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Alternative to leave France for the UK

Hello all,

Just wanted to run our plan through the experts to see if it sounds "do-able". Our party of 3 will be in Paris from 1/23 - 1/31 and then we are headed to London to stay with our friend until 2/5. When we made all the plans and reservations a few months back, obviously the restriction to go from Paris - London on the Eurostar without compelling reason didn't exist. What we've come up with as a work-around is to take a train from Paris to Brussels (to get out of France without restriction) and then transfer to the Eurostar in Brussels and take it to London.

Does anyone see any issues I may be missing in doing this? I can't find anything that shows any pre-requirements in leaving France for Belgium, since we'll be there less than 48 hours (only a few hours actually) and since UK doesn't require pre-departure testing, we should only need to schedule the 2nd day and fill out the locator form, right?

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
6113 posts

I think someone on this forum did this a couple of weeks ago. Of course, things may change before then!

I presume you are fully vaccinated?

The day 2 test must be pre booked and paid for before you depart Belgium. If you test positive, you will then need to take a PCR test and isolate.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks!

Yes...we are all triple vaxed...so no concerns there. And if things do change, certainly hope it's to the less restrictive side! We're still optimistic and going to have a great time regardless.

Posted by
1168 posts

This was the post mentioned above
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/france/update-escape-from-france-and-lessons-learned

Believe the Op was pretty peeved when writing this, but ultimately looks he did the same and went through Brussels to get to the UK.
And beware, just because you are all triple vaccinated it does not preclude anyone in your group from testing positive with the new variant. There have been many postings on the boards of people who were triple vaxxed and completely surprised at testing positive although they had no symptoms. Just be prepared for anything, and that will make it much less of a stress should something arise.

Posted by
4549 posts

of course the problem here is that Belgium could institute its own rules, and the UK could reciprocate. Nowadays two weeks is a lifetime!

We watch a vlogger who is British but lives in Positano, they changed the rules just as she was about to drive onto Eurostar. She was going home to see her dad, which doesn't seem like much of a "compelling reason" but they let her in. They also let her Italian husband in because ... he was travelling with her. So as they say, YMMV. Probably best to keep pinging Eurostar for the latest updates.

Posted by
8 posts

Appreciate the comments!

We do have a plan "B" in case Belgium suddenly imposes restrictions...and that is to hop on a flight to Dublin, spend a night or two and then fly to London. This shortens our time in London with our friend, so it's why we hope plan "A" works out...or even better (but highly unlikely) France loosens the restriction for travel to UK.

We also realize that should any of us test positive along the way, it's "game over" and we are prepared (although it will definitely be unpleasant) to "eat" whatever costs that scenario presents.

And this should probably be a separate post to the England forum, but any suggestions on booking the day 2 test for UK to meet that requirement? And is it possible to do it "last minute" as you are about to board whatever transportation method you are using?

Thanks!

Posted by
33130 posts

as long as it is booked AND paid for AND you have received the record number from the lab AND you have completed the PLF AND submitted it BEFORE you begin to check in, sure - do it as last minute that you feel comfortable with. Better hope for good wifi.

You do know that the Eurostar from Brussels usually stops at Lille in France?

You will go through both Belgian exit border control and UK entry border control before you board the Eurostar so don't miss their minimum check in time or they won't board you. Time spent in the queue before check in doesn't count.

Posted by
8 posts

Point taken!

Probably best we sort things out at least the day before while still checked in to our hotel in Paris...and good chance things won't change overnight...and thanks for the pointers relating to the Eurostar check in. Shouldn't matter though about a stop in France if we are originating the trip "technically" in Belgium should it? Even though we start the day in Paris...take a train to Brussels...then taxi to the Eurostar and board Eurostar enroute from there (so technically Brussels origination point) to London...should work...unless I am mistaken?