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I am planning to travel from Liege to Paris. The Thalys (train) has this route direct but although they announce very good prices, if bought in advance, I can never find them on the Thalys website.

Traveling by bus just takes too long. I am not even sure there is a direct connection. At least I couldn't seem to find one. Using a bus would probably require traveling first to Brussels probably.

Are there any other ways of combining trains to arrive in Paris, as a compromise between the expensive Thalys and the snail bus?

Any other alternatives that might sound interesting are welcome (Eg: how to get the cheapest fare in Thalys or a direct bus connection from Liege).

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    "What is …?", with a singular verb, implies that you want one answer. However, cheapest and fastest appear to be conflicting goals. Do you mean "What is a reasonably cheap and fast way…?" Or do mean "What are the cheapest and fastest…?" – 200_success Apr 6 '15 at 21:28
  • @200_success if you can quantify how much it's worth every extra hour of delay to arrive to Paris you can certainly get one optimized result relating cost/trip duration. But probably your phrasing is better. – nsn Apr 7 '15 at 6:21
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As for your alternative question on “how to get the cheapest fare in Thalys”: the b-europe.com website offers a fare calendar. For each date, it shows the price of the cheapest tickets still available on that date. The cheapest possible fare for a trip from Liège-Guillemins to Paris Nord seems to be €29. These are always “Non Flex” tickets (color coded in green) meaning there’s no possibility of exchanges or refunds. There might be cheaper tickets because there’s a color code for “Promo” tickets (yellow), but I’m not seeing any on the fare calendar now (I’m not sure I ever have for the routes I’ve booked).

You can always book up to three months in advance, so today April 7th, you can book tickets up to July 7th. For that date, the cheapest offers I’m currently seeing are:

Cheapest Ticket Prices Thalys Liege-Paris on July 7th

I’m not sure about the Liège-Paris route, but in my experience with other routes, these offers don’t last long, especially if you don’t want to travel on a very early or very late train. So your best bet is to book exactly three months in advance.

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How about car sharing? A random search on Blablacar shows prices oscillating between 20-30EUR. In terms of time, according to Rome2Rio you are an hour slower than the Thalis, but the fare is a lot cheaper. Moreover your trip doesn't have to be organised too far in advance, and the price does not vary dependingly.

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There are good train connections from Liege to Lille. From Lille there are frequent tgv connections with Paris. On the website of the French railways there are often good offers for last minutes between Lille and Paris.

If you have time, you could also take the slow train route from Lille to Paris

  • Lille to Liège is roughly three hours, with one or two changes in between. And if you arrive in Lille by TGV you will have to walk from the Europe station to be Flandres station – Maître Peseur Apr 6 '15 at 19:13
  • Itinéraire partagé De Gare de Lille-Europe à Gare de Lille-Flandres via Avenue le Corbusier 9 min (600 m) 1. Prendre la direction nord-ouest sur Boulevard de Turin vers Avenue le Corbusier 2. Prendre à gauche sur Avenue le Corbusier 3. Prendre à gauche sur Avenue Willy Brandt 4. Prendre à droite sur Place des Buisses 5. Arrivée : Gare de Lille-Flandres Pour obtenir l'itinéraire optimal en fonction du trafic, accédez à goo.gl/maps/GIhJ8 – Maître Peseur Apr 6 '15 at 19:21
  • @PERSONANONGRATA There are indeed tgv trains leaving gare de Lille-Europe. However if you are not a frequent traveler on that route, I would advise to stick to Lille Flandres as departure point. There are quite TGV trains that leave from Lille Flandres and the SNCB trains from Liege/Kortrijk arrives in Lille Flandres. Having said that, the walk from Europe to Flandres is quite a comfortable walk – user141 Apr 6 '15 at 19:28
  • There isno direct classical train between Lille and Liège, – Maître Peseur Apr 6 '15 at 19:36
  • @PERSONANONGRATA Indeed you need to switch trains in Kortrijk, as stipulated above. – user141 Apr 6 '15 at 19:52
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Eurolines has a direct service between Liège and Paris. It's a 6 hours ride.

The best strategy to get cheap Thalys tickets is to book early enough. There is only a very limited number of very cheap seats.

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