Fastest journey6hr 11m
It is an easy journey by train from London to Grenoble. On those days when there is a direct Eurostar from London to Lyon, it is possible to use that, changing at Lyon onto a regional express train to Grenoble. The more common route, though, is via Paris and that’s the one we describe here. Time it well, and you’ll be able to take a direct TGV from Paris to Grenoble. There are additional departures from Paris requiring a further change of train in Lyon.
Your journey from London to Grenoble starts with a Eurostar from London to Paris. In the French capital, you join a high-speed TGV which runs directly to Grenoble. This second leg is the longer of the two, but it’s an interesting journey with some great scenery on the approach to Grenoble.
Tickets for your journey from London to Grenoble normally go on sale three months prior to the date of travel, but there are times when we are able to sell tickets on this route as much as four months in advance.
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 Grenoble
About eight to ten times each day, depending on the season, a high-speed TGV slips out of the Gare de Lyon in Paris for the 553-kilometre run to Grenoble. The route follows the Paris-Lyon high-speed line south-east from the capital through Burgundy to its first stop at Lyon-St-Exupéry. From there, the train runs east through increasingly hilly country to reach Grenoble just over three hours after leaving Paris.
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Image credits: FrenchHope