If you are in Paris, France, and would like to visit another country within a day or a short span of time, Belgium should be your top choice. Major cities like Brussels, Bruges, and Antwerp are exceptionally accessible from Paris, allowing you to enjoy a day trip and return to Paris the same day.
In just over an hour by train, you can journey from the bustling streets of Paris to the heart of Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the European Union. Brussels is renowned for its historic architecture, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine. Stroll through the picturesque Grand Place, vibrant Place Saint-Géry, and savor some world-famous Belgian food at a local brasserie.
If you are interested in Politics, visiting to the European Parliament area, including the Parliament Hemicycle is highly recommended. It’s an only-in-Belgium opportunity to witness the heart of European politics and governance, where decisions are made.
How to get to Brussels : A high speed train from Paris (1 hour 20 min)
How long should I stay? : If you leave Paris on an early train and get to Brussels before 9 am, you can see most popular attraction places in the city center and come back to Paris within the same day. You need to stay overnight if you would like to spend some time in museums, enjoy restaurants and beer pubs, check out the antique market in the morning, and maybe explore another city from Brussels later.
A train journey of just over two hours connects Paris to Antwerp, a city known for its rich history and thriving fashion scene. Contrasting with Paris’s romantic ambiance, Antwerp is a bustling port city.
How to get to Antwerp : A high speed train from Paris (2 hour 20 min)
How long should I stay? : If you leave Paris on an early train and get to Antwerp central station before 9 am, you can see many popular places in the city center, like Grote Markt, the Cathedral of Our Lady, and Diamond District (around the central station) and Fashion District (in west area of the historic city center).
A bus or train ride of around two and a half hours will take you to the fairytale city of Bruges. Unlike the bustling metropolis of Paris, Bruges offers a serene and picturesque atmosphere. Known as the “Venice of the North,” this city is famous for its canals, medieval architecture, and cobbled streets.
How to get to Bruges: If you are traveling from Paris on a high-speed train, you will need to change trains at Brussels South (Zuid/Midi) station.
If you don’t plan to go to Brussels, we recommend taking a one-day tour that connects Paris city center to Bruges directly.
How long should I stay?: Bruges is a small city with plenty to see. For a quick city exploration, one day is sufficient to enjoy the Grote Markt, Groeningemuseum, and a boat trip (if available). However, we recommend staying for one night because the city is exceptionally charming for evening strolls as well.
Combining the Cities
You can start your journey in Brussels and then venture to either Antwerp or Bruges, as they are relatively close to each other with just around 1-hour train ride in between. Alternatively, you can kick off your adventure in Antwerp and explore Brussels and Bruges afterward.
If you’re short on time and eager to see them all, combining two cities in one day is possible but requires a bit of hustle or take a bus tour from Paris.
Beware on Mondays
When planning a museum visit in Belgium on a Monday, international travelers should be aware that the most museums and attractions are closed on this day.
Consider Private Transfer
Traveling by train between Paris and Belgium is quite straightforward. However, if you encounter challenges for various reasons, like traveling with small children or carrying lots of luggage, or if you prefer a more personalized travel experience, there are also private transportation options available to make your journey more comfortable and convenient.
Dark Quickly in Winter
You might find it surprising how quickly it gets dark in Belgium during winter, and the same goes for other European countries. For instance, in December, it can start feeling like nighttime as early as 4 pm. If you want to explore the city or take photos, it’s a good idea to plan these activities in the morning or early afternoon when there’s still plenty of daylight.