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Parrothead Jul 19th, 2003 10:31 AM

Help-Brugge to Paris
OK. I want you all to know I spent 2 hours researching before asking these questions. But I cannot make this work. I want to travel Brugge to Paris-Nord on Thalys-Comfort 1. I understand I should book through Belgium site so I have option of picking up my ticket at the station. But when I go to the website, I keep getting errors. How do I do this from the USA?

Also, I know this is 2 train rides; Brugge to Brussels and Brussels to Paris. Is the transfer easy, even for Americans who only speak English?

ira Jul 19th, 2003 11:31 AM


Have you considered going by way of Lille-France. It takes the same amount of time as ging through Brussels, but there is only one change of trains.


Click "via" and insert "Lille".

Are you sure you can purchase international tickets online from the US?

ira Jul 19th, 2003 11:55 AM

Hi Parrot,

I just booked a ticket from Brugge to Paris on the Belgium rail site. Perhaps they were having computer problems earlier.

If you are going by way of Brussels and the THALYS train. You need only change platforms at Bruxelles-Midi station. You will have at least 15 min to find the THALYS train.

elberko Jul 19th, 2003 11:55 AM

I've done Paris to Brugge via Lille twice, and recommend it. Cheaper than the Thalys, the Paris-Lille section is by TGV.

We bought tickets from the site.

From your questions, I think you would benefit from a Rick Steves guidebook. I find he explains transit issues very well.

ira Jul 19th, 2003 12:14 PM

Hi again,

If you book through SNCF for the trip via Lille you save about 30E.

BTilke Jul 19th, 2003 01:02 PM

Ira, I'm curious, why do you say the Lille route is better than the Brussels route because there is only one change of trains (which is not always true, FYI, there are sometimes two or more changes of trains). From Brugge to Paris requires one change of trains at most. There are trains twice an hour to Brussels from Brugge with no changes between Brugge and Brussels.
The Lille route requires a *minimum* of two trains.
I prefer the Thalys option because the Thalys trains are the last to be affected by strikes. The Thalys is often still running even when the regular SNCF and TGV trains are on strike.

ira Jul 19th, 2003 03:55 PM

Hi BT,

I like the Bruges/Lille-France/Paris trip because you get to see some of the local color on the first part, and then have the high-speed train through France.

It's also cheaper.

This is not to reject your excellent arguements for the THALYS route.

jody Jul 19th, 2003 04:04 PM

I am making this trip in October...I can't find whether one must change from Lille Europe to Lille Flandres station or vice versa..or no change at all! I wanted to spend a few hours in Lille..but it probably would be more convenient to do the Bruges-Brussels-Paris thing!

elberko Jul 19th, 2003 04:09 PM

Both my Paris/Lille/Brugge trips changed at one station, Lille Flandres.

The station is noted when you check on SNCF, or the easier to use German site,

Parrothead Jul 19th, 2003 09:40 PM

I am really having a hard time. I figured out I had to change my internet options to allow all cookies, which I did. That got me to the booking site. I entered the itinerary I want with date and times. That brought up a series of possible itineraries, but I cannot get past the itinery selections. There is no way to select an itinerary and proceeed to purchase the ticket. has anyone got advice? I purchase everything on the internet, even my Dell computer, never had so much trouble as this site is giving me. Don't know what else to do. Geez.

BTilke Jul 20th, 2003 12:00 AM

The easiest thing would be to stop worrying and just buy the ticket when you get to Europe. I went to Paris yesterday on the Thalys in Confort 1 and got the lowest fare for that class even though I bought the ticket just two days before (and this was for a Saturday morning departure on a holiday week-end). Brugge-Brussels or Brugge-Lille tickets don't need reservations.

indytravel Jul 20th, 2003 06:56 AM


When are you traveling? SNCF will only let you buy tickets 60 days in advance. Even though it lets you look at the schedule much further out.

For budgeting purposes I'll go through the motions of booking the same trip on the same day or the week a month from now to see the price. (At the end of the process I cancel the purchase because I don't really want the ticket next month.) I've found the prices don't really vary that much.

As another comment some of the discount fares can go pretty quickly once the 60 day timer starts ticking. You might want to mark your calendar to look at tickets exactly 60 days out.

Hope this helps.

indytravel Jul 20th, 2003 07:00 AM

Dang. That should be "same day OF the week next month" not "or".

Parrothead Jul 20th, 2003 08:35 AM

Thanks everyone. I will take BTilke's advice and just book when I get there. Anything else seems to be too much trouble. In my Fodors research, I came across a post where someone advised booking as advance as possible to get the best fare. I will also take indytravel's advice and look at fare's in advance for budgeting purposes. I guess I was unable to book on SCNF because my target date is just over 60 days out. I am traveling Brugge to Paris on Sept 22.

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