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London-Bruges-Paris
emmylynn
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This is only my second trip to Europe, so please forgive me if the questions seem awful. I have 8 days for the trip and I lose a day because I’m starting out in LA. We are staying in London for one night to get our bearings. Then my husband wants to go to Bruges for one day and then we have 4 days for Paris and then I have to rush back to London for the return flight. These are my questions, thanks in advance for any advice:

How to I buy a ticket from London to Bruges & Is there a special ticket or is it a train ticket?
Is SNBC the website to buy tickets into France?
What is a good price for a ticket from Bruges to France?
What kind of prices should I be looking for in general. Everything seems so expensive!
How long are the train rides? My guide book says just an hour or two, but the website I found say 4? Am I looking in the right place?
Can I buy the tickets on eurotrip or is that just “passes?” I want to buy city to city I think.
How much do you save buy booking them in advance? Should we just buy them at the stations?

I am normally a very competent person. I’m not sure why I’m having so much trouble with all this. I’m really a good planner. Please help. I think I must be doing something wrong.

Thank you

oldlady
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Quote:
How to I buy a ticket from London to Bruges & Is there a special ticket or is it a train ticket?
Try www.eurostar.com If you can’t buy a ticket all the way to Brugges, I would buy the eurostar ticket to Brussels and then buy a ticket to Brugges when you tranfer trains at Brussels Midi (Brussels South, not to be confused with Brussels Centrale). You could try to buy the Brussels/Brugge ticket or the whole ticket from the Belgian national rail company website:
http://www.b-rail.be/main/E/
Quote:
Is SNBC the website to buy tickets into France?
Isn’t that the Belgian website? Try SNCF for France http://www.sncf.com/… Make sure you do use a European country as your “home” on the French site. If you use USA you will be transferred to raileurope and will end up paying global price plus shipping for the ticket — probably at least 30% more than you’d pay for the ticket at the station in Europe. Make sure you can buy an e-ticket or can print the ticket in Brugges for the train you want to take as you don’t want to be in Belgium with a ticket that you need to pick up in France. Other options for website would be: www.thalys.com or www.tgv.com (also avoid using USA as your home country on this site) or the Belgian site.

Prices for these high speed, luxury trains are expensive. A railpass (France/Benelux) may save money (or give you a “free day” to use on a day trip) even though you aren’t taking a lot of train trips. Look at prices for trains via Lille to avoid the high priced Thalys trains. Comparison shop on all the above sites.

Quote:
How long are the train rides? My guide book says just an hour or two, but the website I found say 4? Am I looking in the right place?
I think London to Brugges involves a change of time zones, so is actually about 3 hours — just over 2 hours from London to Brussels. I assume you’re using a Rick Steves guidebook. He always says it’s 2 hours from Paris to Brugges, but I’ve never seen a connection that’s less than 2 1/2. It’s 2 hours from Paris to Brussels and another 1/2 hour to Brugges. Use the German national rail company website for schedules anywhere in Europe as it’s the most complete and easiest to use in English: http://reiseauskunft…
Quote:
Can I buy the tickets on eurotrip or is that just “passes?” I want to buy city to city I think.
Not sure on this one. The site is supposed to sell point to point tickets in the future, but I don’t know if we’ve reached the future or not. Maybe mim will weigh in. Based on the Italiarail website (banner along the side of this page) that’s affiliated with the site, I would guess that the prices from this site would be cheaper than other travel agencies, but still more expensive than the national rail company websites IF you can actually buy the ticket you need from them.

Shop, shop, shop. If you don’t find specials for the dates you want to travel, then I’d wait to buy the tickets (except Eurostar)at the station in Europe. Buy the eurostar ticket as soon as you’re sure of the date. If you don’t find a special on Eurostar AND you’re over 25, look into buying a France/Benelux railpass and using the special “passholder fare” on Eurostar. If you qualify for youth fares, passholder fare and regular youth fare on Eurostar are almost exactly the same.

augustin25
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Did you already buy your plane tickets? Flying into and out of London seems like such a waste since you’re not really going to spend any time there (that first day you’ll be really tired) and you’re going to pay to get from/back to London. Anyhow, if you’re committed to London/Bruges/Paris I guess your plan sounds about as good as it’ll get, although I might consider taking the Eurostar to Bruges the day you land. See what others think.

For London-Bruges you have to take the Eurostar to Brussels, then a Belgian train to Bruge. Buy your Eurostar tickets as soon as possible to get the lowest fares:
http://www.eurostar….

The SNBC site should be the place to buy your Bruges-Paris ticket, and booking ther ein advance should get you the lowest fares. This link seems simplest:
http://www.b-europe….

Edit: looks like oldlady and I were writing our posts at the same time

emmylynn
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Thank you so much you two!