Train from Paris to Gatwick Airport

Hi all, I'm trying to buy tickets for 4 from Paris to Gatwick airport via Eurostar to catch a 1pm flight back to Orlando, Florida on December 14th 2012. My Questions are: 1. Is there a route that will take us non stop from Paris, straight to the airport.
2. How much time will it take. How early will we have to leave the hotel in order to be at the airport by 11am? I'm trying to get this done in early in order to save money by purchasing advance tickets. I have looked into this and I have some details already but I'm starting to get "paralysis by analysis" any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance, James

Posted by Robert
Portland
629 posts

Wow! I can't wait to see the answers. Is it really possible to do something like this now? I've always been worried about staying anywhere other than the immediate vicinity of an airport for an early afternoon international flight. We've stayed in villages far to the northeast of Paris before driving to CDG for an early afternoon flight, but that's because CDG is way outside Paris. But staying in another country across the water is a whole different ballgame.

Posted by Richard
Memphis, Tn, USA
37 posts

It looks like there is a train from St. Pancras International Station to Gatwick South. Otherwise you have to take a bus/tube/taxi from St. Pancras to Victoria and take the Gatwick express. The express is about 30 mintutes, the first train I mentioned takes an hour. All this comes from the RS England guidebook to that might have more info. Why are you flying back from London not Paris?

Posted by Richard
Memphis, Tn, USA
37 posts

BTW you might want to think about leaving Paris by the first train in the morning, spending a few hours in London and sleeping on the plane back to the US. Then your day might not feel so rushed and stressful.

Posted by Laura
Virginia, USA
2901 posts

1) The Eurostar goes to St Pancras and this will take about 2.5 hours. Once you arrive at St Pancras, you will need to transfer from the Eurostar arrivals area to a different part of the station to catch a First Capital Connect Train to Gatwick. The train to Gatwick will take about 45 minutes. You can check the First Capital Connect website for departure times. 2) You must be at Gare du Nord at least 30 minutes before departure. You most likely need to take the very earliest Eurostar possible. You really should be at the airport by 10am (3 hours in advance) for a transatlantic flight. I've cut it to 2.5 hours when I've done online check-in and had no bags to check, but that has always been when I am already in London. Personally, I'd never risk traveling from Paris to London on the day of my flight. I'd travel to London the night before and stay in a London hotel. I've been on the Eurostar twice when my train was significantly delayed ... One time was 12 years ago when the train ahead of mine derailed and my train arrived 6 hours late. The other time, my train was stuck two hours in the channel tunnel due to a power failure. While these situations are unusual, they do happen. I'd hate to have something go wrong before my international flight.

Posted by Denise
Lake Forest, CA, USA
1391 posts

Checking the DBahn website at http://bahn.hafas.de/bin/query.exe/en the latest date you can look at right now is December 7th. The earliest train is at 7:13 am and arrives at Gatwick at 9:40, 3 1/2 hours later. Use the website to look at the train schedules. If you click once on the red arrow on the left you will get a partial list of stops, click again and you will get a full list of all stops that train will make. I believe you can get a train schedule for the 14th next week. Take a copy of the schedule with you to be aware of your stops and when you need to prepare to get off of the train.

Posted by Philip
London, United Kingdom
1699 posts

It may be technically possible if everything connects perfectly and if you leave Paris very early in the morning, but my gut reaction to this is that you should travel to London the previous day. Eurostar isn't entirely free from delays and the First Capital Connect line from St Pancras to Gatwick definitely isn't. You don't want to miss your transatlantic flight and get stranded in the UK.

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
3410 posts

Furthermore, you should really arrive at Gatwick 3 hours before your flight, so that means being there at 10:00am not 11:00am. You definitely should leave Paris the night before your flight.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8760 posts

Sounds pretty risky to me. So, on a Friday (new timetable not out yet) in December the earliest Eurostar possible is likely to be the 7:13 as noted above which is scheduled to arrive 8:30, nonstop. The new timetables for the UK are not yet out. The existing ones end the 8th of December. If, and there is no guarantee that it won't change, the new timetable is similar to the old, the first conceivable First Capital Connect would be the 8:48 arriving Gatwick at 9:40. A safer one would be 9:04 arriving 9:56. They both make 5 stops along the way, and are the service which starts in the East Midlands at Bedford and goes all the way to the South Coast at Brighton. Unfortunately that line does not have a completely perfect record for punctuality. 3 hours before flight at Gatwick. For 7:13 departure at Paris Gare du Nord you need to be there by 6:30. I'd never risk a transatlantic flight for that complicated a journey to the airport. I hope there's not the "wrong kind" of snow. Both legs have been known to grind to a halt in snow or heavy rain or leaves on the track - all possible in December.

Posted by James
Ocala, Florida
20 posts

Thanks for the replies everyone. Richard - I don't like flying, and departing from London was the only way to get a non-stop flight back to Orlando. This will allow me to take my "Happy Pill" lol, and sleep through the long flight back. I've taken note of the all of the comments regarding the risk of scheduling things so close and not leaving enough room for delays etc. I will look into either spending the previous night in London, or trying to move my return time/date to later since I purchased the Travel Waiver Cancellation Protection it will only cost the price difference of the ticket.

Posted by Liz
Vancouver
1 posts

So what did you decide to do? I am contemplating the same thing but my return flight from Gatwick airport leaves at 2pm instead of 1pm. And I was thinking of leaving Paris at 745am, getting into St. Pancras at 9am and then catching the express to Gatwick. Wondering if it's doable.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1972 posts

It'll be easier on your nerves to get to the Gatwick area late on the afternoon before. I'd suggest staying around the airport. FYI: If you've never flown out of Gatwick, it's not the most efficient airport to fly out of. After going thru security, you sit in what looks like a small retail mall waiting for your flight's gate to be announced on an electronic board. When we were there in April, they flashed up the gate numbers about 15 minutes before departure. And all of a sudden, the whole plane's passengers would make a run for the gate--a long run. (In our case, EasyJet didn't pre-assign seats.) It can be a pretty chaotic scene. It really makes you appreciate the gorgeous and well organized Orlando Airport.