Paris and Brussels Trip Recap

I’ll start off by saying, wow does time just fly by! I can’t get over how quickly my trip to Paris and Brussels flew by. I seriously enjoyed every single minute of both cities! This was my first trip to Europe and I can’t believe I didn’t travel there sooner. This trip was a 30th birthday present to myself because I’ve wanted to travel to Europe for a few years now and figured what a great way to treat myself I’m already planning my next trip there so any suggestions are highly appreciated.

Paris & Brussels Trip Recap // The Krystal Diaries
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I’ll be posting more in-depth reviews about my week long trip but I wanted to share some of the highlights with you all – the good & bad. My family and I flew out on an Air France Friday night flight from JFK direct to Paris. It was nice flying over on the night flight because I went straight to sleep, woke up an hour or so before landing and felt completely adjusted to the time difference. It was only a seven hour flight and left around 7 pm New York time but landed around 8 am Paris time.

Paris & Brussels Trip Recap // The Krystal Diaries
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The view from the Paris Hotel

It has to be said, Air France was the most chaotic airline I have ever flown! From check-in to boarding the plane there was just no guidance. When it was time to board the plane, Air France made no announcement so everyone just rushed towards the gate all at once which of course slowed things down. Then when I arrived at my seat, there was someone sitting there. I politely told the man he was in my seat and he said he did not speak any English. The flight stewardesses were right behind me and offered no help whatsoever. Eventually, the man did get up and go to his correct seat but I had to convince the man myself to get up.



Landing in Paris was no easier. There was no organized customs line so it was just a swarm of people from all different arriving flights trying to cram their way in.

Oh and the icing on the cake? A lot of people from my flight were receiving emails from Air France saying their luggage was lost. Needless to say, lots of people were stressed out! I received one of those emails too about 10 minutes after the flight landed which didn’t make sense to me because how could they have taken our luggage off the flight so quickly? FYI I decided I wanted to overpack & bring lots of options for this trip and did check in luggage. I know, I know. After finally getting through the mess that was customs, I wanted to check the baggage claim area before filing my lost luggage claim and it turns out my luggage was there!

Paris & Brussels Trip Recap // The Krystal Diaries
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Seine River – Paris, France

I don’t think it was right of Air France to send out those emails to so many passengers, stressing them out, when everyone’s luggage arrived just fine. I guess they never properly scanned in the suitcases at JFK?

However, after the airline chaos, the trip was an absolute breeze! We took an Uber from the airport to our hotel, Citadines Place d’Italie, checked in and went straight out to explore the neighborhood. I couldn’t be more happy with the area we chose to stay in! The metro was directly across the street from the hotel and it was a breeze to get all around the city. If you can handle NYC’s subway system any subway system is a piece of cake! Later on that same day, we all went on a free walking tour with Sandemans New Europe to get a feel for the city.

Paris & Brussels Trip Recap // The Krystal Diaries
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The Louvre – Paris, France

We spent three and a half days in Paris then took the Thalys train from the Gare du Nord over to Brussels. It was an easy train ride and we arrived about 20 minutes before our train departure. It was organized and everything moved pretty quickly. I was shocked they didn’t check our passports! Now I know why so many people love living in Europe, it’s so easy to get around from country to country on the train.

Once we arrived in Brussels in a little over an hour, we took an Uber over to our next hotel, Citadines Toison d’Or Brussels. We just dropped our bags off in the room and went out exploring. This hotel was in a huge shopping district! Every high end store imaginable was in the area. It kind of reminded me of Fifth Avenue in NYC. The area was nice but not really my style. However, it was only a 20 minute walk to the city center and Grand Place so that was great. Since we were only in Brussels for two and a half days and everything was pretty walkable, we didn’t get on the metro once.

Paris & Brussels Trip Recap // The Krystal Diaries
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View from the Brussels Hotel

While in Brussels, I was able to go on a chocolate and beer tour with The Brussels Journey and it was such a cool experience. I’m not much of a beer person but I knew I had to do it while in Brussels and who doesn’t love chocolate! I’ll be doing a full recap post on the tour next week so check back for that.

Paris & Brussels Trip Recap // The Krystal Diaries
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The streets of Brussels, Belgium

At the end of the trip, we flew Delta back home to JFK and it was a much easier and organized experience. Not one problem at all!

Paris & Brussels Trip Recap // The Krystal Diaries
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Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert – Brussels, Belgium

I’m so happy I went on this trip and got experience parts of Europe. Now that I’ve gone to both Paris and Brussels, I would like to go back to both cities for a longer period of time so I can explore more. There is always so much to see that can’t be done on one trip.

Super long post I know! I’ll be sharing posts on each of the hotels we stayed in, the restaurants we ate in, the sites we saw and both tours we went on.

What’s one place you’d like to travel back to and see again?

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Paris and Brussels Trip Recap
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31 Comments

  1. bri wrote:

    What an amazing trip!

    Posted 10.9.17 Reply
  2. Paris is my favorite city in the world, and I am always happy when I see someone else had a good time there as well. Brussels is also quite cute, though I prefer Paris a lot. 🙂

    Posted 10.9.17 Reply
    • Krystal wrote:

      They were both such amazing cities!

      Posted 10.9.17 Reply
  3. Stephanie | You Are My Son Shine wrote:

    I’ve never been to Brussels but was in Paris about 10 years ago and it was an amazing trip! I only had a day there, but it was so fun. I’d love to go back sometime.

