Fastest journey4hr 54m
It is easy to travel by train from London to Strasbourg. The obvious route, and the one which offers the greatest choice of departures, is that via Paris. But there are alternative routings available via Lille and / or Marne-la-Vallée.
The journey from London to Strasbourg can take as little as 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 (or a German ICE) bound for Strasbourg.
Tickets for the entire journey normally go on sale three months before the date of travel, though at certain times of the year this might be as much as four months. This is an important business route so, 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 Strasbourg
A dozen fast trains each day speed non-stop from Paris Est to Strasbourg, using a new high-speed line that opened in 2007. The journey time was trimmed by half an hour in July 2016, when the high-speed line was extended east through the Vosges Mountains to the Rhine Valley. The new stretch is 106 km long and completes the TGV-Est high-speed extension to Strasbourg. Trains regularly reach 320 kph on this route, and the journey from Paris to Strasbourg now takes about 1 hrs 50 mins. Most trains on this route are French TGVs, with a small number of ICEs (bound for Germany) also serving the route.
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Image credits: Strasbourg by Stefanweihs