London to Paris: Bus options
By Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries—
It is now more than three years since Pete Meyers wrote one of EuroCheapo’s most popular blog posts, his oft-quoted and much-admired London to Paris for Ten Quid. So, ever anxious to get a little glory by association with successful writers, we’ve been checking out whether it is still possible to catch a Eurolines coach from London to Paris for a tenner.
Eurolines still operates plenty of direct services from London to Paris but their ‘Paris for a tenner’ promotion has long been consigned to ticketing history. Even their £15 one-way special funfare, which was available this past summer, has evidently been scrapped.
For the winter 2010-2011 season, the best that Eurolines can offer on the London to Paris route is £28 single or £38 return. These fares include a £3 online booking fee. (November 2011 update: We found London to Paris fares for £30 single or £40 return, not including a £4 online booking fee.)
We have played around on their website and it seems that there are no youth or senior discounts on these entry-level fares. If you cannot commit well in advance and only book a few days prior to travel, then fares begin to creep up. Casting around, we found that £40 one-way now seems the norm if you book five or six days in advance and fares hike up even more if you leave booking to just a day or two before travel.
Bus vs train
So not quite the great deal it once was, yet for price conscious travelers the Eurolines fares generally still undercut Eurostar. The question is really whether you want to spend more than eight hours on a coach or a couple of hours on a train. Eurolines buses from London either use P&O ferry services or the Eurotunnel shuttle for the hop over (or under) the English Channel.
The company also runs direct coaches, not always daily, from London to Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Lyon, Munich and Vienna. These cross-Channel bus services are just part of a Europe-wide network coordinated by Eurolines.