I'm flying into Charles De Gaulle and need to go to Rotterdam by train before returning to Paris. Should I go directly from the airport or go into Paris and then to Rotterdam?
You need to go to Gare du Nord to catch the high-speed Thalys service. From there, you can ride direct to Rotterdam, with stops along the way in Brussels and Antwerp. I believe you can buy one ticket that covers both legs of the trip.
Another option is to take the TGV train from CDG direct to Brussels, and from Brussels catch the Thalys (apparently the locals like to call it the Maroon Train)to Rotterdam. Probably faster this way. Check schedules and purchase tickets here: http://tgv-europe.com Don't let the site redirect you to Rail Europe.
Which would be better and/or faster? (1) Going into Paris to catch a Thalys train or (2) Taking a TGV from CDG to Brussels and catching a Thalys train there. The answer depends upon what time your flight is scheduled to arrive at CDG. What time is that?
Our flight gets to CDG at 8am on September 6th. Does that make one option better than the other? Thanks. Tom
Because TGV service between CDG and Brussels is limited and because a TGV ticket plus a Thalys ticket will be costly, I suggest that you go into Paris and take a Thalys train directly from Gare du Nord to Rotterdam. Take the RER B (suburban train) from CDG to Gare du Nord. The current fare is €9.50. (There likely will be a fare increase on 1 July.) Take a Thalys train directly from Gare du Nord to Rotterdam Centraal, departing at 12:25 and arriving at 15:02. Book ASAP (up to 90 days allowed) at thalys.com to get a discount fare as low as €35. The ticket will be non-exchangeable and non-refundable; but with four hours to make the connection, you should be fine even if your plane arrives late. Allowing up to one hour to clear immigration/passport control and one hour to get to Gare du Nord still gives you more than two hours of wiggle room. The standard 2nd class fare is over €100.
Tom, don't think a departure after noon looks too late - it takes some time to get through passport control, collect luggage (maybe), buy an RER train ticket, wait a few minutes for the next train, ride the train, get to the train station for your Thalys train...you see. It's not as much time as it might look!
Thanks for the suggestions and advice. I'll be ready at the 90 day point.