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An Idiots Guide to Catching the EuroStar please

9 replies

BobsGreenTriangle · 09/10/2021 12:47

I have to get to Grenoble

I can get to London by train. Then I can get to St Pancras.

I know that takes me to Paris where I change trains.There is a direct train to Grenoble. I'm hoping it's going to be easy to find the second train.

I have never used a train outside of the UK. I don't speak French.

But things like how long does it take to board, what can I pack ( is it like a plane, no liquid? ) what food can I take ( veggie, so not exactly a big thing in France), shall I reserve seats, go first class etc.Will I need masks?

I have been Googling but can't find much in the way of recent reports as no one has been anywhere for ages.

Stress levels are high here. I would be so happy to hear from someone who knows what they are doing and is a confident traveller.
Thanks!!

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trilbydoll · 09/10/2021 12:52

Like London, Paris is not one single station. Eurostar comes into Gare du Nord. Does the train for Grenoble leave Gare du Nord or are you going to have to negotiate the Paris metro as well?

Eurostar is much more chilled out than flying, from what I remember you can take what you want unless Brexit has created some weird rules. Reserve a seat because it's just easier when you get on.

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Aroundtheworldin80moves · 09/10/2021 12:59

I may be wrong but I though European was all reserved seating? (Been a few years since I've used it...)

You can't take weapons or sharp objects, but you can take liquids. We took a bottle of champagne for example, plus a picnic. However check the EU rules now, its brexit not travel rules for food. Check on time was about an hour I think for St Pancras.

My experience is that the European train network is very well organised. However leave extra time for changeovers because its not infallible and delays to occur.

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myrtilles · 09/10/2021 13:04

I imagine you would need to cross Paris to gare de Lyon for Grenoble. You could take the Rer or a taxi. Eurostar used to sell rer tickets in the buffet car. Allow at least an hour and preferably two between trains if crossing Paris. Buy tickets as soon as they are available as the price goes up the nearer you get to departure. You definitely need to buy tickets in advance and will be allocated a seat.

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Carrierpigeon · 09/10/2021 13:12

I can see why this seems daunting if you haven't done it before. But you will be fine.

Leave plenty of time for Eurostar check in and at least two hours to cross Paris in case of delays. I once allowed only an hour and missed my connection. You will probably have to book a ticket to Grenoble in advance. I think that the SNCF website is also available in English.

The Google translate app is really useful if you don't have French. You can point your phone at a sign or page of text and it will overlay a translation.

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AttilaTheMeerkat · 09/10/2021 13:14

You will need to go to the Gare de Lyon to travel on the train to Grenoble. Would suggest you use a taxi to get there from the Gare du nord where you will arrive into Paris.

I would suggest you purchase this ticket in advance as it will cost you less to do so. On the TGV this journey time is about 3 hours.

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popcornsong · 09/10/2021 13:15

The Man in Seat Sixty-One may help. He is the train guru. www.seat61.com

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prisscalledwanda · 09/10/2021 13:31

Much more relaxed about what you can take on Eurostar eg normal sized liquids etc

Since you're nervous and new to it, I'd allow plenty of time to get through. At st Pancras you go to the Eurostar bit, then put your bags (including 'main bag') through a scanner similar to an airport and check in. Then you are in a waiting area with from memory a WHSmith and a coffee shop.

There will be multiple trains waiting to board in the waiting area so make sure the one being called is your train. The boarding process is easy - you go up to the platform with everyone else, find your carriage, get on and sit in your seat

Buy metro tickets on board if you need them to save the queue at gare du nord

Allow yourself plenty of time to cross Paris so you aren't worried. Paris metro is pretty easy, you will be fine.

Have a great trip!

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ImInStealthMode · 09/10/2021 13:55

Both the Paris Metro and TGV trains are straightforward and not speaking French won't cause you any issues, just make sure to leave plenty of time for your transfer to the next station so you're not panicking.

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Rightsaidmabel · 28/10/2021 17:28

Really helpful for the metro, is Paris Metro app. It's brilliant! You enter your departure and destination points and up pops the line, platform and time to next train. All anxiety vanishes !

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