/ Chamonix by Train ?

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Petarghh - on 01 Feb 2013
Has anyone done this ? I'm thinking of London - Paris - Chamonix via the Eurostar. Trying to avoid flying due to the small baggage allowance and the "eurolines experience".

FInding it difficult to find prices for tickets on the web.

Cheers !
MG - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Petarghh: Yes. It works well if you get good tickets and is a relaxing journey (other than across Paris). The problem is UK, French and Eurotunnel cheap tickets are all released at different times, which is a real pain. Try http://www.raileurope.co.uk/ and http://www.seat61.com/
Petarghh - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to MG: I looked at raileurope and typing in "Paris - Chamonix" comes out with no results, this seems quite common for any website i've used, I cant seem to just type my start point and destination and be quoted with a price.

maybe i'm doing something stupid ? !
MG - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Petarghh: Yes. As I said it's a pain! It may be tickets are not yet released for your dates? As alternative the SNCH, Eurotunnel etc website all sell tickets separately. You may end up buying air tickets in frustration after losing a few hours of your life!!
Doug on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Petarghh: Paris - Chamonix works on http://www.sncf.com
Petarghh - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to MG: Right, well i'm not going until June, so i'll give it some more time and see how the price differs.

Thanks for the info !
Neil Williams - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Petarghh:

No, the railways are doing something stupid with their insistence on market pricing, compulsory reservations and the likes.

It used to be possible until the 1990s just to buy a CIV through ticket from anywhere in Europe to anywhere in Europe at main European railway stations including the UK.

The system is now less integrated than the air travel system.

easyjet.com is your friend :)

Neil
EwanR on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Petarghh:

I've done Genève to the UK many times and it's a very pleasant way to travel except for one minor problem:

just don't try and take any "dangerous sporting goods" with you like an ice axe. For unfathomable reasons what is allowed on the trains either side isn't allowed on the train in the middle and eurostar's "checked-in" baggage service is beyond a joke.

Other that that it's a case of booking the tickets separately at:

http://www.voyages-sncf.com/

http://www.eurostar.com/

The minor annoyance is that SNCF tickets only go on sale 3 months before but eurostar ones are available 6(?) months in advance so getting the cheapest combination is a little tricky.

Es Tresidder - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Petarghh: Probably the easiest way is London to Paris on Eurostar, then Paris to Geneva on TGV, short hop to Geneva airport and get a pre-booked transfer from there. Getting the train all the way to Chamonix is possible, but the last bit is very slow. Or you can get a sleeper from Paris to Chamonix, that's a good option, often cheaper, and doesn't matter that it takes ages as you're sleeping (take earplugs and eye mask), gets to Chamonix about 10am, leave Paris Austerlitz about 10pm.

I've taken ice axes on eurostar many times without any problems, although admittedly not for 3 years or so, so it might be different now.

I book using eurostar.com and voyages.sncf.com

French tickets are released 3 months in advance, and eurostar 4 months, I think.

Cheers, Es.
EwanR on 01 Feb 2013
> I've taken ice axes on eurostar many times without any problems, although admittedly not for 3 years or so, so it might be different now.

I think that the change came in just over two years ago. Before that there was never a problem with anything as long as it wasn't a bomb.

I agree that Genève aeroport to Chamonix by minibus is saner that doing the whole thing by train.



Frank4short - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Es Tresidder:
> (In reply to Petarghh) Probably the easiest way is London to Paris on Eurostar, then Paris to Geneva on TGV, short hop to Geneva airport and get a pre-booked transfer from there. Getting the train all the way to Chamonix is possible, but the last bit is very slow.

Does the TGV not go all the way to Salanches/Saint Gervais Le fayet? After that you just have to wait for the local commuter train (every half hour, I think).

For the OP look into either Martigny or Salanches/Saint Gervais Le fayet as both of these are the nearest major rail intersections to Cham, in either direction, and both are relatively easy to get to Cham from.
Petarghh - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Petarghh: From all the responses, it seems like flying is probably the best way to go. I think the price is going to be pretty similar,

Cheers for the replies !
Doug on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: last time I caught the train from Chamonix to Paris it was the local train to St Gervais, then a train direct to Paris which although a TGV, doesn't go very fast at first
inboard - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Petarghh:
As already mentioned www.seat61.com is a really useful resource.

Ways to cross the Channel with sharp pointy metal things and avoid stress with Eurotunnel: if coming from Scotland or N England, then the Newcastle-Amsterdam ferry is great and links in well with fast Euro trains from Amsterdam. If starting further south in England, then there's a really well connected train/ferry/train from London Liverpool St-Harwich International-Stena Line ferry-Rotterdam and thence onto fast Euro trains. I've not done this but have seriously considered it - it seems well integrated and good times/ prices.

have fun. trains are the way to go around Europe - much more interesting than flying, and cheaper for taking lots of gear too!
Es Tresidder - on 01 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: Yes there is a TGV that goes all the way to St Gervais, I got it a few weeks ago, but it's only Grande Vitesse as far as Bellegarde (just outside Geneva), then it pootles along the rest of the way. Hence faster to instead get the train to Geneva, switch to Geneva airport and get a transfer from there. Or get the sleeper.

If you are wanting a ticket all the way to Chamonix on the SNCF website Chamonix works as a destination and you can buy tickets right through from Paris.
jcw on 02 Feb 2013
In reply to Petarghh: And others. Careful, I think the direct Tgv without change which is slow for the last part to Cham only operates at the weekends during the ski season. If you take the direct Gare du Lyon Geneva train without change it is quite a bit more expensive. Re passing via Martigny, that was a possibility but now there are major works going on closing part of the line so you have to change onto a bus at Vallorcine.
Orgsm on 02 Feb 2013
In reply to Petarghh:

Look at Eurostar Lille, then Lille Geneva . No need to go to Paris.
Kelloggs77 on 03 Feb 2013
In reply to Petarghh:
Flying to Geneva and getting a transfer is by far the best option. I booked a return to Geneva from Leeds/Bradford with 20kg baggage allowance for £76 a week a ago. Can't really beat that.
tallsteve - on 03 Feb 2013
In reply to Petarghh:
Eurostar sell tickets from your local station really cheap. Don't buy the leg to London separately. Instead do your local station to Paris on Eurostar. This then includes the London underground on the ticket.

You need to cross Paris to the Garre do Lyon on the underground. Not too tricky, but be aware that you need a ticket from the Garre du Nord to the Garre du Lyon.

You may need to change - Bescancon I think.

Its a lot of hassle and takes most of the day, so if you are not afraid of flights then ...
ross - on 03 Feb 2013
In reply to Petarghh: Hiya, I've just come home to Scotland from Chamonix on the train. It worked very well and was cheap. There was no problem with axes etc on Eurostar, but we did go to the desk first and ask if we could take them on. We saved loads money on the leg from Paris to Cham by buying reclining seat (couchette) tickets rather than sleeper seats, but you can only buy these seats from the French SNCF website. We were worried that we might have a problem doing this with a UK credit card, but it was fine.
I think the cheapest way is the Eurolines coach, but with long legs I find this a very uncomfortable experience which I won't be repeating.
I'll def be travelling on the train again though, good luck, Ross.
colinakmc - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Petarghh: Don't know if they will keep the flights going after the ski season, but if you live near somewhere that Jet2 fly to Geneva from, you get 22 or 23 Kg rather than the sleasyjet 15 for a vwry similar baggage charge.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Neil Williams - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to colinakmc:

It's Ryanair that limit to 15kg. easyJet is 20.

Neil

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