June 4, 2010: Flash—
The French National Railway, SNCF, announced today discounted train tickets on the Thalys line from Paris to a select number of cities for travel between July 5 and August 27, 2010. Tickets must be purchased online before June 30, 2010. Other destinations include Rotterdam, Bruges, and Liege.
Paris – Brussels: €25, one-way.
Paris – Cologne: €29, one-way.
Paris – Amsterdam: €35, one-way.
Important: The tickets must be booked through the SNCF website in French.
You do not need to be French to book these tickets. Reserve the seats (in French), pay with your credit card, print off your confirmation emails, and, if picking up your tickets at the station, bring the same credit card with you that you used to make the reservation. (You will use that card to retrieve the tickets from a machine or hand it to a ticket agent at the station.)
For much more on this subject, read our primer on how to book tickets on the SNCF Web site in French. Also, if you have Google toolbar installed on your Web browser, you could try the Google translator for help with the French.
Note: If you click through to the English-language version of the site, you will not see the same special offers. Stay on the French site.
We just tested out the fares with a trip from Paris to Amsterdam on Tuesday, July 20, returning to Paris on July 27. We found fares, both ways, for €35. Our total price was €70 roundtrip.
Just for fun, we also clicked through to the English version and tried the same dates. We were able to reserve seats on the same trains for $47, which is just a few dollars more than the French version. However, the English site insisted on mailing the tickets to us, which tacks $18 onto the order. The total amount is $112, or €93, roundtrip.
We definitely encourage you to take advantage of this offer while the promotional fares last. Once the promo-fares are gone, you can still book seats on the trains, but at higher prices.