Fastest journey5hr 56m
There are three main routes for London to Avignon - Eurostar and TGV via Paris or Lille, or direct from London by Eurostar on the new year-round service launched in 2015.
It is very easy to travel by train from London to Avignon. Eurostar has of course long had a direct summer service to the city on the banks of the River Rhône. That direct route was relaunched in May 2015 as a year-round link. But it still does not run daily.
If the timings or days of operation of Eurostar’s direct train from London to Avignon do not suit you, there are two further options. The best alternative is to travel via Lille Europe and that is the route we describe here. It is a journey with two stages: one on Eurostar from London to Lille, and then an onward connection on a high-speed TGV train within France. Finally, if you don’t mind changing stations in Paris, you also have an excellent choice of services to Avignon via the French capital.
For bargain fares, book when tickets are first released for sale. That’s normally three months prior to travel, but for journeys in the peak summer season bookings may open four months or even longer in advance.
There are several other trains to Avignon.
London to Lille
Board a Eurostar service from London to Lille. There are about ten trains from London to Lille each day, departing every hour or two from the beautifully restored station at St Pancras. At Lille, Eurostar stops at the modern Lille Europe station, which has an excellent range of onward high-speed trains to cities across France.
The fastest Eurostar trains from London speed to Lille in just 1 hr 22 mins. Slower trains (which may make up to three stops along the way) take up to 20 minutes longer to reach Lille Europe.
Remember to factor in at least half an hour for Eurostar’s airline-style baggage check prior to boarding your train. This is a light-touch security scan, and there are no restrictions on taking liquids on board Eurostar trains.
Lille to Avignon
Five TGVs run each day directly from Lille Europe to Avignon TGV station. The latter is not the city centre station in Avignon, but a dedicated new station for high-speed trains south-west of the city. A regular local train takes five minutes for the link from Avignon TGV to Avignon Centre.
Trains from Lille to Avignon TGV make three to four intermediate stops. The route tracks south from Flanders through Picardie, before skirting the eastern suburbs of Paris. Then it’s south through Burgundy to the Rhône Valley where all trains stop in Lyon before the fast run south to Avignon.
Board a Eurostar train at London St. Pancras International and travel directly to Avignon without the need to change trains along the way. Avignon is served by Eurostar’s new service from London to Marseille. The travel time from London to Avignon is under six hours.
The direct service from London to Avignon TGV operates up to five times each week - that peak frequency is reserved for the summer season. During spring and autumn there are typically three trains per week in each direction. Note that winter services are sparse, with at most one train each week - and then only around Christmas, the New Year and the English half-term school holiday in February. So there are winter periods with no direct train at all. But there are of course plenty of alternative routes to the direct train, with multiple options each day requiring an easy change of train in Lille or Paris.
Bookings for the direct train are presently open until autumn 2017. Bookings for indirect routes (ie. with a change at Lille or Paris) usually open three to four months prior to travel.
London to Avignon
The first part of the journey from London sweeps through Thameside landscapes and rural Kent. The train stops at Ashford International to pick up passengers before diving into the Channel Tunnel. Little more than an hour after leaving London you’ll already be in northern France, tracking south through Flanders’ fields towards Paris. Skirting the east of the French capital, it’s then a fast dash south through Burgundy to the Rhône Valley. The train stops in Lyon before arriving in Avignon, where the train stops at the out-of-town TGV station. There is a local connecting train to Avignon Centre, taking just a few minutes.
On the return journey from Avignon TGV to London, there is an extra stop at Lille Europe. This is required by the UK Border Force in order for the authorities to carry out immigration checks before the train enters the Channel Tunnel.
Other journeys to Avignon View all journeys to Avignon
- From Arles from £5.50
- From Nice from £20.00
- From Marne la Vallée-Chessy from £38.00
- From Madrid from £58.50
- From Lille from £35.50
- From Barcelona from £26.50
Other popular journeys on Loco2
Image credits: Bernard Blanc