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Eurostar travel tips – London Paris by train [Everything you need to know]

A question asked by many travellers is how to travel from London to Paris by train. This article explores the various options available for travellers wishing to visit Paris from London with detailed information and Eurostar travel tips for those who wish to make the journey by train.

There are various options to complete the journey from London to Paris, including air travel, coach tours, driving or sea ferry across the English Channel (which for many years was the traditional way to cross the channel) Since the Chunnel opened for passenger trains in November 1994 the Eurostar train service has been a preferred travel option for millions of people every year. 

If you are visiting the UK and would like to know about train travel in general you may like to read my guide to traveling the UK by train.

Eurostar from London to Paris – Essential information and Eurostar Travel Tips

The service runs from London St Pancras International Train station (situated in North London) to Paris Gare Du Nord.

  • The Eurostar train travels underneath the English Channel through the Channel Tunnel, sometimes referred to as the ‘Chunnel’.
  • There are three actual tunnels, two used for passenger trains and freight trains while the third tunnel is a service tunnel.
  • The Chunnel is 31 miles long (50.45km), 23.5 miles actually under the English Channel.
  • Time in the tunnel is around 20 mins.
  • There are up to 19 trains daily from London to Paris.
  • The first train leaves Monday to Friday at 05.40 hrs.
  • The first train on Saturday leaves at 06.18 hrs and on Sunday at 08:19hrs

TIP: Please note there are timetable changes throughout the year around seasonal service demands.

2 eurostar trains at St Pancras
  • The fastest journey takes 2 hours 16 minutes.
  • Average journey time is 2 hours 20 minutes.
  • Paris Gare Du Nord
  • Paris Disneyland
  • Lille (France)
  • South of France
  • Calais – France
  • Brussels – Belgium
  • Amsterdam – Netherlands 
  • Rotterdam – Netherlands

Connected Service* – Change trains in Paris, Lille or Brussels for service destinations for trains to

*Eurostar is now merged with THALYS with rail links to 17 cities across Europe

The cost of Eurostar train tickets are variable throughout the year and the day/time of travel. At the time of research (Feb 2023) there are considerable fluctuations in the cost for Standard and Standard Premier seats. Business Premier seats had minimum cost variations.

The cheapest prices found were travelling 7 weeks in advance. (On the official site it states advance booking can be available up to 330 days in advance of travel)

An approximate ticket cost is:

  • Eurostar Standard Class – From £39 one-way (first train midweek)
  • Eurostar Standard Premier – From £84 one-way (first train midweek)
  • Business Premier – All journeys were £275 one-way

Tip: I noticed when checking for the cheapest prices as above that 24 hours later the prices had increased substantially. If you see a price you are happy with – don’t delay!

Eurostar 2

Information for your journey depending on your class of ticket

  • Arrive as early as possible – the times given are a guide only.
  • Download your train tickets for the most up-to-date recommended arrival time for your booking.

Standard Class Eurostar ticket holders

For departures from London St Pancras International to the Gare du Nord recommendation at present (Feb 2023) is to arrive at the station around 90 mins before the train’s scheduled departure. (60/75 mins for passengers who require special assist)

Standard and Standard Premier gates close 30 mins before departure at St Pancras International.

  • Drinks and snacks are available from the Café Metropole on the train (or alternatively purchase snacks in the departure lounge cafes and shops before you board)
  • Services consist of old and new trains.
  • Free WiFi and power sockets are available.
  • Baby changing facilities are available on all services though not in all coaches.
  • Unlimited ticket exchanges up to 7 days prior to departure (you pay the fare difference – see t&c’s)
  • Eurostar Carte Blanche, Classique and Avantage members check for membership variations.

Standard Premier Eurostar ticket holders

Arrive at the station around 90 mins before the train’s scheduled departure. Ticket gates close 30 mins before departure.

  • Extra space at the seats.
  • Free Wifi.
  • Power sockets at all seats.
  • Seat service of a light meal and drinks. Menu is appropriate to the day/time of travel.
  • Eurostar Carte Blanche, Classique and Avantage members check for membership variations.

Business Premier Eurostar ticket holders

Premier ticket holders should arrive at the station 45 to 60 minutes before the scheduled train departure time. The gate closes 15 minutes prior to departure.

  • No exchange fees and free cancellations (see ticket t’s & c’s)
  • Access to the Business Premier Lounges with
    • Free WiFi
    • Treats/drinks
    • Magazines/newspapers.
    • Dedicated fast track ticket gates
  • Seat service, on board, 3-course meal. The menu is appropriate to the day/time of travel.
  • Extra space at seats.
  • Eurostar Carte Blanche, Classique and Avantage members check for membership variations.

