Bucket List: EuroStar from Paris to London

Featured image: Fraselpantz at en.wikipedia [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

The high-speed EuroStar train crosses the English channel en-route between the French and British capitals. It is blindingly fast, direct, and happens to link the last two destinations of our planned summer’s trip to Europe.

If there is a single simple two-hour train ride that I’m looking forward to without reservations, it is this one: it’s iconic.

As a kid I marveled that you could build a tunnel underwater long enough to connect England to France. It is the longest undersea section in the world and the second-longest rail tunnel. It also holds the British speed record of 208.0 miles per hour.

The American Society of Civil Engineers named it one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

Now, we’ll be experiencing it first-hand.

St. Pancras Railway Station, London. © User:Colin / Wikimedia Commons, via Wikimedia Commons

Service

Standard service includes food in the bar car, while Standard Premier includes spacious seats, outlets, a two course meal and drinks at your seat. Business premier includes quick check-in, a three-course gourmet meal designed by Raymond Blanc and access to a business lounge with wi-fi.

For a two-hour trip on our own dollar, not sure it’s worth the price premium for the upscale option.

Route

Eurostar serves London, Paris, and Brussels with multiple daily departures and limited intermediate stops. It is the only direct rail connection between Britain and mainland Europe. Standard and high-speed connecting services are available to other local and international destinations.

Schedule / Cost / How to Book

EuroStar offers 17 trains daily between Paris and London with departures from 7am to 9pm. Standard service starts at $65 / $78 and can be booked at eurostar.com. Bookings normally open 180 days in advance. Standard and Standard Premium tickets may be exchanged, while Business Premium is fully refundable.

Note: Seat 61 as usual has any and all details about the service, including phone numbers, bringing a bike or pet, and details of the seating classes.

History

Construction on the Eurotunnel began in 1988 and opened officially in May 1994. By November 1994, Eurostar services began between Waterloo International station in London, later moved to St. Pancras, Gare du Nord in Paris and Brussels-South railway station in Belgium.

The growth of low-cost and budget airlines has made the expansion of the Eurostar network northwards commercially nonviable, though on its core routes the Eurostar service has expanded its ridership to over 10 million passengers per year and currently has over two-thirds of the London to Paris travel market.

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