Travel from Paris to London + Crime Alerts
Wondering how to travel from Paris to London by train? There’s no need to schlep out to the airport in either city, as the train stations are centrally located. The Eurostar departs Paris from convenient Gare du Nord station.
By contrast, Charles de Gaulle Airport is about 25 kilometers north of Paris (around a 35-minute train ride away). Eurostar trains arrive in the heart of London at St Pancras International station in King’s Cross. Taking the train means you avoid longer London airport transfers from Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, or Luton. You will save time, money, and stress on both ends, with much shorter check-in requirements. Tips: Visit the Eurostar website to find out the available schedule before travel.
Eurostar is the fastest way to travel from Paris to London, with the journey taking around two hours and 15 minutes. There are three ticket classes, with different check-in times and perks. With Standard and Standard Premier tickets, ticket gates and checks close 30 minutes before departure. You should get to the station 45 to 60 minutes before departure, though, to clear customs and security and beat any queues. At bank holidays or weekends, check-in is a minimum of 45 minutes before departure. For top-tier Business Premier ticket gates close 10 minutes before departure, with an exclusive lounge.
Remember, you will need your passport as you’re traveling between two countries. You’ll pass through airport-style passport checks and security at the Eurostar station, where staff will scan your bags. Another plus is you’re allowed liquids, and can carry one bottle of wine or bubbly per person or four beers. Any more will have to travel via the registered luggage service. Sometimes, this station is really busy and crowded so be careful of your belongings.
Do purchase your Eurostar ticket from their website and you will receive a confirmation ticket from them. You can just use the barcode to scan at the train station. If you are non-EU resident, you will need to prepare your passport at Gare Du Nord station as the France Immigration will be there to validate your passport before you take your train to London. Once you arrived in London, you will not get thru immigration again.
Most of the train route is above ground, so you can admire the scenic countryside rolling past your window. The train goes underground briefly for about 20 to 25 minutes as it passes through the Channel Tunnel. This safe route connects France and England under the Channel waterway.
Gare du Nord station is a pickpocket haven, here's are some tips and advice for travellers.
Crime: Ticket purchase help
Where: At Metro / RER ticket vending machines, especially at Gare du Nord train station
How: A scam artist offers to help you purchase tickets using his bank card/credit card claiming that foreign cards do not work (true in some cases). After purchasing the tickets he asks you to pay him in cash for the tickets, but at an amount demanded is much higher than face value. Variations include:
purchasing a carnet (booklet of 10) of single-use Metro or RER tickets and offering you only 1-2 tickets for the price of an entire booklet, claiming they are good for multiple uses or something similar.
suggest that you use Euro notes to pay and simply stealing the tickets from the ticket collection tray after purchase is complete
the person offering help may be young (children) or old, male or female
The scam is commonly run at Gare du Nord due to high tourist traffic coming from RER B trains from CDG Airport and Eurostar London – Paris trains, with plenty of first-time travelers to Paris.
Crime: Pickpocket teams
Where: Train car doors and anywhere a small bag is placed (open seats, overhead storage, at your feet)
How: Distraction / diversion / attention-getting + snatching wallet/bag.
Example: Helping pick up coins or something dropped in several pieces. Usually two-person team. One is a decoy attempting to distract you & expose your wallet or divert attention away from your bag. He often stays on the train. Partner picks pocket/grabs bag & gets off the train as doors close. I had this attempted on me on the Barcelona Metro, but the method works anywhere. One member waits to get on the train at a 45º angle in front of you (keeping you in his peripheral view).
When the train arrives and doors open, passengers exit the train, then you and the pickpocket move towards the door. He enters just ahead of you and drops something on the floor of the train. A mobile phone in pieces, coins, etc. The point is to get your help to bend over and pick up the pieces with him, exposing your back pocket & your wallet. His partner then picks your pocket while leaving the train and walks off. After picking up pieces, the original pickpocket stays on the train and plays innocent, offering himself to be searched for your wallet.
To reiterate, Gare du Nord train station is the most likely place for thieves to operate. Stay alert while in this Paris station.
Keep your eyes on your bags.
Wear your backpack on your front, not on your back.
Keep your wallet in your front pants pocket, not your back pocket.
Don’t be distracted by others in this station either to be helped or being requested to help others.
Simply go about your business of arriving and leaving this station in an efficient manner and you’ll be fine. Enjoy your trip and stay safe!