Travelling to France was never easier. Eurostar gets you from the centre of London to Calais in France in under an hour, Lille in less than an hour and a half, and Paris in 2 hours and 15 minutes! And, if you need a cheap hotel close to Eurostar, I know one that’s just the ticket!
Why take Eurostar to France
I’m not being paid to write this, I’m a fan of Eurostar for several reasons. I travel between London and France all the time for work. I’m a travel writer and go all over France by train. For me its easier than driving, quicker too, and I find the train service run by SNCF in France is generally superb. Though not when they’re striking, I don’t travel at those times.
The quick journey time on Eurostar is of course part of the appeal. There’s a bar on the trains where you can get tea, coffee, glass of wine, something to eat. There are plugs for phones to be charged up. The seats are comfy. Another big plus is that you don’t have to get to the station too far in advance. Generally 45 minutes is sufficient and they’re very efficient at processing you through. And you don’t have to pay extra for luggage like you often do on a plane.
Tips for travelling on Eurostar
Print off your boarding pass, and when you arrive, simply scan it on the machines to go through to the customs and security areas. Buy your ticket well in advance for the cheaper tickets. I’ve found that if I get to the Eurostar terminus early they won’t put you on an earlier train without charging a small fortune.
Arriving in France from London
When you arrive at Calais Frethun, you’ll be in a main TGV station so you can take trains onwards. You can also travel into Calais town by local train. I’m told there’s a bus too, but in the dozens of times I’ve done this journey, I’ve never seen one.
When you arrive in Lille, you’re just a few minutes’ walk from the centre of town. You can take trains from Lille International station or walk to Lille Flandres station for journeys to the north of France.
Paris Nord is right in the centre of Paris and great for taking the metro, RER (overland trains) and buses on to where ever you want to go.
Where to stay in a cheap hotel near Eurostar London
I stay at Point A Hotel Kings Cross in historic Grays Inn Road (I’m not being paid to write this either). It’s just a couple of minutes’ walk from St Pancras for Eurostar and perfect for when I’m catching an early train. It’s terrific value with rooms starting from £54. And you can join their free membership scheme for an extra 10% off. Believe me I’ve paid much more for a room near the station and it’s been nowhere near as good as Point A (think shared bathroom and Cinderella in a grubby attic – seriously). Of course, the fact that it’s so close to the Eurostar station makes it ideal. But equally important is the fact that the staff at Point A Hotel are friendly and helpful (24 hour reception), even when I arrive late at night ready for an early morning departure.
The cheapest rooms are small but they’re really well designed. Super clever use of space means a good sized bathroom, big bed and storage, so you don’t feel squashed. Comfy, spotlessly clean, with aircon, and despite being in such a busy part of London – totally silent at night.
I love that there are plenty of restaurants and pubs in this road so you can get a full English breakfast, a snack, afternoon tea, lunch, dinner or a late night drink – and then walk a few yards to get a good night’s sleep. There is a dining area too in the restaurant that’s buzzy and vibrant. Late at night, it’s great for a hot drink!