The direct Eurostar to Lyon, Avignon & Marseille

Bonjour Marseille!  The inaugural direct Eurostar from London arrived spot on time at Marseille on 1 May 2015.

Buy tickets online at
  Eurostar ticket to Marseille on inaugural train

From the Thames to the Mediterranean

Service cancelled since 2020:  Eurostar used to run a direct train from London to Lyon, Avignon & Marseille up to 4 times a week during the summer.  It was the first scheduled train in history ever to link the Thames directly with the Mediterranean.  However, this train didn't run in 2020 or 2021 due to the pandemic, didn't run in 2022 or 2023 due to Eurostar's post-pandemic, post-Brexit situation and won't run in 2024. 

You can still travel with a change in Lille or Paris, see the London to France page.

small bullet point  Timetable & days of running

small bullet point  How much does it cost?

small bullet point  How to buy tickets

small bullet point  Check-in

small bullet point  On board facilities & luggage

small bullet point  What's the journey like?

small bullet point  Hotels in Lyon, Avignon or Marseille

On what days does it run?









 Summer 2024

Cancelled in

2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024

Train times

 London ► France


 France ► London

Train No.


Train No.


 London St Pancras dep.


 Marseille St Charles dep.


 Ashford depart:


 Avignon TGV depart


 Lille Europe



 Lyon Part Dieu depart:




 Lille Europe**



 Lyon Part Dieu arrive




 Avignon TGV arrive


 Ashford arrive


 Marseille St Charles arr.


 London St Pancras arrive


** = On the northbound journey you get off at Lille, go through the usual Eurostar passport & security checks and re-board the train.

| = The southbound train does in fact briefly stop at Lille, but only to change driver & train managers.

Always check exact times for your specific date online, at or

London to Lyon is 915.5 km (568 miles).  London to Avignon is 1146.5 km (712 miles).  London to Marseille is 1240.5 km (770 miles).

Avignon TGV station is 3 miles from Avignon city centre & Avignon Centre station.  There's a rail link from Avignon TGV station to Avignon Centre station with shuttle trains (navettes) every 30-45 minutes, journey time 5 minutes, fare around €1.80 but free for Eurostar ticket holders.  You can also use a taxi, of course.  You can check navette times using Map of Avignon showing stations.

Alternatives if this direct Eurostar doesn't suit you:  If it leaves London too early or doesn't run on the day you want, there are a whole range of daily train services from London to Lyon, Avignon, Marseille, Nimes, Montpelier, Perpignan, Cannes or Nice with an easy change of train onto a TGV at Lille or Paris, see the London to France page for details.

How much does it cost?

How to buy tickets

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How to check in

Check-in gates   Eurostar departure lounge

What's it like on board the Eurostar?

e300 power car   1st class seats

The first freshly-refurbished e300.


1st class (Standard Premier & Business Premier).

Standard class seats   e300 cafe-bar car

Standard class seats on an e300.


One of two bar cars on an e300, larger than e320.

Meals & drinks are included in Standard Premier

In Standard Premier, meals are included in the fare, served at your seat.  Southbound, a light breakfast is served soon after departure (pictured below left) and south of Paris an early lunch is served in good time for arrival at Lyon (below right).  On the London-Marseille Eurostar lunch or dinner includes a hot dish, so is better than the cold food served in Standard Premier on the regular London-Paris & London-Brussels Eurostars.  Northbound, drinks and snacks are served on departure from Marseille and Avignon with a hot dinner served once the train is north of Lyon.

Breakfast on the Eurostar to Marseille   Lunch on the Eurostar to Marseille

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What's the journey like?

Boarding in London   Dartford Crossing

The 07:19 to Marseille boarding at St Pancras.


Passing the QEII road bridge across the Thames.

The river Medway

The Eurostar crosses the River Medway...  On this side (the right hand side of the train), small boats on the river.  On the left hand side, Rochester castle and cathedral are just visible in the distance over the top of the adjacent M2 motorway road bridge.

The train enters the Channel Tunnel...  Unless you're very sharp-eyed, you won't spot the sea at all.  The train slows slightly and passes by the Eurotunnel car, coach & lorry terminal then plunges into the Channel Tunnel.  It's a complete anti-climax, just like any other rail tunnel only a bit longer.  In 20 minutes later you burst into the sunlight in France...

Entering the Channel Tunnel   Leaving the Channel Tunnel

Entering the Channel Tunnel near Folkestone.

Leaving the Channel Tunnel near Calais.

