If you book well in advance, Eurostar tickets from Paris to London are usually well under €100 round trip. But if you wait until the last minute like yours truly, then it gets much, much more expensive (like, oh, €300). Even budget airline flights can climb up into the €250 range, which is horrible for the planet (and for your peace of mind, since you have to get to the airport three hours early). But there’s another option when all of the cheap seats from Gare du Nord are sold out.
After a LOT of surfing around, I found a little back door to cheaper (and sometimes ONLY) fares to London when the regular tickets are sold out: alternative stations! The main Eurostar station in Paris is the Gare du Nord. But if you’re willing to schlep it out to the suburbs you have two alternatives that are sometimes a lot cheaper.
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Alternative Eurostar Stations from Paris to London
The first one I found was Chessy/Marne-La-Vallée, aka Disneyland Paris. This is a 55-minute RER A ride from central Paris to Chessy for under €10, and if you get there early you can check out Disney Village (no entrance fee). If you have to take a taxi, it can get quite pricey, from €75-€100 depending on traffic. Note that some of these trains are direct from Chessy/Marne-La-Vallée to London, and some have a connection in Lille, so be sure to check if that makes a difference for you.
The second alternative station is at Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle, aka the airport, which is about 45 minutes from central Paris via RER B or taxi or Roissybus (see all of the options and prices here). Yeah, you’re probably thinking if you’re going to go to the airport, why not just fly? Again, you’d have to be there HOURS earlier and check your bags, and of course you’d arrive at an airport in London, not right in the center of town. Like the Chessy station, sometimes these departures are direct to London and sometimes they include a connection in Lille, so double-check before deciding whether it’s worth it.
How It Works
When you go to the official Eurostar website, you might see a dropdown menu for departure station and only see this:
But that’s just the “popular searches”. If you type “Paris” into the box, you’ll get one extra station option, for Chessy/Marne-la-Vallée:
To see the schedule from Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle, type “Roissy” into the box, et voilà!
I would also recommend you try a few different (official) ticket sellers such as Trainline (a third-party seller which isn’t cheaper but sometimes more convenient when booking multiple train trips) and SNCF Connect (formerly OUI.sncf, this is a subsidiary of the French train network SNCF and sells tickets on the Eurostar, Thalys, and Deutsche Bahn), or Rail Europe (usually for train ticket purchases from the US). They usually have the same rates posted as the Eurostar site, but some people find them a bit easier to naviagte, so have a peek around all three. As mentioned above, try first with just “Paris” in the departure station, then try with Roissy and Chessy to see other options.
When I did a test search today for one-way tickets from Paris to London on Friday August 12th, these are the cheapest rates I found:
- Paris Gare du Nord: €190 direct at 7:13am, 7:43am and 9:12am; €240 direct for the rest of the day and evening.
- Chessy/Marne-la-Vallée: €175 direct at 6:03pm and €222 direct at 7:05pm.
- Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle: €209 at 5:35pm and €222 at 7:38pm, with an hour-long connection in Lille for both
So in this instance, it’s cheapest to leave from Paris Gare du Nord if you’re leaving in the morning, and from Chessy if you’re leaving in the evening (again, taking into account the cost of getting to either the airport or Disneyland Paris). These ratios change every day, so it helps to double-check if you’re not purchasing right away.
See All of the Fares at Once
If your travel dates are flexible, start looking about five weeks in advance for the cheap €44/each way tickets. Instead of plugging in your dates and seeing what’s available, the easiest way to see the rate calendar is to go to https://www.eurostar.com/uk-en/train/cheap-eurostar-tickets and scroll all the way down — almost to the footer — for the box that says “Find the Lowest Fares” (if you’re on the French version of the site, it will be “Trouvez les prix bas”):
Then you’ll see the scrollable calendar for the entire year with the lowest price shown for each day (in June and July the cheapest ones are €49.50, but there are more available at €59). Here are the rates in the French version (shown in Euros; the UK version shows in Pounds Sterling):
Cheap Last-Minute Train Fares between Paris and London
There used to be a secret website called Eurostar Snap that sold heavily-discounted, last-minute train tickets between London and Paris (and Lille and Brussels). Sadly, it seems to have permanently ended service in 2021. If you’re not looking for tickets immediately, I recommend you subscribe to the Eurostar official newsletter to be informed of discounts and special sales. And of course, I always let the Secrets of Paris Newsletter subscribers know when I hear of any special rates, please sign up if you haven’t already!
Lol! I actually only know Celsius and have to look up the Fahrenheit every time. I know my audience is international, but it is primarily American so I’m trying to be kind. I will put both from now on to be fair. 😉
Loved your entry (I’ll keep reading after this.) Just one thing, though: you’re in Paris, must you give temperatures in Fahrenheit? You know, the whole rest of the world uses Celsius, just like in Paris. I say, you’re in Paris, live a little. Speak metric. Try it–it won’t hurt.
F’ king rude. Don’t you think?