London to Paris: by Eurostar train or by plane?

When designing an itinerary for their Europe tour, many travellers take advantage of the available transport options linking the British capital to the City of Lights, which make it even possible to plan this escape as a one-day excursion within a longer stay or a quick stop along their journey. Regardless of the way it is planned -as one-way before continuing towards another destination or as a round trip-, the most commonly chosen means to go from London to Paris are the high-speed Eurostar trains and flights operated by airline companies such as British Airways, Easyjet, Korean Air, Air France and Vueling from some of the main airports in the UK.

Would you like to take a trip to Paris from London? If you are trying to decide which transport option suits you best –Eurostar or plane-, read the information below and find out for yourself.

Taking the Eurostar instead of catching a flight to Paris

Should you resolve to travel by Eurostar from London, know that you will depart from Saint Pancras International railway station in the city centre and arrive at Paris Gare du Nord. Departures are frequent throughout the day, with at least one service per hour and two services on peak times. The journey in the high-speed Eurostar trains from London to Paris takes about two hours and fifteen minutes, the fare to be paid for standard single tickets ranges from 56 euros to 236 euros, and the fare for standard return ones goes from 98 euros to 418 euros. Obviously, the price of tickets for the premier and business categories get higher. Out of the total travelling time, this train travels through the Eurotunnel -75 metres under sea level- during twenty one minutes at a speed of 160 kilometres per hour, something to take into account if you are afraid of going through a submarine rail tunnel.

Flights from London to Paris

Several airlines connect some of the main airports in London to the two airports in Paris. In this case, fares may vary significantly according to the date in which you are flying, how early you purchase your plane tickets and the category of your booking. Depending on the air terminal that is closest to you, your options would be as follow:

From London City Airport to Paris Orly: British Airways operates non-stop daily flights to ORY which take only one hour.

From London Heathrow to Paris Charles de Gaulle: British Airways, Korean Air and Air France connect the two points in just 45 minutes.

From London Gatwick to Paris CDG: Vueling and Easyjet link the two cities in only forty five minutes as well.

From London Luton airport to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport: it takes less than one hour to travel from Luton to CDG with Easyjet.

Pros and cons of choosing the Eurostar instead of flying to Paris from London

Especially if you are taking advantage of your stay in London to take a short trip to the French capital and explore its main landmarks, commuting from the centric train stations on both sides (St Pancras and Gare du Nord) would be preferable as it helps you save a considerable amount of time; otherwise, you would need to take a train or bus to the airport first, not to mention that you would have to be at your boarding gate at least fifty minutes before departure provided that you choose the plane, thus wasting precious minutes that you should be spending at your destination already. Notwithstanding that, we recommend you calculate your total commuting time including transfer to the airport, waiting before boarding and duration of flight; in some cases, it may equal the overall Eurostar journey.

As far as baggage is concerned, Eurostar trains offer better conditions as they have no restrictions on liquids onboard and you may carry one small hand-luggage piece and two larger suitcases at no additional cost. In view of this, you may make an estimate of your total travel expenses contingent upon the number of bags and items you plan to travel with.

While a flight to Paris from Heathrow, Gatwick or Luton in London takes less than one hour and seems like a convenient option if you are close to the airport and –ideally- only carry hand luggage, the high-speed trains covering the distance between these cities will save you time and money in additional commutes thanks to the central location of their origin stations, and allow you to travel with more luggage without any concerns about extra fees.