From St Pancras International, it takes just an hour and twenty minutes to reach Lille.
Changing trains in Lille Europe is a quick and stress-free process, as there are only four platforms, and this modern, purpose-built station is designed for long-distance travellers, with escalators and lifts so that you needn’t lug your cases up and down stairs.
On the outward journey, it is uncommon to have more than half an hour before your connection – plenty of time to take an escalator (or lift) up to the main concourse and down again to the TGV platform, perhaps picking up something to eat and drink on the way, but not so long for time to drag.
On the return journey, you may find you have a longer wait. There are some cafés on the main concourse, but only vending machines in the departure lounge once you’ve checked in, which you are advised to do two hours before departure. Time permitting, you might prefer to stretch your legs beforehand by heading into the city – it won’t take you more than 15 minutes to reach the main square, where you can enjoy some authentic moules frites. Alternatively, the futuristic Euralille shopping complex is right next door to the station, or the eight hectares of green space of the Parc Henri Matisse are just a stone’s throw away. You can leave your suitcases in the left-luggage facility while you explore.
Sometimes it is necessary to change stations in Lille, but Lille Europe and Lille Flandres are only 450 metres apart along a signposted pedestrian walkway – a perfect chance to stretch your legs briefly.