Although many people think of Paris as the ‘city of romance’, there are lots of reasons why you should consider making it a destination for a family break. Paris is full of great museums and fantastic attractions, plus it is the home of Mickey Mouse and Euro Disney. You could drive there via the Channel Tunnel, but with such a great train service between London and Paris on Eurostar and cheap train tickets to France, taking the train to Paris is a far more sensible option.
London to Paris on Eurostar
It only takes 2 hours 15 minutes to get to Paris from London, which is a lot faster than it would be to drive down to Calais, jump on a ferry, and then drive to Paris. It’s also much cheaper: train tickets to Paris on Eurostar cost from £69 return if you book them well in advance, so a family of two adults and two children under the age of 12 can travel to Paris for as little as £236, which is a lot cheaper than flying. You can book up to six months in advance if you want to secure the cheapest fares—the longer you leave it, the more it will cost you.
Unless you live in London, you will need to travel down to St Pancras to connect with the Eurostar. The best way to do this is by catching a regional train service to London and making your way to St Pancras International to catch your Eurostar train. UK train tickets can be bought separately, but it is far easier to buy a special ticket through Eurostar.
Choose the Right Seats
Choosing the right seating is important when you have kids. Buying a Eurostar ticket entitles you to a seat reservation—unlike normal UK trains, there is absolutely no possibility of ending up standing up for the entire journey because the train is over full. Booking directly with Eurostar allows you to change your allocated seats, so if possible, try and make sure you have seats around a table. Parents with small children are advised to select seats in car 1 or 18 as these are where the baby changing facilities are located.
Food and Drink on the Journey
Should you be lucky enough to be travelling in Standard Premier (First Class), a complimentary tray of cold food plus a drink will be provided, but in Standard Class (Second Class), you have the option of buying refreshments from one of two buffet cars in carriage 6 and 13 or bringing your own refreshments.
As a parent with small children, you will probably elect to take your own refreshments rather than end up being held to ransom by a screaming toddler desperate for sweeties. You are free to take any type of food and drink on Eurostar, so make sure you pack enough to keep the kids happy for at least two hours. Sandwiches, crisps and biscuits are easy to carry, but don’t forget the drinks. Staff in the buffet car will be able to heat up a baby’s bottle if applicable.
Make sure you carry fully-charged iPads, handheld games consoles, colouring books, books, and anything else your kids can’t live without. Since the journey is relatively short, it should be easy to keep them quiet for the duration.
Remember: when booking train tickets on France on Eurostar, children aged four and under go free if they sit on your lap.
Ana Aleksejeva loves catching the Eurostar to France. She especially likes relaxing in a Business Premier seat because there is a complimentary hot meal designed by Raymond Blanc—and it even comes with a free glass of champagne or wine! She can also catch up on her writing thanks to the free Wi-Fi offered onboard trains to Paris.
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