The Eurostar is a passenger train that will get you to Paris from London very quickly but do not get this confused with the EuroTunnel, which is the train shuttle service that also allows cars and coaches to travel across the Channel.
If you do not wish to take your car abroad or do not like flying, the Eurostar is a great alternative with less hassle and no luggage weight restrictions, plus you arrive in the heart of the city of Paris from the UK in only around two and half hours.
The Eurostar used to depart from Waterloo station, but it now departs from the historical Victorian St Pancras International Station in London and goes through to the just as historical Gare du Nord Train Station in Paris France.
St Pancras station has been renovated to its former glory, even with a replica of the original station clock in place and is the starting point of your holiday to France, so be sure to leave time to experience this fantastic building with its incredible feature of a glass and steel train shed that was actually the largest enclosed space in the world when built and enjoy a drink underneath this structure at the longest Champagne bar in Europe.
There are also numerous shops and cafes at the St Pancras International station along with free WiFi connection plus in the departure lounge there are facilities for recharging electrical items such as laptops and certain carriages on the Eurostar also have power sockets for plugging in items such as a mobile phone or games like the Nintendo DS. 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 it comes to booking your tickets for the Eurostar you can have these sent to an address in the UK, Belgium or in France, or you can arrange to collect these from the ticket office just prior to departure, but by booking early, which you can do up to four months in advance, you are likely to get a good deal and choose the seats you want.
Yes, you can actually choose exactly 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.
The way the seats are laid out is also different between the carriages with some being airline style, whilst others are positioned so that you can look at each other. Some even have tables, and this is great if travelling with family or friends, plus is easier if you are with young children as they have space to play. Also, if you are travelling with young children, then you may wish to be near to either the front or rear of the train, as this is where the baby changing facilities are located and of course you can also choose the option of a window seat to admire the French countryside prior to your arrival in Paris.
It is obviously a good idea to look at one of the detailed plans that are available to choose where you would like to be seated, yet do bear in mind that if you are not booking through Eurostar and going to one of the many online firms, then you may not be able to choose specific seating.
Eurostar runs every day except for the 25th December and because they run virtually every hour, you can choose the time of day or night for travel, but some off-peak times are quite a bit cheaper than others. Also children under the age of four are free providing they do not take up a seat and there is a discounted price for children up to the age of eleven.
But instead of going to Paris 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. Also, in the summer on set days Eurostar run a direct service from London to Avignon in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region and on set days during the ski season they run a service directly to the French Alps for those that like skiing in France.
Now we know this is probably a silly point to make, but do not forget your passport as you do still have to go through passport control, although check in is a lot quicker than when you are flying and you do keep your luggage with you at all times, so even though there are no weight restrictions on a suitcase, you need to make sure you can lift it!
The Gare du Nord train station in Paris is also a main connection point for other destinations in Europe such as Germany, so it is an extremely busy train station, but if you are thinking of staying in Paris, then upon departing, you can either go through the main concourse and onto the streets 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.
So through the wonders of engineering and technology, the journey between London and Paris is a convenient and comfortable way to travel, whether it is for business or for pleasure and a memorable holiday in France.
About the Author:
www.placesinfrance.com - Martyn Davis European Traveller, Author, Photographer and Business Development Manager, For all your French holiday needs and travel guide to Paris and France, with tourist information, landmarks and attractions - EuroStar Channel Tunnel Crossing
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