Today we took the train from Bruges to Brussels.
In Brussels we walked to our hotel and checked in.
Then we went exploring. Right outside our hotel there was a street fair going on. Apparently it is a celebration of one of the starting points for the Tour de France.
For dinner we had pizza at a nearby bistro. The liter bottle of water was €9 and each glass of wine was €3.50.
Bruges seems very similar to Ghent but Bruge is bigger and seems to have fewer churches. This morning in Bruges we took a boat ride on the canals. The ride was faster and more crowded than the ride in Ghent but it was still very interesting. This is a beautiful town. It was sunny and warm today which just added to our enjoyment.
This afternoon we took a tour of the Halve Maan Brewery in Bruges. It was an excellent tour. Two things really added to our enjoyment. One, our guide was really engaged. Not only did he tell us the history of the family brewery and how the beer is made but he also pointed out the various landmark sites in Bruges that we could see from the roof of the brewery.
The second thing that made the tour more interesting than your typical brewery tour was that most of the original brewery equipment was still in place even though modern equipment is being used now. We learned about both the old processes and the new processes
In order to call the beer Bruges beer it is still brewed in the city center but the beer is pumped through a beer pipeline to the outskirts of Bruges to be bottled.
After the tour we enjoyed a complimentary glass of the unfiltered beer. It was very good!
For dinner we ate at Le Chef et Moi. We each had the prix fixe menu, beef appetizer followed by a cod main dish and desert.
This was our view walking back to the hotel.
In Ghent This morning the first thing we did was visit the Museum of Industry, Work and Textiles.
After checking out of our hotel we were walking toward the tour boat landing when we walked by an artisanal patisserie, Aix Meeveilleux de Fred. It was the kind of serendipitous discovery that creates the memories of a trip like this. They were making their own beautiful pastries as we watched. We shared a large warm chocolate chip bread bun with two cups of coffee. Oh my goodness it was heavenly!
Next we took a boat tour of Ghent. The ride gave us a beautiful perspective of Ghent’s old buildings and canals.
We walked to the train station and took the train to Bruges.
tonight we had a wonderful dinner at De Twijfelaar in Bruges. We are staying at Saint-Sauveur Bruges B&B. We have a lovely big attic room with a nice view.
This morning after our coffee and croissants we checked out of our Paris hotel and walked two miles up the Seine to the bus terminal.
Duke had reserved the top floor front row seats of our bus so we had a wonderful view of the French country side as we headed north.
In Ghent we walked from where the bus dropped us off about a mile to our hotel in the center. In the Middle Ages Ghent was a wealthy seaport. As a result It is absolutely full of beautiful old buildings. After checking in to our hotel we had a lot of fun wandering around the trafic free central area.
We had dinner at Du Progres. We shared a chateaubriand. It was wonderful.
This morning we visited the Archaeological Crypt of the Île de la Cité. It is under the square in front of Notre Dame. Originally the plan was to build a car park there but when they found Roman and medieval ruins they decided to relocate the car park. It was very interesting to see the remains of the fortified wall, the ancient baths and the beginnings of the construction of Notre Dame from 1163.
Next we walked around both the inside and outside of the cathedral of Notre Dame.
It was a beautiful day for walking.
I especially loved visiting Shakespeare and Company English Bookstore. It has been a literary fixture in Paris for more than one hundred years. In my mind it is a perfect bookstore full of nooks and crannies, rooms leading one into another and lots of inviting books. I could have spent all day there.
I didn’t buy a book since I would have to carry it for the next two months but it was very tempting!
We ate dinner at Hebe. They had a great tasting menu. We had six dishes to share. The fish soup and the scallops were the best.
I love French croissants! I have been looking forward to a French breakfast ever since we started planning this trip. Monday morning our breakfast of coffee, croissants and orange juice at a little cafe near our hotel made me very happy.
After breakfast we headed to The Louvre. I’ve been there a couple of times before but this was Duke’s first visit. The size and splendor of the former palace always amazes me.
We saw many of The Louvre’s most famous pieces of art.
The Venus de Milo
The Mona Lisa
The Code of Hammurabi.
On our way back to our hotel we saw more than 100 horses with splendidly uniformed riders parading along the Seine. We couldn’t figure out why. But then over coffee in the lounge at our hotel we saw that President Xi Jinping of China and President Macron of France were reviewing the troops at the Arc de Triomphe.
For dinner we ate at another great little local restaurant near our hotel, Le Petit Pontoise. We started with foie gras. For our main course Duke had steak and I had veal kidneys. For desert we had crime brûlée. The ambiance and the good food made it a quintessential and perfect dinner.
Duke and I arrived in Paris today at the start of another European adventure. Our plan is to spend a couple of days here then head north. We will explore parts of France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany before ending up in Spain.
It’s exciting to be in Paris. Even just the short walk from the Metro to our Hotel was full of quintessential Parisian sights.
After a great Norwegian Air overnight flight from Oakland I’m pretty tired. But I just need to stay awake until it gets dark so I can start getting over my jet lag.
We ate dinner at a restaurant near our hotel, L’Atelier Maître Albert. Our meal was very good. I had roast bream fish and Duke had roast duck. We had a spinach mushroom gratin as a side dish. For desert we had ewe cheese with a cherry jelly.
On the walk back to our hotel we had another beautiful view of Notre Dame