If you are planning on taking the Eurostar to London, there are tickets in different price brackets for each train, once the lower fare tickets are sold, a higher rate kicks in. In February 2013, the lowest current fare, without regard for any special promotions, is £69 round trip and you can book the tickets 120 days before travel on the UK site and the European site, I found that you could buy tickets farther out if you booked on the US site so it's worth looking there if you are traveling during a busy time. You don't have to be a UK resident to book on eurostar.co.uk but I'm not sure if the converse applies to UK residents trying to book on the US site (eurostar.com).
It also appears that once the lowest price tickets are gone, they are gone as the tickets at that level are non refundable and only so many issued at each price point. In July 2011, we traveled in 2nd class, my niece who was 17 qualified for a youth ticket, the lowest fare there is £59 (February 2013 increased to £66). In 2nd class, you can visit the dining car but otherwise no food or beverages are served. The seats are comfortable enough, I don't think I looked at our seating assignment because I would have changed it, we were in a 4 seater facing another couple.
The 1st time I traveled I found a cheaper 1st class fare on www.raileurope.com than the 2nd class fare on Eurostar's website so I booked the 1st class tickets on raileurope.com, it's worth a look if you miss out on the cheapest level of fares. In 1st class the seats were a bit wider and they served a meal, for a 2 1/4 hour train ride, I thought it wasn't necessary to sit in 1st class.
If you choose flexible date on eurostar.co.uk you should be able to see what dates if any have the £69 fare left. One more hint, check both eurostar.co.uk and eurostar.com, the 1st time I booked the US site was much higher than the UK site. Clean out your cookies before checking otherwise it will direct you back to the one you started on.
The Eurostar leaves from the Gare du Nord in Paris and arrives at St. Pancras station in London. You clear immigration before boarding the train so you don't have to do it once you've gotten off the train. You must check in 30 minutes before departure, there is security and immigration to go through and a waiting room on the other side with a couple of places to get a snack.
My husband and I took the Eurostar from St. Pancreas in London to Gare du Nord in Paris. We sat in Standard Premier class and it was very nice. We got to pick our seats online before the trip and got one near the window. I believe there was a power outlet available between our seats as well.
We were served a nice breakfast (see photo) and overall, it was a very fast and comfortable way to travel to Paris!
Took an early Eurostar train from Paris to London.
Arrived at Gare du Nord station and the direction signs are clear and concise. Scanned our e-ticket on the validation machine. Didn't have any problem getting to the Border Police (french and british next to each other). After clearing, move to platform and boarded the train.
Train ride is rather smooth and within 2 hours, we were in London's Saint Pancras International Station.
On board the train, there are power outlet (at the sides of the window seats) that you can connect your electronic devices to or use to charge your electronic devices before reaching London. European type 2 round pin outlet.
As my Paris pages have been neglected somewhat in the almost 3 years since we visited Paris in September/October, 2008 I thought it high time to browse through my tips and pictures to see what I had neglected to add over the past couple of years. I figured I might as well start out with our arrival and departure into Paris and let all the other tips in between fill themselves out. Kind of like a folded up crepe with all the goodies in the middle.
Anyway, we arrived in Paris at Gare du Nord via the Eurostar from London. We had lost an hour due to the time change and had a few adventurous times getting on the Eurostar in London, but once we were settled in and the train left the station in London we had a very pleasant trip under the water and onto the main European continent. Our total time aboard the train was really just a little over 2 hours which went by very quickly as we made friends with a couple from Canada who along with their sister, who was living in Europe, engaged us in conversation almost the entire trip. I got a chance to get to the dining car for a bit to eat since we had to leave London, when the sun wasn't yet up.
Upon arrival at Gare du Nord (North Station) we rolled our baggage off the train and proceeded to the main area where we had to next figure out how to get some RER tickets for the RER B Line which would take us close to our hotel. We arrived around 11:15 a.m., so the crowds weren't too big. Anyway, I went over to a machine which again did not like my credit card (the London machines also did not like it) and so after stopping at information and asking where to buy tickets they directed me downstairs to a ticket window manned by actual people.
