The Eurostar train is one of the fastest and most convenient ways of travelling between London and Paris or Brussels with thousands of commuters using the service each day. The city-to-city service is popular with both business travellers and tourists who prefer the ease of rail travel to long waiting times at airports. I recently travelled on the Eurostar from London to Paris and have put together a list of tips to help make your journey on the Eurostar an easy one.
- The Eurostar departs from St. Pancras station in London, Gare du Nord in Paris and Brussels Midi/Zuid station (Lille is also serviced by the Eurostar).
- Check-in opens approximately 75 minutes prior to departure - I recommend checking in as early as you can as, after checking in, you have to pass through a security screening and passport control just like you do at the airport. The latest you can check-in is 30 minutes prior to departure.
- If you have bought your ticket through an agent in Australia you won't be able to validate it in the ticket machines located at the check-in turnstiles. You will, instead, need to 'manually' check-in by showing your ticket to a check-in clerk. Eurostar staff are on hand in the departures area to answer any questions - just show them your ticket and they will direct you to the correct counter.
- Boarding commences approximately 20 minutes prior to departure - again I suggest boarding as early as possible as this will give you more chance of storing your luggage in the floor-to-ceiling compartments at the end of the carriage rather than on the overhead luggage racks. Lifting heavy suitcases to and from the overhead racks can be a challenge.
- Each carriage is numbered on the outside of the train beside the door - make sure you are entering the correct carriage.
- I was able to access free WiFi at St. Pancras station.
- We had pre-booked an arrival transfer from Gare du Nord station to our Paris accommodation. On arrival at the station in Paris, the transfer driver was waiting at the end of the platform holding a sign with our name on it - easy!
Eurostar and 'Chunnel' facts
- There are 18 Eurostar services a day between London and Paris and 9 per day between London and Brussels.
- When travelling from London, you'll enter the Channel Tunnel ('Chunnel') 30 minutes into your journey.
- The Channel Tunnel (there are three tunnels in total) is 50.45 kilometres in length.
- Journey time through the tunnel is 20 minutes.
- The tunnel is 195 metres deep at its deepest point.
- During testing, the Eurostar reached a top speed of 334 kilometres per hour and it regularly travels at around 300 kph.
- The journey time between Paris and London is two hours and 15 minutes and Paris and Brussels is around two hours.
- There are three classes of travel on the Eurostar - Standard (what I travelled), Standard Premier and Business Premier.
- A bar/buffet is available in the Standard Class section, meals and drinks are served 'at your seat' in Standard Premier and Business Premier sections.
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