In the first part we described the journey by coach from London to Paris. In today's post we will try to describe the process of the return journey.
As we already wrote earlier at the London to Paris page, all the cliches about Paris are true - romantic, stylish, glamorous and utterly compelling - yet it retains suprises that continue to delight even the most seasoned visitors. Undoubtedly France’s jewel in the crown, it’s an essential stop on any visit.
|Streets of Paris
|Streets of Paris
|International coaches at Eurolines Gallieni Coach Station in Paris
|Free WI-FI available on board the Eurolines coach
Eurolines coaches provide the super-budget option of travelling between London and Paris. A return coach ticket for this service can cost as little as £39, which is half the cheapest Eurostar train ticket. A coach journey from Paris to London can take 7.5 - 9 hours – it’s possible that this represents a contrast to the super fast Eurostar connections, but taking a bus is definitely a viable option.
I think it will be easiest to refer to the offer which shows Eurolines in the leaflet.
Travel in comfort
All Eurolines coaches have on-board toilets, reclining seats and air-conditioning as standard. Folding bikes are accepted.
London to Paris operates EUROLINES PLUS coaches, so in addition to the above you can watch DVDs whilst taking advantage of extra legroom. Free Wi-Fi available.
In our opinion, coach fares are very attractive, it is a matter beyond dispute. No other mode of transport, has better offer in the connections between these two capitals.
When it comes to comfort - it is a relative thing. For us it was good - but not great.
This time we travelled in the appropriate coach, the Eurolines Plus. The vehicle was air-conditioned, had a clean toilet and extra legroom. For sure the vehicle to such a standard has been upgraded - I wrote about this in a positive way. On the shelves above heads, passengers can carry even large luggage.
Unfortunely DVD movies are not displayed, and the promised Wi-Fi was available, but only on UK territory. We can say that when the ferry docked in Dover, the iPhone displays a screen message that the Internet is available. Free Wi-Fi is also available on the ferry.
Each customer has a free luggage allowance of two medium sized suitcases stored securely in the hold. Customers must label their luggage which will be loaded into the hold of the coach and will normally remain there until arrival at the destination or interchange point. The coach driver will load and unload customers’ luggage but customers are responsible for seeing their own luggage onto and off the coach on which they are travelling.
The driver who took our luggage had no objections to the quantities or dimensions. We’ve also seen that folding bikes on the coach aren’t a problem to carry, because the coach’s hold is extremely roomy. This even can’t be compared to transporting luggage on planes. Truly incomparable! However, sometimes at the border, customs checks the luggage. In our case we didn’t have such an event, neither when we travelled to Paris, nor when we came back.
Eurolines coach services from Paris depart from Eurolines Gallieni Coach Station which is located close to Gallieni Underground and city bus station.
In Paris check-in for London begins one hour before departure at the counters. There are few Eurolines offices/counters that are open close to departure points. Services returning to London arrive in Victoria Coach Station’s Arrivals terminal, customers making onward coach connections will need to cross the street to the Departures terminal.
Check-in at Gallieni runs very smoothly, as opposed to drivers, people working at check-in counters are familiar with English. It is worth mentioning that this is a communicative English, speak loudly and clearly, try not to use colloquial language or slang.
At the Eurolines Coach Station in Paris is a waiting room, pay lockers luggage, and café-shop called Eurolines Cafe.
Sea crossings are made by Ship or Eurotunnel, check timetables for specific information. 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.
This time the ferry crossing took place, in my opinion more convenient option. You can stretch and relax. On board the ferry are bars, restaurants, rooms for people travelling with children, coffee shop, game room, duty free shops. However, before entering the ferry passengers must get off the coach and go through passport checks, and optionally customs. First French control, then the British. If they don’t have any major objections, the control goes smoothly. After several minutes the coach enters on board the ferry, we noticed that the line coaches have priority entry. All passengers during the crossing time must leave vehicle and go to higher levels of the ferry. Before arrival in Dover, the passengers are informed by the crew, that they must return to the coach.
Refreshment stops are taken periodically throughout the journey providing the opportunity for refreshment and shipping services used by Eurolines provide a range of shops, restaurants and other facilities.
Services returning to London arrive in Victoria Coach Station’s Arrivals terminal, customers making onward coach connections will need to cross the street to the Departures terminal
All coaches operated by Eurolines have a strict no-smoking policy and seat belts should be worn at all times during the journey.
This time there were no scheduled stops, as the ferry crossing takes about 2 hours. During this time passengers can relax from the "coach".
The return journey was nice, the seats in the coach were more comfortable than what we know from the low-cost air carriers. The light in the coach was adapted to night time conditions, and the vehicle was clean and spacious.
To London, we arrived 2 hours before schedule, the reason for this was no planned stops in Canterbury, Gillingham and Hythe. If there are no passengers to these places the bus just does not stop there.
Unfortunately, we thought that we will be able to benefit from an earlier National Express connection from London to Northampton. I had planned that if Eurolines will arrive London earlier, then will go with earlier coach with a change in Milton Keynes. Eurolines employees at Victoria Coach Station can modify and synchronize Eurolines tickets with National Express exclusively, when a connection from London to passenger’s final destination in the UK is a direct service. But they denied us and we had to wait for 9 o’clock direct service to Northampton. We spent four hours at the Victoria Station.
On a scale from 1 to 10, this experience with Eurolines we estimate to be 8.