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cost-saving tip for Paris-Amsterdam train travel

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Mar 13th, 2009, 05:27 AM
  #1
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cost-saving tip for Paris-Amsterdam train travel

If you are in sticker shock over the price of Thalys tickets, here is a cheaper way to book Paris-Amsterdam train travel.
Instead of booking roundtrip Paris-Amsterdam on the SNCF or Thalys websites, book only Paris-Brussels roundtrip.
Then book the Brussels-Amsterdam part of your trip on the Belgium Rail website .
www.b-rail.be
They have great fares on ICE trains, which are just as fast as the Thalys between Brussels and Amsterdam. The site has an easy-to-use English version and you can print out tickets at home. (Memo to the SNCF: How come little Belgium can do this and you can't?)
I booked a weekend roundtrip Paris-Amsterdam costing 270 euros for two people, vs. 400 if we had booked a straight Thalys itinerary.
Of course this means you have to change trains in Brussels, but it's no big deal, you just get off the Thalys and walk to a nearby platform. The ICE trains run very regularly, so you won't have to wait long.
I assume this also would work for Amsterdam-Paris, though I haven't tried. Unfortunately there's no easy alternative to the Thalys between Brussels and Paris.
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Mar 13th, 2009, 09:09 AM
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Was that for 1st-class tickets?..
On SNCF, I just pretend-booked a May weekend trip Paris-Amsterdam, and see discounted fares, ex. 93.60€ R/T for one (so 187.20€ / 2)... so not sure how your fare of 270€/2 is a savings..?
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Mar 13th, 2009, 02:46 PM
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ira
 
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Hi ml,

Good advice to search for alternates to choosing the THALYS.

You can also do it from www.voyages-sncf.com.

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Mar 13th, 2009, 02:52 PM
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I'm sure they are IC trains, not ICE trains. Normal intercity trains. ICE trains are the German version of Thalys.
However as Travelnut points out there are real bargains to be had on the Thalys if you book far enough in advance.
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Mar 14th, 2009, 01:33 PM
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You can travel Overnight via Eurolines.com (bus)from Amsterdam to Paris for 15 Euro's if that is an option for you. They also have day rides but why waste a day travel, why not do it during the night. I believe it leaves around 10 and you arrive like 6 a.m. or so.
Good Luck
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Mar 14th, 2009, 04:06 PM
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The train trip AMS-Paris is only 4 hours, why would you purposely lose another 4 to sit on a bus all night. You'll be exhausted when you finally do get to Paris, and what hotel lets you check in at 6am?? Get on an 8am train and be in Paris for LUNCH.
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Mar 14th, 2009, 05:19 PM
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That sounds much better Trav. I wasn't aware of the short time on a train. I was just making a suggestion for the night travel to save the day for excursions.
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Mar 14th, 2009, 06:52 PM
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I am taking the Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris May 23rd. I booked my Thalys Smoove fare of 36 Euros (about $46.54 USD)on March 3rd. yk gave me a better site than the Thalys site to book through. It worked great! Here is the URL

www.tgv-europe.com
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Mar 14th, 2009, 07:45 PM
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Hi, Laurel61, you must be a 'youngster'. If I had to 'sleep' on a bus I wouldn't have the energy for any 'excursions' the next day, lol!
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Mar 16th, 2009, 06:33 AM
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Travelnut, just curious, but what weekend did you pretend-book? I am looking to travel Paris-Amsterdam on May 8, returning on May 10, and I can't find anything nearly as cheap as what you are quoting.

HPeabody, when I tried that tgv-europe site, it simply redirected me to the SNCF site when i tried to book Paris-Amsterdam.

Any further advice would be greatly appreciated. Although I have made reservations, I have a couple more days to purchase the tickets, and of course if I can find something cheaper, I'll go for that!
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Mar 16th, 2009, 07:22 AM
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Being in Paris for LUNCH means you've wasted a half a day.

We travel on the LAST train in the evening whenever possible. That way, we get in a full day of sightseeing, then relax and have dinner on the train at a time when the sights are closed for the night anyway.

To do this, we check out of the hotel in the morning and stash our gear at the train station, then retrieve it a half hour before departure time.
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Mar 16th, 2009, 07:38 AM
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http://www.voyages-sncf.com (used it in the French version, since that's all there is now)

I don't remember what dates I plugged in for my 'test'; even if I could recall the dates, some discounts could be gone already. These are the rates I'm seeing for the May 8-10 weekend:

May 8: 7:55am 88.60€ / 8:25am 94.00€ / 9:25am 83.00€
May 10: 8:26am 66.00€ / 9:26am 83.00€
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Mar 16th, 2009, 08:21 AM
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Thanks, Travelnut ... just out of curiosity, did you try actually selecting the seemingly cheap fares? When I did, by clicking on "valider cet aller", I got a message saying "no train corresponds to your request," so it was impossible to book. The cheapest fare that actually worked was 188 euros roundtrip per person, i.e. 376 total, vs only 269 using the Belgian rail alternative I suggested.
The SNCF website is so bug-ridden, who knows, maybe the cheaper fares are really available and this is just a "temporary" foulup. It drives me crazy ... the French trains are great, but their booking & reservation system is still in the dark ages.
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Mar 16th, 2009, 12:03 PM
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mlaffitte... when on the tgv-europe website somewhere there is place to select location, USE GREAT BRITAIN OR UK OR UNITED KINGDOM, whichever it is on the list. That worked for me and I printed my ticket at home also. I had the same thing happen when I did not select the above
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Mar 18th, 2009, 10:38 AM
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Trav- Thanks for the "Youngster" complement. I wish that were the case. I have 4 as of last Fall in college. So no, not a youngster just looking for the least expensive travel options so the money goes to the actual sight seeing
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Mar 24th, 2009, 10:37 AM
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I am having the most difficult time figuring out the best way to book and cheapest fare for a train to Paris to Amsterdam on April 12, 2009. Prefer around 12noon departure. For 4 adults in second class. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Through the thalys.com site, I see a SMOOVE cost of 36.00 Euro when booking 15 days in advance but haven't been able to find that actual cost in the booking process.
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Mar 26th, 2009, 07:54 AM
  #17
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Since I started this thread, I thought I should add a postscript: After booking the Paris-Brussels and Brussels-Amsterdam trains as described above, I happened to get a promotional e-mail from Air France/KLM ... which led me to an airfare that cost 200 euros roundtrip for 2 people, considerably less than the train! I have a feeling the really cheap train tickets mentioned by some others were not available because I'm traveling on May 8 which is the beginning of a 3-day holiday weekend in France.
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