It was a mother and daughter trip to Paris, we had been in Ireland, and decided to hop over to Paris for 3 days. When in Europe, you can literally do that– Just hop on a plane for a short journey to another country, sort of like we do here in the states, flying from state to state. On our return journey, I decided it would be fun to travel from Paris to London by bus or coach.
I thought what a wonderful way to see the French countryside, to soak in more of the french experience. In my mind, I pictured fields of Lavender and an educational and moving experience for my daughter. I thought since the trip is only around 6 hours. It would be fun!
I booked the ticket with Eurolines. We departed from Roissypole – Gare, near Charles de Gaulle Airport and our destination was Victoria Coach Station in London.
This was going to be so exciting! And going across the English Channel by Ferry, honestly, I knew my 12-year-old daughter would love it.
The day our journey began, we arrived an hour early though we only needed to be 30 minutes early. Our Coach was 20 minutes late. Sending me into a slight panic, as I wasn’t 100 % sure that I was in the correct place, even though I asked at least 6 people in broken french if I was at the correct bus stop.
We were finally picked up, with a few people already on the bus, and off we went. To London, from Paris by bus. We very quickly discovered that our promise of Wi-Fi was not even close to being a reality. I tried all of my travel tricks. Nothing. Looks of despair from my daughter started to ensue, but alas, we made do with no internet.
The coach made a couple of stops on the way out of Paris for other passengers. On one of our stops, we were surprised to be boarded by a Police Force of some kind, about 4 men, asking for passports. Everyone on the bus, I guess about 15 people including us, all showed their passports, were cleared and off we went again. I was eager to reach the french border, I wanted to enjoy the sea air as we crossed.
The beautiful Countryside? Well… Not what I was expecting, though it was pretty and very green. I guess in my mind I assumed miles of flowers, you know the acres of lavender always in pictures on Pinterest? That’s not this part of France.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not downing on France. But this particular drive, was not particularly stunning, it was mostly some homes and miles of farming fields. When telling people about this excursion, I have had many people chuckle. I mean how was I to know? Driving the countryside of England, Ireland or Scotland never disappoints. I have heard parts of France are stunning. But this drive, well, it really isn’t one of them. I feel bad saying that, as I love greenery and seeing windmills always makes me happy!
Halfway to the French border, we did stop at a large rest area that offered food, toilets, and a gift shop. There is a toilet on board, but neither my daughter or I used it. We got drinks and a snack for the rest of the journey.
Right before the border, all passengers had to get off of the coach and go through security/passport control. It was a quick production, a lot quicker than any airport I’ve been through. Most likely because there were so few people on our bus.
This photo was taken in a stall at Passport Control in France.
We then headed for the actual border. (Me looking furiously for the channel water)
We stopped in a long line of Coaches/Buses. I was eagerly waiting, only to realize, we were going through the Euro Tunnel. An underwater railway also known as the “Chunnel” and that takes about 35 minutes to cross. The Channel Tunnel is quite an elaborate operation. However, I was thinking we were going over water. Silly me. I also thought that a person (or bus), could simply drive through the tunnel for their excursion to the other side. I was very wrong. In fact, our big ole bus was put into a crate, a rather very large crate– It was technically the train, but it looked like we were being loaded onto a crate in the train, a very enormous metal one. Oh boy.
I’m not fond of being underground. I can just manage the tube in London, or any underground system, because I try not to think about being miles under the dirt. You see, I’m ever so slightly claustrophobic. However, at this point, I couldn’t exactly back out. I also didn’t have the luxury of any kind of panic as I was with my 12-year-old daughter. So … with a great deal of hidden reluctance, I watched as workers closed the doors ahead of us. We were sitting relatively close to the front of the bus. I didn’t actually time the trip, it was bumpy and I could see through the glass barrier that separated the buses on the train. All of us were synchronized in our bouncing, as the train carried us from Paris to London by bus.
Once in England, we waited patiently as the barrier doors opened slowly one at a time, letting each bus drive forward. Forward that is, towards another stop for border control and checking of passports. Again, passport control was fast before reboarded the bus and heading towards London.
The trip to London, was pretty much uneventful. However, once we were in the city, the driver had absolutely no idea where he was going, he navigated through most of the city, passing a lot of the beautiful monuments that scream “You’re in London!!”, but the closer we got to Victoria Station, the more the bus driver kept calling for directions (Google Maps anyone?).
We finally arrived at Victoria station, just an average big bus station– with a toilet you have to pay for and seats to wait in. Since we had to catch a plane to Ireland, I didn’t stick around to see what was available for the traveler. We walked the 5 minute journey to the Victoria Train Station and made our way to Gatwick Airport.
A quick synopsis…
Such a cheap journey. For both my daughter and I, it was €48.00.
If time is not an issue, this is the best way to go, it took just over 7 hours, but if you’re backpacking or have time– Why not? Enjoy that book you have wanted to finish. Catch up on emails (You’ll do so without wi-fi) or you can catch up on sleep.
When you purchase your tickets. They are both in English and French.
It’s really a boring ride. I had magazines. But I was bored without internet, I was traveling light, and I expected to have Wi-Fi. Hannah did surprisingly well. She always brings things to do, and she did have some games on her phone that didn’t require internet.
As previously mentioned I couldn’t get connected to Wi-Fi. They do advertise having Wi-Fi, but our bus didn’t.
The bus arrived late, and we were very late into London. By over an hour. You must have a freed up schedule to travel by coach.
For me, this was a one time experience, I did it, but I won’t likely do this particular route again, with Airlines like Ryanair, it’s so cheap to book a ticket and fly quickly. However, I did get quality time with my daughter, and that’s priceless!