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Train to 3 valleys from London

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Have booked a trip to the french alps in February and had heard that there is a train you can take from St Pancras. Sick of travelling my plane so we decided we would get the train instead. However, digging further it looks like you can only get the train if you book certain packages through travelski, which I haven't done. Is it possible to get to 3 valleys easily from London on train? It's too early to book trains for February but it currently looks like you need to go to Paris and change there, and then change in Chambery. A lot of trains include an additional change in Lyon. Ideally we would like to make as few changes as possible. Will there be direct trains from Paris to Moutiers when the season starts?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Noob921, welcome to the forum. I don't actually know the answer to your question but if you scroll down this topic you will find other threads on the issue. You are not the only one thinking about this.

I think the consensus is that things aren't the same since Covid, and since the winter 2023 timetables aren't out yet we don't quite know what will appear. There used to be the direct train from St Pancras to Bourg St Maurice, but as you say that is now run by a company which means you can't book it unless you use their accommodation. Otherwise there always used to be trains from Paris Gare du Nord (I know, we've taken one ourselves) but you can't yet see if they are scheduled for next winter. Fingers crossed!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Noob921, I think the direct train has stopped and now only part of a package as a company charters a train.

I did the trip last year and the change in Paris is pretty straightforward - the absolute minimum time is about 25 mins but it needs to work perfectly so an hour gap is better. Then depends where you need to go - I went direct to Modane from Paris.

If you need other places, then the change at Chambery is easy as there aren't many platforms. You might find they run Paris to Bourg SM direct

Essentially I found is far less stressful than fly / drive but materially more expensive. If money want in question, then an early evening train from London to Paris, overnight near Gare du Lyon and early train down.

Bit early to book (which is another problem) but trainline is best bet I think.

I would love to avoid flying / driving but the economics make it hard given I do it a few times a year. Frustrates me so much that a flight can be £80 return but train likely to be over £300.
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Hi @Noob921, welcome to Snowheads.

Yes, it's easy to get to the 3 valleys from London by train. I did it for the first time last year for the EoSB and found it far more relaxing than flying and transfers. I documented my journey here:

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=160015&highlight=

Basically, in answer to your question, yes there will be direct trains from Paris Gare de Lyon to Moutiers (assuming no massive change from previous years). Changing at Chambery is easy, as it's a really small station.

People seem to get a bit stressed at having to change stations in Paris, but it's really straightforward. It's 2 stops on RER (local train) and takes about 15 minutes. You can buy your ticket on the Eurostar. There's a good guide here:

https://www.seat61.com/changing-stations-in-paris.htm#How%20to%20cross%20Paris%20by%20metro

Two things I learned from planning my journey:

1. Book the Eurostar and the SNCF (French) trains separately.
2. Even for one trip it was worth getting an SNCF railcard (https://www.sncf-connect.com/app/en-en/catalogue)
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Noob921, most winters there are direct trains from Paris to Moutiers. The winter timetable starts in December. They will be from Gare de Lyon, which is a few stops on the RER from the Eurostar arrival at Gare du Nord.

If you are in or close to London you can usually do the whole journey in one day. If not you will probably need to stay Friday night in either London or Paris. The return journey is easier to do in one day (because you gain rather than lose an hour). Your tour operator can probably arrange to pick you up from Moutiers station. If not there are service buses to all resort centres, but you would need to check if they run late enough.
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Yes, just booking this journey for a trip to Tignes - schedules aren't out yet (after Dec 10th) but there will be plenty of options with a change in Paris. Its easy to do, more relaxing (in my book) free ski carriage and much better in terms of carbon footprint. Can be more expensive though, so book early. There is a discount card you can buy for SNCF (french rail) which will save 30%+ - easily pay for itself on your first trip, and you only need one card for 1or 2 adults .. .plus some children I think if wanted.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
According to my son changing stations in Paris is a lot easier than in London. He had to get from St. Pancres to Paddington.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I have done train to ski a few times, it works well. Others covered most of it, surely there will be direct trains from Gare de Lyon, it is 2 stops on the metro from Paris Gare du Nord where the Eurostar comes in, allow one hour realistically, not less than 50 mins for sure. Best tip is to buy the Paris metro ticket at the restaurant car of the Eurostar, to save time queuing in Paris, their ticket machines are garbage and they don't have staff in the station usually. And buy extra tickets for coming back.
One other thing this year, there will be a pedestrians and luggage carrying cable car from Orelle to Val Thorens, which possibly makes the transfer better, in that case you would take the train to Modane instead of Moutiers.
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@daveonhols, tickets for the metro ahead of time is an excellent tip . . . . . On the face of it probably the most minor step in the plan but in practice by far the hardest step !
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@Noob921, Welcome to snowHeads. You might also check out doing it on an interrail pass - possibly cheaper than booking separate tickets. On the interrail site I can get from Edinburgh to Moutiers in a day but dont know yet if that will apply with the winter timetable.
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alti - dude wrote:


Bit early to book (which is another problem) but trainline is best bet I think.


