The direct Eurostar to Lyon, Avignon & Marseille
 

Bonjour Marseille!  The inaugural direct Eurostar from London has arrived spot on time at Marseille, 1 May 2015.

 
Buy tickets online at
www.eurostar.com...
  Eurostar ticket to Marseille on inaugural train

From the Thames to the Mediterranean...

Eurostar runs a direct train from London to Lyon, Avignon & Marseille, up to 5 times a week in high summer.  Building on their long-established once-a-week summer-only train to Avignon, from May 2015 this new expanded service will serve three destinations up to five times a week.  In fact, it's the first scheduled train in history ever to link the Thames directly with the Mediterranean.  This page explains the days of running, times, fares & how to buy tickets.  It was due to run all year round at least twice a week, but it seems it will not now run from 30 October until March 2017, other than two departures in December.

  Timetable & days of running

  How much does it cost?

  How to buy tickets

  Check-in

  On board facilities & luggage

  What's the journey like?

  Hotels in Lyon, Avignon or Marseille

On what days of the week does it run?

 

Mon

Tues

Wed

Thur

Fri

Sat

Sun

 3 July to 3 Sept 2016

   

 4 Sept to 29 Oct 2016

       

 30 Oct 2016 to 30 March 2017

No service, but will run 23 to 30 Dec.

 31 March to 27 May 2017

       

 28 May to 3 September 2017

   

 4 Sept to 4 November 2017

       

 From 5 November 2017

To be confirmed...

Train times...

 London ► France

 

 France ► London

Train No.

9084

Train No.

9087

 London St Pancras dep.

 07:19*

 Marseille St Charles dep.

15:22

 Ashford depart:

07:55

 Avignon TGV depart

15:58

 Lille Europe

arrive

|

 Lyon Part Dieu depart:

17:25

depart

|

 Lille Europe**

arrive

20:21

 Lyon Part Dieu arrive

13:00

depart

21:36

 Avignon TGV arrive

14:08

 Ashford arrive

21:34

 Marseille St Charles arr.

14:46

 London St Pancras arrive

22:12

* = Departs 07:15 on Sundays & UK bank holidays.

** = On the northbound journey you get off at Lille, go through the usual Eurostar passport & security checks and re-board the train.

| = The southbound train does in fact briefly stop at Lille, but only to change driver & train managers.

Always check exact times for your specific date online, at www.loco2.com or www.eurostar.com.

Avignon TGV station is 3 miles from Avignon city centre & Avignon Centre station.  There's a rail link from Avignon TGV station to Avignon Centre station with shuttle trains (navettes) every 30-45 minutes, journey time 5 minutes, fare around €1.80 but free for Eurostar ticket holders.  You can also use a taxi, of course.  You can check navette times using www.loco2.com Map of Avignon showing stations.

Alternatives if this direct Eurostar doesn't suit you:  If it leaves London too early or doesn't run on the day you want, there are a whole range of daily train services from London to Lyon, Avignon, Marseille, Nimes, Montpelier, Perpignan, Cannes or Nice with an easy change of train onto a TGV at Lille or Paris, see the London to France page for details.

How much does it costThe quick answer...

How much does it cost?  The full story...

From London

or Ashford...

To Lyon...

To Avignon or Marseille...

Standard class

(2nd class)

Standard Premier

(1st class with meals)

Standard class

(2nd class)

Standard Premier

(1st class with meals)

One-way Return One-way Return One-way Return One-way Return

Adult

From £51

From £89

From £107

From £189

From £56

From £99

From £112

From £199

Child under 12 From £36 From £63 From £75 From £133 From £40 From £70 From £79 From £140
Child under 4 Free, if they don't occupy their own seat
Youth aged 12-25 From £48 From £85   -   - From £54 From £95   -   -

Senior = anyone over 60

From £48 From £85

  -

  -

From £54 From £95

  -

  -

Wheelchair & companion

  -

  -

From £51

From £89

  -

  -

From £56

From £99

How to buy tickets...

How to check in...

Check-in gates   Eurostar departure lounge

What's it like on board the Eurostar?

Eurostar to Lyon, Avignon & Marseille boarding in London   2nd class table for four

The inaugural Eurostar from London to Lyon, Avignon & Marseille boards at St Pancras, 1 May 2015.  The first scheduled passenger train in history from the Thames to the Mediterranean!

 

Standard (2nd) class seats are arranged 2+2 across the car width.  Most are unidirectional but there are some tables for 4 like this.

Eurostar 1st class seats 61 & 65   The cafe-bar

Standard Premier (1st) class seats are arranged 2+1 across the car width, with some unidirectional seating, some solo seats, some tables for 4 and some tables for 2 like this.

 

Cafe-bar.  There are two bars on each train in cars 6 & 13, selling tea, coffee, wine, beer, snacks & hot dishes such as chicken tikka massala. Pounds, euros & cards accepted.

Meals & drinks are included in Standard Premier...

