Last week, I shared 3 of the most beautiful “places” in Paris. I say “places” because they were not quite actual places like the Louvre or Notre Dam but rather common spaces that suddenly aren’t so common when viewed through a different lens. It’s an exercise in being fully present that was gifted to me by a local that I am simply passing along to you <3. Check it out if you haven’t already! This week we’re talking about places to travel from Paris.
This week, let’s talk about an enchanting city you can get to by train, about two and a half hours from Paris. Little did I know that I was going to fall madly and deeply in love with the Venice of the North… Bruges. In fact, I fell in love SO hard that I canceled our trip to Brussels so we could extend our stay there for a few more days…
Falling in Love with Bruges – Places to Travel From Paris
I truly don’t even know where to begin. Bruges had me under her spell the moment I walked down her cobblestone streets. There was just something in the air that made you feel like you had just arrived at a peaceful sanctuary. There were tourists, of course, but not overwhelming so. The people were polite and friendly and kind.
We rented a beautiful home owned by Alex, an architect who had his own design studio. The house was charming and had special little quirks I loved. An ornate spiral staircase led upstairs to the bedrooms one of which the girls claimed as theirs because it felt like a huge tent with the most comfortable bed LOL!
Places to Travel From Paris
Christmas in Bruges
The fact that the town was gearing up for the holidays also made it extra special. There was a Christmas market in the square complete with a skating rink with an incredible Cathedral as the backdrop. These pictures were taken before the fancy cameras on the iPhone today, so they definitely do not do that view any justice. At the skating rink, a determined young man started speaking to Kevin in flemish insisting that he would teach the girls how to skate because apparently, Kev was not doing a good job haha! Even our translator had a good chuckle.
You Can’t You Go to Belgium & Not Try the Chocolate!
Our kids had a great time, especially at the chocolate factory. Bruges, Belgium should definitely be on your list of places to travel from Paris. I mean… how can you be in Belgium without talking about chocolate? There they went on a scavenger hunt and learned some incredible stories about how important and loved chocolate was that a Bishop of Chiapas was murdered for banning drinking cocoa during mass. How? Well… he died from a poison that was added to his cup of… Cocoa!
The Oldest Family-Owner Chocolaterie in Belgium
I was told by a local that we had to stop by Chocolaterie Jan De Clerck for some chocolates before we headed home. It was the oldest chocolatier and has been family-owned and run over generations. The prices were reasonable and the chocolates divine! We also bought some extra special ones to melt in warm milk for the yummiest hot chocolate. Yes, this is how you make hot chocolate.
How to (Really) Make Hot Chocolate
I made the ridiculous mistake of asking the server at a restaurant that served hot chocolate if they sold the hot chocolate mix/powder. He looked at me puzzled and said, “I’m so sorry. I don’t understand what you mean? You just take bits of chocolate (pointing to the chocolate morsels they had severed) and melt them in the hot milk (pointing to the hot cup of milk with a spoon in it)…”. I could feel my face flush in embarrassment hah!
Oh, Bruge… You Have My Heart Forever
It is not often that I go somewhere and find it hard to leave no matter how beautiful it is. Bruges though… Bruges made me want to stay forever. When you’re looking for places to travel from Paris, look no further. I can still recall the crisp fresh air, the winding streets lined with historic homes, and the many bridges over the canals that sometimes took my breath away. On a cool nighttime stroll with Kev one night, I told him I’m adding a quaint little home in a magical corner of Bruges on my wish list. Oh, Bruges…. You have my heart forever <3
xoxo, Mirfie & the Chan Fam