Train option

Feb 9th, 2009, 11:20 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
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Train option

I need a ticket from Amsterdam to Bruges and also a ticket from Bruges to Paris in early April. I read that all of the trains are Thayls and you need a reservation. Does a reservation mean that you need to buy the tickets in advance before you go or just that you get your ticket in the train station to reserve your seat? I do not think that I want any kind of rail pass since it is just these 2 train trips.
mtcwsc is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 11:33 AM
  #2  
 
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No you do not need to hop the Thalys trains for those routes - in fact IMO you do NOT want to take the Thalys because it does require reservations and has a Byzantine fare structure where if you just show up you could pay hundreds of dollars more almost than if you booked into a non-changeable non-refundable ticket weeks if not months in advance.

You can just go to Amsterdam and buy tickets on the hourly IC Amsterdam to Antwerp - flat fare structure and cheaper typiclly than the Thalys, which runs over the same tracks at about the same speed - Thalys is imperative if going to Paris from Amsterdam but not to Brussels or Bruges.

Anyway you change off the IC train at Antwerp and hop a direct IC or regional train to Bruges, where reservations are not even possible i believe and again a cheaper fare structure where buying once there is the same as advance for all practical purposes i believe

And from Bruges you take a regional train to Lille (Flandres station, the main station in Lille for domestic trains and hop then the frequent TGV high-speed French trains to Paris' Gare du Nord.

TGV do require reservations which are included in the ticket price - buy that ticket at Bruges (buy a Bruges-Paris ticket via Lille) - those tickets should be easily available and again a good price. Bruges-Paris takes 3.5 hours - same as going Bruges to Brussels and changing to Thalys to Paris from Brussels. There is one daily direct Bruges-Brussels-Paris Thalys train i think but it leaves at an unGodly early or late hour i believe but check it out.

so forget the Thalys IMO and avoid it.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 11:57 AM
  #3  
yk
 
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Please take PalQ's advice with a grain of salt.

To get from Bruges to Paris, you can buy your ticket in advance through www.voyages-sncf.com and get it at a discount. You'll need to take a local train from Bruges to Brussels, then switch for the Thalys to Paris. TOTAL time for the trip is only 2.5 hours. When I picked a random day in April for this trip, the lowest train ticket is about 68 euros. The ticket comes automatically with a seat reservation for the Thalys part. There are no seat reservations for any intra-Belgium trains operated by the Belgian Railways.
yk is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 12:06 PM
  #4  
 
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Better start grabbing that 68 euro ticket now.

I made a mistake yes about the time - 2.5 hours either via Lille or via Brussels.

yk - i stand by my comments - you can buy for probably around 68 euros a fully flexible ticket from Bruges via Lille to Paris.

No dealing with the very difficult for many to use sncf-vyages.com site - yes there are hundreds of complaints about that sight.

And i would take yk's experience with one date in one April as being the norm. It ain't.

In any case why fool with a non-refundable nor changeable ticket you must frustrate yourself, if typical, to nab when i suspect for about the same price you could buy the other route via Lille which is just as fast.

Very very poor advice IMO from yk. I stand by my take.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 12:09 PM
  #5  
 
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And if you want to go the often frustrating sncf-voyages.com route then you can get train-specific discounts on the Lille-Paris TGVs - often for 29 euros making that route even cheaper than the 68 euro route yk mentions (since Bruges to Lille is no doubt cheaper than 39 euros). Anyway try both and see what is best.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 12:13 PM
  #6  
yk
 
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mtcwsc-

When I pick a differnt date, March 26, 2009; I get prices for Bruges -> Paris at € 41,20 only.

Since Easter is in early April this year, I strongly suggest you buy your train tickets ASAP, in order to get the cheapest rate and guarantee you have a ticket in hand.
yk is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 12:27 PM
  #7  
yk
 
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true, PalQ, without knowing which date or what time the OP plans to make his travels, it's hard to say which route offers better deals.

Some people like to buy their tickets in advance before their trips, and some people like to buy their tickets 5 minutes before the train departs. I think you and I have given the OP the various options.

One disadvantage of the Bruges->Lille->Paris route is that one has to walk a good distance at Lille for the train transfer. I've never done it myself but it's something that the OP should be aware of. HOWEVER, like PalQ said, the Bruges/Lille/Paris route is usually cheaper than the Bruges/Brussels/Paris route. I got lucky last year and I grabbed a €25 ticket for the direct Thalys Paris->Bruges. So it's best to check prices for both routes.

If www.voyages-sncf.com is difficult to deal with, I suggest you take a look at:
http://www.tgv-europe.com/en/home/

Make sure you select "GREAT BRITAIN" as the country of residence. It will keep everything in English without directing you to RailEurope.
yk is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 12:38 PM
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One disadvantage of the Bruges->Lille->Paris route is that one has to walk a good distance at Lille for the train transfer. I've never done it myself but it's something that the OP should be aware of.>

Take this with more than a grain of salt

Trains from Bruges arrive at the Lille-Flandres station, the same station TGVs leave from for Paris

yk is mistaking that Bruges trains come into the Lille-europea station that Eurostar trains from London use and this station is a short walk, but still a change of stations, from the Flandres station

But you certainly do not have to change stations like yk says so that is not a factor as it would be if true.

That said yk gives good advice that you may be able to - may - get a 29 euro fare or so from www.thalys.com or www.voyages-sncf.com for travel Bruges-Brussels-Paris and this would be cheaper always than the other route via Lille.But there are a very few seat that price so you must do it all far in advance to be sure.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 01:20 PM
  #9  
yk
 
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Okay, I went back to TGV Europe for a detailed look. The Lille-Paris TGV trains depart from BOTH Lille stations: the Lille-Flanders (which is where the Belgain local trains from Bruges arrive), as well as the Lille-Europe station.

So, for the OP, if you are going to take the Bruges-Lille-Paris route, you need to make sure which station in Lille that your Paris-bound TGV train will be departing from.

The two stations in Lille are about 400-500 meters apart, so in case your TGV to Paris departs from Lille-Europe, make sure you have some "cushion time" for your train transfer.
yk is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 06:07 AM
  #10  
ira
 
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Hi mt,

I prefer the Bruges-Lille Flandres-Paris route to the Bruges-Brussels-Paris route.

Check prices for both for the day of your trip to see what discount fares are available.

ira is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 06:24 AM
  #11  
 
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Take what yk says about TGVs from Lille Europe with several grains of salt

Though there is an odd TGV from Lille Europe to Paris Nord most other TGVs from Lille Europe run via CDG Airport and have you then taking the RER into Paris

There are trains at least hourly from Lille Flandres direct to Paris-Nord - pay no attention to that foolishness about taking a TGV from Lille Europe to Paris - there are very few of these and hourly ones from Flandres. If booking PREM fares however clarify that your TGV will leave from Lille-Flandres. But there are only sporadic direct TGVs from Lille Europe to Paris without a change of trains at CDG Airport.

There is absolutely no reason to have to change trains stations in Lille for the Bruges-Lille Flandres-Paris connections.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 09:06 AM
  #12  
 
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The ABS scheme with some Thalys tickets can change the fare equation

ABS meaning 'All Belgian Stations' and is issued on some Thalys tickets meaning that upon arrival in Brussels or other Belgian stations you can then, within 24 hours i think, then take any train free to any Belgian station - meaning of course Brussels to Bruges and vice versa would cost nothing more than the Thalys ticket. But i think ABS may not be a condition of the cheaper tickets like yk talks about.
PalenQ is offline  

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