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Old Feb 16, 11, 10:27 am   #1
 
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Eurostar - Thalys Multi-City Paris to London to Brussels with Stopover

Hello,

My family is coming into CDG the morning of 5/26/11 and taking the RER over to Gare du Nord to begin our vacation. We plan on hitting London for five days, Brussels for two and completing the vacation back in France (Paris and day trips) through 6/9.

We are wondering where the most inexpensive website is to book a multi-city Eurostar/Thalys trip from. We tried to just do the Paris-London-Brussels segment on the Eurostar website, but we could only manage to preview one-way options. It appears the Thalys portion from Brussels to Paris can only be booked 90-Days out. We want to get this booked asap so the prices don't go up.

Also, any suggestions on Paris day trips with train-vs.-car rental would be greatly appreciated!!!

TIA...
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Old Feb 18, 11, 9:17 am   #2
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There are always Thalys sales so you don't have to book 90 days in advance. 3 months is plenty, and you may even want to wait til you see a sale come up. Thalys.com has the cheapest prices as far as I know. voyages-sncf.com seems to have the same fares.

There isn't much family stuff within a days drive of Paris that you would want a car for. Parc Asterix and Disneyland and Versailles all have public transportation. Unless you really want to go out in the country, just take trains.
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Old Feb 18, 11, 11:03 am   #3
 
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Most European train companies do not operate like airlines in selling tickets. It is true that some national companies will sell tickets for other national companies, but there are no discount brokers or companies that sell discount tickets.

Thalys does not have frequent sales. In fact, in the last year, there have been almost none, although perhaps they offer them in other countries. To get the best price, simply book on the Thalys site three months before you travel. You can try it also four months before, as well. This is your best chance to get the cheapest tickets.

I hope you realise that Thalys is a 'premium' service. You can travel cheaper if you use local express trains instead of Thalys.
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Old Feb 18, 11, 1:40 pm   #4
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Originally Posted by JoostvD View Post
Thalys does not have frequent sales.
Sorry, but you are wrong. If you sign up for the Thalys email list, you will get regular offers for the sales. Happens all the time. As the OP is going from France to Brussels, he would sign up for the French emails to see the sales. Or if he goes ex-Brussels, sign up for that list.

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I hope you realise that Thalys is a 'premium' service. You can travel cheaper if you use local express trains instead of Thalys.
Not really. There is no local Paris-Brussels express train. And if you do CDG-BRU, it is almost always more expensive than the Thalys.

Sometimes at the last minute (or just a few days before travel), if you have the time and really need to save every dime, you can get a cheap fare going Paris to Lille, then pick up the Eurostar from there to Brussels. But if you get the Thalys on one of these sales, it is definitely cheaper.
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Old Feb 18, 11, 1:49 pm   #5
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As an example, I just looked in my trash bin and found a Thalys Valentines day sale, 40 for two, one way Paris-Brussels.
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Old Feb 19, 11, 10:51 am   #6
 
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Originally Posted by stimpy View Post
Sorry, but you are wrong. If you sign up for the Thalys email list, you will get regular offers for the sales. Happens all the time. As the OP is going from France to Brussels, he would sign up for the French emails to see the sales. Or if he goes ex-Brussels, sign up for that list.
I am signed up for the list and I have received no special offers in a long time. Yesterday, I received an offer for double miles that will not help this OP.
Quote:

Not really. There is no local Paris-Brussels express train. And if you do CDG-BRU, it is almost always more expensive than the Thalys.
There is the TGV and that can be cheaper than Thalys depending how far in advance you book it.

As a Dutch passenger, as I said, I have gotten very few or no special offers in the last year. If you have gotten some, I am very curious why that is. Of course, I would like to receive them as well.
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Old Feb 19, 11, 3:28 pm   #7
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Originally Posted by JoostvD View Post
There is the TGV and that can be cheaper than Thalys depending how far in advance you book it.
No, there is no TGV Paris-Brussels. Only the Thalys. There is the CDG-Brussels train that I mentioned, but like I said it is usually more expensive than the Thalys, especially when you consider the regular Thalys sale prices.
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Old Feb 20, 11, 4:47 am   #8
 
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Originally Posted by stimpy View Post
No, there is no TGV Paris-Brussels. Only the Thalys. There is the CDG-Brussels train that I mentioned, but like I said it is usually more expensive than the Thalys, especially when you consider the regular Thalys sale prices.
There is TGV 9854 that leaves from CDG, which is Paris. And I am still very curious why you seem to get so many sales offers from Thalys, while I get almost none in the last year. Even looking at the Thalys site, I still don't see any special offers (even looking at the French site!). If you don't mind telling me, do you have a frequent traveller account or business account? Perhaps that could explain why you get these offers.
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Old Feb 20, 11, 7:40 am   #9
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Originally Posted by JoostvD View Post
There is TGV 9854 that leaves from CDG, which is Paris. And I am still very curious why you seem to get so many sales offers from Thalys, while I get almost none in the last year. Even looking at the Thalys site, I still don't see any special offers (even looking at the French site!). If you don't mind telling me, do you have a frequent traveller account or business account? Perhaps that could explain why you get these offers.
To be accurate, CDG is in Roissy, not Paris. It's many km north of Paris, or about a half hour from Paris on the RER suburban train.

As for the offers, I have been getting them for many years, long before current frequent traveler program began. I don't recall how I signed up. But I am a member of their frequent traveler program, the old one and the new one.
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Old Feb 21, 11, 5:47 am   #10
 
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Originally Posted by stimpy View Post
To be accurate, CDG is in Roissy, not Paris. It's many km north of Paris, or about a half hour from Paris on the RER suburban train.
I meant for train tickets, it is included in Paris. Just like Schiphol, which is not in Amsterdam, is included in tickets for Amsterdam.

Quote:
As for the offers, I have been getting them for many years, long before current frequent traveler program began. I don't recall how I signed up. But I am a member of their frequent traveler program, the old one and the new one.
I also got them for many years, but they have certainly slowed the offers in the last year, just as the Dutch railroad has. For example, in 2008 and 2009, I received 7-9 offers per year for Paris. In 2010, I received only 2!
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Old Feb 22, 11, 9:29 am   #11
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Here is yet another Thalys sale I was just notified about via email...

http://www.thalys.com/fr/fr/voyages-...e-de-bienvenue
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Old Feb 22, 11, 10:04 am   #12
 
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Originally Posted by stimpy View Post
Here is yet another Thalys sale I was just notified about via email...

http://www.thalys.com/fr/fr/voyages-...e-de-bienvenue
Thanks for posting that, but I still have not received a mail about this. Furthermore, they said it a 50percent reduction, yet I see the regular price for this is 90 and the sale price is 60, so I don't understand the 50 percent. It is also for a high-priced fare which I, at least, would never buy anyhow.

For foreign travellers, it is really best to check the Thalys site long in advance before you travel to Europe. This will give the best chance of the cheapest ticket.
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