Fastest journey8hr 22m
The traditional route by train from London to Cannes is via Paris, the fastest itineraries requiring less than nine hours for the entire journey from London to Cannes. The journey starts with a ride on Eurostar from London to Paris, changing there onto a direct TGV train to Cannes.
Bookings for this route usually open three months in advance. However, for the summer holiday season Loco2 is often able to sell tickets up to five months in advance. If you are keen to secure the cheapest tickets for the journey from London to Cannes, it’s wise to book early.
There is also a once-daily alternative route from London to Cannes via Lille. On those days when the direct Eurostar to Marseille train runs, there is also a convenient early morning option from London to Cannes with just one easy change of train at Marseille.
Alternatively, you can travel from London to Cannes overnight by taking a late-afternoon Eurostar service that connects in Paris with the Train Bleu night train to the French Riviera.
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 Lyon
When you alight from the train at Gare du Nord look for signs to the Metro and RER. Once you've bought a ticket follow the signs to 'RER D', direction 'Melun' or 'Malesherbes'. So long as you're heading in the right direction, all the trains on this line stop at Gare de Lyon. The actual train journey takes around 10 mins with just one stop on the way at Châtelet-les-Halles. Upon alighting from the RER train at Gare de Lyon, follow the signs to the mainline station. The signs read 'Accès aux trains Grandes Lignes'. The whole journey from the concourse at Gare du Nord to the mainline departure platforms at Gare de Lyon will normally take about 40 mins but we recommend leaving at least 50 mins.
If you are arriving 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 Metro 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 Cannes
Every day, four or five direct TGV services depart from Paris Gare de Lyon station for Cannes. These high-speed TGV trains (usually double-deck TGV Duplex units) run non-stop to at least Valence in the Rhône Valley. Many don’t make a single stop until well into Provence. There’s a nice balance to this journey: an impressive high-speed run at the start, giving a sense of real progress towards the south of France, and then a more leisurely pace for the last couple of hours as the train cruises the Riviera coast.
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Image credits: ROSS HONG KONG