We woke up early to head to Gare du Nord via the RER. Our hotel was closely located to the Luxembourg station, so it was an easy walk to get there. We purchased our RER tickets from a booth above-ground (not down in the station) because we do not have a chip-and-pin card (or enough euros in change) so we could not use the automated machines.
The RER ride to Gare du Nord was quick and painless, and finding the Eurostar terminal in the large, looming train station was actually not too bad (a pretty decent amount of signage that pointed the way). We had a few false starts (trouble with the elevators, etc but we were tired of schlepping our giant bags up and down stairs so whenever there is any type of automated people-mover, we jump at the chance to use it).
Tip: We had purchased our Eurostar tickets in advance online. We used a debit card to avoid extra fees (I think it was somewhere around 4 euros/ticket less if we used the debit card). By purchasing our tickets early, it guaranteed our seats (obviously) but we also got notified that they were changing our train to 7 minutes earlier than previously scheduled due to work on the tracks or something. Since I am almost always at least 2-5 minutes late, those 7 minutes were crucial to us so we planned accordingly and made the train with time to spare. It also allows you to choose seats in advance (so I could look up which seats faced forward…that pesky motion-sickness thing again!). If you have a connecting train or are in a time crunch, you can choose a train car that his near the exit so you don’t have to run the length of the train to catch a connection or you can even find out which train cars have outlets to plug in your electronics (but make sure you have the right voltage adaptor). Even though you are traveling within the European Union, you still have to go through passport control and have your bags screened, so leave time for that. (I have to say, as much as j’adore trying to speak French, I welcomed the British-accented English when going through passport control!).
We boarded the train, sat back, and enjoyed the 2 1/2 hour-long train ride to London. The train was quiet, clean, and quick.
More to come soon about our London travels!