Travelling to Europe by train can be a wonderfully relaxing way to get to your holiday destination. As a general rule, the best time to plan and book train fares is when they are released, normally 4 months in advance for Eurostar trains and 3 months in advance for trains within Europe.
HOWEVER, if you’re planning to explore Provence and surrounding regions this summer, and want to travel direct from London, then you need to book early…and that means anytime from NOW.
Normally available for sale in January, Eurostar’s popular direct summer services to Avignon opened for sale earlier than usual (on 20 Dec 2011). With direct journey times of less than six hours from St Pancras International in London and Ashford International in Kent, the summer service is a perennial favourite with travellers. It’s a convenient service, boarding in the UK, then travelling non-stop, direct to Avignon in the heart of Provence.
How often does the direct service run?
The service is a weekly Saturday service, running from Saturday 7 July to Saturday 1 September 2012. You leave St Pancras International at 07h17 (the recommended check-in time is 60 mins before departure), arriving at Avignon Centre at 13h47. On the return, trains leave from Avignon Centre at 16h27 and arrive back at St Pancras International at 21h11.
How much does it cost?
Direct Eurostar tickets are available from only £109 return in Standard class and £249 return in Standard Premier. Today, a quick search shows that the cheapest fare is from around £140 return, depending on your travel dates. So my advice is to book early if you really prefer this direct service.
What if the direct service is full?
If direct services are full, Eurostar offers connecting services all year round that arrive into Avignon TGV station, which is located just outside the town centre. Tickets for the connecting services are available from £119 return in Standard class and £239 return in Standard Premier.
What’s the difference between Avignon Centre Station and Avignon TGV station?
Avignon Centre Station is the city centre station and is distinct from Avignon TGV station, which is on the TGV Med high-speed line. A shuttle bus operates between the two stations, which runs about every 20 minutes and takes approximately 10 minutes. Cost is approximately 3 euros for a single journey.
If you need to pick up a car, there are a lot more choices (and therefore rates) of car rental companies at Avignon TGV station.
Need an idea for a holiday in this region? How about a glamping in the Ardeche? See REVIEW: Yurt Glamping in the Ardèche Nature Reserve: Canvaschic at Mille Etoiles