The high speed line from St Pancras International in London to the Channel Tunnel makes it possible to reach Lille in northern France by Eurostar in just 1 hour 20 minutes. By means of a simple platform interchange via an upper concourse, served by a lift and escalators, many destinations far into France are readily accessible from Lille on SNCF in a single day. Its TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) services operate, for example, direct from Lille to Perpignan and to Nice, at speeds reaching more than 180mph.
Double-decker rolling stock enables far more passengers to be accommodated at peak times than on UK trains. And from Paris, just 2 hours 15 minutes by Eurostar from London, the TGV runs to Bordeaux and Toulouse on one dedicated track, to Lyon, Avignon and Marseille on another.
In spring, summer and autumn, on Saturdays, a direct Eurostar service operates from London to Marseille in just over 6 hours, stopping at Lyon and Avignon. This can be booked from late December each year; Eurostar reservations to Lille and Paris open 120 days ahead of departure, SNCF reservations 90 days before the departure date. First class on the TGV is particularly good value in comparison to UK prices.
For bookings across the full range of services, contact www.raileurope.co.uk