There is little doubt in my mind, the TGV is faster than the Thalys, but first class in Thalys is better than TGV. Both EuroStar and Thalys first class offer free food and beverage service, the French leave you to fend for themselves. But no train service seems to understand the meaning of "comfortably cool" because I found the entire train journey in Europe to be borderline uncomfortably hot.
Someday soon I'll have the time to sit down and post about the journey so far. London, Amsterdam, Avignon, Gordes, Paris - all amazing places. Some lessons: the British are not as hospitable as their reputation, the French are more friendly than their reputation, the Dutch have amazing amounts of marijuana and I've returned to my neighborhood hotel in Paris to find it "W"-fied with chic decor, colors, textures and seriously nice mattresses. With new decor, new staff and new beds, one wonders if it will be as memorable as ever - at least one of the front desk people remembers me and has given me another warm welcome. It's good to be home.