Hello, I am taking a side trip from Paris to Bruges and I was wondering how much time I should allow for transfers in Brussels as I consider buying my train tickets? The most common time is 18 minutes, but is that enough time? I would hate to have a train running late and then miss the connection. Thanks for the help! Melissa
18 minutes is more than enough time. But keep in mind that the train from Brussels to Bruges doesn't allow reservations, so if you miss your original connection you just have wait 30 minutes for the next train, your ticket will still be valid.
Thank you. I have another question after searching more. If I book my tickets from Paris to Bruges now, I received a message on the receipt that states: Thalys Book Early Ticket 4 ABS
"Ticket valid for all travelers. Ticket requires a minimum of 30 days advanced purchase. Subject to availability. Ticket enables travelers while in Belgium, to travel to any Belgian station that offers connections with a Thalys train to/from Brussels, Antwerp or Liege. Traveler is allowed 1 additional trip. All travel must be completed within 48 hours of their Thalys train arrival/departure." Does this mean that if I am only staying overnight in Bruges that I would be able to use that ticket to get back to Brussels and then I would just have to buy the ticket from Brussels to Paris? Thank you for the help!
Your "Any Belgian Station" ticket is based on your buying the advance ticket you quoted. It will be a round trip Paris-Brussels-"any Belgian station"-"any Belgian station"-Brussels-Paris. It is an all inclusive. You get to travel on the specific trains you reserved and bought between Paris and Brussels and any single journey beyond Brussels and one single journey back to Brussels, on any suitable train. Be careful that if you do that "Any Belgian Station" deal that you don't pay more for that "feature" than if you just bought normal tickets to and from Bruges from Brussels. I'm not saying it isn't a good idea - it is and I have used it, carefully, for years. Just watch your pennies, as Bruges is so close to Brussels.
We just did this same trip (Paris to Bruges) last Saturday! Bruges was WONDERFUL and we loved it. We did not plan an overnight there and regretted it. Arriving into Brussels was a bit confusing but you should be fine with the transfer time. We stopped at an information desk and asked about the correct train (we also had the Paris - Brussels + any Belgium train tickets) and were glad we did - there was a train listed as 'Bruges' that was leaving in about an hour, but there was another train with a different destination that stopped in Bruges we were able to take that left in just 15 minutes. Have a great time!
What Karen means is that Bruges is rarely (if ever) the last stop. From Brussels, the trains that finish in "Knokke/Blankenberge" and the trains that finish in "Oostende" both stop in Bruges. Check the boards for the intermediate stops; if Bruges is listed, you're set.
To elaborate on what Harold wrote. On the westward line from Brussels, Brugge usually isn't the final stop. On the big board at the station, trains are listed by the final destination, so instead of looking only for "Brugge", also look for Oostende and Blankbenberg. At the bottom of the stairway leading to each platform, there's usually a monitor that lists intermediate stops. Check this to confirm that the train stops in Brugge.