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Paris to Brussels by bus - are we cutting it too close?

Paris to Brussels by bus - are we cutting it too close?

Feb 16th, 2007, 09:45 AM
  #1  
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Paris to Brussels by bus - are we cutting it too close?

Hi all,
On May 2, my husband and I need to catch a flight from Brussels Charleroi to Ljubljana. Flight leaves at 5:35pm. We will have just spent several days in Paris and need to find an inexpensive and efficient way to get to Charleroi. I know the Thalys train is quick, but even at 54 Euros (best rate I could find) that seems a little steep. I looked at Eurolines and they have a bus that gets into Brussels Midi station (next to train station I believe) at 3:10pm (earliest one that day it seems) for only 19 Euros. Then we have to get out to the airport in time for our 5:35pm flight. Does anyone know how long it takes to get from Brussels MIdi to Charleroi and how? Another bus? Train? I'm so confused but really want to try and find something cheaper than the train....
Amanda23 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 09:56 AM
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Arriving at Brussels Midi by bus at 3:10 PM (alleged time only ) when you should be at Charleroi airport two hours before 5:35 PM for check-in would be crazy, and having to buy new plane ticket and last-minute hotel accommodations would be way more expensive than an early Thalys train.
WillTravel is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 10:04 AM
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Amanda,

I just looked up tickets from Paris to Brussels on the SNCF site. I chose a date in April at random, and got €27 round trip fares. Non-refundable, so they must be like a PREM fare.

Suggest you look at that site.

nukesafe is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 10:09 AM
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Also, I'd ticket myself Paris-Charleroi, if possible (I imagine that requires a change in trains).
Travelnut is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 10:11 AM
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Yes, if you used RailEurope for train fares, they're notoriously high. The SNCF website is www.sncf.com; it's the French national railway.
Mimar is online now  
Feb 16th, 2007, 10:18 AM
  #6  
 
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27 euro is the one-way fare for Smilys ticket on the date the OP wants; and return purchase is necessary. So, it is 54 euro.

Whether one can call that "steep" is subjective. It gets you from one European capital to another one 170 air miles away, at 180MPH and good comfort. I think 54 euro is very reasonable.
rkkwan is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 10:49 AM
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I would be a nervous wreck trying to make that schedule work.

My choice would be to relax, ride to Brussels the evening before, and have a pleasant day sightseeing. I'd try for a PREM on the train, or pay the going rate.
Robespierre is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 11:29 AM
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Information from the Charleroi Web site: The bus ride from the Midi train station to Charleroi takes one hour. There is one bus per hour and the cost is 11 EUR.
TimS is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 11:37 AM
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Above, I was wrong about the train. but the metro goes to the airport and can be reached from the train terminal...
Travelnut is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 12:04 PM
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Here's one other possibility I got from www.bahn.de.

Take the 10:58-12:00 TGV to Lille, then transfer to the 12:12-13:59 RE/IC to Charleroi South. Transfer to the "A" bus that takes about 10 minutes to airport. It may be cheaper than the Thalys option and should be okay to catch that plane.
rkkwan is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 02:26 PM
  #11  
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Thanks everyone. I new it sounded a bit ludicrous so thank you for talking me out of the bus option.

I should clarify that I realize 54 euros isn't bad for the distance covered but I had underestimated my transportation budget for this trip (which includes some flights and car rentals in Croatia and Slovenia) so I was hoping to keep the transport between Paris and Brussels as cheap as possible.

rkkwan thanks for the idea about going through Lille - that's exactly what I was looking for. I'll go check bahn.de...

thanks again everyone!
Amanda23 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2007, 03:24 PM
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The regular 2nd class fare on the TGV from Paris to Lille is 37 EUR, but PREM'S, when available, are as low as 20 EUR. You can book up to 90 days in advance at voyages-sncf.com. To have the best chance of getting a PREM'S fare, book as soon as the 90-day window opens.

The fare on the regional train from Lille to Charleroi Sud is 17.60 EUR.
TimS is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 05:00 AM
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One more thing. You print PREM'S yourself. Leave France as the default country and do NOT choose cancellation insurance or you won't be allowed to print your tickets.
TimS is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 06:23 PM
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Okay so now I'm having another problem. I decided to just go ahead and pay the 54 euros because other options looked more complicated and I didn't want to get stuck paying more ultimately. So I went on scnf.com and put in all my info and when I went to pay, it said my bank would not authorize the transaction! I spoke to VISA and they assured me that it was nothing on their end but said nothing had been processed or even attempted. I tried again on sncf and the same thing happened! Has anyone else had this problem before? How can I order these tickets? I clicked "France" as the country of delivery but opted to print the tickets at home and didn't click on cancellation insurance, so it should have worked, shouldn't it? Any advice?
Amanda23 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 06:44 PM
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Do you have another credit card? That might be the only way. I used MasterCard.
WillTravel is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 08:06 PM
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That happened to me once and I used a different card and then it took. No idea why.
Travelnut is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 11:46 PM
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Could be something goofy in the payment processing part. As others have suggested, try a different card OR try a different time of day. If you were booking in what would be the deep night in France, some systems may be down.
MorganB is offline  
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