I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been to Paris. But almost every time, I’ve taken the Eurostar to get there. A recent trip reminded me just how much I love it and I decided to share the joy. Here are my 10 reasons to travel on the Eurostar.
1. You don’t have to fly
As a nervous flier, this is the main reason I love the Eurostar. I can forget the dreaded take off, landing and all the bumps in between (not to mention all the faff of flying) and watch the fields roll by, safe in the knowledge I’m firmly on land. And when the train goes under the ocean? It’s so quick I don’t have time to worry about that bit…
2. It’s cheaper
If you’re based in London (or Paris), Eurostar is often cheaper than flying. While the price of a budget airline ticket might be lower than a return journey on the Eurostar, once you factor in transport to and from the airports on either side, plus any hidden costs or extra fees, flying often ends up costing you more in the long run.
3. The customer service is excellent
Take it from me – Eurostar staff have got your back. I’ve managed to book myself on the wrong dates; experienced significant delays; and on my most recent journey, I boarded the train only to realise I’d left my backpack at security – and there were 10 minutes until departure. Eurostar rose to each and every challenge. Compensation for delays is generous and readily available (free return tickets? Yes please!); call-centre staff are smart and friendly; and platform guards know exactly what to do when you’re in a last-minute pickle.
You can’t go wrong with a macaron, or twelve Image by julien haler / Flickr / CC 2.0
4. It’s often the quickest option
When you compare the time it takes to get from London to Paris by Eurostar (around two and a half hours) to the same journey by air (just over one hour) flying seems much speedier – but think again. Once you’ve added the check-in procedure(two extra hours if you follow airline recommendations, while Eurostar’s is a minimum of 30mins) plus time spent waiting to pick up checked baggage, PLUS the extra time spent travelling to city centres from airports on the outskirts, the benefits of riding the rails are obvious. Just imagine how many macarons you could munch with that extra time!
5. Generous luggage allowances
Checked luggage restrictions are limiting and I abhor the scramble for overhead locker space, preferring to travel extremely light rather than join the rabble. So Eurostar’s generous allowance feels like a luxury: standard ticket holders can take two suitcases plus hand luggage – and there’s NO weight limit. This came in extremely handy when I was moving back to the UK after living in Paris…
King’s Cross St. Pancras is ridiculously well connected © Emma Sparks
6. You land straight in the action
I’m partial to a long weekend in Europe but final days are often cut short once you factor in the journey to the airport. When you travel by Eurostar, you can spend your last precious hours seeing the Sacre Coeur, the Louvre or Notre Dame – all less than 20 minutes away from your departure point, Gare du Nord. Equally, when I get back to London, I’m a 15-minute tube ride away from home.
7. It’s less stressful than other modes of transport
Whether it’s the quicker check-in process, the smaller waiting areas, the smoother journey or the calm, comfortable carriages, Eurostar has no competition when it comes to stress-free travel. Ferry-goers and drivers have seasickness, bad weather and navigation issues to argue/cry over; and fliers often feel like cattle in an overly air-conditioned pen. If you want to chill out, the choice is clear.
8. It’s better for the environment
Fact: taking the Eurostar has less of an impact on the environment than travelling the same route by plane. And we all know that shared transport is preferable to hundreds of cars on the roads. This one’s a no-brainer.
St. Pancras International: the dream departure lounge © Emma Sparks
9. It’s a wonderful introduction to Europe’s railways
Many travellers choose to explore Europe by train - and since London is a key starting point, the Eurostar is a wonderful introduction. The only downside is that it sets the bar so high; I can’t promise that all European rail companies are quite so efficient…
10. It’s more romantic than Ryanair
Sure, whether you choose plane or train to travel between London and Paris, you’ll still be hurtling across the land or sky in what is essentially a metal tube. But why sip a mini G&T while a toddler repeatedly kicks your seat and the ‘bing’ of the flight attendant’s bell goes off every five minutes when you can share a bottle of red and a baguette as a French man woos you over the tannoy?
Make it happen
I travelled from London to Paris with GoEuro.com – a comprehensive European trip planner that not only helps you find the cheapest, most convenient Eurostar tickets, but makes planning and booking trains, planes and buses around the continent easy as pie.
Where to stay
Paris hotels can be hideously expensive. I recommend using sites like Airbnb or GowithOh - but even their properties get snapped up quick so act fast! Check out my review of this gem of a Paris apartment rental.