The line wasn't too overwhelming, but I did wait in line for about 20 minutes as the lady at the counter was in no hurry to service her customers. And then a couple of people before I was going to buy my tickets she shut her window. I heard comments that it was now her lunch time and even though her replacement was not finished with lunch all windows were closed. I'm thinking to myself, well I guess I'm in France. Anyway, a few minutes later the next window opened up with another young female ticket seller. A few minutes later I bought my RER ticket and also asked for a carnet of tickets for the Metro. She thought she was through selling me tickets when I bought the RER ticket and when I asked for the carnet of tickets she just sort of looked at me and sighed. And once again I'm thinking to myself, I hope this is not going to be typical of the French people (fortunately it was not with one other small exception at another train station).
We found the RER and took a short 20 minute ride to the Denfort-Rochdreau where it was an easy 15 minute downhill walk to our hotel.
4 days later on our way out of town we took the Metro by our hotel (we were veteran's with the Metro after 4 days in town) and took it to the Gare de l'est (East Station) for our TGV high speed train ride to Bern, Switzerland. While we were waiting for our train track # to be posted (we got there plenty early), Sue grabbed a quick bite to eat (picture 2) and we struck up a conversation with an American couple on their way to Italy. Our track was finally put on the board and luckily for me I had had a chance to walk around the huge station because our track was on the other side of a wall in an adjacent area next to the main station. Settling into an almost empty (1 other person) car, I thought that, "wow this is strange I thought there would be more people on this train". About 5 minutes before departure a group of 4 and 5 year olds with their adult chaperones boarded the train. That's a story for another tip.
Even though it's not particularly tolerant of cold weather, Eurostar for me remains the preferred way of getting to Paris from London (and I've done this plenty of times, since my visa normally requires me to enter the Schengen zone via France and Paris is just the easiest thing to do).
After the recent upgrades, it takes just over 2 hours city centre to city centre, which is faster (once you include check-in time and time spent getting to and from the airports) and with way less hassle than by plane (although you still get all the security queues and rules stopping you from going through security with an open bottle of mineral water).
There are trains from about 5 or 6 in the morning until late evening, and (provided you do not need a high degree of flexibility with your ticket) a first class return could be obtained for about 200 EUR, with second class often under half the amount. More expensive than the train, but where it loses on price it winds on convenience
Travelling from Paris to London - very civilised and quick. There are three classes on board the service - standard, leisure and business.
Leisure and business class offer refreshments on board - and with business you can enjoy their lounge.
I hadn't realised that if you have tickets on the Eurostar trains you qualify for discounted rail fares from your home station to London.
I was lucky that when I went to my local station in Bedfordshire to buy our tickets prior to travelling, the clerk in the station ticket office asked me if I happened to be going on Eurostar. When I said yes he immediately offered us the cheaper rates for the tickets which saved about £35 for the 4 of us. Unfortunately we had to travel at the peak time into London and it would have cost us over £120 but in the end we paid about £85.
The tip here is to buy your tickets in advance and say that you have Eurostar tickets - even better take them with you when you purchase your London bound tickets and you should be able to get a substantial saving.
Visit the excellent website below for more details.
Have a good trip,
By booking well in advance and accepting a ticket that has no flexibility whatsoever we were able to buy 4 return fares for £216 ( February 2009). I thought that was pretty good value.
The train experience was also highly satisafactory. It left on time, was smooth, comfortable and altogether a very pleasant journey - in both directions.
I think my only criticism would be that at Paris Gare du Nord station the signs indicating where to check-in did not seem to be very obvious. It was only by chance that we spotted a noticeboard to take the escalator behind us that we knew where to go. Not much of a criticism really!
Check-in consisted of feeding the card tickets into a machine which then triggered the rotating gate. There were two passport control checks in Paris outbound and the usual security scanners. Once through all of these we waited in a holding area until the train departure was called. We then had about 15 minutes to board the train and find our reserved seats. I understand that only tickets with seat reservations are allowed - there's no standing in the aisles on Eurostar. It really was very easy and straightforward. The entire journey with the 30 minute minimum check-in time was just over 3 hours. Très bien Eurostar.
