Here is a little tip. Go early. I know they say you need only check in one hour before the train departs. Yes, this is for the train company. However, what they haven’t told you is how long it takes for customs to process your entry back to the UK. So add an extra hour. Trust me, when you enter the process hall, which can’t be seen from outside, and see the massive queues of people waiting and not moving and each second of the clock ticking closer to your train departure time, it gets stressful. Sometimes, there’s only 2 to 3 UK customs processing passengers processing all the passengers of at least 3 Eurostar trains. Why they don’t bring in 5 or 6, I don’t know. Anyway, the processing hall gets very hot, so make sure you bring water also.
So there’s not much to do in the departure lounge and so much to see in Paris? Sure. But if you want to be seen running to your platform with your trousers nearly at your knee and your butt crack showing because you’ve removed your belt at the X-ray security door, be my guest. It really is quite humourous for the rest of us passengers waiting for our train which leaves after yours.
This is the tip. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. If you are departing Sunday afternoons to London, be at Gard du Nord at least 1.5 – 2 hours before train departs.