How to Take the Eurostar Between London and Paris

by | Last updated Apr 29, 2024 | Europe live work and play, Transport / Travelling

Two of the most popular cities in Europe and the UK are Paris and London. And if you are planning a trip through Europe, to visit these two cities you will be considering your Europe travel options to get to them. Now there are a couple of ways to travel between each of them including by hopping on a plane, sailing across the Channel or to take the Eurostar between London and Paris. In this post I will answer the frequently asked questions how you can travel Paris to London by train or London to Paris by train aboard the Eurostar. 

Luckily for you, I’ve done the research and experienced traveling aboard the Eurostar firsthand. Use this guide on how to get from Paris to London by train and vice versa to make the most of your Eurostar journey. Here goes.

 

Eurostar FAQs & Useful Info

 

What is the Eurostar

 

Let’s kick off this guide on how to take the Eurostar from London to Paris with a little bit of history. The Eurostar is the train that runs through the Channel Tunnel, popularly known as the Chunnel. The Channel Tunnel is a 31 mile or 50km undersea rail tunnel that goes from Folkestone in Kent in the UK to Coquelles in Pas-de-Calais near Calais in northern France. It is more than 200 feet deep at its lowest point and has the distinction of having the longest undersea portion of any tunnel in the world.

The tunnel was built to accommodate high-speed trains linking the two countries – called Eurostar. Trains rains are not only passenger trains linking the two countries, but offer roll-on, roll-off vehicle transport and international freight.

Building a tunnel between France and England had been mooted a number of times including way back in 1802 by Albert Mathieu, a French mining engineer who proposed an underwater tunnel. Finally in 1988 politics was settled and construction began with the tunnel finally opening in 1994. And since then, the Eurostar trains have been linking the two countries, particularly the two cities of London and Paris in a mere 2 hours and 16 minutes.

 

Eurostar and Tunnel Facts and Figures

 

Tunnel Length: 31 miles or 50 kms
Tunnel Depth: 200 feet or just under 61 metres at the lowest point
Speed: travels at speeds of up to 186 miles per hour or 299 kilometres per hour
Time under The Channel: 22-35 minutes out of the total journey taking 2 hours 16 mins.
What can you see: it’s dark in the tunnel and you don’t see anything from your window. For the rest of the time you are above ground and see English or French countryside.

 

Pros and Cons of Travelling on the Eurostar

 

There are many reasons to take (or not) the high-speed service when travelling between Paris and London. These are the main ones to consider:

 

Big Ben London to Eiffel Tower London on Eurostar.

Pros of travelling on the Eurostar

 

  • Depart/Arrive in the city centres so you can hop off and be seeing the sites in a matter of moments.
  • Sit back and relax and watch the scenery go by when above ground.
  • Trains are frequent departing hourly every day except on December 25.
  • Journey is fast only taking two hours and 16 minutes.
  • Fares can be competitive compared to air travel. You can always book onward high-speed train travel to other destinations in France such as Strasbourg and Bordeaux.
  • You are allowed two bags free of charge, which is far more than the airlines.
  • Check-in is as late as 40 to 45 minutes before the train leaves.
  • Security procedures are generally quicker than at the airport.
  • Trains are more environmentally-friendly as they generate less pollution and carbon emissions than flying or driving. 

 

Cons of travelling on the Eurostar

 

  • You may not like being in a tunnel for so long.

 

Where do Eurostar Trains Depart and Arrive

 

On the London-Paris route, Eurostar trains travel between St. Pancras International Rail Station in central London to Gare du Nord in central Paris in the 10th arrondissement.

Both these major train stations are connected to the London Underground (subway) and Paris Metro trains making it easy to get to where you want to go in London or Paris.

 

Check-in Procedures for Eurostar Trains

 

  • You are expected to check-in at least 45 minutes before the scheduled departure time of the train, and you must do so in person. So ensure you have printed your ticket in advance or use an e-ticket by downloading the Eurostar app on your phone. 
  • Entrance is through automatic gates where you will need to scan your ticket’s barcode to go through. And be prepared for routine scanning of your bags and you may be required to take your shoes off – just like at the airport.
  • Once through the security area, present your passport to immigration authorities. You will pass through immigration checks at both French and UK borders.
  • Once through you will enter the Eurostar departure lounge and gates. Like at the airport, there are duty-free shops, restaurants and my favourite – free Wifi. Business-class travellers and ‘Carte Glance’ members benefit from dedicated, fast-track lines and a premier lounge.
  • When the gate opens, board the train and find your seat. The two key numbers to look for are the train and the seat which are both on your ticket. If you enter the right carriage by the coach number, it will make it easier to find your seat number. Once found, there is plenty of storage to store your luggage at both ends of the carriage and also in overhead racks for smaller carry-on-size luggage.

 

How to Organise Your Eurostar Journey

 

Organising a trip on the Eurostar is easy as Eurostar has a great website explaining everything.

 

How to Book a Ticket on the Eurostar

 

You can book a ticket on the Eurostar up to 180 days before travel. Visit the Eurostar website for details of purchasing your ticket online. The website has all the details on special fares and the different class of ticket you can purchase. You can choose between standard, standard premier and business premier – each offering different services such as a meal, newspaper included in the price of your ticket. Also find out the other Eurostar destinations as you can catch it to Belgium and Germany. But the most popular route is London to Paris and vice versa.

 

Arc de Triomph in Paris to Buckingham Palace in London by Eurostar train.

What’s the actual train ride like?

 

I found the whole experience of traveling on the Eurostar an enjoyable one. It was easy to buy a ticket and the procedure to get on to the train was easy and fairly stress-free. I had a window seat and enjoyed seeing the countryside as the train scooted along. It slowed before entering the tunnel and then it was dark for the time in the tunnel, then countryside again. I liked how the trains had display monitors showing the train’s map location, estimated arrival time and the train’s speed – it made me feel better about where I was. The light refreshments I was served was nice and I enjoyed the free Wifi. And getting off the train was stress free also. I enjoyed leaving London and finding myself in Paris.

 

What to do in Paris and London

Many go on a day trip from Paris to London or London to Paris. These will include your Eurostar ticket and entrance fees to certain sights. Here are some to consider:

1 Day Eurostar London to Paris Full Day Luxury Tour

Disneyland Paris 1 day ticket – Leave London, spend the day at Paris Disneyland and return to London.

1 Day Eurostar London to Paris sightseeing on Hop on Hop off bus

How to Spend one day in London on the Hop on Hop off bus.

 

Are You Ready to Take the Eurostar between London and Paris?

 

Taking the train from Paris to London is so easy and enjoyable. Having flown between Paris and London a number of times, I’m so glad I took the high-speed Eurostar roundtrip train from Paris to London. It was such a great experience and an easy way to travel Europe. In fact, travelling Europe by train is easy, which I have done previously on a Eurail ticket.

 

Eurostar to London and Paris PIN. See all the sites of either city - Big Ben, Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace and the Arc de Triomph.

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Sharyn McCullum Sailing Through The Panama Canal With Storm Chasing Boat.

Sharyn McCullum – Travel Writer / Blogger, Remote On-line Worker, sometime Digital Nomad and Travel, Live and Work Abroad Expert. Is a chocoholic, coffee connoisseur and lover of ’80s music. Been travelling all her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. Lived in London 4 years on a working holiday. Has holidayed in Hawaii over 15 times and currently calls Melbourne, Australia home. Is inspiring others to get the live work play travel lifestyle with this blog. Read more about Sharyn here.

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