What luggage can I take on the Eurostar?

Luggage Size

All adults travelling can take two pieces of luggage (3 in Business Premier) that are:

  • Up to 85cm long.
  • And one small piece of hand luggage.
  • No weight limit but you must be able to carry and lift your own bag safely.
  • No fluid restrictions.

Children travelling on a child ticket can take 1 piece of luggage and 1 piece of hand luggage.

If you are catching an early train (or arriving back in London on a late train from Paris) the best option (if you are not already in London) is to stay as close as possible to St Pancras Station. (Read my guide to using public transport in London if you are unsure about how to get to St Pancras)

We found ourselves in this situation a few years ago when we decided to pop over to Paris for my birthday and had booked the early train.

After looking at many hotels we settled on the Hotel Megaro, which is across the road from the station. We had a lovely stay (and have subsequently stayed there again) and I was particularly impressed with the staff (and the bubbly and cake they surprised me with once they knew it was my birthday!)

On subsequent visits we have stayed at the Pullman, located next to the British Library and a 4 minute walk from St Pancras International.

For other options in the area, look at our London neighbourhood guide and recommended accommodation options for all budgets.

international Departures St Pancras
Departures at St Pancras
  • On arriving at the ticket gate all passengers need to:
  • Scan the ticket bar code at the ticket gate bar code reader. Some paper tickets do not have a bar code, so you have to check in at one of the service desks.
  • Through to security, bag checks. As you would find at an airport. Speed of this can depend on the time of the day or how early/late you are arriving at security before your train departs.
  • Passport control – Speed as above.
  • Though to the departure lounge, and relax before your train leaves.
  • Tax-free shops available.
  • Cash machines are available for Pound and Euro currency.
  • Check departure boards for your train. This will show the following information
  • Train ID (usually 4 digits) and departure time, should match your train ticket.
  • Train boarding time and train departure platform.
  • Don’t rush to board as soon as the train boarding opens, there is plenty of time.
  • Board the train and find your seat. There are usually coach attendants around near the train doors who will direct you to the correct seat in your coach.
  • Disabled access can be arranged – contact Eurostar staff or arrange in advance.

TIP: There is always a Eurostar staff member or two at the gates ready to help passengers with any problems. Do not be afraid to ask.

  • Coaches are clearly marked to check you have the correct one, seat ranges are also clear at the door into the coach. Check your seat number and board the coach from the right end. This reduces the need to carry your luggage down the entire coach.
  • Free magazines and daily newspapers are available for your use as you get on the train.
  • Only sit in your designated seat prior to departure. The train may have further stopping points where more passengers will board.
Sign at St Pancras
  • Train station is located on Pancras Road, London NW1.
  • Easy links to the UK rail network at different part of the same station and adjacent Kings Cross train station with ticket offices and ticket machines, also tourist information services.
  • London Underground ‘tube’ has underground station at St Pancras, easy access to Eurostar services.
  • Excellent selection of coffee shops/bars and restaurants to be found at St Pancras train station, also small express supermarket shops like Marks and Spencer.
  • British souvenir and beauty shops to be found in the station concourse.
  • Left luggage and lost property services available.

TIP: Do not rush into through the ticket barriers into the station, if time allows, take your time to look around and enjoy the station architecture, statues and the shops.

Eurostar 3
Eurostar 4
  • Quick exit off the train after arriving at the station.
  • No further passport checks, exit straight off the train into the main station concourse.
  • Paris Gare Du Nord station is the centre of Paris, instead of air travel where airports are around 1 hour or more outside the city.
  • Easy access to bus and RER services and Paris Metro underground system.
  • Ticket offices and machines for travel information and ticket purchases for Metro, RER and bus services.

GOOD TO KNOW: You can purchase a book of Paris Metro (RER and bus) tickets on board the Eurostar from the Café Metropole in books of 10 (called a carnet) prior to the Paris.  This makes life a lot easier in Paris if you are pushed for time or if you are unsure of how to buy tickets) Note that this will end in 2025!

Gare du nord in Paris

I hope that this guide to taking the Eurostar from London to Paris answers any questions you may have about the journey.

It is a great way to travel between the 2 capitals and an easy trip to make (even if you only want to go for the day!)

If you love the idea of a day trip from London by train but don’t want to travel to France read about 12 places only a few hours by rail from London.

If you are interested in a longer train journey around the UK our 14 day itinerary for the best of Britain by rail included 3 countries and 7 of the top destinations.

If you prefer to make the trip as part of an organised tour I would recommend checking out some of the great options on Get Your Guide. You can find more information about their day trips to Paris from London via Eurostar by clicking this link.

For Eurostar bookings and ticket prices click the button below ↓


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