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Trains from Bruges, Belgium to Bordeaux - where to stop along the way

Edited for clarity.

Our family of 3 adults will be leaving Bruges, Belgium after a visit in July and have 2-nights open before we need to be in Bordeaux to attend Olympic events - after which we will head to Paris for more Olympic events and sightseeing.

I am looking for a suggested train stop to spend those 2 nights along the way between Bruges and Bordeaux to visit some champagne houses or other wine regions and sights - before we arrive in Paris for the rest of our trip.

We won’t have a car, so we need a good location to arrive by train. Hoping we can reserve a hotel for two nights and book a tour or two, then hop back on the train to continue on to Bordeaux.

I am seeing on the trainline site that we will have to change trains a couple of times. (If there is a better site to use to book our train tickets, please also let me know). Secondly, how far in advance will the train tickets go on sale?

Appreciate your recommendations.

Posted by
5044 posts

I believe the subject of a brief Loire stop was covered in a previous thread of yours.

Keep in mind that trains from Bruges to Bordeaux will require train changes in Brussels and Paris, with direct trains from Paris to Bordeaux. Either Reims or any town in the Loire would require you to back track through Paris, with a train change there to get to Bordeaux. You won't just hop back onto a train and continue.

Posted by
7006 posts

Reims would require backtracking to Paris to go to Bordeaux, but the Loire would not! There are trains from St Pierre des Corps (Tours) to Bordeaux. So I would pick the Loire, between the two, staying in Tours for convenience.

Posted by
785 posts

Any deviation from a direct route means extra baggage handling and extra trains. Staying in Tours or Reims adds two extra trains or taxis, and don't forget to factor in the trip between Paris stations.

I'd stay in Paris, and visit either the Loire Valley or Reims as a day trip. That way you don't have to worry about a deadline whilst schlepping your luggage from Gate du Nord to Montparnasse.

Posted by
20321 posts

Since you have to change stations across town in Paris from Gare du Nord to Gare Montparnasse, Paris is the obvious place to take a break. If you really want to see Reims, you could day trip there from Gare de l'Est as it is only 45 minutes on a direct TGV.

Posted by
82 posts

Thanks everyone for your reply. We will be staying in Bordeaux for 4 nights for Olympics events then headed to Paris for 6 nights for more Olympics events and sightseeing. So trying to find good opportunities to leverage the two-days we have before Bordeaux.

Posted by
7501 posts

Bruges has no direct trains to almost anywhere; It's a spur-journey from Brussels or Antwerp. I kind of remember that the Thalys platform at Brussels Midi doesn't have escalators, but does have one modern elevator at one end. The Antwerp Centraal station is now quite modernized, with glamorous escalators to most levels.

Most posters here recommend using the national rail site for the country you're starting a journey in. For Belgium that would be https://www.belgiantrain.be/en . Note that many countries have a link on the main rail page for "International Journeys". Other users of this site like Deutsche Bahn so much that they always use it. In a general way, when you buy an advance purchase ticket with a seat reservation, you usually get a bar-coded ticket you can print at home. Just like airfares, advance-purchase discounts often imply no refunds and no changes to the itinerary. But many conventional (non Thalys, non Eurostar, non-reserved coaches ) fares are good on any conventional train on the route that day.

https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips

I haven't bought a French rail ticket lately, and there are some levels of TGV service (and price) that require special attention that I can't help you with. Try using the Search box top center on SNCF and filter for "one-year".

EDIT: I don't often urge a car rental, but the Loire is much better done with a car. That would especially be the case for a rushed visit. It is perhaps too close to Bruges, but Lille France is a possible "city visit" without a car. I went there as a daytrip just to see the fine art museum. Lille's nickname used to be "Little Paris". There have been some posts here about visiting Lille. I also have Louvre-Lens on my list, but that's not two day's worth without a car.