Fastest journey4hr 49m
It is a very easy journey by train from London to Tours in the Loire Valley region of France. The route with the best choice of departures is via Paris, where a change of stations is required.
The journey from London to Tours starts with a high-speed run on Eurostar from London to Paris. Then you take the Métro to Montparnasse, connecting there onto a French TGV train direct to Tours.
Bookings for the journey from London to Tours 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. Book early for the cheapest fares.
If you don’t like the idea of changing stations in Paris, there are alternative routes from London to Tours 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.
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 Tours
There are about 15 high-speed TGVs each day from Paris Montparnasse to Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, a modern station just 3 kilometres from Tours city centre. About half of these trains then continue from Saint-Pierre-des-Corps to the city-centre station, taking just five minutes for that final short hop.
The fastest trains run non-stop from Paris to Tours Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, taking just one hour for the 221-kilometre journey. Some trains make one or two stops along the way, adding about ten minutes to the journey time. If the train you are on does not run on beyond St-Pierre-des-Corps to the city centre station, don’t worry. There’s a regular local train which shuttles between the two stations.
Other popular journeys on Loco2
Image credits: Basilica of Saint-Martin © Vladimir Zhuravlev