Fastest journey5hr 25m
Travelling from London to Bordeaux via Lille, rather than via Paris, typically adds an hour or more to the total journey time and trains are less frequent. However, the route may be preferable for those travelling with children or heavy luggage since it saves changing stations in Paris. It does often entail a very easy change of stations in Lille (from Lille Europe to Lille Flandres). There are usually four TGVs from Lille to Bordeaux every day, all taking five hours or less, so you should allow around seven hours for the entire journey from London.
This is a journey where optimal fares may best be found by booking two separate journeys, one from London to Lille and another from Lille to Bordeaux. We recommend that you leave at least 60 minutes between trains for the interchange at Lille. Although bookings for Eurostar open 180 days in advance, it is recommended you wait until both parts of your journey come on sale to ensure convenient connections at Lille.
There are many more trains to Bordeaux.
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 Bordeaux
Four direct TGVs leave Lille each day for Bordeaux. The early morning train on this route leave from Lille Europe station, while all later departures are normally from Lille Flandres. The journey time on this route was much reduced in July 2017 with the opening of new high-speed lines in western France. Trains now take five hours or less to reach Bordeaux, with the number of intermediate stops varying from six to nine. Although the journey is largely through flatter regions of France, there is much of visual interest beyond the carriage window. There are wartime graveyards around the River Somme, some eye-catching glimpses of communities in the Parisian hinterland and a memorable crossing of the River Loire.
It is easy to travel by train from London to Bordeaux. The route with the biggest choice of departures each day is that via Paris, where an easy change of stations is required from the Gare du Nord to Montparnasse. But if you don’t like the idea of changing stations in Paris, there are alternative routes from London to Bordeaux via either Lille Europe or Marne la Vallée-Chessy – these options may take a little longer but you avoid the cross-city transfer in Paris.
The journey from London to Bordeaux thus normally starts with a high-speed run on Eurostar to Paris. Then you take the Métro to Montparnasse, connecting there onto a French TGV train direct to Bordeaux. That Paris to Bordeaux journey nowadays takes just over two hours, thanks to the opening in July 2017 of a new high-speed line to Bordeaux.
Bookings for the journey from London to Bordeaux normally open three months prior to the date of travel. However, at certain times of the year, Loco2 may be able to sell tickets for this route as long as four months in advance. It pays to book early if you are keen to get the best fares.
London to Paris
Board a Eurostar service from London to Paris. There are upwards of 15 trains to Paris from London each day with departures at least hourly from the beautifully restored station at St Pancras in London. The fastest trains speed to Paris in just 2 hrs 16 mins, with slower services taking up to 20 mins longer to reach the Gare du Nord in Paris. The first part of the journey from London sweeps through Thameside landscapes and rural Kent to reach 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.
Remember to factor in at least half an hour for Eurostar's airline-style baggage check prior to boarding your train. There is a luggage and body scan and you'll be asked to show your passport. There are no restrictions on taking liquids on board Eurostar trains.
Paris interchange: Paris Nord to Paris Montparnasse
Cross Paris by Métro from Gare du Nord to Gare Montparnasse. To do so, head underground and follow the signs from the Eurostar platform to Métro line 4. Take the Métro in the direction of Porte d'Orléans or Mairie de Montrouge, which will get you straight to Montparnasse Bienvenüe in about 25 minutes. You should note that there's a 700m walk, along a moving walkway and up stairs and escalators, between the Métro at Montparnasse and the mainline station. We recommend allowing at least 45mins for the entire transfer.
If you arrive at Gare du Nord from London, bear in mind that you can buy Paris Métro tickets at the Eurostar terminal at St. Pancras and on board the Eurostar train. Similarly, passengers arriving at the Gare du Nord on Thalys trains from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands can buy Métro tickets on the train (at the Thalys Bar). Although universally referred to as Métro tickets, they are in fact valid on RER trains too.
Paris to Bordeaux
Every day of the week, about a score of high-speed TGVs leave Paris for Bordeaux. The departure station in Paris is Montparnasse, and these services all run to Saint-Jean station in the heart of Bordeaux. This is an impressive high-speed dash, with most trains covering the first 218 km (to the bridge over the River Loire upstream from Tours) in less than an hour. Thereafter the non-stop trains stick to a new high-speed line (just opened in July 2017) south through the Poitou-Charentes region towards Bordeaux.
The fastest trains from Paris to Bordeaux run non-stop and take a shade over two hours for the 570-kilometre journey. Slower services, making up to five stops along the way, may take up to three hours.
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