“Excuse me, I just wanted to confirm this is the correct carriage?”
In reply I received a grunt paired with a highly disapproving look and muttering in French from the man who brushed past me when I had attempted to ask for help.
I was about to take a Thalys service from Brussels train station to Paris and I admittedly should have of course realised that being bound for France meant the staff were most likely French, but I simply just forgot since every person I had encountered in Belgium for the few days prior were happy to speak English and did so extremely well that I was in the habit of using it, although I can speak French too.
Which is why I shouted after him as he stormed away, “Excusez-moi monsieur, s’il vous plaît, j’ai une question!” (Excuse me sir, I have a question!) which he definitely heard and further ignored but gave me a wee bit of satisfaction never the less since he never gave me the opportunity to do so to his face.
So, after encountering the famous temperament of the French, I approached a nicer looking woman instead and asking in her native tongue right away if I was on the right carriage (she cheerfully informed me after all this effort that I indeed was, but I always like to check since I have the worst luck with trains and always seem to get fined for something) I settled in and enjoyed the journey.
The train was on time and fast, it only took 1 hr and 20 mins to Paris. The carriages were clean, the leg room was great and the seats were comfortable, although I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much velour red fabric in one place. If you’re in 2nd class you can purchase refreshments on board, otherwise in 1st class meals are included with your ticket.
I didn’t have a set schedule to when I was arriving in Paris and only booked a couple days beforehand and the price one way for a youth ticket in 2nd class was around 80 EUR. I’m sure you could definitely save much more by booking far in advance.
Overall, I was happy with the service itself that was provided by Thalys as it was a fast and efficient way to get between the two cities, although as mentioned it may not the cheapest way depending on when you are booking. You may want to consider looking at bus routes if you’re on a budget and have more time to spare as an alternative option when booking last minute.
Thalys currently has services to a few destinations within Belgium and France, in addition to some within Germany and The Netherlands. Wifi is available for free with certain fares or otherwise may be purchased. Power sockets are available in both classes.