Advice on using the Channel Tunnel

Old Mar 23rd, 2000, 03:52 PM
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Advice on using the Channel Tunnel


I will be taking the "chunnel" from London to Paris. I have already paid $162 for a first class ticket.

What is this experience all about??? How shall I prepare?

Thank you
Old Mar 23rd, 2000, 04:42 PM
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There is nothing to "prepare." It's a nice, fast train ride. About 30 minutes in the "chunnel" -- if memory serves -- about 3 hours total trip. In first class you will have roomy seating and a fairly good meal served at your seat. Depart from Waterloo in London; arrive at Gare du Nord in Paris. Easy bus connections from Gare du Nord to most locations in Paris.
Old Mar 23rd, 2000, 06:52 PM
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tunnel's not real exciting as alot of darkness. countryside is pretty. not sure if 1st class was worth it. did it ourselves and the seats don't even recline. PS don't get too excited about the meal, it's still british food. LOL
Old Mar 24th, 2000, 06:24 AM
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I was in First Class on the Eurostar about a year ago and the seats DO recline. I think the lever worked differently than the ones in the US. Funny that this was mentioned because the first time we took the Eurostar, we could not figure out how to recline our seats in the Standard cars! I liked First Class better than the standard class because they seats are facing each other and have a table in between. The standard cars do have some seats like this, but you usually have to reserve them ahead of time. Also, the First Class cars are quieter because there are less people.
Old Mar 24th, 2000, 07:30 AM
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Have your passport handy (I can't remember which direction requires it); be at the gate at least 20 mins before departure (the rule is "be there 20 mins before departure or you're denied boarding" - don't know if it's enforced, but I wouldn't push it); look at your ticket and note which car # and seat # you have so you can board quickly and easily; there are security checks (baggage xrays, etc.), so react as you would at an airport; put the luggage tags given to you, completed, on your bags (another one of those, that's the rules but I've never seen anyone hassled if they didn't have the tags, but why take a chance?); great magazine (articles are in French, English and Flemish, so it's fun to "learn" another language - ditto the menus in the buffet car).
You exit right into the main area of the Gare du Nord; the exit is to the right, the Metro/RER is to the left and down the stairs (there's an ATM right there, too, if you need ff).
The Eurostar is a non-event, which is what is so wonderful about it (for all of us who've done the ferry crossing, we appreciate the non-event).
Interesting thing to note: first, you're in English countryside (remember what it looks like) then DARK, then French countryside (now compare what you see with what you remember before the DARK).
Your ears will pop.
Old Mar 24th, 2000, 07:42 AM
Bill Irving
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When you check in at the train station, it is almost similar to checking in & boarding for a flight. We took first class for the space, seating, meal. Well, the only meal they had left for me was fish, & I cannot eat fish, & they didn't have any other meals left, but I still enjoyed 1st class.
In most trains, when you go thru a tunnel or under a viaduct, you will feel some type of air pressure change, simular to accent & deccent on a plane. But on the Eurostar there is no problem with that at all. Before you go into the tunnel, I noticed that special doors closed on the cars, almost like they were pressurized. Basically while you are on the train you can just sit back & enjoy the whole trip.
Old Mar 24th, 2000, 07:48 AM
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prepare by checking your asbestos suit..
Old Mar 24th, 2000, 08:52 AM
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Am planning to take the Eurostar( the rapide ???) from Paris to Brussels. Any experience with that?
Old Mar 24th, 2000, 09:35 AM
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The Thalys from Paris to Brussels and back is also a non-event; it's like any other train except it goes REALLY fast. No special security or preparation (out of neuroses, I always make reservations ahead, I don't know if it is required); new trains so they are clean and more comfortable (relatively). Do NOT check baggage; it goes on the slow night train, not on the bullet train. Keep your bags with you.
Old Mar 24th, 2000, 03:29 PM
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Took the Eurostar in November. The only thin I would that has not been said already is leave for Waterloo a hour or early. Remember, London is a big, tight city and nothing worse that sitting in traffic while you $162 ticket heads to france. The only thing that is cool is look at the outskirts of London as you leave. It goes forever and you see some of the distant neighborhoods. You will need your passport at Waterloo. Once in France, there is no one there to check. Nice to see open borders, except when you fly out of Paris back to the states, you will be asked for your passport 8 times, before you get in line to check-in. (Joke, but I showed it 6 times to get on the planc). Have fun ! ! !

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