In Standard Premier, meals are included in the fare, served at your seat.  Southbound, a light breakfast is served soon after departure (pictured below left) and south of Paris an early lunch is served in good time for arrival at Lyon (below right).  On the London-Marseille Eurostar lunch or dinner includes a hot dish, so is better than the cold food served in Standard Premier on the regular London-Paris & London-Brussels Eurostars.  Northbound, drinks and snacks are served on departure from Marseille and Avignon with a hot dinner served once the train is north of Lyon.

Breakfast on the Eurostar to Marseille   Lunch on the Eurostar to Marseille

What's the journey like?

Boarding in London   Dartford Crossing

The 07:19 to Marseille boarding at St Pancras...

 

Passing the QEII road bridge across the Thames...

The river Medway

The Eurostar crosses the River Medway...  On this side (the right hand side of the train), small boats on the river.  On the left hand side, Rochester castle and cathedral are just visible in the distance over the top of the adjacent M2 motorway road bridge.

The train enters the Channel Tunnel...  Unless you're very sharp-eyed, you won't spot the sea at all.  The train slows slightly and passes by the Eurotunnel car, coach & lorry terminal then plunges into the Channel Tunnel.  It's a complete anti-climax, just like any other rail tunnel only a bit longer.  In 20 minutes later you burst into the sunlight in France...

Entering the Channel Tunnel   Leaving the Channel Tunnel

Entering the Channel Tunnel near Folkestone...

 

Leaving the Channel Tunnel near Calais...

Scenery in Northern France

Northern France...  The train speeds across northern France at 186mph, past undulating farmlands, small villages.  The London to Marseille Eurostar stops briefly at Lille Europe to change driver and train managers, although this is not a public stop.  The other on-board crew remain on board all the way from London to Marseille.

By-passing Paris & onto the Sud-Est high-speed line...  The Eurostar by-passes Paris to the east on the high-speed interconnexion line, speeding non-stop through Charles de Gaulle Airport TGV station, the closest you'll come to an airport on this trip to the south of France.  Just south of Paris the train joins the Sud-Est high-speed line linking Paris with Lyon & Marseille .  Between Paris & Lyon the train rushes past sheep, cows, and ramshackle stone-walled farms nestling in small green valleys. 

The Rhone at Lyon   Lyon Part Dieu station

Arrival in Lyon Part Dieu:  Finally, the train slows down and leaves the high-speed line, rumbling slowly across the Rhone, passing right by the historic station of Lyon Brotteaux (built 1904, closed 1983, on the right hand side) and arriving at Lyon Part Dieu. Click for map of Lyon showing station.

Scenery from the train along the Rhone Valley

The Rhone Valley...  After leaving Lyon the train rejoins the high-speed line and powers down the Rhone Valley, past pretty French villages with picturesque churches and the occasional chateau.  On a clear day you can see the snow-capped French Alps in the far distance to the left, and the ridge of the Massif Central mountains on the far side of the valley to the right.

The view from the train as it crosses the Rhone at Avignon

Arrival in Avignon TGV... On its approach to Avignon TGV station the train crosses a massive viaduct high above the River Rhone.  If you look to your left you can see Avignon's famous Palais des Papes standing out on the skyline in the distance, see the picture above.  Though if you can see anyone dancing sur le pont d'Avignon you have better eyesight than me...

Avignon TGV station is 3 miles from the city centre.  You can take a taxi, or wait for the next shuttle train (navette) to Avignon Centre station which is right in the centre.  The navette is free for Eurostar ticket holders.  Click for map of Avignon showing stations.

As the train approaches Marseille you can see the Mediterranean on your right, with ferries & cruise liners in port and in the distance a glimpse of the infamous Chateau d'If (France's Alcatraz, think Count of Monte Cristo) on its island in the bay.  To the right and ahead you may glimpse the lovely church of Notre Dame de la Garde on its hill overlooking Marseille.

Eurostar at Marseille   Arrived at Marseille

This is the inaugural Eurostar arrived a Marseille, spot on time...

Marseille St Charles interior   Marseille St Charles station exterior

Marseille St Charles station, 15 minutes walk from the Vieux Port.  Click for map of Marseille showing station.

The Vieux Port at Marseille

Bonjour Marseille!  The Eglise Notre Dame de la Garde, overlooking the Vieux Port.

The northbound journey:  Passports & security at Lille...

The scenery is obviously the same, but there are two important differences when you return northbound.

Boarding the Eurostar from Marseille to London

Boarding the train back to London...  There's no check-in at Marseille, Avignon or Lyon, just get on any time before the doors close and it leaves...

Lille Europe   Checking in at Lille

1.  On arrival at Lille Europe, you get off the train with your bags and go up the escalators to the concourse above the tracks.  The train will be security-cleared when everyone is off...

 

2.  You check-in exactly as if you were boarding a Eurostar at Lille.  Automatic ticket gates, then passport control, then an X-ray & metal detector security check...

Lille departure lounge   Re-boarding the train at Lille

3.  You wait in the departure lounge.  There are toilets, info desk, vending machines & even a kiddies corner...

 

4.  You go back down the escalators and re-board the train when the boarding announcement is made.


Find hotels in Lyon, Avignon or Marseille...

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Suggested hotels...



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