Today, we are starting a new journey – from Brussels in Belgium to Paris. Brussels is the capital city of Belgium and world renowned for being the centre of International politics as well as being the home to the headquarters of NATO and the European Union.
Brussels has two main languages – Dutch and French, with a considerable number of people speaking both.
Brussels has a typical oceanic climate and experiences more than 200 days of rain each year. Temperatures hit a high of 23°C in the height of summer, while winters are a very chilly 6°C. The best time of year to visit Brussels is between May and September when the weather is just right.
Train Travel from Brussels to Paris
In Brussels there are three main stations: The Brussels South known as the Gare du Midi, Brussels Central and Brussels North. The main station for train travel to Paris is the Brussels Midi (gare du midi) with a journey time of 1:22 hrs.
Brussels South has lots of nice shops and eateries nearby, unlike the other two stations where they are quite a walk away. Train tickets from Brussels to Paris cost around £91 one way. The best way to travel if you are travelling around Europe and wish to see as many places as possible is to buy an InterRail pass which will give you unlimited travel for 22 days anywhere in Europe.
Where to Stay in Brussels
Brussels isn’t short of accommodation, since the city is used to hosting heads of states and affluent business people as well as tourists throughout the year. Hotels in Brussels can be expensive. There are plenty to be found easily around the gare du midi station and includes the Euro Capital Brussels which costs from £105 a night.
The Floris Hostel costs from £63 a night, and is just 500m away from the gare du midi station. This is a budget option for travellers and backpackers. The Apart hotels costs from £62 a night with the option of booking an apartment for £64 a night, so is ideal if you are in a group.
What to do in Brussels
Brussels offers much to see and do for all its tourists. The most obvious place is the famed Atomium which is modelled on a crystallised iron molecule and allows you to visit the various spheres which hold different exhibitions and restaurants.
Once you descend from the Atomium, head for the model of Mini Europe which allows you to travel through 80 plus cities in less than a couple of hours. Set in a park, it’s one of the few places that can lose both you and kids as you immerse yourself in the splendour of how superbly each detail is captured in the cities.
Brussels old town is loved by tourists because of the quaint little shops and sights you will find here such as the grand palace which was recently voted as the most beautiful square in Europe. The square has guild houses as well as the King’s house and the town hall – all are richly decorated and have stunning architecture. Each year, the square is home to the Biennial flower carpet – a HUGE carpet made of flowers which graces the entirety of the square.
You can’t take a trip to Brussels without sampling their world famous Belgian chocolate. Considered the best quality chocolate you can buy, Belgian chocolate is so famed here that they even have their very own dedicated chocolate museum where you can learn all about its history and how it is made. Once you have toured around, be sure to visit the Wittamer – world famous chocolatier and supplier to the Belgian courts.
You can learn more about Belgium by taking one of its tours around the city by a tour bus where you can hop on and off to see various sites and sounds. You can catch the tour bus from the central station, and it is well worth using this to get the most out of a short stay here.
Seeing as though Brussels is the capital of the EU, take a tour of the European Union Headquarters where you can book an official audio tour which includes a session or sitting in parliament.
Brussels is as famous for its mussels as it is for its beer. The Belgians love their mussels and have them fried with a serving of frites or chips. Sometimes they order plates of mussels on their own. Most restaurants and eateries offer a form of this dish and serve it in their own style.
Brussels has much to see and do, but tomorrow, we head for Paris!