From St Pancras International, it takes two hours and 25 minutes (less if not stopping at Lille) to reach the Eurostar terminus at Paris Gare du Nord. Here, you must change mainline stations to continue your journey. Eurostar’s punctuality record is excellent, and the fact that you don’t have to wait around for your luggage or pass through immigration control means that you can be on your way very quickly.
As well as allowing ample time for you to make your connection (hopefully with plenty of time to spare), we provide you with tickets that can be used on the metro, the RER suburban railway or on the bus (time permitting), and give you directions so that you don’t waste precious minutes getting your bearings. On the return journey, the time margin we allow is considerably longer to allow for check-in.
Paris’ mainline stations include:
Gare de l’Est (for eastern France and Germany)
The Gare de l’Est is the only station which you can reach on foot from the Gare du Nord – it takes under ten minutes, even at a leisurely pace, with the choice of climbing an elaborate, curved flight of steps which featured in a scene in the film Amélie, or taking an alternative route that avoids the steps. If you have time for a meal, you’ll find a good choice of bistros in the streets surrounding the station.
Gare de Lyon (for southern France, Italy and Switzerland)
By RER, the journey from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de Lyon is a mere 10 minutes. To avoid the couple of flights of steps involved in taking the RER, you could instead, time allowing, take the bus (or treat yourself to a taxi). These take longer, of course, but have the advantage that you do get to see a little of Paris along the way.
The Gare de Lyon was built for the exhibition in 1900, and was refurbished in 2011. If you have time, be sure to visit the historic Train Bleu, where you can enjoy a drink and/or meal in sumptuous Belle Epoque surroundings. There is even an original fresco of the Mont Blanc Massif, along with paintings depicting other destinations served from the station, such as Marseille. (To eat here, we recommend booking in advance.)
Gare Montparnasse (for western France)
Accessible direct from the Gare du Nord by metro, Montparnasse is huge – effectively three stations in one – and for this reason we always allow extra time for your connection. If you do find you have time to spare, you can visit the Jardin Atlantique on the station roof, or even go to the top of the Tour Montparnasse (there is a lift!) for a superb panorama of the French capital. If, however, your priority is getting something to eat before your onward train, then there are plenty of bistros and cafés in the immediate vicinity of the station.
Gare d’Austerlitz (for the Dordogne and sleeper trains to Spain)
The station is in the process of being renovated. You can reach it by metro from the Gare du Nord, with no changes.