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Train travel options from Amsterdam to Paris

Hello Fellow Travelers:
My husband and I are booked on the 14 Day BOE Your Way Tour beginning in Paris on September 21. We fly into Amsterdam on the 16th, will spend two nights (have already booked tours to the Anne Frank Huis and Van Gogh Museum) and then are traveling to Bayeaux for two nights to see the Normandy Beaches (am looking at Overlord Tours for a full day tour on Saturday 9/19.) We will then take the train to Paris for an extra night before the tour starts. My question: What is the most efficient way to get from Amsterdam to Bayeux by train? I attempted to look at the Rick Steve's Rail Europe link, but it seems the schedules are not published yet for September. It seems odd to me to take the train to Paris and then catch a connection to Bayeux, but I am learning that there are many odd things involved with planning this trip. My husband is a Viet Nam/Desert Storm Vet and has been everywhere, but I have not been to Europe since I was a teenager. Thank you so much in advance for your guidance.

Posted by
16032 posts

If you ever lived in the south, you'll be familiar with the saying, "Even if you die and go to heaven, you still have to change planes in Atlanta." The French rail network is similar. Going to Paris to get to Bayeux from Amsterdam is not too far out of the way. The problem is taking the cross town station transfer with the RER E to get from Gare du Nord to Gare St Lazare. Other than that it is pretty straight forward transfer.

Posted by
47 posts

You would take Thalys to Paris Nord, transfer somehow to Paris St. Lazare and then get to Bayeux on the SNCF Intercity train. I have not been to Paris so I am not sure of the best transfer option between these stations.

SNCB Europe is a helpful site for schedules and purchasing tickets with a US credit card before arriving in Europe. (https://www.b-europe.com/Travel). SNCB Europe worked great for me as I was able to secure my reservation and print my tickets from Amsterdam to Belgium right from my computer in the U.S. (I even used A4 paper as recommended in their terms and conditions, not sure if is absolutely required though). Although the site shows scheduling information for Bayeux from Amsterdam, it does not allow online sales for the Bayeux portion of your journey.

If you are firm on leaving on 9/18 from Amsterdam, I would recommend Rail Europe in this case as it allows you to buy all tickets for the full itinerary to Bayeux. It seems that you will be able to print your e-ticket at home on the site. I would book as soon as possible as the lowest pricing is already taken for the 9:17am departure. It is an 8 hour journey in total from Amsterdam to Bayeux. If you want to leave at 9:17am the fare is already $114 per person in 2nd class on Rail Europe. If you are willing to leave Amsterdam at 11:17am, the price drops to $75. In both cases, you have 2 hours and 35 minutes to get from Gare du Nord to St. Lazare station.

Posted by
154 posts

Thank you all for the helpful information. I went to the Rail Europe site on the 19th and was able to book and pay for all of our tickets ahead of time and print them at home. On September 18th we will be on the 9:17 a.m. Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris and will arrive at 12:35. We will then take the RER E Line (10 minutes) to the Paris St Lazare station. Our train to Bayeux (through Caen) leaves at 1:45 and arrives at 4:16, enough time to check in to Hotel d'Argouges, have a walk around town, perhaps see The Tapestry and find some dinner. We tour the Normandy beaches on the 19th. On Sunday the 20th I booked the 12:37 train from Bayeux to Paris through Caen, again. I did this deliberately so we could have a morning with no rushing about, have a leisurely late breakfast and enjoy the town. We'll arrive at Paris St Lazare at 3:16 and go directly to Hotel Tourisme Avenue, where we'll meet up with our Rick Steves tour group on the 21st. I must say I am very impressed with the Rail Europe site. I was apprehensive, to say the least, thinking that I didn't know what I was doing, but how are you going to learn if you don't try? I am very excited about this trip and thought I would post this itinerary and my experience with Rail Europe in the event it might help other travelers. Liz

Posted by
4697 posts

Liz -- Looks like a good plan. The transfer from Gare du Nord to Gare St-Lazare will take more than ten minutes because you'll have to disembark the Thalys, walk down the platform to the main concourse, then walk through a tunnel to the Magenta station for the RER E, most likely wait a few minutes for that train, walk from the Haussman-St-Lazare RER station into the railroad station, and then walk to the platform for your Bayeux train. The tunnel to Magenta should be well marked, probably on your left as you come off the Thalys platform. You should still have time to make the connection, as it's just one stop from Magenta to St-Lazare. And the Magenta and Hausmann-St-Lazare RER stations are wheelchair accessible so you won't be hauling your stuff up and down stairs. See Paris by Train for more info about this connection and all things rail in Paris.

When you reach Bayeux and your hotel, I'd suggest a quick visit to the cathedral, a few blocks away. Save the tapestry for your final morning if you can, it's worth more time. There are some good exhibits upstairs as well. The tapestry was displayed in the cathedral nave, so you'll have a mental picture of how the medieval folks experienced it.

Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
154 posts

Thank you, Dick, for the valuable information regarding changing trains in Paris! I visited the Paris by Train website and was able to map your directions and now feel much more confident regarding that particular part of our journey - and the reverse trip. When I originally looked at the Rail Europe train schedules and transfer times it seemed we had three choices: 1) very little time between transfers which would = running which would = stress, 2) several hours between trains which would have worked but would have put us in Bayeux after dark, and 3) the one I chose - 1 hour and 5 minutes. I also appreciate your tips on our short time in Bayeux. I am fairly new to this forum and I'd just like to say that the people on here have been very helpful and kind. What a great resource! Thanks again. Liz

Posted by
177 posts

Liz it looks like you have received great information about the trains. We went to Bayeux this past May after finishing up our RS BOE 21 day tour. We took the train to Bayeux and it was really easy. We took the Metro to Gare St. Lazare. We had our train tickets printed at home and just had them available if they requested them. On the way over they did not but on the way back to Paris they checked them. We LOVED Bayeux. It is a beautiful town. We also took the Overlord Band of Brothers tour (full day). It was very good, great tour guides, a lot of information, and very moving. We also saw the Tapestry is was wonderful. We plan on going back some day. Have fun on your pre tour trip and your RS tour.