Next Spring DH and I are intending to travel to Paris to visit friends with our DS who will then be 3.5.
DH has mobility problems (walks with a stick) and to my mind we have two travel options.
1) Travel by train to St Pancras International and get help to get across to the station by staff (DH could manage to walk this far but it would be tiring at the beginning of a long journey). I know St Pancras station and realise it is big/busy.
2) Drive to Ashford International and leave car there. I am quite attracted by their promise of a toddler play area! Longer drive to get to station but I am imagining better parking and access for DH.
What is Ashford International station like size-wise? And does anyone have experience of what the toddler play area is like?!!
Can't comment on Ashford station. I've never used it. However, when you book your Eurostar tickets, be sure to specify your seats when you get that option on the website. They have 'Family areas' at the end of a few of the carriages. I used them with my DC's in September and can thoroughly recommend them. The tables are smaller, but the area is contained with a door, so there is a limit to how far toddlers can run off and they can't disturb other passengers. You are also close to the loos which is useful.
Ashford is quite small. There is a bridge between the multi-story carpark and the departure lounge - it comes out at that level. I'm not good on calculating distances but it's not a long walk (basically it crosses the road). You check in, then there is one big room with a coffee bar, a shop, toilets etc. There are some play tables for children, but quite a lot of room to move about too if they want to.
Just before the train arrives, you need to walk across a bridge (crossing the rail lines) then there are escalators and lifts down to the platform. As these are half way along, you would probably be better booking seats in "middle" of the train - but someone at Eurostar could probably advise the best carriage to book.
And I would always upgrade when travelling with children if you can afford it. There is a lot more room and the Leisure Select carriages tend to be less busy. Bearing in mind that a 3.5 yo won't get an allocated seat, you are more likely to find an empty one. If your dh has mobility problems he might also be glad to have more room/less people barging through.
I travelled weekly from Ashford with dd (then 2) and if the train was busy, I always asked the guy on the door if there was space anywhere. I got bumped to Business class once and dd and I got a carriage to ourselves! All the teddies had their own seat.