April 28, 2003 -- Last week, we wrote a column on European train fares where we said that "bizarrely, tickets from Brussels to Paris aren't on sale."

Someone must have been listening, because on Thursday, Rail Europe announced a sale on Thalys tickets. Thalys is the high-speed train that connects Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Köln, Germany. A cherry-red rocket, Thalys covers the 190 miles from Paris to Brussels in a cool 85 minutes.

Speed freaks can enjoy Thalys as part of a triangle trip -- London to Paris on Eurostar, Paris to Brussels on Thalys, and Brussels back to London on Eurostar. If you're interested in experiencing some of the fastest trains in the world, you can even do that circle in a long weekend.

All one-way Thalys tickets are on sale this summer for 50% off the usual fare. That means you'll be able to get these very low fares:

  • Brussels to/from Paris: $40
  • Amsterdam to/from Paris: $53
  • Amsterdam to/from Brussels: $24.50

These one-way fares are lower than fares you can get in Europe and are even lower than the usual discount round-trip fares, so snap them up. In the case of tickets to/from Amsterdam, these fares are lower than the fare for non-Thalys local trains! (A ticket from Amsterdam to Brussels on a local train is €31.40.) Tickets must be purchased after May 15 and before August 15 for travel between June 15 and August 31. The low-fare tickets are non-refundable and non-changeable. Call Rail Europe at 888/382-7245 to book.

For further Beneluxury, you can add a trip to any Belgian station on to your Paris-Brussels Thalys ticket for only $1-11 US. The "ABS" fare lets Thalys passengers transfer at Brussels for local trains to cities including Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp. Normally, tickets from Brussels to Bruges cost $21; tickets from Brussels to Antwerp cost $16. The ABS ticket is available right now, all year; call Rail Europe to book.