Brugge, indeed a Venice in the North.

Yes indeed as often call the Venice of the North, it is a wonderful architecturally laden small city in the north west of Belgium’s Flemish countryside with an opening to the sea. I made my trip here by automobile as it is my best way to travel with the family.

Christianity fill it by 650 AD and Saint Eloi, it has a history even as far as 2000 years , it has a rich history too long for this blog, the port to the sea at Zeebrugge was opened in 1907.  Now, it is a lot more peaceful and easy to get to ,once there walking will do the rest.

The weather is kinda of difficult to predict, rainy days are often and snow is here too, the best is to planned ahead by looking at the Belgium weather center webpage in English here http://www.meteo.be/meteo/view/en/65239-Home.html . Like I said, we come here by automobile, as it is only about 3 hrs from Paris following the A1 autoroute into Roubaix then get on the A17 once crossing to Belgium; at exit 8 get on the road N31 to arrive by the train station area and link up with the beltway Buten Begijnenvest ,follow this to exit 4 Katelijnepoort into our hotel just before city center. You can follow a similar traject on www.viamichelin.com .   For parking info, it is best to leave your car by the train station and get free public transport in,(I leave in my hotel see info below) , there are parking in the beltway road in addition to the park and ride at Jan Breydel you have Centrum and closer to city center at Pandreije and Biekorf; all parking is regulated so read well on the meters the info pertaining to it however the ones given are easy to park.  You can leave Paris gare du Nord and in about 2h25 are in Brugge  direct with Thalys trains or with correspondance in Brussels gare Bruxelles-Midi.You can ,also, come from Lille in 1h20, the thalys site is https://www.thalys.com/fr/en/booking-a-ticket . You can do so by air from Paris or Brussels airports or with a bus transfer from Charleroi airport as well.

You might want to take out a Brugge city card, good for discounts on bike rides,underground parkings, 25% disc on museums, etc. Compare the prices to the things you want to see. For 48 hrs it was 33€ and for 72 hrs it was 38€ check for updates at webpage http://www.bruggecitycard.be/index_en.html

There is plenty to see and do, but my and family favorites are the following:

museum of town hall or Stadhuis , dates from 1376 AD the city has been governed from here for over 700 years, open 9h30 to 17h, open except Mondays, admission is 2€ for one day or a combination of museums for 8€ see Brugge city card info above. webpage http://www.brugge.be/internet/en/musea/index.htm

museum of the Francs of Brugge or Brugse Vrije. dates from 1722-1727. it serve at the court of justice from 1795 to 1984. Today it houses the municipal archives that hold the collection of memory of the city, it is gorgeous. open 9h30 to 12h30 and 13h30 to 17h, open all days except Mondays, admission is 2€ or the same package as above. webpage http://www.brugge.be/internet/en/musea/index.htm

Museum of the welcoming of Notre Dame or Onthaalkert OLV, it has a tower in bricks of 122 meters high ( 403 ft) the highest in Europe. Inside you have a collection of art such as the Madonna by Michel-Angelo and the mausoleums of Marie of Burgundy and Charles the fearful; If there is service in the church visitors are not allowed in.  Same hours and pricing as those above same webpage.

Museum of the belltower or Belfort , has the most important tower in Brugge high of 83 meters (274 ft) housing a treasury of an impressive clock mecanism and a bell with 47 melodies combinations. You have to climb 366 steps to see a wonderful view of the city of Brugge.  Same hours and pricing as those above see webpage.

The Chocolat museum, the history of it from the Mayas to now, with a children game to teach them the making of it. You will see the production and taste it. The Belgians are the best chocolates so do come here. webpage http://www.choco-story.be/

Museum of the Basilica of the Blood, a chapel from the roman church (b 1139-1149) and the basilica neogothic above it, the relics of Saint Sang is kept inside, just marvelous. webpage http://www.holyblood.com/EN/0.asp

Le Beguinage, including museum were created in 1245 AD and today it is house by Benedectine sisters. The door is closed by 18h30 every day. webpage http://www.monasteria.org/

De Halve Maan brewery ,the only one in the city, dates from 1546 AD. You can try the house beer Brugse Zot. You have a guide visit of the brewery, excellent beer and tour. webpage http://www.halvemaan.be/

The Lace Museum, Kantcentrum, in a house of caring of the 15C it shows demonstration of making of lace, and a boutique for later purchases. Lace=dentelles is very well known here as in all of Flanders Belgium and France. webpage http://www.kantcentrum.eu/en/museum/

Cathedral of Saint-Sauveur, the oldest in Brugge, 12C-15C. It has beautiful stalles,organ, medieval tombstones,mural paintings, and tapestries. You ,also,can see the treasury with jewerly and pieces of leather,copper, and silver. It is in the city center by Steenstraat street. It closes at noonish for lunch and then open until about 17H. webpage http://www.brugge.be/internet/en/toerisme/bezienswaardigheden/musea.htm#13

As I said, you should do well to walk the wonderful quaint old streets of Brugges it is wonderful.  You can ,also, ride a canal boat at the five ports for it around the city just below the Burg and coming from the central plaza or Markt on street Wollestraat. The dates are from March to November and 10h-18h. You ,also can do so by horse wagon from the Markt as well as on wednesdays mornings from the Burg. You can see more info on the horse rides here http://www.hippo.be/koets/  As I get lots of questions on bicycling around you can do that too in Brugges even by night and around the city suburbs, more info here http://www.quasimundo.eu/

For shopping you have market days on the Markt wednesdays for veggies/fruits, . Godiva chocolates is at Zuidzandstraat 36   webpage http://www.godiva.be/ , and Leonidas , Steenstraat 4, webpage
http://www.leonidas.com/pralines?id=SHOP2EN&country=22&place=brugge&btnSearchBrown.x=6&btnSearchBrown.y=12

For lodging I use always Novotel Centrum, Katelijnestraat 65B ,great service and easy walking to city center and parking on site paying. http://www.novotel.com/gb/hotel-1033-novotel-brugge-centrum/index.shtml

For eating, try a bit of Spain at Bodega Lorena’s Loppemstraat 13, richly decorated, attentive owners service, and the food is just right Spanish. tel ++32 (50) 348817 ,needs to update the info.  Restaurant ‘tSchrijverke, Gruuthusestraat, 4 tel +32 50 33 29 08. seafood and pasta were good. again needs to update the info. Cambrinus, Philipstockstraat 19 , great beers and ambiance webpage http://www.cambrinus.eu/
 

Hope it brings you out to quaint ,beautiful Brugge any time. Cheers.

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