On a recent trip to Paris we tried out the Eurostar train for the first time. London’s St. Pancras station to the capital of France was a quick 2 hours 15 minutes journey.
I know, a bit late to the party but honestly the last time I went to Paris was via Channel ferry so this visit was long overdue!
One of my mantras this trip was no car rental and no additional flights. I’m truly over plane travel except when absolutely necessary! Traveling from London to Paris via a Eurostar train is a no brainer. There are 20+ trips per day between the two capitols so it’s easy to find and book a time to work in your schedule.
To balance budget and convenience I opted to book a train leaving London about noon which arrived in Paris about 3 PM. There is a time difference surprisingly between the two cities. Paris is one hour ahead of London. Trains travel up to 186 mph but you’re not aware of the speed, the ride is super smooth.
To get on the Eurostar, we hopped on the Victoria line to get to St. Pancras station via the tube. St. Pancras is the London point of departure. Beautiful station, really nice and clean, lots of modern chain shops with lovely architecture above, so if you have time to kill there’s good shopping. You can buy snacks and drinks on the train, however we grabbed some food to go at the M&S (Marks & Spencers) in the station.
Eurostar Train Tips:
- Eurostar trains leave from St. Pancras International rail station in central London
- The high speed railway connects London to Paris, Brussels, Avignon, Lille, Lyon and Marseille
- Eurostar also stops at Ebbsfleet and Ashford International train stations between London and the tunnel
- Trains travel at speeds up to 200 mph
- The journey from London to Paris is approximately 2 hrs 30 minutes
- The Channel tunnel is 31.4 miles long and was completed in 1994
- Trains to Paris terminate at the Gare du Nord and fares start at £58. round trip
I found the signage makes it easy to find where to check in for the Eurostar train. Boarding Eurostar is similar to any train, with the exception you will go through a quick customs check and your carryon luggage is scanned on a belt, but it’s all fairly quick and painless compared to airport security. Once through the check you simply walk out to your numbered carriage (on your ticket) and board. I was very pleasantly surprised. Our train was very clean and comfortable. I found out later we were on one of the newer trains. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the onboard Wifi to load but I didn’t try too hard as I don’t like to read while moving, but if you do Wifi is available.
I was hoping to see some pretty countryside both on the English side and once we got through the Chunnel, but it’s fairly flat and uninteresting from your window. Hard to even differentiate between the two countries. You’re not even aware of going under the channel – you enter a tunnel that is quite long (taking about 20 minutes) and next thing you know you see the sign for France.
Entering Paris was a bit anti-climatic. Typical next to the railroad architecture you see next to train tracks and then you’re in Gare du Nord station.
If you need a taxi, our hotel recommended either G7 or Alfa taxi. To pick up a taxi just join the queue at the taxi rank on the side of the station
I would highly recommend Eurostar – smooth ride, quick clean and comfortable. Don’t think you can ask much more than that. If you want more details on how I planned our two week trip with London, Paris and Edinburgh, you can grab it here!