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Seat reservation on Brussels to Paris CDG Airport TGV train

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May 1st, 2011, 05:37 PM
  #1
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Seat reservation on Brussels to Paris CDG Airport TGV train

Hello,

We have plans to leave Amsterdam on 23rd May and go to Paris. We wanted to divide the journey and enjoy Brussels on the way. We were thinking of taking the intercity train from Amsterdam to Brussels (in the morning), enjoying Brussels for a couple of hours, and then heading to Paris CDG Airport train station by TGV train (in the evening).

We have bought a rail-pass and would need reservation on the TGV train. But the raileurope charges lot of fees for doing a simple reservation, and plus TGV reservations have no email way of delivering the reservations, and since there are just 20 days left before we leave, we would ideally prefer email, and not having to wait for it to come in the mail.

So we were wondering if anyone knew how busy these TGV trains are? and if we really need a reservation from here? or can we do the reservation the day we land in Amsterdam (21st May)? Any other options on booking these reservations?

FYI - we are trying to avoid Thaly's as the reservation for Thaly's is $59 even after you have the railpass.

Thanks
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May 1st, 2011, 06:16 PM
  #2
 
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You are now finding out why rail passes are no longer the good deal they were a decade ago. You can easily book the reservation after you arrive because the train rarely sells out. However, you will not avoid the reservation fee.
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May 2nd, 2011, 10:09 AM
  #3
 
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Booking tickets can apparently be done like this:
http://www.eurail.com/planning/train...ns/how-to-make

The German railways could book seats throughout Europe.

Have you tried contacting
http://help.tgv-europe.com/en/contac...r_Contact%20us
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May 2nd, 2011, 10:18 AM
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Some can be full if they are holiday periods or certain routes (like returning on a Sunday night from a holiday spot), etc., but there were usually be empty seats and I wouldn't worry about an evening train like you want to CDG (going to CDG from Brussels in the evening?). So I wouldn't worry about it that much and would suggest you do it when you et there, that should be plenty of time.

I do not believe you can book reservations online for a railpass.

I don't know why this fact makes a railpass a good idea or not compared to the way it used to be, they have always been this way (that you need to book a reservation if you have the pass, for trains like TGVs). I had one a long time ago and it was the same thing.
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May 2nd, 2011, 11:40 PM
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Go to www.thalys.com and try to book a ticket from Brussels to Paris.

If you can find the cheapest 35 euro fare, this is 4 euros CHEAPER than the 39 euro passholder fare you'd pay if you showed your pass.

Yes, that's right, you didn't mis-read this. 35 euros WITHOUT a railpass, 39 euros WITH a pass!

A month or two from now, I can see loads of 35 euro fares available on many departures, of course this cheapest rate might not be available on yours, but worth a try. If it IS available, you can put the pass in the waste bin!
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May 2nd, 2011, 11:42 PM
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Prices above are for 2nd class, by the way. If you want 1st class or have a 1st class pass, the passholder surcharge for Thalys is a whopping 62 euros.
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May 3rd, 2011, 01:19 PM
  #7
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Thanks everyone. I did go ahead and book some of my main reservations through RailEurope. They charge $11 for France reservations(instead of waiting to book when I get there at 5euro) and $15 for Italy reservations (instead of 10euro if booked at the station). Also I paid $18 in shipping and handling. But since this is our first europe trip and we have hotel reservations etc and have fixed dates, we wanted to make sure we get some seats in the required trains.

Also, we are planning to take TGV from Brussels to Paris CDG because we want to avoid the ridiculous prices for Thaly's train even with a rail-pass. We will then take a train from CDG to our rental apartment.

Thanks
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May 3rd, 2011, 01:48 PM
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Rs_travel - Just to clarify my understanding of your situation:

1. did you pay only $11 for the Brussels to CDG reservation?

2. why not take the train from Brussels into Paris Nord rather than going to CDG?
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May 3rd, 2011, 03:27 PM
  #9
 
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Sarastro,
The TGV does not go to Paris. Expensive Thalys does.

http://www.b-europe.com/Travel/Trains/TGV
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May 3rd, 2011, 05:23 PM
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<>

Had you purchased tickets in advance rather than a pass, you would have discovered that Thalys from Brussels into Paris Nord has smoove fares costing only 25€.
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May 3rd, 2011, 05:26 PM
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I should add that those who purchase eurorail passes and travel to CDG have the right to travel to Gare du Nord on the RER B, but not beyond, with their passes. This might save you a few euros.
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May 4th, 2011, 09:09 AM
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Before boarding the RER train folks with railpasses have to go to the ticket counter and get a Contremarque de Passage - a free ticket that simply trips the turnstile to get into the RER system and also need it to get out at Gare du Nord - without it you cannot get out perhaps nor enter thru the automatic entry gates.

I took the CDG to Brussels TGV just to avoid the steep Thalys fee with my pass and it only takes an hour or so longer. Oddly enough travel from Paris Nord to CDG outward bound your railpasses are not valid - valid only going into Paris for some weird reason.
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May 4th, 2011, 10:08 AM
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Railpasses are only good in Paris on the RER if the line is operated by SNCF, not RATP. Line B actually had different drivers operating each part of the route and they switched drivers at Gare du Nord (SNCF drivers north of that, RATP drivers south). However, I thought they changed that system a couple years ago and only have one driver now, so maybe it is SNCF drivers coming in and RATP going out.
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May 4th, 2011, 10:17 AM
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PalenQ is correct about the RER B only being available to pass holders from CDG as far as Gare du Nord and in only that direction.

While I do agree with Christina about which entity actually operates different RER segments, the information has no bearing on how someone can use his rail pass. However, there may be (and I am not going to research this further) a stipulation allowing use of the SNCF segments of the RER to pass holds who have purchased passes valid within FRANCE only (as I seem to recall vaguely such a provision).
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May 4th, 2011, 01:19 PM
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My info has it that Eurailpasses (France Railpass is different I believe and does cover other ones I believe) are now only valid on one RER line - the one from CDG Roissy airport to Gare du Nord. Period. None else and like Sarastro confirms not even back to the airport.
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May 5th, 2011, 08:25 AM
  #16
 
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There is another route Brussels to Paris sans Thalys - take a regional train Brussels to Lille-Flandres and then hop the TGV hourly or so for a 3 euro reservation fee with pass to Paris Gare du Nord - since it goes right to Gare du Nord it may be as quick as the route via CDG.
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May 6th, 2011, 08:32 AM
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Though it does not fit into the OP's plans folks planning a Amsterdam to Paris rail itinerary with a railpass and wishing to visit wondrous Bruges as well can completely avoid the Thalys by taking regular non-Thalys trains Amsterdam vis Antwerp to Bruges then a train Bruges to Lille and TGV to Paris - with just a 3 euro supplemental fee for the TGV seat reservation. And it is just as quick to do Bruges-Lille-Paris as it is to go Bruges-Brussels then Thalys to Paris - about the exact same time.

And for folks without passes the Bruges route allows you to just show up and buy tickets at fairly flat fares - just show up and buy Thalys tickets could mean paying hundreds of dollars extra for a couple over the deep discounts that must be booked weeks in advance to secure.
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