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london to Calais, France

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Issaquah, Washington
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london to Calais, France

I'm planning a trip June and will be flying into Heathrow. I would like to take the chunnel to Calais, France and then rent a car and begin a driving trip along the normandy coast, through the Loire valley to Beaune. We arrive in London about 10:30 AM on a Saturday. Should we plan to spend the night in London or is it fairly easy to get to the Eurostar train station? I'm not interested in renting a car in London as I don't want to deal with the traffic. I'd rather rent a car in Calais if possible. Has anyone done this? Does the Eurostar stop in Calais? Any advice would be appreciated including which towns to spend my 6 days while in france.

Queensland
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1. Re: london to Calais, France

Hi, a quick look at the Eurostar website shows that the train does stop in Calais, however it doesn't look like there are many each day.

Do you have any itinerary for your 6 days in France, because it doesn't sound like a whole lot of time to enjoy your stay in the places you mention (Normandy coast, Loire Valley and Beaune).

In 2009 I spent 3 nights, 4 days in Loire Valley and although we saw alot, there was still so much we didn't have time for.

Sounds like a great trip though, so have fun planning and seeing :)

Edited: 1:44 am, January 19, 2011
Illinois
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2. Re: london to Calais, France

You could also take the train to Dover (about 1 hour) and ferry to Calais (which I think is about 90 min), which would give you the chance to see Dover and the White Cliffs. I would think it would be easiest to fly into Paris and rent the car in France, either in Paris or take a train from Paris to wherever you want to start your driving and start from there. I would not plan to drive on your arrival day, as you will probably be jet lagged and prone to accidents. From what I hear, the Eurostar train is not that exciting, just a train, so I wouldn't personally make that something I went out of my way to do. There are quite a few posts on the Paris forum about travelling to the Loire valley.

Bingley, United...
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3. Re: london to Calais, France

Have a look at a map - Normandy isn't anywhere near Calais and you need to allow several hours between landing at LHR and catching the Eurostar. And as has been pointed out only a few trains a day stop at Calais

So unless you also intend visiting London there's little point in flying into London.

Cambridge, United...
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4. Re: london to Calais, France

Alanrow. You beat me to it

I was going to ask why not just fly into France ?

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: london to Calais, France

It is easy to get from Heathrow to the Eurostar station at St Pancras. The Piccadilly line runs from Heathrow to Kings Cross St Pancras with no need to change. Allow an hour for the journey.

Eurostar times and bookings: www.eurostar.com

Driving directions, optimistic travel times, and estimated costs (fuel and tolls): www.viamichelin.com

Bingley, United...
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6. Re: london to Calais, France

It may be easy to get to the Eurostar from LHR - but there's an hour for immigration / collecting luggage, an hour to get to St Pancras, check-in closes at Eurostar is 30 minutes before time of travel - so that's 2h30m and OP has done nothing except run around like a scalded cat.

In reality OP needs to allow at least an hour more than that to cope with problems and even then they can miss their train which means buying a new ticket and a several hour, possibly overnight delay as there are only 3 Eurostar trains per day to Calais.

And they neither want to be in the UK or Calais

At the very least they should consider flying to Paris from LHR

Edited: 2:44 am, January 19, 2011
London, UK
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7. Re: london to Calais, France

The two previous contributions reflect the fact that in Britain we see the Eurostar as a means of transport rather than an experience in its own right. A problem with planning to take the Eurostar imediately after a long flight is that you have to book the train in advance, unless you are prepared to pay a very high price. You cn actor in getting through Heathrow and transporrt to St Pancras but this can all be thrown in the air if the flight itself is significantly delayed. Another problem is that I understand that in France many car hire outlets are closed on Saturday afternoons and all day Sundays except at airports.

However if your flight is booked to Heathrow and you want to use Eurostar to France, it would make sense to take it to Paris which is considerably nearer Normandy, the Lore Valley or Burgundy than Calais or Lille. If you don't want to drve in Paris, you could take a train to the major btown in whichever region you chose to visit first.

Illinois
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8. Re: london to Calais, France

A lot of car hire places are closed on Sun in France, but I think the ones at CDG might be open, OP would have to check. I don't think CDG is too bad to drive from, not being in central Paris, but again, I would not drive in a foreign country on the arrival day.

london
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9. Re: london to Calais, France

France is a very large country. Normandy is lovely and is an extremely large area. Beaune is also lovely but it is a long way from Normandy. You should do some careful planning of your itinerary using one of the routeplanning websites, such as the AA, which I have always found very accurate in its estimated drive times.

Obviously Paris is a wonderful city but I don't think driving there is a good idea. Bordeaux is also a fantastic city, but you will have to park outside as the centre is pedestrianised. The best way to see France is not to go to cities anyway, but to potter around the countryside. You don't say what time of year you are going. Avoid August. You have all kinds of country in France, beaches, mountains, rivers, extinct volcanoes, prehistoric cave paintings, etc, etc, you have to decide what your main interests are. Get a decent guidebook and go on the France forums.

Bucks, UK
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10. Re: london to Calais, France

Fly to Paris, take a train to Normandy - bayeux, caen etc, etc and hire a car there. Flights in and out of France often work out cheaper because of lower departure taxes. I would avoid doing much driving on the arrival day - you will be tired after an indifferent night's sleep and a little jet-lagged.