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VT Hokie Cruiser

Eurostar train: Paris to London with Avalon

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My Paris-Normandy river cruise package with Avalon in May includes a London extension, with travel to London via Eurostar train. For those who have done this, do you recall how early the train departure was from Paris? Is it super early, or at a reasonable time? I presume we will arrive in London via Eurostar by lunchtime and can plan on a half-day of sightseeing on our own? Thank you!

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We did this trip last year.  The train leaves around noon; you will have plenty of time to get to the station (the ship will bus you) and then to the train.  But if there is Brexit, this route may be endangered.  Good luck!

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1 hour ago, CaroleandAlan said:

But if there is Brexit, this route may be endangered. 

 

Why??

 

UK is not in Schengen zone so there should be no change whatsoever, except (depending on transitional arrangements) there will be 'duty-fee' rules rather than current unlimited bringing in of drink/tobacco/perfume products

 

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Do you have a ticket for Eurostar yet?  The train leaves at 13 minutes past the hour and some extra trains leave at about 15 minutes to the hour, all day long.  You have a little over 2 hours on the train and it moves fast but a look out the window does not frighten.  You will clear some customs in Paris before you board the train.  You arrive at St Pancras station.

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Thanks, all, for your replies. Doverboy, I do not have the Eurostar ticket yet. I presume there will be a number of us who booked the cruise+London land extension and that they will put us all on the same train departure so that they can bus us together in both cities. I was guessing we would depart by mid-morning, but it sounds from the posting above that it could be later.

 

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16 hours ago, doverboy said:

You will clear some customs in Paris before you board the train.

 

No, not customs. You need to clear immigration - i.e. a passport check.

UK customs is on arrival in London. One just walks through unless  stopped by a customs officer.

 

There are no customs limits or liabilities for tax paid good bought in EU and taken to another EU country.

 

After Brexit, customs rules depends on what is agreed by EU/UK

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20 hours ago, VT Hokie Cruiser said:

Thanks, all, for your replies. Doverboy, I do not have the Eurostar ticket yet. I presume there will be a number of us who booked the cruise+London land extension and that they will put us all on the same train departure so that they can bus us together in both cities. I was guessing we would depart by mid-morning, but it sounds from the posting above that it could be later.

 

 

Can you not get the information you are looking for directly from Avalon (or do they not even know yet)?  In terms of your arrival time in London, don't forget that you'll gain an hour going from Paris to London. 

 

We've taken the Eurostar from Paris to London.  It was a terrific way to travel between two of the world's greatest cities.  

 

Enjoy your trip!

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16 hours ago, CaroleandAlan said:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/18/world/europe/brexit-eurostar.html?searchResultPosition=1

 

This is the article I read about the future of the Eurostar after Brexit.

 

I'm sorry, I can't read the article without creating an account and I'm not going to do that.

 

Since I haven't read the article  I acknowledge I may have missed something, but I'm not convinced by the accuracy of it after reading the first sentence The high-speed rail link was once the locomotive embodiment of the ideal of a border-free Continent.

 

When the tunnel was planned, when the service began and to this day it was not and has never been 'borderless' between the UK and France. Borderless travel is within the Schengen zone and the UK has never signed up for that, therefore travel into the UK or from  the UK to other EU countries requires passing through immigration control.

 

The Schengen area came into being in 1999, five years after the first passenger train service ran between London and Paris.

 

Since there are currently border controls  at each end of the tunnel I cannot see Brexit making a difference.

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13 minutes ago, pontac said:

Since there are currently border controls  at each end of the tunnel I cannot see Brexit making a difference.

 

We took Eurostar from London to Paris last year and loved it. Super convenient and fast. It would be a great loss if Brexit adversely affected this journey.

 

Your impression was my first impression too. And I'm still not sure whether it will be as big of an issue as they say, after reading the article (on another website). But I will paraphrase for you.

 

The Eurostar operator's take was that it could be more difficult to do the pre-clearance at the beginning of the journey after Brexit, so you'd perhaps have to clear immigration after the trip, which would add more time to the journey and perhaps make it less convenient. In addition, after Brexit, you would have to clear EU/UK customs with this journey (currently you don't have to do that at all) and the train operator has concerns that it would be difficult to do customs in the available space.

 

That part is understandable - you come into St. Pancras, and where you step off the train, there is really no place to have a customs inspection. Similar setup in Gare du Nord - you walk off in the middle of the station. And if they have to spend a bunch of money to build a separate secure customs inspection area in the existing infrastructure, they are worried that the journey will no longer be profitable.

 

I also read that there may be issues with having French immigration staff working in the UK and vice versa after Brexit. That relates to whether or not you can pre-clear immigration at the start of the journey, vs wait until arrival.

 

This article is the one I read. https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/brexit-eurostar-eurotunnel-ferries-trains-sea-rail-a8805986.html

 

 

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pontac,

You are of course right about Schengen. I can travel to Britain on my ID card but always have to go through border checks. In Brussels the area resembles a small air port in that you go through checks and cannot "linger" on the platform as in a normal train station. For the trains to London I expect it is the same in Paris.

 

For those going through immigration on a passport, Brexit I believe makes no difference but EU citizens as it stands at the moment will require a passport.

 

But as we know nothing is finalized apart from a date, well there had been a "final" date before...

