London to Cannes by train is an easy journey. It seems completely incredible to me that the fast train can you get from the centre of London to the beaches of Cannes in less than 9 hours. When you think it takes almost twice that time by car, allowing for snack stops and assuming you don’t get a traffic jam on the way, it’s amazing!
London to Cannes by train
London to Paris via Eurostar takes just 2. 5 hours. You’ll arrive at the Gare du Nord, where you’ll need to take a taxi or train to the next station to get to Cannes – either Gare de Lyon or Gare d’Austerlitz. You can buy a metro ticket on board Eurostar to save time queuing (it’s really worth doing). From Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon take RER Line D direct – you can use your metro ticket on the RER. Allow around 30 minutes. From Gare du Nord to Gare d’Austerlitz take the Metro Line 5 which takes about 40 minutes.
Paris to Cannes by train
Once you arrive are the station, check the boards for departures (blue colour background, green colour background for arrivals). Find your platform, compost your ticket (plunge it into the mouth of the yellow machine at the front of the platform for stamping) and be sure to be on board not less than 5 minutes before so you have time to get settled. Stow your case and relax. The trains always have a buffet car where you can get snacks including cooked food, hot drinks, beer and wine etc.
I left Paris for Cannes on a dull, chilly day in early spring. An hour out of Paris and I left the grey skies behind, bits of blue appeared amongst the clouds. Another hour later and southern France loomed, blue skies and sunshine appeared and it was noticeably warmer on the train.
You start to see vineyards, pastel coloured buildings and picturesque villages. You spot what look like tiny figures in the vineyards cutting and pruning readying for spring, signs of which are already evident in the south. Naked plane trees and walled gardens, churches with pointy towers, charming chateaux, orchards and turquoise coloured lakes whizz past. I even spotted a family having a picnic in a vineyard, and a man chatting to a neighbour over the fence, bare chested to catch the afternoon rays of the sun. The nearer you get to Cannes the more the scenery starts to change, palm trees and villas, washing on lines – for those of us more used to the big chill and even snow in spring, it’s little short of amazing. To think that in London and Paris people were wearing coats, scarves, gloves and in the south of France, they’re sun bathing and wearing T Shirts!
The train is normally quiet, people are asked to talk on mobile phones in the corridors so as not to disturb other passengers – it’s all rather civilised. I was lucky enough to have 2.5 year old Marianne from Nice in my carriage. “Is she disturbing you” asked her dad as she sang au Claire de Lune and other songs. We assured him it was lovely which made her sing pretty much the entire journey like a little canary.
Transport in Cannes
Arriving in Cannes you descend from the air conditioned train to the warmth of the Med (even in winter). It’s truly uplifting, and if you want to remain feeling that way I’d advise you avoid taking a taxi if at all possible because the taxis here are incredibly expensive.
There’s a great bus service (tickets cost around a Euro) and if you’re not sure which bus to take, the tourist office is a 5 minute walk away and there you can collect a map and ask for help with directions.