Eurostar Train Tips for Traveling London to Paris

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Everything you need to know to book your Eurostar train from London to Paris (or vice versa!) includes how to pick the right section of the train for you, save money on your ticket, and know what to expect for your trip.

The Eurostar train is parked at the station.

Booking train tickets aboard the Eurostar between London and Paris felt a lot different than booking our normal plane tickets with the US airlines.

But our day trip from London to Paris was such a special part of our 6 days in London, I would absolutely do this again.

If you’re looking to book your first trip aboard the Eurostar, here is everything you need to know for picking your seats, saving money, and what you need to purchase your tickets.

Choosing Your Seats

The first thing you will notice when looking up the options for taking the Eurostar from London to Paris is that you have the choice of three sections on the train:

  1. Standard: The most budget-friendly option.
  2. Standard Premier: An upgrade from the budget but not quite business class.
  3. Business Premier: The top tier section with the most perks.

I watched several reviews of the train before we booked our tickets and the general consensus is that for normal family travelers, Standard Premier is your best option.

The reasons for this are:

  1. It’s not that much more money than the budget-level Standard seats but the jump to Business Premier is huge. You might pay an additional $10 – 15 per ticket for Standard Premier but you’d pay an additional $160 – 175 per ticket for Business Premier.
  2. There are fewer people in your cabin so your seats are both wider and have more leg room.
  3. You get a free meal included with your ride. We were very surprised at just how generous the meal was, it even includes free wine. For the wine alone, I’d say the upgrade was worth it!

You get the biggest bang for your upgrade buck by sticking with Standard Premier.

Here’s a peek at our 4 seats assigned together in Standard Premier.

That table in the middle has additional width panels that pull up and out from the sides so that you can have a roomier table for the food trays or your computer.

Standard Premier Seats on the Eurostar Train from London to Paris
4 seats in the Standard Premier section of the Eurostar train from London to Paris.

If you’re traveling with just 1 or 2 people, there are also sets of 2 seats together:

A set of 2 seats in the standard premier section of the train.
2 seats in the Standard Premier section of the Eurostar train from London to Paris.

Budget-Saving Tip

If you are looking to do a day trip from London to Paris by train (or vice versa), take a close look at the fares for each time of day.

During our spring break trip, the cheapest tickets were the last ones out of the station at night but the morning tickets were much more expensive.

We decided to start our “day trip” the evening before and took the affordable last train from London to Paris. We then took the last train from Paris back to London the next day.

The money we saved across four tickets on both routes paid for a hotel stay in Paris for just the one night.

Also factor in that you need to be at the train station 2 hours in advance of your departure. For early-morning trains, this can end up being very early.

The dad is stepping on the Eurostar train to Paris.

Booking Your Tickets

Once you’ve settled on the route, time, and section of the train you want to book, you will need the following information to book your tickets:

  1. Passport for Every Member of the Family: Since you’re crossing international borders, your passport will be necessary for both routes.
  2. Find the Passport ID: The web site will ask you for this information and it took me a while to figure it out. Enter your passport Type + Code + Passport number = all together, no spaces.
  3. Remember DAY comes before Month: In Europe, the numerical dates are listed as day/month/year, not month/day/year as we do in the US. Thankfully, Eurostar also lists the name of the day of the week to help clarify. Just be sure you’re booking exactly the right dates for your trip.

Double check all of your info is exactly as listed on your official documents (names vs. nicknames, etc.)

Remember the train schedule is on military time. There is a time difference between London and Paris that also complicates things. The time listed in the timetable is the local time.

If you’re departing from London and heading to Paris, the departure time is London time, the arrival time is Paris time.

Finally, I found it helpful to register for a Eurostar account even though we won’t travel enough for the benefits. It helps when it comes time to adding your account to the mobile app for your phone.

The train is at the Paris station.

Before You Leave Home

Download the Eurostar app to your phone and log in with your new account. This is one of the essential travel apps to keep on your iPhone for the trip.

You can download your tickets from the app and add them digitally to your Apple wallet as long as you made the Eurostar account.

SAFETY TIP: Print your tickets as back-up in case your phone is stolen, lost, or damaged or simply not working. Wi-Fi and cell service can be a little tricky when traveling internationally.

Once you’re in the app you will be able to see your assigned seats and change spots as needed.

Be sure to sign up for alerts within the app so you’ll be notified for a change in train schedule or seating assignments.

Get to the Station Early

The train station in Paris.

Plan to arrive at the train station 2 hours in advance of your departure.

You will be checking through both a security line and the customs line as you enter the new country on your departure side. This process can take some time, especially during peak travel seasons.

The good news is that once you are on the train, you are officially in your destination country. When it arrives at your next station, you simply get off the train and on your way.

There are restrooms and several shops and restaurants at the train station, so getting there early means you can just relax and wait for them to board your group for the train.

What to Expect on the Train

If you book Standard Premier tickets like we did, shortly after the train departs you’ll be served a light meal.

For our late evening trains, this included a dinner with beverage service including complimentary wine.

From London to Paris we enjoyed:

The platter of food and beverage on the train from London to Paris.
  1. A Choice of Vegetarian Quiche OR Chicken
  2. A Grain & Veggie Side Dish: Mine in this pic included butternut squash and was delicious.
  3. Dinner Roll with Butter
  4. Sticky Toffee Pudding
  5. Wine: Choice of red or white
  6. Soda, Water, and Coffee

The food is all served chilled, not warm. But it was a vast improvement over the airplane food we received on the flight over to London.

On the train from Paris back to London we received:

  1. Trout with Herb Sauce
  2. Grain and Veggie Side Dish
  3. Whole Wheat Mini Baguette
  4. Chocolate Tart
  5. And the same beverage options

Every passenger is allowed one suitcase to bring on the train. There are overhead compartments similar to an airplane but without the safety door covering.

There are also luggage racks inside each cabin that look like this:

The luggage rack on the train.

There are bathrooms an easy distance along the train for using in transit and a food and beverage car where you can purchase additional things as needed.

Our cabin was nearly silent both trips with most people on board appearing to be computers with laptops getting some work done.

Things to Bring With You

Since the train ride between London and Paris is just over 2 hours, you really don’t need much on the train itself.

Here are some things we found especially nice to have:

  1. Bleach Wipes: I travel with these everywhere. I pick them up in travel-friendly containers at Target before we go and I used them to wipe down the tables and trays as well as the hard arms between seats when we first sit down. Especially since we planned to eat the meal on the train, I just felt better with a cleaner surface.
  2. Snacks: If you’ve got picky eaters or don’t want the full meal, you are allowed to bring on your own food for the train. We treated the kids to one last chocolate croissant as we left Paris.
  3. Headphones: The cabin was so quiet, we felt a little uncomfortable making any noise. We kept our chatter volume low but headphones for music or watching a video on your phone would be useful.

Safety Note for Families

While the trains themselves felt very safe and comfortable and we had no issues inside the train station itself, please understand that the areas around train stations in Europe tend to be a little bit less kid-friendly.

Have a transportation plan for getting from the train station to your hotel before you arrive and just move quickly. Get away from the train stations as quickly as possible, especially if you’re traveling later at night like we did.

Just use caution, be aware of your surroundings, and keep your kids close.

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