Friday, 13 March 2009

France vs England

Over the last couple of days I have travelled on Eurostar from London to Paris and back again.

St Pancras International is a beautiful station, and the process of checking in is as smooth as one could want. 

There are gorgeous shops, cafes and bars prior to going through the departure security and passport checks.

Free WiFi is available while one is waiting in the departure lounge and a line of sockets prevent loss of battery power.

I only have two criticisms: the immediate area surrounding the station is a dump and most provide a very poor impression on international visitors and there are no shops, bar the obligatory WH Smith, in the departure lounge.

Gare du Nord is a different proposition.  It feels crowded and cramped, although that does improve as one ascends the stairs to the Eurostar area.

The shopping available before reaching the departure lounge is poor but improves slightly after the security checks.

But there isn’t any WiFi, which is rubbish.  The Eurostar traffic must be primarily business people, most of whom need access to an internet connection to work.  It seems silly not to provide something so basic.  And it also irritated me because I’d planned to do some work while I was waiting and instead I had to go and get a drink and some sleep.

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