On my trip to London (9/11) I had a chance to go to Paris for dinner at one of my favorite places. While intending to go to one the most scenic places to dine, La Tour d'Argent my plans had to change. There is nothing quite like a place that overlooks Notre Dame and the Seine. Where every duck dish that is served is numbered and they send you a postcard with the number of the duck you dined on it. A very special place.
Just wanted to share with MI some tips that might allow your Eurostar experience to be a positive experience. You easily go from Paris/London and back in a day, especially if you use the open aired tour buses and catch them at the arrival station. It is an inexpensive way to see either city! Some information that may make your trip more pleasant:
Buying tickets: Having done the trip a lot, I like buying my tickets at the station, I am departing from at least two days in advance. Departure times and days can make a large difference on prices. There is something about doing your "Re-con", prior to actually departing. Knowing exactly where to go in the station may allow you to relax more on the day of the actual trip.
Lounge: One place that is nice to relax prior to departure is the VIP lounge. You can use it if you buy premium seats but you can also get in with a Platinum or Black AMEX card, even with a coach ticket. Having only gone coach, there does not seem any reason to upgrade as you are free to relax in the parlor car as much as you would like.
Arranging Transportation: One nice feature in the lounge is they can call ahead and reserve a taxi for you prior to departure. We had a tight schedule in Paris and not having to wait in long taxi lines was a real plus.
Security: Use caution when in or around train stations. Passports and valuables are vulnerable to pickpockets who frequent train stations. That is another reason to relax in the lounge.
Relaxing on the train: You may want to take your own food/snacks/drinks on the train with you. It is really relaxing to take your favorite wine and cheese with you and reserve a seat with a table. There is nothing like a little wine and cheese at 185 miles per hour!
Here are a few pictures you may enjoy!
Leaving the Marriott County Hall, to Paris and back!
I will definitely be coming to you, the prof, and others who have so much great advice, when I get ready to go. Our target is still 2014 for our 3 week European trip, so I have to keep access and track of all this data for a while yet. It just gives us a lot of time to dream and plan!
Jerry, great pics. Thanks for sharing. Do you know the address or the cross streets for Tour d'Argent? It's by Notre Dame, you say? It sounds familiar. Do you have any other fave dining establishments in central Paris that you would be glad to share? I liked Terre du Truffe off of Place de la Madeleine. Truffle salad, truffle soup, truffle pasta, even truffle pizza! Also, Chez Rene in the 3rd. I am always interested in finding great places to dine sans Michelin prices.
Oh goodie. I've just been researching restaurants in the 3rd, and have taken notes on the ones I want to visit in May. I will report on them when I return from my trip in June. I'll look forward to your post. Oh, that's right, you are in to cooking, aren't you? Okay, then will really be paying attention to your reviews. Thanks!
You are headed toward a great trip!
Give yourself some extra time to enjoy St. Pancras. Likewise, if you have a platinum AMEX card or better, you will be able to enjoy the VIP lounge. Don't forget to pack your favorite food and beverage for the two hour and 15 minute trip to Paris. I always have a picnic on the trip. Likewise, don't worry about getting expensive tickets on the train as you are able to walk around and enjoy experience. I often will set on the seats that retract between cars, have a refreshment and await the "Concussion" as another train comes by us on the other track.
You will enjoy your trip!
Just checking out the train and tube schedules. Trying to decide if I should take the express train to Paddington and tube to Kings Cross, or take the tube from LHR directly to Kings Cross. Or maybe I do the express train to Paddington, and then splurge on a taxis to the hotel.
Why not consider having the Ren. St. Pancras, have you picked up at LHR (Arrange with Concierge), and splurge that way? You should be able to get the same deal as a taxi from LHR, but with bags and all it should not cost you more than $100, and you may be able to charge it to your room!
Just a thought, if you have baggage, that tube ride is not going to be too easy. Good luck!
Yes, sure you would earn points, if it is charged to the room. If all you have is a backpack then you really should consider the tube. It will take you to the hotel and all you have to do is go up, a long way, to the hotel. I do not have a tube guide handy, but that would save you a lot of money. By the way, there are a lot of inexpensive places to dine at St. Pancras, but the CL, is your best bet to relax and enjoy a light meal.
By the way, you may be able to contact the hotel directly, ask for the Concierge on an email. If that is a problem, call the hot line and have them arrange a three way conversation between you and the hotel. They have done it for me, and once you establish a relationship with a person on the hotel in, you are way ahead of the game. Ask them, your choices of getting from LHR to their hotel.
I just go to the Eurostar ticket sales at St. Pancras and buy my tickets there. Have found the best deals when I speak directly with their ticket agents. Likewise, I just get the lowest priced seat because I really enjoy walking around the train.
Once you get to Dover, you may enjoy the Dover Castle. It is really memorable and the view is really special.
Have a great trip! Here is a photo of the very helpful staff at Eurostar at St. Pancras.
Have you had any problems buying the ticket the day of? Availabiity? Lines?
I have checked the schedule and there is no 1st class on the high speed train to dover, only 2nd with 2 choices, one that is good anytime, and one for a set time. Every train with 1st class requires a transfer???
But I figure either the concierge or the train station would explain it.
Why not buy the ticket after you get your bags into The Ren. St. Pancras? I would not do it the day you travel. This way you are familiar with security (TSA Style), and you can even know where your departure gate is. You could encounter a "Sold out", if you wait to the day you leave. Likewise, don't worry about First Class, get the cheapest ticket you can, you are only going to be on the train for around an hour. Spend time in the club car, or take your favorite meal and drink and have a picnic.
The scenery is not going to be too good till you get out of London, and that will take awhile. It will look like a British scene from PBS, row after row of houses!
Enjoy the hotel, I have not stayed there but it has got nice reviews. Lastly, prepare yourself for some huge crowds! Don't forget if you have a Platinum or Black AMEX, that gets you into the CL, if you do see this guy! He is very helpful!
Very helpful, and a great idea to go the day before to lock in a ticket and scope things out.
I use to take the train on a regular basis to Sandwich, and Manchester, but it was before the days of the high speed train, was out of a different station, and usually at night so I didn't see much. Also, the Sandwich train station was deserted when I go there. More than once I had to call the hotel to have them send a taxi.
But I do remember enjoying myself as they had attendants with a food & beverage cart bringing things to your seat like on the airplane. Will be interesting to see the changes
p.s. I thought I would let myself go to bed early, so I get up early and hopefully avoid the crowds. Also, I might get some touring in before I board the ship, or maybe I even board, and then go sightseeing before departure. Usually I force my self to stay up till 10pm to make sure I am not getting up in the middle of the night at the destination, but in this case it will work for me.
I really have noticed how much travel has changed on the Eurostar. It has got very busy and a lot of the trains seem to be "Sold out". I did want to recommend you get a specific time of departure versus "All day tickets". I think the "All day" tickets are a little more expensive. You should enjoy the St. Pancras station for its beauty and diverse style.
Diverse scenes and statues.
Eurostar trains are really something special! Enjoy!