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hpeabody Jul 18th, 2012 05:04 PM

Paris Train Experts I am going to need help
I want to go from Paris to Bruges Sept 7 leaving at 7 or 8 in the morning and come back the same day around 5 pm. I was notified the fares are up today. I can get there with many choices but not back to Paris. It shows the trains but no fares or way to book. Perhaps I have missed something and I am using the wrong site? I keep getting directed to Rail Europe. I tried Thalys site and it is impossible on that site I guess because Thalys only goes to Brusels. Any suggestions?

bill151 Jul 18th, 2012 05:51 PM

Did you check off round trip on the Rail Europe site? Had no problem finding schedules for you. Leave Gare Nord on Sept 7 @ 7:25 am Thalys # 9309, arrive Bruxelles Midi 8:47 am return to Gare Nord leaving Bruxrlless Midi @ 3:43 pm arriving Paris 5:05 pm Thalys # 9546. Rd trip fare $92 US

hpeabody Jul 18th, 2012 06:10 PM

I am trying to go to Bruges, not Brussels. I am requesting round trip. It just will not show anything but the trains on the return so I can not book this trip. I was so hoping to do this train trip. By the time the fares show it will likely only be available at high prices I sure do understand why people are so frustrated with the Europe train sites. Funny, I played with Brussels and found trains and fares both ways. This is strange to me

sunny101 Jul 18th, 2012 07:47 PM

I just tried your criteria on and found both legs between Paris and Bruges with prices. It allowed me to proceed to the payment process. If you use this site, be sure to uncheck the Direct Routes Only box. This will give you more choices of schedules.

Good luck.

kybourbon Jul 18th, 2012 08:05 PM

What website are you using? To avoid RailEurope, select Antartica as your country.

Man_in_seat_61 Jul 18th, 2012 08:58 PM

You can book at either or

If you use you MUST NOT select 'United States as search results automatically open on Ral Europe with higher prices and fees. Instead, select Antarctic or Afghanistan, and read any pop-ups carefully, DO NOT let them divert you, click the link to 'Continue to'.

But I'd use Thalys, and select the destination 'Brussels ABS'. ABS = Any Belgian Station = a Thalys ticket to Brussels with reserved seat on a specific train plus open ticket for an onward train to anywhere in Belgium, in your case Bruges. It's valid on any Brussels-Bruges train in the 24 hours after arrival at Brussels, and on the return in the 24 hour before departure from Brussels. No seat reservations possible or necessary for this bit.

Christina Jul 19th, 2012 10:25 AM

I didn't have any trouble at all being able to book that ticket on, it cost around 143 euro roundtrip (no great discounts, especially on return). That was second class. So I don't know what you are doing wrong but there's nothing wrong with the website showing you possibilities for that date. YOu have to check that you will pick up the tickets at a gare in France, of course, as you won't be able to have them mailed abroad and I suspect you won't be able to get them from the automatic machine unless you have a card with a chip, of course. Still, you can easily buy them online. SNCF charges you a 9 euro admin fee because the second train comes from Belgium.

ira Jul 19th, 2012 11:02 AM

Hi hp,

Go to
Leave the menu in French,
You will "depart" from "Paris (Toutes gares intramuros)"
You will "arrivee" at "Bruges (Belgique)"
Choose 19/07/2012 under "Aller le" 06:00 and "retour le" 17:00
Click "Rechercher"
Choose either the 06:25 or the 07:25.
They are down to the last few seats for the latter.

Enjoy your day in Bruges.


PalenQ Jul 19th, 2012 11:05 AM

I didn't have any trouble at all being able to book that ticket on, it cost around 143 euro roundtrip (no great discounts, especially on return).>

If having to pay 143 euros for one day then by all means investigate the Germany-Benelux railpass (well if taking some other trains that is - you could with the pass go via Lille on TGV and pay just 6 euros I believe for the seat reservations. Not sure how much the pass costs but 143 euros may be a big chunk of it. And you could then have total flexibility as it is not hard to get railpass seats on the Paris to Lille route as there are so so many trains and relatively few tourists using that route.

Transfer in Lille to a regional train to Bruges - no reservations even possible.

