Strasbourg by Train

DonQui is off on his travels again. This time he is going to Strasbourg — one of his favourite European cities.


He has rather gone off flying these days. Except for those far too rare occasions when he manages to upgrade to business class, he finds airports and aeroplanes increasingly unpleasant.

Encouraged by the success of his trip to Spain by train last year, DonQui again decides to take the Eurostar from London and the super fast TGV (train à grande vitesse) on to Strasbourg.


Rather than changing trains in Paris he takes a tip from the kindly Man in Seat 61 and goes to Lille where he can change trains at the same station. He booked his tickets through Loco 2 which makes trans continental booking all very simple.

It all goes very smoothly. The 30 minutes between the Eurostar’s arrival in Lille and the TGV’s departure to Strasbourg is more than enough time. Changing in Paris necessitates a change of stations which involves more of hassle, uncertainty and time.

So why Strasbourg and why this time of year?


Well it is cold — bitterly so from DonQui’s perspective even if his Canadian relatives might beg to differ. Claiming the title of ‘Christmas Capital’ Strasbourg hosts the oldest constantly running Christmas market in Europe, dating back to 1570.


Some of the decorations are a little bit ‘over the top’ perhaps so much that they start to become ironic. Despite the cold weather the atmosphere is congenial and there are plenty of places to warm up with waffles, Glühwein and even hot spiced orange juice.


Packed full of excellent restaurants serving hearty Alsatian fare washed down with excellent local wines (Alsatian riesling is the best in DonQui’s opinion) there are plenty of great excuses to get out of the cold and settle in for a couple of hours.


The wonderfully compact medieval centre of Strasbourg is made for strolling although a boat tour around the circumvallating River Ille is well worth it in DonQui’s opinion. With its mix of French and German culture it is the sort of place to wander around, discover hidden secrets down a cobbled ally, and take in the atmosphere. It is just the sort of place DonQui loves returning to.



Eurostar to Paris

DonQui was glad to be travelling to Spain by train as he had been told it was far more comfortable and relaxing than flying.


After the chaotic, poorly organised check-in at the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras, DonQui began to have second thoughts. Perhaps it would have been better to have flown with Ryanair as they at least know how to herd animals properly.

Thankfully DonQui got to St Pancras early enough to enjoy a fabulous croissant and coffee at Le Pain Quotidien before braving the check-in queue. If he hadn’t had some sustenance before hand then Mr Grumpy would certainly have made an appearance. Check-in for the Eurostar closes 30 mins before departure and it takes at least that long to get through security, British and French border controls with a chaotic queuing system that has lines coming together from several directions.

After Eurostar check in

The whole process left DonQui feeling quite exhausted and wishing that he was lazing on a sunny beach wearing a straw hat.

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When he finally got on the Eurostar, DonQui slept most of the way to Paris.

DonQui Recommends

Get to the Eurostar terminal in plenty of time plan on it taking a good 30 minutes to get through check-in, security and border controls.