Eurostar Introduces New, State-of-the-Art Trains

Eurostar Introduces New, State-of-the-Art Trains
It all began on 6th May 1994 when HM Queen Elizabeth opened Waterloo International Station, London, before traveling with the late President Mitterand — on Eurostar — to Calais for the Channel Tunnel inauguration. I’ve been a complete fan since the launch and do London/Paris/Paris/ London in 2 hours 15 minutes. A dream! Now it’s Gare du Nord to St Pancras International — instead of Waterloo — but worth it; there’s even a branch of the posh “by appointment” Fortnum & Mason, as well as Whistles, Aspinal of London, M.A.C and the Harry Potter Shop that beckon as soon as I walk through the doors! The Gare du Nord, Paris’s oldest, and busiest, train station, is a bit of a mess at the moment as SNCF and Wilmotte & Associates transform the Jacques Hittorff gare (built between 1861-1864) into a costly glass, cement and steel space with a super shopping mall, hotel and – among the brands – the Train Blanche brasserie by Michelin two-star chef Thierry Marx. As for Eurostar, the evolution of the brand sees new super sleek and aerodynamic e320 designed 320kph trains – by Pininfarina, the legendary design house responsible for Ferrari’s unique style. The bar buffet’s been redesigned, there’s free wi-fi throughout the carriages, and screens in each coach transmit everything I need to know on board: from where I am to how fast I’m traveling. Think supermodel meets explorer: sleek, chic, practical and intuitive. At its deepest, the tunnel is 75 meters below sea level — that’s the equivalent of 107 baguettes piled on top of each other, according to Metropolitan, Eurostar’s glossy magazine. I look for special offers, booking well ahead, in Standard Premier and in Business Premier where gastronomic meals are designed by that most English of French chefs Raymond Blanc OBE (two Michelin stars). “I work closely with Eurostar’s kitchens in Kent, Burgundy and Brussels to create a range of seasonal flavors whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, café gourmand or dinner,” he says. I’m writing this in Standard Premier having received a stiffy (hard back invitation) to the Business Premier Lounge to thank me for my loyalty – I feel very special. It’s the way to begin the short trip to London (2hrs 15): magazines, coffee, snacks and great people watching. Eurostar’s proud to be the first transport provider to achieve Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) accreditation as a One-Star Sustainability Champion for its commitment to sourcing local ingredients. Whichever class you travel your journey will be smooth as silk and although my journey usually takes me back to London I’m looking forward to taking Eurostar onwards down south to Lyon, Avignon and Marseille; I may even take my bike – watch this space! Photo credits: Travelling@Gare du Nord by billknock/ Flickr

Lead photo credit : Eurostar train

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Born in Hampton, Middlesex, UK, Margaret Kemp is a lifestyle journalist, based between London, Paris and the world. Intensive cookery courses at The Cordon Bleu, London, a wedding gift from a very astute ex-husband, gave her the base that would take her travelling (leaving the astute one behind) in search of rare food and wine experiences, such as the vineyards of Thailand, 'gator hunting in South Florida, learning to make eye-watering spicy food in Kerala;pasta making in a tiny Tuscany trattoria. She has contributed to The Guardian, The Financial Times Weekend and FT. How To Spend, The Spectator, Condé Nast Traveller, Food & Travel, and Luxos Magazine. She also advises as consultant to luxury hotels and restaurants. Over the years, Kemp has amassed a faithful following on BonjourParis. If she were a dish she'd be Alain Passard's Millefeuille “Caprice d'Enfant”, as a painting: Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe !