If you will be taking a journey by Thalys trains our guide will tell you all you need to know, from boarding, to making the most of the journey experience.

Information on the temporary passenger requirements for travel by Thalys trains, imposed during the pandemic, is available here.




If you will be aged 26 or under on your travel date you can travel at a discounted rate on Thalys trains.
Those aged 12 - 25 can travel at the most heavily discounted ticket price rate, even when booking on the travel date - more details are here.
For children aged 11 and under, a flat rate fare is charged for any journey - of €15 in Standard, €20 in Comfort and €30 in Premium ​​​​


Thalys is the name of the high speed train service which operate on three international routes.

(1) Paris Nord - Bruxelles Midi-Zuid - Antwerpen Centraal - Rotterdam Centraal - Schiphol Airport - Amsterdam Centraal

(2) Paris Nord - Bruxelles Midi-Zuid - Liege-Guiilemmens - Aachen - Koln/Cologne Hbf -  Dusseldorf - Essen - Dortmund

(3) Marne La Valléé  - Aeroport  CDG - Bruxelles Midi-Zuid - Antwerpen Centraal - Rotterdam Centraal - Schiphol Airport - Amsterdam Centraal
Thalys trains no longer serve Lille.

The only DIRECT trains between Paris and Belgium, The Netherlands and northern Germany are the Thalys services.

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Externally Thalys trains resemble single deck TGV trains but in contrast to TGVs Thalys trains have 3 classes of seating - Standard, Comfort and Premiere.
Premiere class travellers are served a complimentary light meal at their seats.
Users of  a1st class rail pass,who have made reservations on Thalys trains, will be seated in Comfort Class.

Thalys trains have in effect replaced flights between Paris and Bruxelles, which is apt as the Standard Class seating saloons on Thalys trains are more akin to a cabin on an airline, than on virtually any other train.

To be particularly avoided if possible are the small number of seats parallel to the windows that face inwards, if this is your seat is located here, you will be travelling sideways at more than 250 km/h!
All other seats are open saloon style, there are no conventional compartments with a door to a side corridor on Thalys trains.

The power cars/engines on the Thalys trains can differ, but the type of power car makes no difference to the coaches (refurbished = red doors, unrefurbished = grey doors).

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The Thalys train interior:

A program of work to refresh the interior of Thalys trains has commenced, so if you are in luck you will travel on such a train (we have yet to have had the pleasure).
The refresh is welcome news, as Thalys trains that have yet to be refurbished, reflect their 20 years of service.
On the yet to be refurbished trains, toilets, power sockets, light switches etc can be temperamental - it’s the high speed that provides any wow factor.

You won’t know if you will be travelling on one of the modernised trains when booking a ticket - but when boarding, if the door is painted is red, then you’re in luck!
The trains yet to be refurnished have grey doors, while those that have been refreshed have red doors.

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Seats will automatically be assigned when booking tickets for journeys by Thalys train.
Rail pass users will need to have made reservations prior to boarding (see below).

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Aim to be at the station a minimum of 20 mins before departure.
Security checks, including airport style luggage screening, are now usually carried out prior to before boarding Thalys trains in Paris and Belgium 
It is your responsibility to allow enough time to pass through the checks, the train won't wait if you are still in line waiting for your bag to pass through security.

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We hesitated before against a tick in the 'Bikes on Board box' - because the only means of transporting a bike on a Thalys train is if it's folded or disassembled and placed in a packing case no more 120 cm high by 90 cm wide.

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If you will be travelling with a Eurail or InterRail pass, you will need to make a reservation prior to boarding.
They can be booked online here.

Ideally arrange this before the day of travel, as rail pass reservations on Thalys trains can sell out - a limited number of reservations per departure will be available to rail pass users.

A major recent change is that the rail pass reservation fees on the Thalys trains are now the same price, whether you will be using First or Second class passes.
Though users of Second Class passes will have to travel in Standard Class on the Thalys trains.

In contrast First Class pass users will be offered a choice of seating, depending on availability at the time of booking.
If Premium Class is still available then that will be offered, if reservations are sold out in Premium Class you will be offered Comfort Class (1st class), but if Comfort Class is sold out and Standard Class reservations are still available, you will only be offered seats in Standard Class.

The new fees (in either direction) are:
Paris <> Bruxelles/Antwerp/Liege = €25
Paris<> Aachen/Koln/Dusseldorf/Essen = €30
Paris <> Rotterdam/Schiphol/Amsterdam= €30
Bruxelles/Antwerpen <> Rottterdam/Schiphol/Amsterdam = €20
Bruxelles/Liege <> Aachen/Koln/Dusseldorf/Essen = €25

Or you can avoid paying the fees by making more complicated journeys on trains on which rail pass users don't have to pay reservation fees.

Paris to Amsterdam or to Cologne/Koln

Amsterdam to Paris

Cologne/Koln to Paris


International train routes to/from Belgium

International train routes to/from France

International train routes to/from The Netherlands

Travelling on European daytime trains

Travelling on European overnight trains

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Bistro (Hot Food)
Bar (Cold Food)
Double Deck
High Speed
First Class
Second Class

Rail passes and reservations

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Other features

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