Travelling to France by train has never been easier. Thanks to the Eurostar, you can enjoy fast and smooth connections to Gare du Nord in Paris or to Lille-Europe train station. From these locations, you can use the train to connect to the many cities and regions, including the south of France, that make up this great nation. While the possibilities for your journey are numerous, we've highlighted some key routes into France below to get you started.
Most trains to France will involve taking the Eurostar from London to Paris directly, and in some cases, via Ashford and Ebbsfleet International stations. From the French capital, you can either continue onboard the Eurostar to other destinations or change to an SNCF service. With around 37 trains a day from London to Paris, there is plenty of time to get away to France by Eurostar. The first train departs from London St Pancras at 05:40, arriving in Paris Gare du Nord at 09:17 and from then on there are trains leaving every 30 minutes until 20:01. The journey time averages 2h 20m and takes the traveller through the Channel Tunnel. On arrival at Paris Gare du Nord, the visitor can access the metro or take a taxi to their destination.
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Taking the train from London to Lille is a great gateway into France. Lille doubles-up as an untapped tourist destination and a convenient location to catch international and domestic trains too. With an average journey time of under two hours, you can be across the English Channel and at Lille-Europe station in no time at all. As mentioned before, Lille is an ideal place for a city break as it has the amenities of a city but with a small town pace. It's also close to the Belgian border meaning its Flemish roots and traditions can still be seen and felt today.
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10 km inland from the warm Mediterranean sea is the old city of Montpellier. Home to the Gothic Cathédrale Saint, a beautiful church dating back to 1364, the city also has a chic centre in the Antigone district where the visitor has a choice of hotels in which to stay. The Musée Fabre will interest those travellers who have a love of art – funded in 1825, there are extensive works by such painters as Delacroix and Raphael. Alighting from Montpellier St-Roch train station, the visitor will find almost everything in walking distance. The weather rarely goes below 20 degrees Celsius in the summer months – a perfect city to spend a few relaxing days.
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Alighting from the train at the Gare de Cannes, the traveller will experience a world of chic, boutique streets and a glimpse into the world of the privileged. Home to the famous film festival held in May each year, there is more than this to the beautiful and stylish city of Cannes. Take a ferry to the Iles Saint Honorat, and visit the Abbey of Lérins and the 15th Century monastery which offer a glimpse into the lives of cloistered monks and the tranquillity therein. Later, the traveller can return to the mainland and walk to the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, a modern building complete with red carpet and Allée des Étoiles – Cannes’ walk of fame.
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What better way is there to take the family to Disneyland than by train? Luckily you can visit the enchanted kingdom on the Eurostar. After a Eurostar train from London to Lille trains, you’ll need to change to an SNCF. service to Marne-la-Vallée—Chessy. Switching trains in Lille is quick and easy to do as the station is small and only has four platforms. From there, enjoy a swift ride to Marne-la-Vallée—Chessy station which is only a two-minute walk from Disneyland.
The quickest way to get from London to Lyon involves changing trains at least once. From London St Pancras, a Eurostar train will whisk you away to Paris Gare du Nord. A quick hop and skip on the Paris Métro or the RER regional train will take you to Gare de Lyon, where you’ll board an SNCF service all the way to Lyon Part-Dieu station. Once in Lyon, there are plenty of attractions to see including Vieux Lyon (the Old Town), La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière and, next door to that, the old Roman amphitheatre.
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Situated in the heart of Provence, Avignon has been home to Popes, French royalty and the like for centuries. With smooth Eurostar and SNCF connections, you too can follow in the footsteps of Avignon’s former residents. At Paris Gare du Nord, transfer to Gare de Lyon and to an SNCF train to Avignon TGV station. If you like wine, good cuisine and tranquillity, Avignon has all three in good measure.
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Visiting Marseille by train is a great way of accessing the Mediterranean. First of all, you’ll go from London to Lille by Eurostar in no time at all. After that comes the main part of the journey, from Lille Europe station to the magnificent Marseille St Charles train station. As France’s second biggest city, you can expect plenty in terms of entertainment, places to stay and things to see. The Old Port and the La Joliette neighbourhoods are not be missed on your trip to Marseille.
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If you're wondering what seating options are available on train routes into France, check out our Eurostar classes page. While for the adventurers and thrillseekers, the Eurostar ski train takes you to the heart of the Alps and could be just the ticket for your getaway.