If and when I get to London, I thought it would be fantastic to take advantage of its close proximity to Paris, so I thought I’d do a little research on The Chunnel. The Chunnel is a tunnel that runs underneath the English Channel where trains can carry passengers, vehicles, and motorbikes between England and France. You cannot drive through this tunnel in your car.
(2) types of trains run through The Chunnel: Eurostar and Eurotunnel trains. The Eurostar is a passenger-only train. It runs between (3) stations in England: St. Pancras, Ebbsfleet, and Ashford on its way to (5) French destinations: Paris, Lille, Lyon Part Dieu, Avignon TGV, and Marseille St. Charles. Eurostar also goes from London to Brussels, Belgium. You can get great deals if you book ahead of your trip. Here is a direct link to book Eurostar Chunnel destinations: https://eurostar.uk.voyages-sncf.com/en/?PREX=T_AFF_525E4CC03675Aawc=5667_1487182177_e213d6235a052944e53d6c90c862290a&ectrans=1
St Pancras train station. Photo courtesy of Pinterest and Conde Nast Traveler
The Eurotunnel trains are built to carry cars, motorbikes, & a variety of other road vehicles. The trains run between Folkestone, England and Calais, France and take only about 35 minutes to make the trip. If you happen to watch The Long Way Down documentary by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, you will see both of them board the Eurotunnel Train on their motorbikes. It is great footage of what the trip under the tunnel looks like. Boarding is “drive on drive off” and is very straightforward. You can stay with your car or bike or stroll around. The main French road network(the A16 motorway) is almost directly at the train terminal in Calais and the Folkestone terminal is on the M20 motorway in England. The following YouTube video shows how you board the train by vehicle:
You can even visit Disneyland Paris via Eurostar train from London. The station is near Paris and is called “Marne-la -Vallee”.
The prices seem to be reasonable. I did read from another blogger that they tried the high-end Eurostar ticket (Premium or Business Premiere ) which includes free food/drinks but that the food wasn’t worth the price and the service was slow. This might be something to keep in mind. You may as well save your money for when you arrive at your destination.
There are alternatives to taking the chunnel and they are the ferry services, such as: P&O Ferries, MyFerryLink, LD Lines, DFDS/Norfolk Line Ferries. It looks like the ferries can take up to 1 hr 90 minutes from Dover to Calais versus a 35 minute trip via the Chunnel. Here is a link for the Chunnel website and information regarding the ferry services: http://www.chunnel.org.uk/ferry.htm
The St Pancras station in London is said to have one of the prettiest terminal stations in Europe as well as the longest open-air champagne bar with 17 varieties to choose from! I’ve never heard of a champagne bar! WHY don’t we have these in America???? This place is called Searcys St Pancras Grand. It also has a 1920’s Art Deco restaurant. What an elegant, romantic way to start a trip over to Paris!! Each banquette includes heated leather seats, individual blankets, and fan heaters to ward off the cold of the station. And the real kicker is the “Press For Champagne” button:
searcys.co.uk on Pinterest
searcys.co.uk on Pinterest