For lots on trains in those countries I always highlight not only Man in seat 61 (who posts above) - his commercial site but also two other sites that I think stand out above those mainly selling stuff with prices and little other info - and

If not taking any other trains then yes do whatever route is cheaper - Thalys via Brussels with the ABS thing or Paris-Lille-Bruges - both routes take about exactly the same time - Thalys to get the cheapest fare you should book months in advance - Lille route can do once in Paris at an affordable fee if you do not book online discounts on that one as well.

Tant pis you cannot at least stay the night in Bruges, after the tourist hoards have gone and the city becomes much much more romantic -- the canals and old humpbacked bridges being sublimely illuminated, etc.

ira Jul 19th, 2012 11:09 AM


Choose the train you want and then "Choisissez"
On the next page, choose your return train and choisissez.

You will see your ticket displayed - a Thalys train to Brussels and a regional train to Bruges.
For an additional 5.5E you can buy refund insurance.

Next "Valider votre reservation".



Christina Jul 19th, 2012 02:06 PM

Don't buy insurance when you can't read what you are buying or know what it covers or if it is even valid for you (I suspect not, I think it is legally only for EU residents).

I think the fare is so high because that date is not a particularly low period (a Friday in early September). So there are some discounts if you agree to non-refundable, but not deep ones. Also, I think Thalys tends to be more expensive than some French TGV trains that might be comparable distance. It's around 65 euro each way. And coming back at 5 pm on a Friday is probably the equivalent of train rush hour.

hpeabody Jul 19th, 2012 04:28 PM

I have tried TVG and can get round trip ticket for 134 euros. That seems very high to me. I just went back to Rail Europe and again the same thing. Booking an outbound train is fine and no way to book a return. Maybe this link will work to show what I am talking about.

This really makes me curious. btw, I tried a different browser, that is not the problem

hpeabody Jul 19th, 2012 04:47 PM

Re: Rail Europe. Hmmmm, I just had an idea, I tried it and it worked. I thought what about 2 separate 1 way tickets. It works! Round trip would be $151 USD. about $10.00 less than the TVG site. Perhaps there is something about booking round trip on the same day that is causing this?

The fare still seems high. In 2009 I traveled on Thalys from Amsterdam to Paris for about $42.00, that was a 1 way. Is the price worth it? Then they had a funny named special fare

ira Jul 20th, 2012 03:21 AM

Hey HP
>Perhaps there is something about booking round trip on the same day that is causing this? <

Could crossing a national border have something to do with it?


kybourbon Jul 20th, 2012 05:02 AM

>>>fare still seems high. In 2009 I traveled on Thalys from Amsterdam to Paris for about $42.00, that was a 1 way. Is the price worth it?<<<

You can book discounts on Thalys if you want to book Paris/Brussels (some one way tickets are 29€).

On SNCF, I get a round trip price of 114€ (selecting the cheapest trains).

PalenQ Jul 20th, 2012 06:33 AM

there are very very few 29 euro tickets available - book months early to get them.

PalenQ Jul 20th, 2012 08:32 AM

Could crossing a national border have something to do with it?>

not on a direct train like Thalys

but if trying to book Paris-Brussels or Lille to Bruges then the connecting train may not be able to be booked on the French sncf website and there is no need to book those trains as they are, from Lille and Brussels to Bruges trains that do not accept reservations anyway and have a flat fee with walk up fare the same as advance booking I believe.

And keep in mind the ABS fare Man in Seat 61 talks about but only available in conjunction with a Thalys ticket.

Christina Jul 20th, 2012 09:41 AM

I think you have unrealistic ideas of what that fare should be, that's all. Fares vary a lot based on the date, day of the week and time of day. YOu don't get big discounted fares during periods that are busy on the trains, and I suspect that time and are one of them.

StCirq Jul 20th, 2012 02:05 PM

The best you can do is go out at 6:25 am for 52.50 euros and come home leaving around 8 pm for 62.50 euros. But if you can come back early morning on the 8th, you can gt back for 29 euros.

Forget using Eurail. It's a lot more expensive than booking directly with SNCF.

kerouac Jul 20th, 2012 02:30 PM

I would take a cheap TGV to Lille and just transfer to the local commuter train to Bruges.

You can get a round trip Paris-Lille-Paris for 40€ on September 7. The bad news is that Lille-Bruges costs almost as much because the one way fare is 18.60€.

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