 

notamermaid

 

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To the OP,

The Eurostar is a good train, but get first class if there is a choice. A bit more legroom and better snacks.

 

St. Pancras is amazing, check out the architecture, making sure to say sorry every time you slow someone down or get in the way. Grin. Good shops, nice snacks. I enjoy walking from St. Pancras through one of the small parks to the British Museum. But you might already have an agenda.

 

Enjoy your cruise and post-cruise stay.

 

notamermaid

 

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Thanks. I read somewhere that the Eurostar upgrade is not worth it. But I am 6-5 in height and legroom matters, so I will look into that!

 

To Turtles06: Travel agent says they don't have info yet on our assigned time slot for the train from Paris. 

 

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Hmm, it has been a while since I travelled on Eurostar, certainly enjoyed first class more than second class but for a two and a half hour journey it might not be worth it, I would certainly not pay double or anything close to it.

 

I remember now: Russell Square is the garden's name.

 

notamermaid

 

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Thanks, @jpalbny

 

I think for the OP there will be no change; Boris says he has an agreement and if so there will be a transition arrangement till 2021 with no changes before then.

 

Re immigration,  the positioning of French border control staff in England and UK border staff in France to do pre-train passport inspections pre-dates Schengen and is the result of a non-EU separate bilateral agreement between France and the UK, so Brexit per se will not affect it.

 

It's some time since I last used Eurostar but I'm pretty sure UK customs are at St Pancras. Like airports you just walk through the area and it's quite understandable if people getting of a train in a new city are unaware of it  as you don't even see any officers., unlike USA customs where you have to see a customs officer and handover a list of goods.

 

Eurostar's concerns about changes in customs arrangements are to do with their cargo business, not passenger's belongings.

 

But we will have to wait and see.

 

There has been travel between France and England for centuries, before Eurostar/Le Shuttle we crossed on the channel ferry and there was minimal delay. I really don't see an issue and the OP should have no concerns about the upcoming travel

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Exactly Europe worked before the EU and will do after which even now will take quite a few months to clear up. After all the Eurostar is now French owned so I can’t see them putting objects in the way of passengers progress. A couple of years ago we did Scenics Soane and Rhône cruise during the months that the Eurostar went from London to Marseille (you could just about leave London have lunch in Marseille and get back to London all in one day without taking a plane!). So Eurostar to Lyon local train to Chalon-sur-Soane return from Avignon but stop at Lille for passport control bit of a pain but the cost of passport controls at several othe stations would have been prohibitive. Luckily there aren’t many river cruises at the moment as the French seem to be having one of their strike sessions. CA

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On 12/14/2019 at 10:04 AM, VT Hokie Cruiser said:

Thanks. I read somewhere that the Eurostar upgrade is not worth it. But I am 6-5 in height and legroom matters, so I will look into that!

 

In case you are not familiar with The Man in Seat 61, it's imho the go-to web site for getting all the info you need to know about the Eurostar and other train travel in Europe.  Here's the link to his page discussing the various Eurostar classes:

 

https://www.seat61.com/London-to-Paris-by-train.htm#Eurostar_classes_explained

 

Good luck!

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I have never ridden Eurostar through the Chunnel, so I shouldn’t be commenting, but here goes. IMO most added burden to Eurostar travel post-Brexit could be easily overcome with a very small amount of common sense. Currently non-EU passengers going to the U.K. are required to get a Schengen exit stamp in their passport; this should not change.  Not entirely sure if post-Brexit E.U. passengers will need a Schengen exit stamp (probably), but both space and time COULD be saved by having all Schengen immigration inspection on Eurostar itself passing through the train; I have cleared both immigration and customs on moving trains and ships many times. These same inspectors could enter passengers into Schengen when the train makes its reverse journey. UK immigration could likewise be done on the train by U.K. officers. Customs inspection also could be done on the train, although U.K. and French customs inspectors would only be working going toward their respective countries. With on-board inspectors, required floor space and time would actually be less than having fixed site inspection, although there would probably need to be an modest increase in the total number of inspectors. 

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We have traveled Paris/London and London/Paris several times via Eurostar. Our first trip was in the early 90's from Waterloo before the station was moved to St. Pancras - all subsequent journeys were to/from St. Pancras.

I suspect that Brexit will have little impact on the Eurostar. We purchase our tickets early, online, and have garnered discounted prices.

I would also recommend Seat 61: https://www.seat61.com/London-to-Paris-by-train.htm

We have never traveled via cruise tour so I don't know how timing will work with an organized cruise tour but I would recommend contacting your cruise line.

Edited by dogs4fun

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4 hours ago, TravelerThom said:

cleared both immigration and customs on moving trains and ships many time

 

While it could, I don't think this will happen, certainly for travel to the UK for two reasons. 

 

I think it would require more than 'modest increase in the total number of inspectors' when you think of the sheer number of trains per day, also the very short journey time (56m) for those travelling between Calais and London.

 

Secondly, once on board the train the next stop is UK. There are hundreds of migrants willing to risk their lives to get to Britain by crossing the channel in toy rubber boats. Under the system suggested they could board the train and then are guaranteed to get to the UK  risk free.

 

Also I don't see how a customs inspection could take place; baggage is stacked in a baggage area at the end of carriages, how could cases be extracted for opening, and where would they be opened?

Edited by pontac

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