1 May 2015

Eurostar sets off to the sunshine

Holiday atmosphere comes to Eurostar stations, as inaugural service departs St Pancras International for Lyon, Avignon and Marseille
Today, Eurostar launched its new year-round service direct from London to Lyon, Avignon and Marseille, with the first train departing St Pancras International this morning. From just £89 return, passengers can speed across the French countryside to reach the gastronomy, lavender fields and sunshine of  these new destinations, now within easy reach of the heart of London or Ashford.
The South of France holiday atmosphere has arrived in Eurostar stations this weekend, with customers being offered speciality foods from the new destinations and the chance to win tickets, amongst other surprises. Travellers on the inaugural journey will be welcomed on board by Eurostar staff sporting a brand new uniform to reflect the new destination – a striped t-shirt and straw hat. Standard Premier customers on board will enjoy a menu inspired by the destination, featuring lavender shortbread and Provencal chicken.
Fares start at £89 return in Standard Class for travel to Lyon or £99 for Avignon and Marseille (from £189 and £199 in Standard Premier) throughout the whole year, with children under 4 travelling for free.  A seamless journey takes travellers to the centre of Lyon, the French capital of gastronomy in just over four and a half hours, the sunny Provencal lavender fields in under six hours, or the bright lights and sunny coastline of Marseille in just over six hours.  
Nick Mercer, Commercial Director, Eurostar, says: “We’re delighted to send off our very first Eursotar passengers to Lyon and the South of France today, and with strong advance ticket sales, we look forward to welcoming many more in the coming months. Our new service brings the gastronomy, culture and art of the regions closer to the UK, with an effortless journey available all year round.”
With the new route comes exciting new partnerships for Eurostar’s 2 for 1 offer for entry to temporary exhibitions and permanent collections, simply by showing your Eurostar ticket. The MuCEM in Marseille, a national museum dedicated to Mediterranean cultures, and the Musée des Confluences in Lyon, which presents the story of human adventure from our origins to the present day, are both now part of this offer.
Passengers travelling from France back to the UK can board their train without the need to arrive 30 minutes before departure, because check-in, security and immigration checks will take place at Lille Europe, where customers leave the train before continuing the journey to Ashford and London.  Lille Europe has recently re-opened following extension and refurbishment in preparation for welcoming passengers from Lyon and the South of France.
For more information or to book Eurostar tickets visit http://www.eurostar.com or call the Eurostar contact centre on 03432 186 186 or +44 (0)1233 617 575 if calling from outside the UK.
 Notes to Editors
  Sun & Bank HolidaysMon, Thu, Fri, Sat   9087
  90849084 MarseilleDep15:22
LondonDep07:1507:19 Avignon TGVArr
 Lyon Part DieuArr
Lyon Part DieuArr
 Lille Europe
Avignon TGVArr
MarseilleArr14:4614:46 LondonArr22:12
May – June
(From 1st May)
ü   üü 
July – Aug
(From 5th July)
ü  üüüü
Sept – Oct
From w/c 31st Aug)
ü   üü 
Nov – Dec
(From w/c 2nd Nov)
Journey times:
Best Journey Times from St Pancras International
Lyon Part Dieu4hrs 41mins
Avignon TGV5hrs 49mins
Marseille St Charles6hrs 27mins
Best Journey Times to London
Lyon Part Dieu5hrs 47mins
Avignon TGV7hrs 14mins
Marseille St Charles7hrs 50mins
Best Journey Times from Ashford
Lyon Part Dieu                             4hrs 5mins
Avignon TGV5hrs 13mins
Marseille St Charles5hrs 51mins
Best Journey Times to Ashford
Lyon Part Dieu5hrs 9mins
Avignon TGV6hrs 36mins
Marseille St Charles7hrs 12mins
About Eurostar
  1. Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Avignon and the French Alps.
  2. The current Eurostar train was first introduced into service in 1994 carrying 750 passengers and operating at speeds of up to 300kph.  Since then, the fleet of 28 trains has carried more than 150 million passengers between London and the Continent.  Following their refurbishment these trains will continue to form a core part of the Eurostar fleet. The new e320 will carry around 900 passengers at speeds of up to 320kph.
  3. Eurostar is a founder member of Railteam, a partnership between Europe’s leading high-speed train operators that is developing simpler ways to book and travel on the fast-expanding, European high-speed rail network.
  4. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are entirely separate companies.  Eurostar operates high-speed passenger trains, while Eurotunnel operates vehicle shuttle services and the Channel Tunnel itself. Eurostar is Eurotunnel’s biggest customer.
  5. Eurostar was established in 1994 as a partnership between three railway companies: SNCF, SNCB and LCR (London and Continental Railways). On 1 September 2010, Eurostar became a single, unified corporate entity owned by three shareholders: SNCF, SNCB and LCR. LCR’s holding was transferred to the Treasury in 2014, and sold by the UK government to a consortium comprising Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (CDPQ) and Hermes Infrastructure on 28th May 2015.