Had an indulgent French dinner last night, caught some shut-eye and before we knew it, it’s time to leave Paris.
(Feel free to click the links)
|We’re on our way to Gare du Nord, goodbye Paris…
|We’ll be going to London via the Eurostar Train which departs from Gare du Nord, Paris.
Gare du Nord – Paris
|Gare du Nord, the north station of Paris
|Gare du Nord, or also known as Paris Nord, means “North Station”, and is one of the six large terminus stations of the SNCF mainline network for Paris, France. It offers connections with several urban transportation lines, including Paris Métro, RER and Buses.
By the number of travelers, at around 190 million per year, it is the busiest railway station in Europe and outside Japan.
The Gare du Nord is also the hub for trips leaving for or arriving from London on the Eurostar. Also housing the Thalys network of trains, Gare du Nord also serves all of Northern Europe. Along with the local and national train lines this station is always a bustling beehive of activity.
|On the platform waiting for the Eurostar to arrive
|Adjacent to the Gare du Nord, is the Gare Magenta which is on the RER line E, called “Eole”. This line departs from St Lazare and serves the expanding Eastern Parisian suburbs. It is directly accessible from within the compounds of Gare du Nord, by simply following the signs for RER “E”.
The Gare Magenta which connects to Gare de l’Est plays a big role with the TGV Est which speeds you to Strasbourg, the Eastern French Regions, Germany and Switzerland.
|This is the platform where the trains depart from
|As befitting a city so renowned for its high class shopping, the departure lounge at Paris Gare du Nord is fit to bursting with opportunities for you to fit in that bit of last minute retail therapy.
Inside the departure lounge you’ll find a newsagent, cafe, bar, fine food shops, a perfumery and a souvenir shop.
History of Gare du Nord
The original Gare du Nord was built by Bridge and Roadway Engineers on behalf of the Chemin de Fer du Nord company, which was managed by Leonce Reynaud, professor of architecture at the École Polytechnique.
|Gare du Nord is the terminus for the Eurostar, hi-speed trains that travel to London
|The station was inaugurated on 14 June 1846, the same year as the launch of the Paris-Amiens-Lille rail link. Since the station was found to be too small in size, it was partially demolished in 1860 to provide space for the present station that stands currently.
The original station’s facade was then removed and transferred to Lille.
The chairman of the Chemin de Fer du Nord railway company, James Mayer de Rothschild, chose the French architect Jacques Ignace Hittorff to design the current station. The construction process lasted from May 1861 to December 1865, but the new station already opened for service – whilst still undergoing construction in 1864.
The facade was designed around a triumphal arch and used many slabs of stone and the building has the usual U-shape of a terminus station with the main support beam is made out of cast iron. The support pillars inside the station were made at Alston & Gourley’s ironworks in Glasgow in the United Kingdom, the only country with a foundry large enough for the task.
Eurostar trains first started running in the year of 1994.
|Self collection kiosks for e-ticket holders
|Eurostar is the high-speed passenger train that links London to Paris & Brussels via the Channel Tunnel, taking as little as 2 hours 15 minutes for the 495 km journey to Paris or 1hr55 mins for the 373 km trip to Brussels.
Eurostar trains travel up to 186 mph, leaving London St Pancras station almost every hour for the Gare du Nord in central Paris and for Brussels Midi (also known as Brussel Zuid) every 2-3 hours.
Eurostar trains are run by Eurostar International Limited, a company owned by SNCF French Railways, by SNCB Belgian Railways & by London & Continental Railways, a company owned by the UK government.
Eurostar carries passengers, not cars. Quite a few have got confused by Eurostar with Eurotunnel – the company which owns the Channel Tunnel whose car-carrying trains shuttle road vehicles across the Channel.
The main London terminus is St Pancras International, with the other British calling points being Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International in Kent.
Calling points in France are Calais-Fréthun and Lille-Europe, with trains to Paris terminating at Gare du Nord.
In addition, there are limited services from London to Disneyland Paris at Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy, and to seasonal destinations in southern France in summer and the Alps in winter.
For more information, visit the Eurostar website.
Trains v.s. Planes
What I think?
Facing stiff competition from the budget airlines, Eurostar recently reduced its youth fares drastically for travel between London’s Waterloo station and either Paris’ Gare du Nord or Brussels’ Midi/Zuid. This reduced fare promotes and encourages traveling – it’s good for customers under age 26 traveling Monday through Thursday.
A limited number of adult fares are also available at this reduced price. For travel on the weekend, round-trip youth fares including taxes and fees cost much more, but though these fares are higher than the airline prices, you will not need to purchase additional bus or train service as the Eurostar stations are centrally located and connect to each city’s metro system.
As for time and convenience, Eurostar beats the airlines hands down: You’ll speed from the center of London to central Paris in 2hrs15mins, or to central Brussels in 1hr55mins. Passengers are usually advised to arrive at the train station about 40mins before departure to check-in, but security is minimal and there is no baggage claim since your bags ride with you.
But the greatest benefit upon choosing Eurostar over the airlines, is the check-in procedure.
Every traveler knows that the procedures at the airports is a troublesome process.
As mentioned above, although the journey by the airlines might be quicker, add in the check-in & boarding procedures to the total time it takes to get to point A to B – Mirror, mirror on the wall, Eurostar is the fastest of them all (in total)!
And finally, by going with Eurostar – Another added perk is that you’ll definitely get splendid views of the countryside during your journey!
Go to the official website of Rail Europe – Train tickets , essential for traveling all around Europe can be found here along with train schedules, timetables & more!
Now’s your chance to see the world!
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