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Train from Belgium to Paris to Switzerland

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Jun 17th, 2011, 03:02 PM
  #1
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Join Date: May 2011
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Train from Belgium to Paris to Switzerland

We are flying into Brussels, spending a few days in Belgium with friends, then taking the train to Paris for about 4 days, then the rest of our 2 weeks will be spent in Switzerland, largely in Bernese Oberland and around Luzern. Does anybody have a good sense as to whether it makes more sense to get a Eurail pass and pay slightly higher fees in Switzerland, or pay a one-way to Paris, then to Bern and then have a SwissRail pass. I believe that both SwissRail and Eurail provide discounts on the private trains and trams in the BO, but am not totally clear on all of this. Any insight is helpful.

Thanks
mcboulder is offline  
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Jun 17th, 2011, 04:29 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You can figure the rail fares on www.raileurope.com. One way from Brussels to Paris to Bern plus the Swiss Pass. Then compare it with the Eurail Pass. My guess is the 2 one-ways plus the Swiss Pass will be the winner. Best thing about the Swiss Pass is that it includes buses, lake boats, etc. as well as rail. All the fares and pass info is on that website. Love Switzerland.
charli is offline  
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Jun 17th, 2011, 09:24 PM
  #3
 
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Hi mcboulder,

I caution you against using Raileurope to compare prices, as their point-point tickets are inflated; they don't show the true fares.

You can get great savings fares on the international trips if you buy them 90 days early; these discount fares run about 40 Euro.

For the trip from Paris to Switzerland, use

www.voyages-sncf.fr (only if you speak French)
www.tgv-europe.com

For the train trips within Switzerland, use

www.rail.ch

Have fun as you get it worked out!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
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Jun 17th, 2011, 11:03 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
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To book at European prices, with zero fees or other hidden costs:

- Book Brussels to Paris at www.thalys.com, selecting 'Belgium/English' as your journey starts in Belgium. Fares start at 35 euros if you pre-book, maximum 90 days ahead.

- Paris to Switzerland, book at www.tgv-europe.com, French railways official English language site. However, if you're from the USA, say you're from Canada to avoid being bumped to Rail Europe. Fares start at just 29 euros if you pre-book.

Compared with just two easily-pre-booked journeys costing perhaps as little as 35 euros + 29 euros, a railpass will cost hundreds of dollars, then they'll add agency booking fees on top, then you'll discover that the pass still requires you to make reservations, then you'll find that Brussels-Paris reservation fee is 39 euros, and it's actually cheaper to put the pass in the waste paper bin and buy the 35 euro cheap fare I mention above, if it's available!

www.sbb.ch for trains within Switzerland. Here there's no reservation, usually one fixed price that's the same even on the day. So no point in pre-booking, just buy at the station on the day, but check if a Swiss Pass would save money depending on the mileage you plan to clock up, as passes CAN make sense still in Switzerland.
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