I will be spending a couple of days in Brussels. I would like to go to France and I would like to go by train.

I tried to find that looking at the train line map, and at the belgium train website, but once you need to cross the border everything becomes very blurry and hard to search.

I should add that I am not interested in visiting Paris. Ironically it might actually be among the easiest and fastest with the thalys, but I would like a city across the border.

By easy I mean well connected (I don't want a place with one train a day) I don't mind if it's a slow train but should be doable for a day trip.

Which is the easiest French city to get by train from Brussels?

  • 2
    Define easiest and city. Lille is the closest big city, but when I went there once from Brussels it was on a very slow local train. It might be quicker to go to Paris.
    – phoog
    Jul 14, 2016 at 17:23
  • @phoog I mentioned that Paris is not an option :). I added the concept of easy.
    – nsn
    Jul 14, 2016 at 17:25
  • 1
    Well that's why I asked you to define "city." Looking at rail maps, Lille seems the obvious answer. In fact it seems so obvious that I figure I must be missing something behind your question.
    – phoog
    Jul 14, 2016 at 17:28
  • @phoog maybe you're not, which map did you check? That looks the obvious answer I agree, but I would like to know if there are other cities.
    – nsn
    Jul 14, 2016 at 17:31
  • I image searched for france rail map and the first result I looked at was this one, which does make it a little more obvious than more abstract maps such as this one.
    – phoog
    Jul 14, 2016 at 17:37

1 Answer 1


I'd say Lille (in Belgium they might call it Rijsel.)

You can get there in 39 minutes with the fast trains and if you are lucky you do not need to pay more than 19 Euro, but 25 Euro is more likely for each leg (prices 2017.)
Those fast direct trains run hourly at least, there are also normal (less fast) trains which have no restriction on the number of tickets sold, but might require a change of trains.

You can find this information easily on the site of the Belgium railways.
To see just the direct trains, select advance search and change the show all trains to direct trains only.

Other options, (longer travel, but not hard) are Amiens and Arras.

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