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Eurostar Channel Tunnel Crossing

Eurostar is a great way of getting from the United Kingdom to Paris if you do not wish to take your car abroad, and for many it is a more pleasant experience than flying, plus it does not have the same restrictions.

The Eurostar is a passenger train only, so do not get this confused with the EuroTunnel, which is the train shuttle service that also allows cars, coaches and lorries to travel across the Channel.

Even though the Eurostar used to depart from Waterloo station, it now goes from the incredible St Pancras International Station in London through to the Gare du Nord Train Station in Paris, which is a journey of approximately 490km, yet only takes around two and a half hours.

Eurostar Railway

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Eurostar Channel Tunnel Crossing

St Pancras was first opened by the Midland Railway in 1868 and even today still has trains going to places such as Sheffield and Leicester, however this beautiful Victorian building has been renovated to incorporate the high speed Eurostar and provide a great travel experience in own its right, which will make the start of your holiday in France even more memorable.

The building is spectacular from the outside with its Gothic style architecture, but the most incredible feature is the glass and steel train shed that was designed by William Henry Barlow and when it was opened, it was actually the largest enclosed space in the world.

And it is underneath this glass and steel structure that you will be able to enjoy a drink at the longest Champagne bar in Europe that is on the upper level of the station where you can see the Eurostar trains departing.

But as well this, there are numerous other shops and cafes at the St Pancras International station along with free WiFi connection plus in the departure lounge there is comfortable seating, stools, desks and power points for recharging items such as laptops, and again free WiFi.  However, as of 2008 there is no WiFi access on the train itself and you are charged for this facility in the Gare du Nord station in Paris.

When you are thinking of booking your tickets for the Eurostar you can have these sent to an address in the UK or in France, or you can arrange to collect these from the ticket office just prior to departure especially if you need to book at the last minute, but, if you do book early, which is up to four months in advance, then you are more likely to get the seats you want.

Yes, you read correctly, you can actually choose what seats you would like, not just whether you would like First Class with drink and meal included or Second Class that is known as Standard.  So if you are travelling with young children, then you may wish to be near to either end of the train as this is where the baby changing facilities are located.

Also, the type of seating is different in the different cars and be airline style or facing each other.  Some have tables and other do not, but if you are travelling to Paris as a family or with friends, then choosing seats that are facing each other and having a table can be far more enjoyable for children, and definitely more sociable!

You can look at a detailed plan of the seating arrangements of the Eurostar trains where every seat and car is numbered, which is great to decide on exactly what you want.  This is especially handy if you also want to have a window seat, so that you can see the Kent countryside and then the country side in Northern France, because you will only actually be going through the Channel Tunnel for around twenty minutes.  But do bear in mind that if you are not going directly through Eurostar, some of the booking sites will not give you the option of being able to choose your exact seats.

You can also choose what day and what time you wish to travel to Paris on the Eurostar, as the trains run every day of the week except for the 25th December and are on an average every hour, however, you can also utilise the Eurostar to get to Brussels and this journey normally stops at the city of Lille, which is the capital of the Nord-Pas de Calais region in France.

We would always suggest that you arrive at least half an hour prior to your check in time, but the good thing about going by Eurostar, rather than plane, is the fact that you do not have weight restrictions on your luggage and even though you still have to go through passport control, etc, check in is a lot quicker, but you do keep your luggage with you at all times.

When you arrive at the Paris Gare du Nord station, you will be arriving at a historical terminal that used to have the traditional boat trains from Calais and Boulogne arriving, but this is the station where you can also travel on to many other places such as Germany. 

Upon departing, you can either go through the main concourse and onto the streets in the 10th arrondissement of Paris and take a walk or go to the taxi stand just outside the station, alternatively if you go downstairs you will be at the Metro station ready to take you to another part of Paris. 

And so, thanks to Eurostar and the Channel Tunnel, the journey between London and Paris is a convenient and comfortable way to travel between these two great cities, whether it is for business or for pleasure.


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