If you are considering a holiday overseas, one of the best options to consider is a train trip to Paris which is only a short distance away via the Eurostar, and a train journey will take you straight from the heart of London to the centre of the French capital. Not only is Paris an amazing and unique city to explore, but it can serve as the beginning of even further train journeys throughout continental Europe. To make the most of your train trip to Paris, it is important to know what to prepare for and how best to plan your itinerary. Therefore, here is a guide to help you fully prepare for your next train journey across the English Channel.

Why Train Travel Is the Best Option

While there are several options for travel to Paris, the best by far remains travel by rail. First, it is faster and more efficient than going by ferry or coach. In addition, you don’t have to worry about all the transfers, hidden costs and annoying security measures involved with air travel. A London Paris train journey  will take you straight from St Pancras station in the centre of London to Gare du Nord, right in the heart of Paris, in just few hours. Compare this with bus and ferry travel, which can take a lot more travelling time. Along the way, you will have a comfortable and scenic journey across the English and French countryside, with only a brief period of darkness as you travel through the Channel Tunnel. Another advantage of travelling to Paris  this way is that several trains run each day from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm Finally, rail travel is significantly more environmentally friendly than other methods of travel.

How to Prepare for Your Journey

The first thing you should do is plan out your itinerary: how much to budget, how long you want to stay, and what you wish to do while you are in Paris. Book your tickets in advance to make sure to get the best rates.

Ensure to get your passport, travel insurance and any other documents in order well before your trip in case there are any delays.  Next, plan your accommodation: if you have nowhere to stay, consider hotel or hostel accommodation rates based on your budget. Organise some emergency contacts in case an issue arises, and try to learn some basic French words to help you get around. Finally, prepare your luggage at least a few days ahead of time. Consider how long you plan to go away for and what the weather will be like so you can pack appropriately and avoid being caught unprepared.

Travelling to Paris by Train

To ensure your journey goes smoothly, you should aim to arrive at Eurostar Departures in St Pancras station at least an hour and a half before boarding. This will allow you the time to go through the ticket gate, clear customs, and check in your luggage without having to rush. A French customs officer will be at the platform to check your passport and any other travel documents. Alternatively, you can use the ePassport gate if your passport includes a biometric chip.  Once you are through customs and security, you can relax in the departure lounge, which includes Wi-Fi access, money exchange facilities, and purchasable food and drink options. Boarding commences 30 minutes before departure, during which you will be directed to your assigned seat. Your amenities during your journey will depend on the class you purchased: a standard seat is the most economical and allows for two pieces of checked luggage, one piece of hand luggage, charging ports and meals you can purchase on board. Higher classes have seats with more legroom and included meal options, so choose the option that best fits your budget. The entire journey will take just over two and a half hours, during which you will be able to relax and watch the scenery pass by.

Exploring Paris

Once you have arrived at Gare du Nord and have settled into your Parisian accommodation, it is time to explore the city itself. Consider what you want to see, how much time you have and what you can spend. Do you wish to see the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre ? Arrive early if you wish to beat the crowds. Perhaps you’d like to explore the hills of Montmartre or go on a shopping spree on the famous Champs Élysées. Getting around Paris is very easy if you familiarise yourself with the Metro system. If you have the opportunity to travel outside of Paris, there are also rail options to Versailles and Chartres that are worth exploring. Finally, Paris is a great first stop if you want to experience more of Europe by rail, with routes to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Roma and Zurich being some of the most popular options available.