Flixbus, Oui Bus, Eurolines and Alsa long-distance intercity coaches are by far the cheapest way to travel between London and Paris. Deals as cheap as €15 are common.
Long-distance intercity buses continue to compete with Eurostar trains and airlines when traveling between London and Paris. Although coaches are much slower than the high-speed trains, ticket prices are also much cheaper – often a tenth of the price of a Eurostar train ticket. Several coach companies offer daily services from London to Paris including big names such as Flixbus (Megabus), Ouibus (Idbus), Alsa, and Eurolines (National Express). It may be near impossible to land the oft advertised £1 specials but it is fairly easy to book one-way bus journeys from London to Paris for under €15 with two weeks notice while travelers with flexible departure dates may find deals much cheaper too.
Travel to London or from the UK to Europe often requires much longer check-in times, even for buses, than are customary for other European journeys. For Eurostar trains, the minimum check-in time is usually 30 minutes and for buses 15 to 20 minutes but double-check the notice on issued tickets.
Traveling from London to Paris
Travelers between London and Paris generally have three public transportation choices:
- Fast and convenient but expensive on high-speed Eurostar trains (2h20);
- Cheap but slow and not that comfortable on long-distance, intercity buses; or
- Flying – generally less convenient and slower than the railways but sometimes cheaper.
Flying Between Paris and London
The short flights between London and Paris were for long money-spinners for airlines, even after low-cost airlines had entered the market. High-speed railways were supposed to have killed off most of these flights. Although Eurostar trains are by far the fastest way to travel between Paris and London, flights between these two cities continue.
Legacy airlines such as British Airways and Air France continue to fly between various London and Parisian airports but these flights are often to connect passengers to longer and intercontinental flights. Low-cost airlines such as EasyJet also fly between Paris and London and are often price competitive with the Eurostar trains. However, for most travelers, the schlepp of getting to airports in both London and Paris would probably outweigh the saving except on the most exceptional deals.
By Eurostar Trains from London to Paris
High-speed Eurostar trains are generally the fastest and most comfortable way to travel between London and Paris. Eurostar trains depart from London-St Pancras International Station or from Paris-Gare du Nord – both stations are near the center of the cities and well connected to local train transportation networks.
Eurostar trains run generally hourly between Paris and London with traveling time around 2h20 (plus around 30 minutes check-in time).
The downside of Eurostar trains is the price – tickets are not cheap. Standard one-way fares between London and Paris are £180 / €250 (£280 / €350 first class). Booking a few days ahead can easily half the price. Trainline is great for comparing fares and often highlights the true specials, such as the odd train where First Class tickets are only €20 more expensive than Second Class rather than the more usual gap of €100 – €300.
Special deals are widely advertised and are often very good value for return trips, especially for travel over weekends and holiday periods. Returns for under £75 / €90 are not that hard to find if booking several weeks ahead.
Eurostar trains can be reserved via amongst others the very easy-to-use Trainline, or the official French railways websites Oui.SNCF (Europe) and RailEurope (USA & Rest of the World), or most companies selling travel in Europe.
By Intercity Bus from London to Paris
Budget travelers can save big by taking the bus from London to Paris. Flixbus (Megabus), Ouibus (previously Idbus), Alsa, and National Express / Eurolines have bus services several times per day between Paris and London at a fraction of the price of a Eurostar train ticket. One-way journeys for £30-40 (€40-50) are very easy to find with deals below €20 not particularly hard to book either on quiet days. The best deals on buses are often for travel within two weeks of booking.
The top deals on buses will always undercut the trains but where coach travel really saves the most is at full fare. When no deals are available, the full price on the bus is going to be well over £100 less than on the Eurostar trains.
The downside of coach travel is the lack of speed – buses from London to Paris take between 7h30 and 10 hours. Faster buses may use the Eurotunnel while slower services are usually via ferry and may stop more frequently en route. Some buses stop en route – especially in Kent but also in France – which may add to travel time but ferry times and city traffic are more often the speed determining factors.
All intercity buses depart in London from Victoria Coach Station but use different bus stations (gare routiere) in Paris.
Trainline is good for price comparisons – click the Show bus routes option if the first timetable displayed shows only the more expensive Eurostar trains.
On Flixbus Coaches from London to Paris
Flixbus, Europe’s largest intercity bus operator, has taken over all Megabus service on continental Europe and is usually the cheapest for bus travel between Paris and London. Ticket prices generally range from £20 to £50 but deals of around €15 are often easy to find. The expected load factor influences the price more than how far in advance the reservations are made.
Flixbus coaches connect London and Paris usually six times per day – avoid buses requiring a transfer.
In Paris, Flixbus coaches from London usually use the Bercy Seine stop near the Bercy train station. The bus stop is inside the Bercy park – enter the park at #69 rue de Bercy and walk through the park to the bus stop at the Seine River side of the park.
On Ouibus Coaches from London to Paris
Ouibus – formerly IDbus – is part of the French railway company SNCF, which owns a big chunk of Eurostar. Ouibus has up to eight coaches per day traveling in each direction between Paris and London. Travel times range from 7h30 to 9h20 but are usually the fastest of the bus companies.
The lowest one-way fares on Ouibus are around €30, which is slightly higher than on Flixbus but prices for both vary with demand – use Trainline to compare prices. Ouibus may be reserved through Trainline or Oui.SNCF but oddly, on the official SNCF website, it is necessary to search for bus and train services separately.
Ouibus coaches usually stop in Paris at Paris-Gare Bercy, 48 bis Boulevard de Bercy, 75012 Paris. From here use the Metro station Bercy on lines 6 and 14, or a short walk from Gare de Lyon with many further transportation options.
On National Express / Eurolines Buses from London to Paris
National Express / Eurolines, which has a much larger network of intercity buses in the UK, have around seven coach services daily between Paris and London. Eurolines buses often stop en route, which may be useful for passengers from Kent or Calais but do add a few minutes to journey times.
One-way fares from London to Paris on National Express / Eurolines buses are from €20 to €40. Discounts are available for return journeys booked online – returns for around £50 are fairly easy to find. The best deals and cheapest fares are usually for trips departing within two weeks.
Eurolines passengers may also often take advantage of the special offer of adding an onward trip from London to other destinations in the UK for a bargain fare.
In Paris, Eurolines long-distance buses use the International Bus Station Galliéni, which is to the east of central Paris. This bus stop is directly linked to the Galliéni metro station – line 3. This is probably the least convenient stop of the three bus services but it avoids some traffic and once on the metro train, there is very little in it.
Reservations for bus and train travel between Paris and London are best made online with tickets sold up until the moment of departure: Trainline is arguably the easiest site to use and compare all bus and train services and make bookings or pass travelers on to the relevant booking sites. Direct bookings are also possible at Flixbus (£), Oui.SNCF and Eurolines.