Fastest journey3hr 51m
It is easy to travel by train from London to Reims. The preferred route is via Paris, with a choice of about seven departures each day from London. The entire journey from London to Reims via Paris takes about five hours. The first leg of the journey is on a high-speed Eurostar train from London to Paris. There’s an easy change of stations in the French capital – just a ten-minute walk from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de l’Est, where you join a French TGV bound for Reims.
Tickets for the entire journey from London to Reims normally go on sale three months prior to travel, though at certain times of the year this might be as much as four months. If you are keen to get a cheap ticket, it’s really worth booking just as soon as tickets go on sale.
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 Est
It is an easy ten-minute walk from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de l’Est in Paris. Or if you have lots of luggage consider a (very short) taxi ride for around €10. There’s really no point going by Métro.
If you’re on foot, exit the station from the main entrance and turn left onto Rue de Dunkerque. Walk along the Rue de Dunkerque, crossing Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis and Rue La Fayette, still continuing on Dunkerque. You’ll come to a T-junction where you turn right into Rue d’Alsace. Follow Rue d’Alsace (you’ll now see the platforms of Gare de l’Est below you to your left) to the flight of pedestrian steps which leads down to the side entrance of Gare de l’Est. Beware of the hustlers who often hang around the steps soliciting donations and offering to carry your luggage.
The route above is the quickest, but for step-free access to Gare de l’Est here’s a slightly longer alternative. Leave the main front entrance of the Gare du Nord and walk straight ahead down Boulevard de Denain (which runs down beside the Café Terminus Nord). Follow Denain to Boulevard de Magenta, turning left onto it. Take the third left onto Rue de 8 Mai 1945 and walk along to the front of the Gare de l’Est.
Paris to Reims
High-speed TGVs leave Paris Gare de l’Est for Reims about every two hours. The route follows a new high-speed line opened in 2007. Trains regularly reach 320 kph on this route, and the non-stop journey from Paris to Reims takes under 50 minutes. Running east from Paris, the TGV leaves the Marne Valley to join the new fast line and speeds east towards the Champagne region. You’ll alight at the town centre station in Reims, just a short walk from the cathedral and the city’s many champagne houses.
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Image credits: Carmen Escobar Carrio