and London both deserve 3-4 days minimum to really enjoy, and 5 days each if you wish to consider a daytrip or two ( Bath, Versailles, Windsor etc) Buy your tickets for the Eurostar NOW , prices only go up closer to date and can be pricey last minute. Fly into one city( paris or london) and out the other, when pricing look for "multi destination " or "open jaw" tickets, not two one ways. Really, try and make it 10 days, Americans get such short vacations,, yuck! As said by others, your first and last days do not count for much.. so you can see how short trip really is if you try and cram so much in..
I vote with those who say skip Brussels. If it were me, I would choose Paris for the entire trip. Or London. Love both cities so much, and they are so different. Depends on what your interests are. Yes, Paris. Or....maybe London. Skip Brussels for sure. :)
Abby, With only a very short seven days, my suggestion would be to concentrate on London and Paris. That should allow about three days in each city, with one day for the trip on the EuroStar. I definitely agree with the others that you should skip Brussels. That should allow enough time to cover the "highlights" of both cities, but won't be adequate to cover them in much detail. That would allow you to get some idea of both, and you can return on another trip to see more. If you decide to try that, I'd highly recommend planning your touring carefully so that you don't waste ANY time. To plan sightseeing, use either the appropriate city Guidebooks or the new Pocket London and Pocket Paris versions. It would probably be a good idea to start with a more relaxed schedule, as you'll be jet lagged for a day or two after arrival, so won't be up to normal "touring speed". One other question - have you booked flights yet? Are you planning to start in London? I normally prefer Gatwick Airport and try to avoid Heathrow when possible. Using open-jaw flights (inbound London, outbound Paris) would of course be the most efficient travel method. Is there any possibility that you could get a few more days? Good luck with your planning!
http://www.ricksteves.com/graffiti/helpline/index.cfm?topic=56917 Read the three posts by me in this older thread. Paris in a day an a half and it sucks, but at least you get it done.
Thanks everyone (and Nigel for opening making us see the light!) you have convinced us to skip Brussels and we are able to add an extra day so now we have 8 nights plus our two travel days. We want to fly in to London and leave from Paris. Would it be best to take the Eurostar to Paris or fly to Paris from London? We would have to commute to Houston and fly from there.
The train will be faster, city center to city center.
Abby , the Eurostar is by far the best way to get between London and Paris.. if you buy tickets well in advance,, (120days) then they are cheap, and you have no luggage weight restrictions( well other then what you can carry yourself, don't count on porters !!!)
You travel city center to city center, so no hassles getting out to airport or into city from airport. A short taxi ride will get you to your hotel.
If you are in central London, and want to get somewhere in central Paris, say around the Luxembourg Gardens, let me give 2 live examples. Fly... You will take the 9:05 BA flight LHR-CDG. It will take you round about an hour to get to Heathrow, then you need to be there (minimum) 2 hours ahead so you are on the Tube at 6am. Sorry about the breakfast. Arrive CDG 11:25 so by 12:00 you're on the RER blue line which is 7 stops to Luxembourg. I haven't ridden that line but guess 45 minutes? Lunch on a bench in the Luxembourg Gardens at about 1pm. Yum. Eurostar... 20 minutes to St Pancras station and 30 minute check in. For the 8:31 departure get in the Tube after breakfast at 7:30 to leave a bit of breathing room. Arrive Paris Gare du Nord refreshed after an easy trip on big comfy seats at 11:47. Same blue RER line to Luxembourg but now only 3 stops in about 10 minutes and lunch on the bench before 12:30 and you can wait for your other self to arrive.
LOL Thanks guys! (and again Nigel for your itinerary!) Eurostar it is.
While it is great to have unlimited time in each of those two cities, if it were me I would be very happy seeing both of those cities for 4 days, if I had never been before. Then, if you fall in love with one or both you can make the decision to return. You will most definitely be able to get a good overview of each city with that amount of time and since they are so completely different I think it will make a lovely trip.
I agree with those that advised you to drop Brussels. Spend more time in Paris. I took a weekend trip to Brussels and there really aren't that many sites and it doesn't take long at see all of La Grande Place. Some tour companies offer a daytrip from Paris to Brussels. Perhaps that's a better idea.