Brussels to Paris

Dec 5th, 2006, 12:17 PM
  #1  
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Brussels to Paris

We've never traveled from Brussels to Paris (2 adults to teenagers). Looking for affordable train from Brussels to Paris. No need for high speed train. We're in no rush. Any suggesstions?
docfam is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 12:50 PM
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>We've never traveled from Brussels to Paris (2 adults to teenagers). Looking for affordable train from Brussels to Paris. No need for high speed train.

This is exactly the problem. There is practically no other connection.
If you use www.bahn.de (German rail website) to plan your trip, you can choose "without ICE/TGV" option and see what is left.

We're in no rush. Any suggesstions?
altamiro is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 12:54 PM
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www.thalys.com

and www.voyages-sncf.com for best online cheap fares. If you just show up at station you could pay hundreds of dollars more than advance purchase. There are youth fares for those under 26 and Smilys fares, which sold only in round trips are actually cheaper than one-way fares. But they can be very hard to book - can book Thalys up to 120 days in advance, at least thru RailEurope in US - not sure online in Europe, which often offers better prices than RailEurope. But check both sources - for Raileurope products, such as the Thalys train tickets you need to go between Paris and Brussels and which have a Byzantine pricing structure similar to airlines, in the US i always advise checking with BudgetEurope (800-441-2387) and then comparing with the two European sources mentioned above.

The Thalys train is a high-speed train that goes between Paris and Brussels and up to nearly 190 mph in France. It's the only option by rail between the two cities practically. (The other being taking a TGV Paris-Lille then Lille-Brussels local train.)
PalenqueBob is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 01:08 PM
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If you want to travel cheaply between Brussels and Paris, you can take the Eurolines busses.

A single ticket is 18€ for an adult and 17€ for the teenagers.

http://www.eurolines.com
stardust is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 01:17 PM
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Bob, there are no Lille-Bruxelles "local" trains, the whole rail traffic between the two cities is TGV ... actually Bruxelles <-> Province TGVs that make a stop-and-go-round in Lille Europe.

The trick works for Ghent and Antwerp, though (there is a hourly train between Lille and Antwerp, it is a TER until Mouscron and then a Belgian IC).

The only other rail connection between Paris and Brussels is limited to covering the "old" line via Saint-Quentin through overlapping local trains.

Paris -> Aulnoye Aymeries (change) -> Mons (change) -> Brussels

There is only one daily doable connection, it's nearly 5 hours ...

And the savings are quite ridiculous compared to an advanced Thalys fare !
superheterodyne is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 03:04 PM
  #6  
 
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I will be vacationing in France at the 90 day window for booking a round trip train from Brussels to Paris CDG. I will not have internet access. Does anyone know if discount (Smily) fares are available from SNCF windows at train stations in France, or are they just available over the internet.

It seems that I can purchase Thalys train tickets at either the Thalys site, or SNCF. Smily fares on the Thayls site are 25E (I assume that's one way) and it's 50E RT at SNCF.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 03:13 PM
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>> Does anyone know if discount (Smily) fares are available from SNCF windows at train stations in France, <<

Yes, they are (up to 14 days before the departure of the train).
superheterodyne is offline  
Dec 5th, 2006, 03:22 PM
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That's super, super.

Thanks for the info.

Stu Dudley
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Dec 5th, 2006, 03:33 PM
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Are Smily fares like Prem fares in that there are a limited number of them and often grabbed up quickly - or are they always available as long as I book a round trip???

Stu Dudley
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Dec 5th, 2006, 04:02 PM
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Smilys tickets are like PREM'S tickets. They are limited and they can sell out quickly.
TimS is offline  
Dec 6th, 2006, 06:48 AM
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Smilys tickets are extremely limited in number on many trains - can book up to 120 days before, at least in US, and even then there are none available on peak trains. Early bird gets the worm here.

And i have indeed taken local trains Lille-Brussels - this involves one change but is no hassle and run very frequently. No direct trains i think but easy to do.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Dec 6th, 2006, 07:11 AM
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>>Smilys tickets are extremely limited in number on many trains - can book up to 120 days<

Neither Thalys or SNCF will let you book more than 90 days in advance. If I book via RailEuroope, do you think their added charge will eat up the Smilys savings??

Stu Dudley
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Dec 6th, 2006, 07:19 AM
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Yes.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Dec 6th, 2006, 09:10 AM
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>>
And i have indeed taken local trains Lille-Brussels - this involves one change but is no hassle and run very frequently. No direct trains i think but easy to do. <<

Yup, but with a change in Courtrai. They run hourly. However, when in search of a doable Paris-Brussels connection that avoids TGVs and their yield management, going through Aulnoye and Mons is the most practical way.

Maybe later we will see a private company running a low-cost 140 kph Paris-Brussels train (there are plenty of unused carriages at all European train operatirs that), but I doubt it, since the time factor is extremely attrcative for the Thalys.
superheterodyne is offline  
Dec 6th, 2006, 09:11 AM
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Courtrai... or Tournai. That's two an hour. Sorry.
superheterodyne is offline  
Dec 6th, 2006, 09:13 AM
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At the moment, the Thalys is having a sale. Just 20€ between Paris and Brussels if you choose the correct train.
kerouac is online now  
Dec 6th, 2006, 09:18 AM
  #17  
 
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The "Nord-Expres" conection :



Paris Nord 12:37
Aulnoye Aymeries 14:25 Train #12321
Aulnoye Aymeries 15:27
Quevy 15:44 Train #19761
Quevy 15:51
Bruxelles-Midi 16:54 Train #3715


Not that bad, after all... I'l try it once.
superheterodyne is offline  
Dec 6th, 2006, 09:31 AM
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superhet: thanks for bringing to my attention that there is actually a non-thalys direct Paris-Brussels train. I thought they had all been scrubbed.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Dec 6th, 2006, 09:37 AM
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>> superhet: thanks for bringing to my attention that there is actually a non-thalys direct Paris-Brussels train. I thought they had all been scrubbed. <<

Bob, don't be misled : the connection I gave away is _not_ a direct train but a succesion of three train journeys.
However, it's quite doable (4hr16 ain't that bad, and on a railpas, it really saves money).

There is still ONE direct Paris-Brussels train, actualy: the EN (EuroNight) 243 Paris-Berlin/Hambourg which runs through Brussels, Liège, Aachen etc...
But, but, it is strictly forbidden to run Paris-Brussels or Liège on that one.
superheterodyne is offline  
Dec 6th, 2006, 09:46 AM
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thanks - i didn't look at info you gave me carefully enough. I think with a pass i'd take the Paris-Lille-Brussels route and only have to pay the 3 euro TGV reservation fee - would be quicker i believe and you can leave any hour. But good to know the other option exists. fun to strategize though.
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