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SNCF TGV inOui First Class (Paris CDG-Brussels South)

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

After flying across the Atlantic in Air France’s 777-300 Business Class, it was time for us to catch a TGV train to our final destination of Brussels.


Booking

Air France offers plane to train connections from their hub at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport to Brussels through a partnership with SNCF, the French rail operator. At first glance, when booking this type of ticket, you may not notice that the Paris-Brussels leg is via rail as the station in Brussels has an IATA code (ZYR) and the train service has an Air France flight number accompanying it.


Ultimately, I booked this train as part of a larger JFK-CDG-ZYR routing. Summer has been absolutely insane with regards to travel demand so I had to hunt for a long time to find any sort of decently priced award availability across the Atlantic. The best deal I found was from New York to Brussels with a stop in Paris for 55,000 Flying Blue miles plus $200 in taxes and fees per person. Brussels initially wasn’t even on our radar for this trip but every other city pair I could find was well in excess of 150,000 miles per person.


Pre-Trip

After making our way over from the arrivals hall to the train station, we first headed for the Air France Air&Rail counter to get our boarding passes. Typically you can also drop your bags here and have it loaded on the train for you however, due to someone calling in sick, they didn't have enough people working to provide this service.

Air France Air&Rail Desk Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
Air France Air&Rail Desk

For the full Air&Rail transfer experience, you can read my writeup here.


Lounge

While all Air France Air&Rail passengers are booked into First Class on their connecting train, passengers arriving on an Air France flight in First or Business Class receive a voucher that can be used at the Sheraton Paris Airport’s Galaxy Bar. So this is where we headed to wait for our train. While it’s nothing fancy, it beats sitting in the hot atrium of the train station.


Boarding

Our train was scheduled to depart from the Paris-CDG railway station at 1:07p. Our train was departing from Platform 5 and, after a quick check of our tickets we were on the platform just after 1:00p.

Paris Charles de Gaulle Railway Station Platforms
Paris Charles de Gaulle Railway Station

At 1:04p our TGV inOui train pulled into the station and, after waiting for passengers to disembark, we were on board a minute later.


SNCF TGV inOui

TGV 9862

CDG-ZYR Paris Charles de Gaulle International - Brussels-South)

Seat: 63 (First)

TGV POS

Scheduled: 1:07p-3:25p

Actual: 1:07p-3:25p


Once on board, we made our way to our assigned seats, 63 and 64, located in the second car. Seats were arranged in a 1-2 layout with some seats facing each other to form pods of 2 and 4. Our seats were side by side and resembled standard domestic first class seats. The seats were finished in a gray cloth with some seats sporting lime green. They looked pretty dingy and well worn.


Journey

Our train pulled out of the station exactly on schedule and soon we were rolling through the countryside outside of Paris.

French countryside leaving Paris Charles de Gaulle
French countryside leaving Paris Charles de Gaulle

About 20 minutes after leaving Charles de Gaulle, Mrs. ATX Jetsetter was fast asleep and I headed back to the bar car to see what was on offer. No other service was offered on this train. The bar car, branded 'Le Bar', had a variety of packaged snacks and drinks available for purchase as well as some sandwiches that could be served warm.

There was also a couple of standing bar counters as well as a few seats available should you want to enjoy your snack there.

I ordered a cup of coffee and a Heineken which I took back to my seat. Not wanting to disturb Mrs. ATX Jetsetter and wanting to spread out myself, I moved up to the empty 4 seat pod with a table.

SNCF TGV inOui drinks
Drinks from the Bar Car

Soon, we were pulling into our first of 3 intermediate stops at the TGV Haute Picardie station.

TGV Haute Picardie Station
TGV Haute Picardie Station

Twenty minutes later we rolled into Arras and I passed the time working on this trip report.

Finally, we pulled into our last stop before Brussels at Lille-Europe. This stop took slightly longer than usual as only the rear half of the train was continuing on to Brussels, so we had to decouple.


Back on our way, we made the final run across the border into Belgium and pulled into Brussels-South station about 2 hours and 15 minutes after departing Paris.

View approaching Brussels-South Station
View approaching Brussels-South

Arrival

Our train pulled in right on time and a minute later we were on the platform.

SNCF TGV inOui train at Brussels-South Station
SNCF TGV inOui train at Brussels-South Station

The station was a madhouse and we navigated towards the crowds before finding the tracks for local trains to connect up to Brussels-Centraal and our hotel in the nearby Sablon district.

Brussels-South Railway Station Concourse
Brussels-South Railway Station Concourse

Summary

Overall, the SNCF TGV inOui train was a comfortable way to get from Paris to Brussels. With Air France not offering flights between the two airports, the only faster option is the direct, nonstop train offered by Thalys. The timing of the nonstop train didn't work with our flight schedule and we still made great time, getting into Brussels only a few hours after landing in Paris.


In this Trip Report

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