Scenery in Northern France

Northern France...  The train speeds across northern France at 186mph, past undulating farmlands, small villages.  The London to Marseille Eurostar stops briefly at Lille Europe to change driver and train managers, although this is not a public stop.  The other on-board crew remain on board all the way from London to Marseille.

By-passing Paris & onto the Sud-Est high-speed line...  The Eurostar by-passes Paris to the east on the high-speed interconnexion line, speeding non-stop through Charles de Gaulle Airport TGV station, the closest you'll come to an airport on this trip to the south of France.  Just south of Paris the train joins the Sud-Est high-speed line linking Paris with Lyon & Marseille .  Between Paris & Lyon the train rushes past sheep, cows, and ramshackle stone-walled farms nestling in small green valleys.

The Rhone at Lyon   Lyon Part Dieu station

Arrival in Lyon Part Dieu:  Finally, the train slows down and leaves the high-speed line, rumbling slowly across the Rhone, passing right by the historic station of Lyon Brotteaux (built 1904, closed 1983, on the right hand side) and arriving at Lyon Part Dieu.  See Lyon Part Dieu station guide.

Scenery from the train along the Rhone Valley

The Rhone Valley...  After leaving Lyon the train rejoins the high-speed line and powers down the Rhone Valley, past pretty French villages with picturesque churches and the occasional chateau.  On a clear day you can see the snow-capped French Alps in the far distance to the left, and the ridge of the Massif Central mountains on the far side of the valley to the right.

The view from the train as it crosses the Rhone at Avignon

Arrival in Avignon TGV... On its approach to Avignon TGV station the train crosses a massive viaduct high above the River Rhone.  If you look to your left you can see Avignon's famous Palais des Papes standing out on the skyline in the distance, see the picture above.  Though if you can see anyone dancing sur le pont d'Avignon you have better eyesight than me.

Avignon TGV station is 3 miles from the city centre.  You can take a taxi, or wait for the next shuttle train (navette) to Avignon Centre station which is right in the centre.  The navette is free for Eurostar ticket holders.  Click for map of Avignon showing stations.

As the train approaches Marseille you can see the Mediterranean on your right, with ferries & cruise liners in port and in the distance a glimpse of the infamous Chateau d'If (France's Alcatraz, think Count of Monte Cristo) on its island in the bay.  To the right and ahead you may glimpse the lovely church of Notre Dame de la Garde on its hill overlooking Marseille.  See Marseille St Charles station guide.

Eurostar at Marseille   Arrived at Marseille

This is the inaugural Eurostar arrived a Marseille, spot on time...

Marseille St Charles interior   Marseille St Charles station exterior

Marseille St Charles station, 15 minutes walk from the Vieux Port.  See Marseille St Charles station guide.

The Vieux Port at Marseille

Bonjour Marseille!  The Eglise Notre Dame de la Garde, overlooking the Vieux Port.

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The northbound journey:  Passports & security at Lille

The scenery is obviously the same, but there are two important differences when you return northbound.

There is no check-in when boarding the northbound Eurostar at Marseille, Avignon or Lyon.  The train is treated just like any other train, you can walk up to it and hop on with your bags any time until they close the doors a minute or two before departure.  I repeat:  There is NO 30-minute check-in, in fact no check-in at all.  Just be on board when the doors close and off it goes!

In the northbound direction the train calls at Lille for an hour where check-in, passports & security checks are carried out as explained in the photos below.  While passengers do this upstairs, the train itself has to be thoroughly security checked in line with the Channel Tunnel security regulations before security-screened passengers are allowed back on.  Eurostar deliberately don't fully-book the northbound Eurostar it can be a busy train with a lot of people to check in, a bit of a pain perhaps, but just be patient as you'll soon be back on board.

Boarding the Eurostar from Marseille to London

Boarding the train back to London.  There's no check-in at Marseille, Avignon or Lyon, just get on any time before the doors close and it leaves.

Lille Europe   Checking in at Lille

1.  On arrival at Lille Europe, you get off the train with your bags and go up the escalators to the concourse above the tracks.  The train will be security-cleared when everyone is off.


2.  You check-in exactly as if you were boarding a Eurostar at Lille.  Automatic ticket gates, then passport control, then an X-ray & metal detector security check.

Lille departure lounge   Re-boarding the train at Lille

3.  You wait in the departure lounge.  There are toilets, info desk, vending machines & even a kiddies corner.


4.  You go back down the escalators and re-board the train when the boarding announcement is made.

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Hotels in Lyon, Avignon, Marseille

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