Travel from London to Paris
London and Paris are two of Europe’s most iconic cities. Millions flock each year to study, work or simply visit landmarks such as Tower Bridge and the Eiffel Tower. They are relatively close, separated by just 344km (214mi) and the English Channel. But with so many options, deals, and offers available, it can be overwhelming even for experienced travelers.
Please note the UK is not part of the Schengen area so you will go through a border checkpoint. Check specific entry requirements for your country of citizenship and remember to carry ID with you even if you are a EU/EEA national.
The best way to travel from London to Paris is by train with the Eurostar. Travelling from city centre to city centre in little over two hours, it is faster than flying. It is the preferred choice for most travellers. However, Eurostar have a virtual monopoly on this route and demand is very high, thus prices are often expensive. There may be other variables to take into consideration, such as your exact origin/destination, time constraints, weather disruptions… and even whether you travel with your pet. Alternatives to high speed trains are to fly (there are low cost flights available), coach travel and ridesharing. Always book in advance, and take advantage of the many promotions available throughout the year.
1. Travel by Air
The best option is to use our flight comparison tool. Click here (opens a new window) to find the cheapest price and the best airport connection. You can obviously buy tickets at the airport and from any high street travel shop such as Flight Centre in the UK.
There are many flights available between both cities and the number of airlines competing on this route has expanded in recent years. Over 20 flights per day in each direction link Paris and London.
In England, London has six airports with five of them currently operating flights to Paris. Heathrow is located 22km (14mi) west of central London, Gatwick is located 48km (30mi) south, Luton is located 47km (29mi) north of the capital. Southend is located in Essex 68km (42mi) east and some locals argue that considering SEN as a London airport is a sham. City airport is located 11km (7mi) east and is used mostly by business travellers. All of them can be quite complicated and expensive to travel to/from, even with public transport, so factor this into the price of your ticket and allow plenty of time.
In France, Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) is located in Roissy about 25km (16mi) north from Paris while Orly (ORY) is located a little closer at 13km (8mi) southwest to the city of lights. Both airports are well connected to Paris and each other through the RER B suburban train line and also Roissybus/Orlybus and other great bus services. Public transport prices are generally cheaper than in London.
The routes available at present are:
LTN to CDG, LGW to CDG and SEN to CDG with Easyjet
LHR to CDG with Air France
LHR to CDG and LHR to ORY with British Airways
LGW to CDG with Vueling
LCY to ORY with Cityjet
LTN to ORY with Transavia
LCY to CDG with Flybe
These do change slightly from time to time. Which airline and which route you choose is of course up to you. Use the most convenient airport and take into account your favourite frequent flyer programme to obtain cheaper fares. Also understand that you will face many more luggage restrictions and charges when flying compared to other modes of transport. This is particularly true for the low-cost airlines.
Vueling (part of IAG group like BA), Transavia (part of Air France-KLM group) and EasyJet are all low-cost airlines with the latter often offering the most aggressive prices. Air France and British Airways are flag carriers and many passengers will be using them to connect somewhere else (e.g. San Francisco-London-Paris). Cityjet (who codeshare with AF) and Flybe are regional airlines with smaller airplanes.
This is a short flight however and a very competitive route so you will be able to find great deals on all airlines. It is important to note though that Vueling has the worst punctuality record in 2016 of all airlines operating in the UK according to Flightontime.
You could easily be delayed by slow boarding and air traffic congestion. Airlines also suffer cancellations from bad weather or strikes rather too frequently. BA and Air France have the most daily flight connections.
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2. Travel by Rail
London St. Pancras International and Paris Gare du Nord
2h16m for direct trains. There are also services with stops at Ashford, Calais or Ebbsfleet.
It is highly recommended you buy your tickets online well in advance. There are several websites where you can book tickets without any additional fees:
BEurope*: Official Belgian rail operator. Accepts customers worldwide. Prices displayed in Euros. Also great for onward rail travel on the continent, e.g. Brussels-Amsterdam, Paris-Marseille, etc.
Loco2: UK-based site with a very user-friendly interface. UK connections available which is great for those who live outside London. Accepts customers worldwide. Prices in GBP. Free if using a debit card but credit card charges apply.
Trainline:* Very popular UK site. Accepts customers worldwide. Prices in GBP/Euros. Also allows intra-UK rail journeys. Possibly the best rail site for UK residents.
Voyages SNCF*: Official French rail site, for residents of Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, Russia, Spain and UK only.
RailEurope:* Official Frenh rail site for rest of the world, including US, Canada, Australia, NZ, South Africa residents. A booking fee applies. Seating choice not available. There is an option to send tickets by mail.
Eurostar: Obviously you can buy tickets directly from Eurostar. Interface very easy to use. Accepts customers worldwide, and includes US site available in USD. Unlike all the sites above however, onward travel in Europe beyond destinations served by Eurostar is very limited.