    Posted 10.9.17 Reply
  4. I would have been really stressed out over the entire airport and luggage debacle but you seemed to handle it well. It also looks like you had great weather and a fun trip.

    Posted 10.9.17 Reply
    • Krystal wrote:

      I was so stressed over the luggage but I knew there was nothing I could really do about it but I was so happy it wasn’t really lost! The weather was the perfectly fall like.

      Posted 10.9.17 Reply
  5. themindfulmomblographer wrote:

    Wow! Sounds like an incredible trip. I have never been to Brussels or Paris, but those two places are definitely on my bucket list. And I have always wanted to see the Louvre. Your pictures are wonderful as well!

    Posted 10.9.17 Reply
    • Krystal wrote:

      I hope you get to see both places and the Louvre is a must see!

      Posted 10.10.17 Reply
  6. Lauren wrote:

    So fun! This makes me miss my trip to Paris, it was such a fabulous time. Bummer about your flight out, but so glad you had a lovely time!

    Posted 10.9.17 Reply
    • Krystal wrote:

      Maybe you can make a trip back to Paris soon!

      Posted 10.10.17 Reply
  7. Destany wrote:

    What beautiful surroundings! I love living vicariously through bloggers who travel. My family and I just don’t travel. We’re homebodies. So from our house to yours, thank you for showing us all the beautiful sights!

    Posted 10.9.17 Reply
    • Krystal wrote:

      Living vicariously through other people’s travels is nice!

      Posted 10.10.17 Reply
  8. Valerie wrote:

    Brussels and Paris are both so beautiful – your pictures do a great job of capturing the beautiful architectural styles!

    Posted 10.9.17 Reply
  9. You are so right about Air France, what a mess they are! The only good thing about them is how affordable they are! The one place I want to see again is home. I’ve been away for such a long time that I miss everything I hated it! Ha, such is life!

    Posted 10.10.17 Reply
    • Krystal wrote:

      They really are affordable! I hope you make an trip home soon.

      Posted 10.10.17 Reply
  10. I’m sorry that you had to experience being stressed out early on during your trip. I can only imagine the headache! I think it’s good though that you got to do a lot during this trip. Paris will always be one of my most favorite cities!

    Posted 10.10.17 Reply
  11. La Shell wrote:

    Awesome trip! I loved the Luxembourg Gardens, Angelina, and the crepes most about Paris. Also the ability to get lost in such a beautiful place. I can’t wait to go back.

    Posted 10.10.17 Reply
    • Krystal wrote:

      Oh the crepes were so good! A crepe here will never be the same now.

      Posted 10.10.17 Reply
  12. I love your pictures, I felt like I traveled with you! In a month I’ll be flying for first time, so I hope the airline I picked has a better service than yours!.

    Posted 10.10.17 Reply
    • Krystal wrote:

      I hope you have a much better flight experience!!

      Posted 10.10.17 Reply
  13. Alix Maza wrote:

    I’d go back to Italy! So much I want to explore again. This looks like an amazing trip!

    Posted 10.10.17 Reply
    • Krystal wrote:

      Italy is on my list! I haven’t been there yet but I’m hoping to travel there soon.

      Posted 10.10.17 Reply
  14. i would so love to visit paris. i went to france when i was 15 and stayed in bordeaux, but never made it to paris. maybe one day soon!

    Posted 10.10.17 Reply
    • Krystal wrote:

      Hopefully you’ll visit Paris soon! I’d like to explore other parts of France now too.

      Posted 10.10.17 Reply
  15. brandidcrawfordgmailcom wrote:

    I haven’t been to either. I enjoyed your recap! These are both on my list to visit.

    Posted 10.10.17 Reply
  16. Ingrid wrote:

    It seems that sometimes when you travel what could go wrong will go wrong. However, as it is said -a bad beggining makes a good ending. Your troubles with air France in no way cast a shadow on time you had exploring the city. I am glad the visit turned around and you had a great time France

    Posted 10.10.17 Reply
  17. I can see wanting to go back to both places and then enjoying it with more time to spare. Looks like there were some amazing and incredible things to see. I would love to visit them for a first time.

    Posted 10.10.17 Reply
  18. I wish I were blogging during the time I visited Paris. It was absolutely wonderful and can’t wait to return! Glad you have a wonderful time!

    Posted 10.17.17 Reply
  19. This post is so relatable on so many levels. Especially when you mentioned your experience with Air France. Although I have never flown with them I’ve had my share of unorganized flights where everyone was all over the place and confused–including the flight attendants. Paris looks to beautiful! I have to add this travel to my list! Thanks for sharing!

    Posted 10.22.17 Reply
  20. alana wrote:

    First time on your blog, I just got back from France myself, my first trip to (continental) Europe! I had a great time and like you I cant wait to go back. I spent a week in Paris and wanted to get to brussels but I waited until last minute to check out my options and by then, I thought the travel options were too expensive. ( One thing I learnt about Europe is to book everything early, no last minute deals in Europe). I ended up spending my last 4 days in Marseille and loved that even more than Paris. Less people, lots of nice people-watching spots, the sea, was the perfect place to unwind a bit. You should definitely check out southern France on your next trip.

    Posted 10.23.17 Reply
    • Krystal wrote:

      Southern France is a place I’d like to visit! My next trip to Paris will absolutely be a week so I can venture off to other locations in France!

      Posted 10.23.17 Reply

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