My France Odyssey

Eurostar and TGV

Eurostar – what a wonderful way to travel, offering the idea of a stress free journey is captivating.

UK to Paris and back

Somehow you must start from St Pancras International Station in London. A ticket can be bought to get you from your nearest UK station to your final destination ion France but to all intents and purposes the fun really begins once you are at St.Pancras. Now obviously it very much depends on the day and time of arrival but I found the check in no worse and slightly better than from an airport. Customs are as you would expect, no better or worse. But then you are sent to the waiting room and faced with queues for everything and a lack of seating for the number of passengers for each train. If more than one train is due the area is well below the standard anyone should expect, cramped. noisy and stuffy.

Eventually you are herded to your train. It’s not too far but there is again a lack of information and signage to ensure the passenger is herded to the right train/carriage / seat. However once the journey you are whisked along arriving at your destination pretty quickly.

The train is light and airy and the seats are comfortable, good wifi is available though maybe not on the older trains. There is a buffet car where you can also buy tickets for the Metro or RER in Paris, there is no at-seat service.

The station at Paris, the Gare du Nord, is vast. Finding your way around is not as easy as expected so if you plan on using the metro or RER have a look at the you-tube videos for directions. This is particularly useful if you are changing stations for onward travel.

The return journey was only blighted by trying to get to Gare du Nord and the waiting area for the train there. It was so crowded and busy with no staff to be seen. Guesswork all the way, but again once boarded the trip was smooth back to London.

Would I do it again? If the price was right I would and have done since.

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