Well, the regular return fare from Paris to London with Eurostar is €77. But, at this late stage, and especially for travel out late Friday or early Saturday, the fares really hike up. Even as much as €200 one way. So here the lesson is to book ahead. I'm not sure the HARESFARES options are that great. Of the five options they suggest, two of the airlines don't even fly from Paris to London. Their website is not that great. But the Paris to London distance is so short, why not just train and ferry? Plenty of options using local trains to Dieppe, ferry to Newhaven, then train into London. Or via Calais-Dover, but the onward fares Dover to London are more than from Newhaven. Travel via Dieppe or Le Havre and book the Southern one-day rover for Newhaven to London (book online, only available if pre-booked), and you can do the whole journey for €55. Or bus one way is €50, and actually more comfortable than you might expect. So much depends on where in the Paris area exactly you might be staying and to where in the London region you might be going. For example, I was in northern France last week and flew direct to Brighton for €104. Brighton is I know not London, but as my destination was Croydon, it was just 45 minutes on a direct train from the airport to Croydon. Tim Barnett
As the trains from my local station stop at Waterloo Station, and our hotel was less than five minutes' walk from the Gare du Nord, we found the Eurostar very convenient for us. We left very early in the morning and really enjoyed the three hour train journey, as part of our trip. We had a very quick and efficient service, when we came to check in and board the train and found it was a very comfortable and relaxing way of getting there and back. There is an on board café, where we bought drinks but we didn't try any of the food, as we had bought some snacks from a café in Waterloo Station before we left.
I used it again to travel to Paris on my way to Morocco, just before the service stopped running from Waterloo. It won't be as convenient for me any more but I hope I'll use it again anyway.
Me and my friend came to Paris and wanted to go back home by plane from London. There was only one tiny trouble: how to get from Paris to London. Well, we were short of time, there was a strike of airport workers due next day, so the only way to get there was some local bus, then ferry and another bus or train (some 6 or 7 hours for 200 miles) or...
TRAIN UNDER ATLANTIC OCEAN!!!
What an experience! Oh, not really. Besides BIG prise of the ticket, nothing else is to be remembered. After all - the picture of my friend "enjoying" the under watter trip would tell you all :-)
The prices for the eurostar are very affordable and will most likely equal the plane fare and airport transfer if you would have chosen to fly. Another advantage is that the train station is in the middle of the city (Gare du Nord)so you can start your sight seeing right away. You also can look at the French country side on your way to Paris. It is best to not take too much luggage because there are limited places to store it. I would recommend bringing your own food because the food on the eurostar is overpriced and of poor quality (powdery hot chocolate for 6 dollars!). The train ride is very relaxing and will return you to Waterloo international which is a convenient location in London.
We recently took two roundtrip trips between Paris and London and took the Eurostar. It was a very quick and efficient way to travel between the two cities.
Because we had our 1 year old son, we asked to be seated in either the 1st or 18th car as they each have a separate bathroom for babies that contains a changing table and a sink. The changing table is really nice with a pad and disposable paper cover. Also, there is a dispenser on the wall with plastic bags that are useful for super dirty diapers or wet clothes. These two cars also have an area for family seating that gives children more stretching room. There 4 sets of 4 seats that face each other with a small table in between. This area is great because if you have a loud baby, then only other families in this small area are bothered by him.
I was very impressed.
Allocated seating and it all feels safe and not squashed at all.
Queues for drinks/food, quite pricing and not a great selection (we had dried fruit and nuts as werent much else there!) but quick and efficient. I'd recommend!
From London to Paris, the Eurostar was a smooth journey and a good alternative to flying. The price if you book online and include a hotel in your package works out good value. Trains are not quite Japanese bullet standard but they are modern and comfortable. Onboard food is ok and arriving in the centre of Paris without having to travel from the airport is a bonus.