Taking the train from CDG to Brussels Midi
September 19, 2011 12:09 PM   Subscribe

How complicated is it to get from CDG airport to Brussels by train?

I see on some sites about a Thalys train from CDG to Brussels Midi. Some other sites say that I need to take a RER to Paris Nord and then Thalys. The information I find is a few years old, and I can't get a straight answer from the Thalys site.

My google-fu is failing from a nasty cold, lack of sleep, and impatience. Can someone please hope me…
posted by hariya to Travel & Transportation around Brussels, Belgium (13 answers total)
A few weeks ago I did the opposite, taking a Thalys train from Brussels Midi to Paris, and it was very easy. On the Paris end, you'll have to get from CDG to Paris Nord using Line B on the RER.
posted by lockestockbarrel at 12:18 PM on September 19, 2011

The SNCF site shows a TGV going from CDG to Brussels a few times a day, taking about 2 hours.
posted by jeather at 12:20 PM on September 19, 2011

Is this helpful?
The CDG transport page says "The SNCF railway station at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport is served by the TGV South, West and North lines with connections to the Thalys network and SNCF mainlines services."

This wikipedia entry indicates service from CDG is or was available but the Thalys English site shows a dotted line to CDG instead of the normal solid line for trains
posted by pointystick at 12:20 PM on September 19, 2011

This summer I took RER Line B from CDG to Paris Nord, then took a Thalys train to Brussels Midi. Simple trip; easy connections.
posted by foggy out there now at 12:23 PM on September 19, 2011

Response by poster: Ok, so following pointystick's links and some more googling, it seems Thalys is the Belgian version of the French TGV; and TGV services CDG while Thalys services Paris Nord.

Thalys seems to have more trains so I will consider that first.

How long was the RER-B trip from/to CDG?
posted by hariya at 12:27 PM on September 19, 2011

Best answer: Thalys is a carrier that operates internationally on the TGV's tracks, between France, Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands, simlar to the service between the UK and France offered by Eurostar. Thalys is an express service, so it does not stop at CDG.

seat61 has more information than you could possibly ever want about traveling in Europe by train.

RailEurope is generally pretty good about putting together itineraries from all available carriers. Occasionally it makes sense to browse around RailEurope's various sites, as you may get better deals with a different currency or booking with the local language.
posted by schmod at 12:37 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

In particular, this page at SNCF allows you to look up a range of dates/times and choose your departure and your arrival locations, and it continues to show a direct train from CDG to Brussels (remember it is Bruxelles for a search), taking 1-2 hours, a few times a day.
posted by jeather at 12:40 PM on September 19, 2011

Best answer: The confusion about Thalys comes from the fact that Thalys does indeed serve CDG, but only 1 time per week: on Saturday, the train traveling between Brussels and either Marseille (summer) or the Alps (winter) stops in CDG. That's 1 train per week on each way.

The rest of the service (6-10 times per day all week through) does not stop in CDG.

Next to Thalys there is indeed a regular TGV service 2-3 times per day directly between CDG and Brussels.

Check www.tgv-europe.com for schedules and reservations.
posted by knz at 1:52 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you continue to look at the RER B option: The trip from CDG is 30-40 minutes (you can look it up on ratp.fr), but the queue for buying the tickets at CDG is often just as long because almost everyone needs to buy a ticket! One ticket for the RER CDG-Paris is 9.10 currently.

Use the SNCF trip planner linked above. In any of the Thalys/SNCF options, buy in advance if possible as the ticket prices do increase.
posted by whatzit at 3:04 AM on September 20, 2011

Best answer: I did the RER to Paris Nord Thalys connection a few years ago. It's been too long to remember exactly how long it all took, but I'd say do yourself a big favor and allow much more time than you think it will take. In the event, I only actually made my Thalys train because it left late - I arrived at the platform near the end of boarding.

First, I lost several minutes trying to navigate my way through CDG trying to find the RER station. (I found the signs confusing, but also I'd just gotten off an overnight nonstop flight from Chicago and was a little dazed.) I don't recall the queue to by RER tickets being long, but then there's the matter of waiting for the next train. I think 30-40 minutes does sound about right for the trip into Paris Nord. Lastly there's the maze of tunnels to work your way from the RER to the train platforms.

I loved riding the Thalys train, though, so I'm glad I did it. It just would have been nicer to start off a little less rushed. (I was going to both Amsterdam and Paris, in that order, but plane tickets direct from Chicago to Amsterdam were much more expensive and/or involved long layovers in London - even changing airports - so it ended up both cheaper and more convenient to fly to Paris first, then train to Amsterdam.)
posted by dnash at 8:01 AM on September 20, 2011

Best answer: As knz noted, Thalys usually does not stop at CDG. As whatzit and dnash note, the RER B to Paris Nord station is an option, but it is a rather beastly ride and frustrating, too, since you'll spend 40 minutes going in the opposite direction to where you intend to go.

Furthermore, Thalys is expensive (they have the monopoly on direct high speed trains between the city centers of Paris and Brussels, and boy do they exploit it). Make yourself a favour and book a direct SNCF TGV from CDG to Brussels. And yes, buy well in advance.
posted by Skeptic at 7:50 AM on September 21, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you all for your responses.

I am well-travelled but my companion on this trip is not. So, I bought the direct TGV from CDG to Brussels and back, as Skeptic suggested. This late (for a trip starting on Sunday) the Thalys and TGV prices were the same for 2nd class, and Thalys was much cheaper for 1st class.

I hope the 2 hour gap between the plane landing at CDG and the TGV departure is sufficient time.
posted by hariya at 3:24 AM on September 22, 2011

Response by poster: Just got back from this trip. In spite of planning for a 2-hour layover at CDG, we had to rush to catch the train because of flight delays, border control, and baggage delivery.

I did not see a huge wait for the RER-B tickets but maybe that was just because of my time of travel. However, the CDG to Brussels train is easy to find and catch, and less of a hassle. So, I would recommend that to anyone.
posted by hariya at 8:13 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

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