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Before boarding the Eurostar, you have to go through security (xray of bags and metal detector for people), and juxtaposed boarder controls (show your passport to immigration officers from the country you're heading to). That can all take a bit of time, so most passengers are required to start this process at least 30 minutes before the train departure.

Once you've been through all that, you then wait in a departures area for boarding (typically starts about 15 minutes before the train is due to leave). I've been through Brussels, Paris and London before, so I know what their departures areas are like. Generally they have a cafe, a shop or two, quite a lot of seats, wifi (free in London, paid for elsewhere), and a frequent travellers lounge.

I've not caught the Eurostar from Lille before, but I will be doing so in a few weeks, so I'm wondering what the departures area after security/immigration there is like? Any shops? A cafe? Wifi? Enough seats? Eurostar Carte Blanche / Business Premier lounge?

And possibly related, does the normal 30 minute minimum checkin for most passengers / 10 minute checkin for Business Premier ticket holders / Carte Blanche holders apply at Lille too? Or is there a shorter cut-off in light of the smaller passenger numbers?

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I took the Eurostar from Lille around 4 years ago. I'm not sure if I remember it well but in my memory the immigration is done after you already reached the facilities area, not before. I remember some cafes but I think there weren't enough seats (my memory may be betrayaling me though). –  hooray Sep 24 '12 at 17:52

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I've found the answer on the Eurostar website, which it turns out has detailed information on facilities in all their stations.

In short, there are seats and vending machines, but nothing else - no lounge or shops.

Checkin at Lille is the same as everywhere else, 30 minutes, or 10 minutes for Business Premier/Carte Blanche. (Ski services look to be special thought, but they don't apply to Lille)

For the details on what's in Lille, this is what Eurostar have to say:

Our lounge in this European travel hub offers comfortable seating and food and drink vending machines.

Shops and cafés: There are currently no retail facilities in the Lille Europe departure lounge other than vending machines, so if you fancy anything more substantial than a chocolate bar be sure to stock up before you check in.

Refreshingly detailed and honest!

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I've taken the Eurostar there and can confirm: there are toilets, vending machines. Free Wifi but it seems the signal is not that strong. There are enough seats (at least when I've been there) including pretty comfortable, probably made for First class but anyone can sit there actually. The area looks pretty empty but it's quite silent, and the waiting time is not that long anyway. The part I didn't find comfortable is the waiting line to enter this area, when you are standing up in the station, there is not that much space for that. But if you are a premium traveler you won't be concerned –  Vince Sep 25 '12 at 8:08

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