I took a 3-hour train from Paris to Amsterdam for $175. Despite a long delay and bedbug anxiety, it was a pleasant experience.

  • I'm an American living in Paris, and I took a high-speed train to Amsterdam for a short trip.

  • Paris has been having some bedbug issues, so I was a little worried about traveling by train.

  • My train was delayed by an hour, but the overall experience was clean, comfortable, and pleasant.

I'm an American who's been living in Paris since 2022, and I recently took a 3 1/2-hour, high-speed train from Paris to Amsterdam.

I booked my roundtrip ticket through France's national railway app, SNCF, for 167 euros, or about $175. I find the SNCF app very easy to use for booking train tickets within France and throughout Europe.

Despite having visited dozens of countries, this was my first trip to the Netherlands, and taking the train there was pleasant, easy, and cost-effective.

I started my journey at Gare du Nord in Paris.

people lining up to get on a train at gare du nord station in paris
Passengers crowded onto the train platform once the train arrived.Kristin Sanders

My train to Amsterdam was run by Thalys, which recently merged with Eurostar, to better serve "connections between France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and the UK," according to its website.

But, initially, all of my communication was through SNCF, including my ticket and seat number.

I arrived at Gare du Nord at 8:45 a.m., half an hour before my train was set to depart, to discover that it was already 30 minutes delayed.

I've never had a bad experience at Gare du Nord, but it isn't necessarily somewhere I'd want to hang out for a long time.

There are a few restaurants in the vicinity if you have to wait longer, like Terminus Nord. I wandered outside to a nearby pharmacy to see what they had but ultimately went back to the station's main hall to wait for updates.

The delay was long, but the boarding process was pretty easy once the train arrived.

people boarding a train at gare du nord station in paris
A short line formed at each train car, where tickets were scanned by a Thalys employee.Kristin Sanders

The delay stretched on, with multiple apologetic announcements in French and English over the loudspeaker. An hour after our scheduled departure time, the train arrived and we were allowed to board.

A large crowd of quiet, but disgruntled passengers headed to their train cars. Our tickets were scanned by staff as we boarded, which was slightly faster than scanning at the gate to the platform.

The seats were plush and looked clean.

two empty seats on a thalys high-speed train in europe
The train seats looked very clean.Kristin Sanders

I've spent many years traveling alone as a woman, and I find the trains in Europe safe and comfortable — I've never had a negative experience. This Thalys ride was no exception.

The train's plush, red seats looked clean and well-maintained.

Paris is going through a bit of a bedbug scare at the moment. I don't personally know anyone with them, but too much late-night Googling prior to my trip made me anxious about traveling on trains or public transit since bedbugs have reportedly recently been found on both.

But the cleanliness of the Thalys train immediately calmed my fears.

I was able to get some work done on my trip.

a laptop set up on a train seat tray on a high speed thalys train in europe
I was able to charge my laptop on the train.Kristin Sanders

The seats were perfect for remote working, with electrical outlets, USB ports, a tray table, and a cup holder.

I worked on my laptop while it was plugged in, and I appreciated the dual power sockets, one for me and one for my neighbor.

Instead of connecting to the onboard Wi-Fi, I used a hot spot on my phone. I prefer the privacy, and it's usually a little less spotty.

The large overhead space was helpful for keeping my luggage close.

shot of the overhead space on a high-speed thalys train in europe
I had plenty of room to store my bags.Kristin Sanders

I liked that the overhead storage space was big enough for a carry-on.

I've never had a bad experience when placing my luggage in the storage racks between train cars, but I always prefer to be able to keep an eye on my bags.

I appreciated the clean amenities and plentiful food options.

bathroom sink on a high speed thalys train in europe
The bathrooms were immaculate (at least on my morning trip).Kristin Sanders

The bathrooms looked clean and had touchless sensors for the water, soap dispenser, and hand dryers. Everything seemed quite up-to-date.

Since my train was arriving around lunchtime in Amsterdam, I didn't eat on the ride. But I wandered to the café car to see the options: croissants and coffee, a few sandwiches, pizzas, snacks, and alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.

On the return trip to Paris, I ordered the four-cheese pizza, which was surprisingly good — it kind of reminded me of cafeteria pizza in the '80s.

There wasn't much to see out the window as we crossed Europe, but the view was soothing.

view of europe out of a train window
I wasn't on a particularly scenic route.Kristin Sanders

The chairs, with their high backs and curved headrests, were comfy and relaxing. As the soothing countryside landscape flew past, I was easily lulled into a restful nap.

I had a bit of a stressful moment when I arrived in Amsterdam, but it was easily resolved.

interior shot of amsterdam central train station
The arrival at Amsterdam Centraal.Kristin Sanders

When I arrived in Amsterdam, I had to scan my ticket in order to exit the train station. But mine, along with the tickets of a few other passengers around me, wouldn't work.

This was stressful for a moment, but a helpful Amsterdam Centraal staff member soon ushered us through the gate.

Despite the delay and bedbug anxiety, I was happy with the entire experience.

kristin sitting in a train seat on a high speed thalys train in europe
I really enjoyed my train ride.Kristin Sanders

The whole trip ended up running very smoothly.

To be extra safe in light of my bedbug anxiety, I stored my luggage in the shower of my Amsterdam hotel room and made sure to check the mattress. After returning from my weekend trip, I was thankfully bedbug-free.

About 24 hours after my train to Amsterdam, I received an email from Eurostar that I'd be reimbursed for the delay. For one- to two-hour delays, the company said it would provide a 25% cash refund or a 30% e-voucher refund.

Navigating the form proved to be a little tricky and cumbersome. But a day after submitting, I received 18.50 euros (25% of the 74-euro outbound trip) in my PayPal account.

Given the reimbursement, the cleanliness of the carriage and amenities, and the ease of boarding, I'd gladly choose this train again.

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