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Tips on Booking Train Travel Between London and Paris

Updated on December 8, 2012
Eurostar
Eurostar | Source

London to Paris

The train is the best way to travel from London to Paris. You could fly, of course, but why would you want to? Not when there is the option of a train, which literally takes you from city centre to city centre in a matter of hours. You could be walking down Carnaby Street in the morning and later on in the day be strolling down the Champs-Élysées.

To travel from London to Paris by train, you need to take the Eurostar. The Eurostar train departs from St Pancras Station in London, goes through the Channel Tunnel, and arrives at Gare du Nord station in Paris. Train services from Paris to London run regularly from 5:40 to 20:31. The trip takes a little over two and a quarter hours.

How to Book a Ticket

  • Booking train travel from London to Paris is simple. Just head on over to the Eurostar website. You can either book online or you can book by phone.
  • Make sure you book using the Eurostar website. Other sites do offer to sell tickets, but they are agents and they will charge additional fees. It's best to go directly through the train company itself.
  • For the cheapest price, you should book in advance. Tickets can be booked up to 120 days in advance. The Eurostar website has a colour-coded availability calendar showing the availability of the lowest possible return fare. If you buy a ticket on the day of travel, you will pay a super high price. It pays to plan ahead.
  • When you book, you can choose exactly where you will sit on the train. There's a detailed seating plan on the Eurostar website. Unless, you really enjoy travelling backwards, be sure to pick the forward facing seat option.
  • Once you've booked on the website, you will receive a six letter booking reference which you you will need to use to collect your ticket from a machine at the station.
  • An alternative to collecting your ticket at the station is to print out an e-ticket at home which you can later scan at the check-in machine at the station. However, you can't print at home for bookings if you are going to travel within 48 hours.

Tips for the Trip

  • Don't forget your passport. A visa is required for some people. It depends what country you come from. If you are from an EU country, a Visa is not necessary.
  • Don't be late. It's a train journey, but it's a train journey where you will be travelling to another country. Going though passport control can take time, so be sure you allow enough time for long queues.
  • Enjoy the station. The new St Pancras international station opened in November 2007. Before that, Eurostar trains left from Waterloo. St Pancras is an impressive building. Inside the grand Victorian building you can find shops, cafes and Europe's longest champagne bar.
  • Take something to eat. There's a buffet car on the train, but it can be quite expensive. It might be an idea to buy some food and drink beforehand so that you can take it with you.

The Journey

Once you have made it aboard the train, you can relax. After leaving St Pancras in London, the train heads out through East London and across the fields of the Kent countryside until it gets to the coastal town of Folkestone.

The journey through the Channel Tunnel takes about 20 minutes. After that, the train travels on the high speed line through northern France. Some trains stop in Lille, but not all. The journey ends at Paris Gare du Nord where you can simply step out into the Paris streets.

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    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      Very informative hub Sunday! I have to say your St. Pancras Station beats anything seen in this country (train-wise). It is a beautiful old building and so clean. Grand Central Station in NYC is trying ...it is a beautiful old building that has been restored but....let's get back to your hub.

      Not only informative but useful too. Voted up, useful, and interesting.

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