Eurolines a bus service that runs from Victoria Coach Station in London to Paris Gallieni Station (Metro Line 3). The other bus options are idbus.com which arrives in Paris Bercy (Metro Line 6) or Megabus which arrives in Porte Maillot (Metro Line 1). I always take the Euroline service because it is the most convenient for me in terms of metro line. I came back from Paris with Eurolines about a month ago and have been thinking about writing a post for a while. I usually don’t take the bus if I have my ticket for the Eurostar bought in time it costs £36 if you buy at least 3 months in advance which is about the same price as a bus ticket with Eurolines.
Eurostar had pissed me off previously because I had taken the train from Paris to London on the 1st July, I remember very clearly that there had been a lot of problems with Eurostar because of the situation at the border in Calais and Eurostar had cancelled many services the previous day. On this particular day, it was 37degrees which is ridiculous for Paris and Gare du Nord was packed with no air conditionning. When I arrived there, everyone was queuing to go up the escalators where we are normally allowed to go and check in. It took about 40 minutes before we were told why we all had to queue in the immense and disgusting heat and why our train was delayed – due to left luggage apparently. When I finally got on the train I swear it was hrs after and since Eurostar was so late I missed my connecting train and ended up paying for 2 tickets. To cut a long story short, Eurostar insists that the train was only late 59 minutes therefore I was not due any compensation for the delay as within the European guidelines which is absolute bullshit. Eurostar are just going down from all the hotels and shit that they had to pay for cancelling a full day of services.
Anyway, for this reason, I decided to boycott Eurostar and take the Eurolines bus. Now, I have taken Eurolines quite a few times from London to Paris and vice versa and I have never had a bad experience before with Eurolines but it is really fucking boring. First of all, my parents live in Cambridge and I had to take the train to Kings Cross and then change onto the Victoria tube line which isn’t far but because I am retarded I took the right train jumped off thinking it was the wrong one and then jumped back onto the next one. When I arrived at Victoria train station, I dragged my suitcases up the stairs (I can never work out where the lift is). I find the walk to Victoria Coach station really irritating and normally the walk is cut short when you take the escalators through the shopping centre it seems to be a bit shorter but of course the escalators were out of order and there was no way that I was going to lug all that crap up the stairs so I walked around the building, when I finally arrived at the coach station I remembered how annoying it is to get to the International departures. Eurolines requires you to print out an ‘e-ticket’ and then check at the desks located right at the end of the whole station and it is a pain to push through all the people. In the end, I didn’t end up waiting too long for the coach but the people who were waiting with me, I found to be very rude – there was no sense of order to the queue because on Eurolines, there is no allocated seating so it is first come first serve.
When I boarded the bus, there wasn’t too many people yet and I picked a seat not too far from the driver because I hate being at the back and in the middle there are the toilets after 8hrs, it can get a bit whiffy. I was quite happy for about half an hr until some guy decided to sit next to me when there was still plenty of seats available. And I soon realised that this guy was going to be trying to chat to me all through the 8hrs. I’m not anti-social but during these trips I really do prefer to sleep. Plus he was saying all this disgusting stuff like how he had shoes on without socks so he was sorry if I could smell his feet. Who the hell says that to someone? That was super irritating. Fortunately, the bus is not uncomfortable, there is a lot of room compared to a regular bus but I had a big handbag and a backpack that didn’t fit in the overhead storage so I did feel a bit cramped.
The thing about Eurolines is that there are an awful lot of stops, I feel like there is a lot of getting on and off but it does depend because sometimes when we reach Dover, we don’t get off the bus and the passport officers come aboard to collect all the passports and then dishes them out again but this time, we were hurried off the bus by the driver because apparently we didn’t have a lot of time until we had to get into the shuttle to cross the channel. We had quite a long wait as well to board but once we were on the shuttle, we were again allowed to get off the bus. But when we are in the tunnel, I don’t really like to get off the bus because it’s all dark and there isn’t a lot of space to walk around and I am always quite afraid someone is going to steal my things. (My friend had a passport stolen once).
My overall opinion of Eurolines is not a bad one depending on who you travel with and at what time. It takes around 8hrs so you need to prepare yourself for a day of travel. I once did the trip over night and I have to say it is a lot worse than taking it during the day. I thought that I could sleep but nope! you have to get on and off the bus in the middle of the night for passport checks etc, not pleasant at all and it is super dark it is really not safe. If you are travelling alone, it can be annoying so choose your seat wisely because there are some irritating people around. Another experience I had was to sit next to a larger gentlemen and he took up half my seat so I spent 8hrs crushed up against the window! But booking is easy, there is wifi on board that works on and off – just don’t forget to pack your charger in your bag, there are USB ports and you must imperatively print your ticket in advance!