Every story has an ending and so has our September 2019 France escapade with Bordeaux and Marseille. It was time to return home from Marseille-Saint-Charles. We took an inOui, ex-TGV, to Lille-Europe and then a Belgian NMBS / SNCB train to Kortrijk and Antwerp.
The Marseille – Lille service by SNCF actually continues to Brussels-Midi but we disembarked in Lille.
The train experience is very similar to our Marne-la-Vallée-Chessy to Bordeaux-Saint-Jean journey. Similar train, similar interior, similar service. The rolling stock is a GEC Alsthom TGV Réseau.
This time around I had a quinoa salad as lunch. At the start of the journey the toilets were closed. I had to ask the train guard to open them. The upside was I was the first to use freshly cleaned toilets. The pink toilet paper is a nice extra.
The TGV services in France are no-nonsense, hassle-free and unsurprising. Being unsurprising is a good thing for a regular train service.
With stops in Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Valence, Lyon, Marne-la-Vallée, Aéroprt Charles de Gaulle, Lille and Brussels this train avoids Paris and a mandatory transfer.
The Marseille-Brussels connection is thus a great link between Belgium and the French Mediterranean coast.
Don’t forget to look outside for the Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct.