It would be best to stay near Gare centrale, which is near the Grand' Place. There are plenty of hotels nearby e.g. Méridien (right opposite the station), Novotel "Off Grand' Place", Ibis ditto, Le Dixseptième, Centrale, Sandton Brussels Centre, Arenberg...
Your Thalys ticket includes free travel on any local train from Gare centrale to Gare du Midi to connect to Thalys, and such trains run on that line every 5 mins or so. Thalys platforms at Midi are 3/4 and 5/6, next to the Eurostar terminal which covers platforms 1/2.
Thanks for your advice.
Sorry, I find some info. on the net but need to be sure and is running out of time as I am flying out this weekend.
Can you help to advise further?
I am going to book a hotel in Gare centrale area as you advise and walk to Gare centrale train station to take the train to Gare du Midi.
If I book the ticket online from Thalys, there is a ticketless option, I just show this email at Gare centrale train station and will be able to travel for free to Gare du Midi?
For the return from Paris, will it be the same to just show the email, will do?
< If I book the ticket online from Thalys, there is a ticketless option, I just show this email at Gare centrale train station and will be able to travel for free to Gare du Midi? >
You do not need to show your Thalys ticket (or e-mail) to anyone at Gare Centrale.
If a ticket inspector asks to see your ticket on the train between Gare Centrale and Gare du Midi, you simply show your Thalys ticket or e-mail. But this is very very unlikely - the journey takes only 3 minutes !
It works the same way with all tickets, including Thalys ticket ("real" or "homeprinted"): you don't show anything to anyone before getting on a train, you just find the platform you want for the train you want (in the right direction), and get on the train when it comes, keeping your ticket handy to show to an inspector if and when asked.
The reason for use of Thalys (and Eurostar, TGV, ICE) tickets in this way is that while these high-speed trains only stop at/start from Bruxelles-Midi (+ Nord, in the case of ICE), any train ticket to/from "Brussels" is actually valid to/from any Brussels station.
As Colin56 points out, controls between Brussels stations are very rare, as most people on these trains are travelling on a ticket starting or ending outside Brussels. However, somebody just told me they recently had their ticket checked between 2 of these stations, for the first time in about 20 years: they were looking for people using the rail network only for travel within Brussels (not your case as your ticket is Brussels to Paris), which requires a "JUMP" ticket as on the metro.
Hi Colin56 and qaminari,
Thanks for your help, really appreciated.