Amsterdam to Paris Best Route

Dec 20th, 2013, 08:35 AM
  #1  
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Amsterdam to Paris Best Route

Hello! We are 2 planning trip in late August. We will be in Amsterdam and then want to see a couple of cities in Belgium. Thinking of Bruges for sure. As we will have another week or more, then Paris sound wonderful from the posts here. My question is whether it is best to drive ourselves or take a train as we can be flexible.
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Dec 20th, 2013, 08:56 AM
  #2  
 
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Trains would be an easier option than driving (and parking) around cities.

See the appropriate sections on http://www.seat61.com/
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Dec 20th, 2013, 09:29 AM
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If going to cities take the train and cities like Bruges, Gent, Antwerp and Brussels are all gems to spend a day or so in - cars are useless in Paris and Amsterdam and trains are so so great - you may want to do something like:

Amsterdam
Bruges (3.5 hours from Amsterdam; the gem of Belgium to many - so so romantic at night after the tourist mobs from the daytime are gone) - use Bruges as a base - day trip to Gent or Brussels

then go from Bruges to Paris via Lille or Brussels (2.5 hours).

For lots of great info on European trains check out not only the site alanRow recommends - www.seat61.com (though somewhat oriented to Brits taking trains to the Continent); www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.

Use Amsterdam and Paris as bases - from Amsterdam there are many neat day trips - Delft, Zaanse Schanse (sp? - windmill group near Amsterdam - Haarlem, Rotterdam, etcl

And from Paris easy day trips to Chartres and its world-famous Gothic cathedral, Reims for Champagne tours and another exquisite cathedral and neat regional town - Versailles and even the D-Day Landing beaches in Normandy.

If taking several trains in those countries check out the Benelux-France railpass, valid on trains in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg (another gem easily reachable by train) and France.
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Dec 21st, 2013, 04:40 AM
  #4  
 
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The best website to book Amsterdam-Bruges and Bruges-Paris is arguably www.b-europe.com

Cheap prices if you pre-book, and print-at-home tickets.
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Dec 21st, 2013, 07:41 AM
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The best website to book Amsterdam-Bruges>

yes but no need to pre-book if taking non-Thalys trains and regular IC trains which do not even take seat reservations - but you may have to change once or twice - in Holland somewhere and Antwerp - but you have to change in Antwerp anyway for the quickest Amsterdam to Bruges link.

But investigate the Thalys' ABS fare where you can perhaps go from Antwerp to Bruges for a few euros on any train.
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Dec 21st, 2013, 11:22 AM
  #6  
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I sure need to do my homework on the trains. Sounds like a great option then, I'll take your advice. We'll stay in Bruges for sure and do our day trips. Then whichever train to Paris. Cool. Now on to the research!
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Dec 21st, 2013, 01:00 PM
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www.thalys.com is the official site - you could score a really cheap Amsterdam to Antwerp ticket if you book months in advance - yup that long - and ask about the ABS fare that lets you go from Antwerp to Bruges on any train within 24 hours (48?) - meaning you could throw your bags in a station locker look around that superb town and go to Bruges for the night and base.

The Thalys could be cheaper if you score a deep discounted ticket and the ABS fare - but if you just want to wait until Amsterdam then you can always buy the flat fare Amsterdam to Bruges via Antwerp tickets on IC trains as there is I believe no discounts for advance booking on those trains - walk up fares being the same as if you booked in advance.
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Dec 21st, 2013, 01:18 PM
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Thalys high-speed trains can be booked from 3 months prior to travel date. However, note that the cheapest tickets (economy, 22 euro for a single journey Amsterdam-Antwerp) are not exchangeable and not refundable.
No advance booking required (not even possible) for IC trains. FYI the fare Amsterdam-Antwerp on an IC train is 28.80 euro for a single journey.
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Dec 23rd, 2013, 04:50 AM
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The train is not really an option... it's the only choice to make. Renting a car in NL or Be and dropping it in Paris would cost several hundred euros in extra fees.
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Dec 23rd, 2013, 05:56 AM
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ParisAmsterdam on Dec 23, 13 at 8:50am
The train is not really an option... it's the only choice to make. Renting a car in NL or Be and dropping it in Paris would cost several hundred euros in extra fees.


Very good point. I've made that drive several times in my own car. You don't see much unless you get off the tollway and amble about. One of my worst driving episodes in Europe was in getting around Antwerp. It was very confusing.

If you are a train newbie have a look at http://tinyurl.com/eym5b for an illustrated introduction. The Thalys has a monopoly on direct trains between Paris and the BeNeLux but it is a great train. Have lunch or dinner on board to save the trouble of finding a place at either end of your trip.
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Dec 23rd, 2013, 08:36 AM
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The Thalys has a monopoly on direct trains between Paris and the BeNeLux but it is a great train>

No - you can go Paris to Bruges via TGV to Lille then local train to Bruges

You can take a TGV from Avignon, Lyonand Paris CDG airport to Brussels - then go on via IC train to Amsterdam.

Thalys is the fastest and most convenient but not the only option.
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Dec 23rd, 2013, 09:22 AM
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<
You can take a TGV from Avignon, Lyonand Paris CDG airport to Brussels - then go on via IC train to Amsterdam.>>

None of those are DIRECT routes, as spaarne just pointed out.
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Dec 24th, 2013, 08:38 AM
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None of them are direct routes as I pointed out - saying changing trains and there is only one odd time (early morning or late evening DIRECT Thalys train to Bruges from Paris.

Thalys does not have a monopoly on trains to Belgium was my point - trains from Avignon TGV do go DIRECT to Brussels - now if you say Amsterdam you would be correct but it was Benelux not Amsterdam so do not know what your point is.

Thalys run the bulk of trains France to Benelux but French TGVs do also - direct from the south of France - NO change of train required - check it out!
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Dec 25th, 2013, 08:32 AM
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The Thalys has a monopoly on direct trains between Paris>

Again Paris CDG Airport train station is a Paris station with direct trains to Brussels - but I grant you Spaarne says from Paris and I said from France - so yes right from the heart of Paris the only direct trains to Belgium are from the Gare du Nord, as spaarne correctly says but what difference does that make if the route via Lille to Bruges is just as fast and on a walk up basis at least a whole lot cheaper.

But I did error in looking back and agree with spaarne - Thalys has a monopoly on direct trains from Paris itself, if you do not include CDG TGV as being a Paris train station or Marne-la-Vallee where that TGV service also stops.

So I admit my error but if going to Bruges from Paris the Lille option is just as fast and often much cheaper.
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Dec 25th, 2013, 09:03 AM
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We took an intercity train from Amsterdam to Brussels when were there in September. It is less expensive than the TGV and you don't need to prepurchase your tickets. This way you can just walk up and purchase a ticket for the next train. They run several times a day. From Brussels, you can take another IC train to Bruges for a visit. I do recommend the TVG to Paris which is the fastest way to go but you need to prepurchase and reserve your seats in first or second class on a specific train.
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Dec 25th, 2013, 09:09 AM
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Meant to add that you take the IC back to Brussels to catch the TGV through Lille to Paris.
Bruges at night is magical after the tour groups and buses leave. We spent two nights there and loved it.
They have a great farmers market on Wednesday and Saturday which we really enjoyed.
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Dec 26th, 2013, 08:02 AM
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Meant to add that you take the IC back to Brussels to catch the TGV through Lille to Paris.>

Well technically it is not a TGV but a Thalys train - same speed similar trains but different entities - from Bruges you can take an IC train to Lille-Flandres for a French TGV to Paris but like spaarne says Brussels to Paris - central Paris you only have the Thalys trains with its Byzantine fare structure - Lille to Paris TGVs even on the day of the train do not cost much more usually than pre-booking so that is a good route for folks wishing to retain flexibility and not have to book in stone months in advance like on Thalys trains.
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Dec 26th, 2013, 12:24 PM
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Amsterdam to Paris direct Thalys have total monopoly as sparrne says - and I recently booked a 39 euro ticket on that for my son - but you can break up the bookings - if all cheap Amsterdam to Paris tickets are gone - grab a 29 euro Brussels to Paris ticket, which I also recently booked for my son (actually Paris to Brussels) - and then you can take the flat-fare IC Amsterdam to Brussels if the total of that fare plus Brussels to Paris was cheaper significantly that Amsterdam to Paris direct. www.thalys.com of course the site.
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Dec 28th, 2013, 12:16 PM
  #19  
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Ok so Amsterdam to Paris direct Thlys but we coul dbreak it up by seeing several cities in Brussels first then prebooking the train from say Brussels.
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Dec 29th, 2013, 04:43 AM
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You will not need to pre-book a train to Amsterdam as the IC trains go hourly and have a flat fare - you could book a cheaper ticket on Thalys Brussels to Amsterdam perhaps but it would be train-specific and non-changeable and how long do you know you will want to spend in Brussels - you do not want to cut it short and have to make a mad dash to the train station to catch your non-refundable ticket.

Rather just buy a Brussels to Amsterdam IC train ticket at a flat fee and then with that ticket hop any IC train - yeh will take about an hour longer or so but will give you plenty of flexibility in when you leave Brussels or are ready to.

You do have to change twice but everyone gets off one train at the first Dutch station and on another one - ditto in Rotterdam or Den Hague - all told with changes takes only one hour more.
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