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Train to the French Alps?

(7 Posts)
MyAngels Mon 05-Oct-15 11:05:12


We are considering buying a tiny apartment in the French Alps and I'm looking at the cost and pros/cons of travelling there by different methods, to make sure we can use it as much as possible.

Has anyone any experience of getting the train to the French Alps? I think you can go direct from St Pancras now (overnight), or change in Paris/Lille.

We live in Bristol, so would have to get to London first, but would save DH driving (we usually drive down to the Alps) and get us closer than the plane (we'd need to get to Moutiers by train) and then a taxi/shuttle to the resort.

We have 2 DC, one train mad, both pretty well travelled, so am not too worried about how they might find it. Just would be interested in any experiences, costs, downsides etc.


sinclair Sun 11-Oct-15 14:56:16

We do this every year, usually taking an evening Eurostar to Paris, spending a night near Gare de Lyon (Novotel is basically platform 22) and then the first train in the morning - getting you on the slopes that afternoon. On the way back we come straight through usually building in enough time for steak and chips at Gare du Nord.

However we live in inner London so 45 minutes and no changes from St P, making it very easy this end. The extra time spent crossing London and travelling on to Bristol may weigh the balance in favour of flying (or driving if we had a car)

We do it as we love the train generally, and like the flexibility it gives you. You end up closer to resort so transfers are quick, cheap and easy, and often timed to meet trains. You can take what you like as long as you can haul it (we have kit but also take frozen suppers etc, and our children are well travelled teens)

However it is never cheap - even if you stay up till 11 to book the French leg as it comes on sale midnight their time - and can be delayed - tho I have had more luck with the train than the plane in that regard.

I have not done the snow train since the 80s as it is less flexible and hasn't matched our destinations, but that is an option as is the overnight - goes to Briancon not sure where else.

Train also good to Switzerland for Zurich side and Portes de Soleil side - where are you thinking of buying?

MyAngels Mon 12-Oct-15 18:12:57

Thanks for that Sinclair - its very useful to know that breaking the journey in Paris is another option. The planes to Lyon/Grenoble from Bristol only run on Saturdays, and I'm looking to make the most of travelling on other days too if we can for more flexibility.

We are planning to buy in a small village in the Tarantaise area, linked in to La Plagne, so Moutiers is the closest station, on the line to Bourg Saint Maurice.

Thanks for the info - now I just have to deal with the stress of buying somewhere in another country..!

Siennasun Tue 13-Oct-15 22:54:30

I got the snow train to Bourg St Maurice when I was a teenager. It was millions of years ago, so no practical advice, but we loved it!
We had couchettes which was very James Bond and there was a disco carriage! grin

sinclair Sat 17-Oct-15 15:49:49

I remember the disco carriage!

We have done (regular) train to BStM to ski in Ste Foy a few times - from memory about 4h 30 from Paris - quite manageable.

good luck with your purchase!

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Mon 04-Jan-16 14:21:44

Have taken both the snow train and the direct Eurostar to the Alps.

I did read somewhere that the snow train from Gare du Nord is no more but I know that there is another one from the south side of Paris. The trick with the snow train appeared to be to ensure that you had a couchette as far away as possible from the disco carriage and associated toilet facilities if you were travelling with kids.

The Eurostar was by comparison painless and very clean grin You can travel overnight [bit tedious to sleep sitting up but fab to arrive early in the morning and get two extra days skiing] or go down on a Saturday.

Best bit was the 20 mins transfer up the mountain to Les Arcs. Train is vastly preferable for some resorts imo.

dontcallmethatyoucunt Mon 04-Jan-16 21:48:12

Being rude myangels, when you say not cheap, what are we talking? .....,looking at options myself.

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