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Help me with Eurostar reservation from the UK to France

  • 11 November 2023
  • 15 replies
  • 288 views

Hi there,

I am a bit confused about using Eurail to travel on Eurostar from London to Paris on the 29th of December this year. I know this time is very busy, and the ticket prices on Eurostar are increasing significantly now. When I used Eurail to book a reservation, it always said, “Prices unavailable. No price results were found. Pass holder reservations may be sold out...”. I tried to use B-europe.com to make a reservation, but it’s only available for Eurail pass 1st class (it says that I’m using the 2nd class pass 😥).

Is it fine for me to purchase the 1st class anyway, even though I’m using the 2nd pass?

I know there is another option to transfer the Eurail 2nd pass to a 1st pass, but I have already made some reservations with my current 2nd pass, and I had to pay for these reservations. If I transfer to the 1st pass, it means I will lose them.

Thanks for taking the time to read my question. I’m an overseas visitor and have never used this system before. Your answers would help me a lot.

Thanks.

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Best answer by thibcabe 13 November 2023, 10:19

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15 replies

To travel in 1st class (Eurostar: Standard Premier), you'd need a 1st class pass.

The only availability in 2nd class is with the 7.04am from London to Lille (arrives 9.26am). That's true for the moment of writing, but it's the last availability to France for that day and should be bought soon. (If it's sold out, you may try to go to Bruxelles.)

From Lille, it's possible to transfer to Paris. The TGV at 10.51 from Lille Europe to Paris has reservations for 10 € left (arrives 12.09).

It's possible to go without reservation with regional trains from Lille Flandres to Paris (takes longer and you need to change; arrives 13.35).

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There are also 2 other available trains to Brussels : 06:16 and 08:16. From there you can reach Paris by direct train (27€ reservation though...) or via Lille (10€). I'd choose the Lille option as suggested by @Hektor :)

In any case book ASAP whichever option you choose. As you guessed it is a very popular route with limited capacity and a passholder quota…

There are also Flixbuses or ferries, feel free to ask for advice.

Btw seat reservations are linked to a person and not to a pass so even if you change to a 1st class pass they'll remain valid. Of course you'll have to travel in 2nd class for that journey though.

 

Hi @Hektor and @thibcabe

 

Thank you very much for your recommendations. They relieve my confusion greatly. Your advice is awesome, and I will consider taking a train, stopping in either Lille or Brussels, before making it to Paris. It's probably a nice idea to spend a few hours visiting one of these two places before heading to Paris. I will book a reservation ASAP.

Buses and ferries are also good options, but since I don't have much time for my holiday, I prefer to stick with a rapid option like a train.

With this choice, I don't need to worry about transferring my current pass to the 1st Class Pass anymore.

 

 

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You're welcome !

Lille seems the easiest option for sure as Brussels would require another expensive reservation or a long route

Hi @thibcabe ,

Thanks for your comment; Lille is definitely a good choice.

I purchased the reservation and received an email with the attached Eurostar ticket from Eurail. The ticket has a barcode for scanning at the gate. I'm wondering, when I get to the station, do I need to scan both this ticket and my Eurail Global Pass to pass through the gate? Or is this ticket now the actual ticket, and I don't need the pass anymore?

Sorry for my seemingly simple question.

Thanks.

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You need both (logging the train to the app before boarding is required) but the reservation will be the one to open the gate. Per my experience often that is enough but once the screen went red and I had to show my pass to someone.

Keep in mind that the Eurostar from/to London is an uncommon experience, like an airport. Ticket check, X-ray and passport controls -> all before getting to the (overcrowded) terminal.

This is why you need to show up 45-60 min in advance at the station. St. Pancras is extremely busy in the mornings : they cannot sell all seats because they couldn't handle all the passengers otherwise...

Hi @thibcabe ,

Thanks for your detailed clarification. I'll make sure to have the pass turned on and the ticket ready to get through.

Regarding the checks at St. Pancras, I've read some online topics and now have a better understanding of the process. The good thing is that St. Pancras is right in the city, so I don't need to plan much for extra time and transportation, unlike at the airport.

Hopefully, everything goes smoothly for me on the upcoming Eurostar train.

I can't wait to sit on the train and experience the journey through the channel :).

Thank you.

Hi @thibcabe ,

I just had another question pop into my mind. In the event that a train (Eurostar) is delayed or cancelled for some reason, and I have a seat reservation on that train, can I use that reservation for a later train? Or will I have to purchase a new reservation?

Thank you very much.

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In the unlikely event :

Your reservation won't be valid on the new train (it would be chaos otherwise as all trains leave full). You'll have to speak to someone and they'll give you a new reservation free of charge on the next possible train : it could be in Standard (2nd) or Standard Premier (1st), doesn't matter.

If the disruption is known in advance you may be able to do that online on eurostar.com.

Hi @thibcabe 

Thank you for the detailed explanation. I appreciate your help, and now I have a clearer understanding of the process :)

Hi @thibcabe and @Hektor 

I just checked the London-Paris route for December 29th, 2023 (even though I've already booked an alternative option), and there are now a few available reservations for the morning trains!

That's so ridiculous! I'm pretty sure that last week, I checked many times every day, and it always said, 'Prices unavailable...'.​

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That’s unfortunate. Availability does come and go sometimes.

You can of course buy a new reservation to Paris if you want to spend the extra money.

If there’s any possibility you might need a Lille reservation on a future trip, you are able to change the date (but not route) on the Eurostar website for a fee.

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Hi @thibcabe and @Hektor 

I just checked the London-Paris route for December 29th, 2023 (even though I've already booked an alternative option), and there are now a few available reservations for the morning trains!

That's so ridiculous! I'm pretty sure that last week, I checked many times every day, and it always said, 'Prices unavailable...'.​

Where did you try to make the booking? Interrail/Eurail or b-europe?

@ralderton Hi, yes, I can certainly buy a new reservation to Paris and save the current reservation to Lille for my future trip. Unfortunately, I’m not sure when I will travel to Europe again, especially on that London-Lille route!

Anyway, I think I will still stick with my current plan but just feeling a bit odd.

@AnnaB I’m using a Eurail pass, but I'm sure last week I checked both the Eurail page and B-Europe every day. There were no available reservations, but tickets were still on sale and increasing quite a bit. Now, they are available again.

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