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London to Paris Eurolines coach experience - part 1

Posted in Travel tips

If you are thinking of taking a journey from London to Paris by coach, you just need to read this post. Last week we tested Eurolines most popular route, and we want to share with you the conclusions of this journey. To illustrate the journey by coach, to the post below we also have included photos and short video.

Tickets for Eurolines journeys can be purchased at: Eurolines, National Express and EuropeBus' websites.

We started our trip to Paris from Northampton, so we tried to take advantage of special deal offered jointly by National Express and Eurolines.
If you’re travelling from outside London, National Express & Eurolines have a special rate connection fare on National Express services for just £15 single or return from any National Express departure point. However, there is one drawback of this offer, if a coach in some leg of the journey won’t have free seats the buyer won’t be able to use the special offer. Unfortunately, the online Eurolines’s reservation system does not offer alternative transport. We had bad luck and we could not take advantage of this offer, because the coach from Paris at 23:00 had no seats available. We bought tickets for each leg of the journey separately; a return ticket from Northampton to London and a return ticket from London to Paris. From Paris we had to leave an hour earlier than planned. We paid about £108 (2 adults). Remember that it is better to pay by debit card than credit card, so you won’t be charged commission, and that a travel insurance proposed during the purchase of tickets is not mandatory - just untick.

When on a trip from the UK to Paris and other cities in France, bear in mind that coach services are always cheaper than trains and flights.

Perhaps, the coach isn’t the fastest means of transportation between the two European capitals, but it’s not so bad. As we mentioned before at the London to Paris page, passengers can take more luggage (2 pieces of luggage and hand baggage), you can also take a folding bike. London - Paris service also offers increased legroom, DVDs and free Wi-Fi.

Our observations:
We noticed that passengers can carry more than 2 pieces of luggage, the driver does not control the passengers’ luggage. We took only hand baggage, which we could easily locate on the shelf above our heads.
Unfortunately, from London to Paris, we traveled by standard Eurolines coach. The carrier, in its flyer ensures, that vehicles on route from London to Paris have got a higher standard. These services, known as  Eurolines Plus, offer the facilities described earlier. So on the way from London to Paris, we couldn’t use the internet, and DVD wasn’t also offered. Besides these deficiencies, the coach’s standard was good. Of course these Eurolines Plus are no super-luxurious coaches; seats are regular European size – maybe in my opinion more comfortable than those in low-cost flights.

You need to check-in at the Eurolines check-in office, located adjacent to Gate 19 at Victoria. Check in commences one hour before departure and closes 15 minutes before to enable all customers to board and to assure a prompt departure. You should have your passports and other travel documents ready for inspection at check-in. A boarding card for each customer and luggage labels will be issued and customers will be advised from which gate their coach will leave.

Our observations:
Check-in at Victoria ran smoothly, each check-in desk at the station, serves passengers going to various places separately (ie separate to Paris, Amsterdam, etc). Monitors accurately indicate passenger check points and gateways from which buses and coaches run.

There are no meals served or meals available for purchase in the coach, so make sure to bring your own – especially for long distance travel (London to Paris journey with Eurolines takes about 8 hours). Sometimes the driver makes a stop at a petrol station and gives passengers some minutes to rest or buy food and drinks. Refreshment stops are taken periodically throughout the journey.

Our observations:
During the journey to Paris we had a total of 2 scheduled stops: the first was when crossing the Channel Tunnel, the second in France at the petrol station. Each lasted about 45 minutes.

A very big disadvantage was poor knowledge of English by the coach driver. He was French and he knew only words such as: „luggage, I wish you a pleasant journey and I don’t speak English”.

Sea crossings: This route involves a sea crossing which, depending on which service you are on, will either by Eurotunnel or by ferry. On arrival at the ferry port or Eurotunnel terminal customers will be required to disembark from the coach and pass through both UK and destination country Border Control offices and show their passports. Normally customers are not required to be accompanied by their luggage, however occasionally Border Control officials do require customers to take their own luggage with them.

Our observations:
In fact you can say that the Eurolines, is an international carrier also due to the diversity of people travelling. Not only the Europeans travelled by coach, but also Americans, Asians, Africans and Australians. Because of this diversity passport control takes a long time. Before entering the Channel Tunnel, the passport control took about 30 minutes. Passengers were not asked to leave the vehicle, only passports were taken away by customs.

The coach arrived in Paris before the scheduled time. In my opinion, is due to various factors: good weather, no traffic jams on highways, efficient passport control at the border.
Gallieni coach station in Paris is not spectacular, but unlike the London’s Victoria Station, buses and coaches don’t have to travel through the narrow roads of the city center. Eurolines coaches use the Paris ring road.
At the station's subway and city bus station. You can sleep in a hotel located at the station, but there are several in the area. We stayed at Campanile Paris Est - Porte de Bagnolet. Good if you have a limited budget, do not expect anything luxurious. Book hotels near Gallieni station using our free hotel comparison service. Search once to compare Paris hotel prices from several travel web sites then book online.

Hope you find these tips useful!

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