Tickets are also available from London and Paris train stations, as well as any SNCF shop in Paris and over the telephone. Organized day trips are also very popular with tourists who would like to do sightseeing and return the same day. You can book them here* (from London to Paris) and here* (from Paris to London).
New! Eurostar have launched a mini-site called Eurostar Snap where you can buy tickets without a specific time at a cheaper price. Booking opens 30 days in advance and you need to specify whether you want to travel in the morning (AM) or afternoon (PM). 48h before departure Eurostar will send a confirmation e-mail with the time. Understand the ticket is non-exchangeable, non-refundable, and the time of departure could vary from 5.40AM or 11.31AM if you choose AM. You are not allowed to choose a time, but this helps Eurostar fill their trains to capacity.
Keep your train ticket and benefit from 2×1 offers at museums and art galleries. You may want to consider getting a European railpass if you are visiting several European countries. Railpasses are very popular with backpackers. You can find out more here* (for European residents only) and here* (for non-European residents).
Rail is the most popular mode of transport when travelling between the London and Paris but it can also turn out to be very dear if purchased at the last minute. In London, the trains arrive/leave from St. Pancras station (connect with the Northern line, Victoria Line, Piccadilly Line, Metropolitan/Hammersmith & City/Circle line, bus lines 10, 59, 73, 390 and several train services to Leicester, Nottingham, Sheffield, Corby, Faversham… as well as many other train services available to other parts of the UK from neighbouring King’s Cross or Euston stations -you can literally walk-), while in Paris trains arrive/leave at Gare du Nord (with metro connections Line 4, Line 5 as well as RER B and RER D, buses 38, 39, 42, 43 and 46, and other suburban trains as well as trains to Lille, Amiens, Brussels… Gare de l’Est, another major train station in Paris, is a short walking distance away).
There are between 15-20 rail services daily in each direction, 7 days a week, all year. Their peak speed is 300kmh (186mph) and the journey takes just 2h16m. You also get to experience travelling through the Eurotunnel , a 50km (31mi) underwater tunnel. The trains are modern, clean and punctual. Unlike airlines, you can also carry as much French cheese and wine as you want. There are three classes available from cheapest to most expensive: standard, standard premier and business premier. Disruptions occur occasionally, especially with severe weather or if there are access problems to the Channel tunnel.
Understand there is a black market for unused tickets where you may be able to get hold of cheap last-minute bargains on internet forums such as FranceInLondon or Ici Londres (French). Whilst technically illegal (if you get caught you might be prevented from travelling) and subject to fraud, many people desperate for a ticket still do this. We do not recommend this.
3. Travel by Coach/Bus
8-9h but very much depending on traffic.
If you decide to travel by bus, you can compare prices with Gopili first, or simply book directly on the company site, by telephone or in person at the station.
Ouibus and Eurolines have direct services to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport from London which can be very useful if you have booked a long-haul flight from/to Paris.
There are three/four companies that operate this route: Eurolines, Megabus (recently merged with German company Flixbus but still operating as a separate entity) and Ouibus, a company owned by the French rail operator SNCF. While the latter two are low-cost bus companies, Eurolines has cut prices in the face of competition and thus there is now very little difference in price between the four operators. They all have A/C (thank God), onboard WiFi that works most of the time, claim to have comfortable seats, power sockets and generous baggage allowance (although Eurostar trumps them all as there is no maximum weight allowance and you can even carry ski equipment at no extra cost).Booking with Megabus/Flixbus can be quite a confusing experience and they are generally stricter with luggage allowance but are best for transporting bikes. Ouibus has the worst baggage allowance so do not use them if you are carrying particularly heavy stuff.
All three companies go to and from London Victoria coach station but they do arrive at different locations in Paris. Ouibus and Megabus will drop you off at Bercy, inside Paris. Eurolines however will take you to/from Gallieni, which is a big bus station just east of Paris. Megabus, through Flixbus, also has services to Porte Maillot, on the west side of the city. All of these places are well connected to the rest of the French capital.
5-6hrs depending on traffic and choice of channel crossing.
Use Blablacar* to pay for your seat online and arrange details with the driver.
Choose to rideshare if you would rather take the road and shave a couple of hours off your journey.
As an alternative to the train, bus or flying… why not share a ride and make some new friends? Use a rideshare website. The journey takes about 5-6 hours depending on traffic and you have the choice of crossing the channel via Ferry* or the Channel tunnel. Prices on offer are similar to the bus. Bear in mind that the UK and France drive on different sides of the road so you will want to choose a driver who is experienced.
You may also want to cycle between London and Paris. What? Yes. It is not that crazy of an idea. In fact there are many cycling clubs and charities that organise group rides that take between 1-4 days. Below is a short selection of useful sites:
- London 2 Paris 24: For the fittest of you out there, a 24hr non-stop ride.
- London Paris Bike Ride: One of the most established organisers with many rides available.
- Marie Curie London to Paris Cycle: Support the Marie Curie charity with this three-day ride.
- London2Paris: Probably the best information resource out there.
- Avenue Verte: French language website for those who want start the ride in Paris.
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