If I was you maybe use trainline to research the trains, but check SNCF before booking as it might well be cheaper than trainline.

Slightly different but i've booked train tickets to Innsbruck from Paris through trainline, and if i'd used OBB (the austrian train company) it would have been cheaper than trainline.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@daveonhols, I hadn't thought about the Orelle ~ VT link as a transport option. I wonder how practical it would be over the zig zag up from Moutier on the bus/Taxi?
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
It’s been mentioned above but do have a hunt round seat61 where you’re likely to find all the answers you need.

For example:
https://www.seat61.com/France.htm#london-to-the-french-alps-by-train
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Snowcarbon is also a really good website for travelling to the Alps by train.

Changing in Paris is a bit of a nuisance but the price for the indirect service (changing in paris) always used to be cheaper than the direct train (back in the days when you could buy direct train tickets from Eurostar)

As far as I'm aware you should be able to get a direct train from Paris to Moutiers and then a local bus to resort. The trains probably haven't been released yet.

We have been to the alps many times by train and would highly recommend it.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
There are quite comprehensive bus services from Moutiers and BSM, I think it cost me about €16 to Val d'Isere
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Noob921, yep Eurostar have managed to give their direct to the Alps service away. It was great. Still, train to Paris Gare du Nord then 2 stops on RER to Gare de Lille and train from there isn't too bad. You can go direct to Moutiers, Aime, and Bourg St Maurice or change at Chambery - depends on which train at which time you book, there are a few options.

There is one other way and that is to get Friday evening Eurostar to Lille, kip in a hotel then get up for the direct Lille to the Alps TGV at about 6.30am on Saturday. Could make for a more relaxed route, with a nice night in Lille (surprisingly nice there) and a much earlier arrival in the Alps to get time to sort things at a more leisurely pace.

Reverse things on way back or mix a combo of the options.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
For the OP -i've also travelled to and from the french Ski areas several times and can confirm its definitely a viable route... Stress free when everything goes to plan Smile But not always cheapest (drive) or quickest (fly). But i plan to do it again over feb half-term in 2023. Midlands to the mountains is definitely doable in a day.

Does anyone know when the SNCF tickets actually go on sale? Usually it is around the start of november but I haven't seen an actual date yet.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

Does anyone know when the SNCF tickets actually go on sale? Usually it is around the start of november but I haven't seen an actual date yet.

Usually 3 months before departure
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I’ve done the journey with ski bag and luggage in tow. This was a few years ago, but I made it to the right platform at the Gare de Lyon with only seconds to spare. I think I had less than an hour to get across from G d N to Gd Lyon, and the metro trains were not that frequent. At G d L I’d actually given up trying to find the right platform as the signage was so bad, and staggered up a staircase in a last ditch attempt to see what was up there, only to spot a platform and train with Bourg St M as the destination. It’s probably easier now as I guess you don’t have to buy a physical metro ticket at G du N, but bear in mind both stations are huge, and were quite confusing to navigate.

In Feb 2020 we ended up on the train back to the U.K. after flights were cancelled cost of the big storm early that month (ahh..how simple life was pre COVID!). We went Moutiers to Lyon, then changed to a TVR to Lille, then the Eurotunnel. That worked really well as it was so easy at Lille.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
It was really sad when they stopped doing the Paris to Bourg St Maurice sleeping cars overnight. It meant you could travel out overnight on the Friday, ski 8 days and then go back on the Saturday night train. As it is you can still ski on the last Saturday and go home on a train which allows you to catch the last Euroster in the evening.
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@snowball, the days of the disco car…
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@BobinCH,
Quote:

@snowball, the days of the disco car…


ah, great memories (though some very hazy Toofy Grin Toofy Grin ) of the Calais to BSM various T/O's chartered train, stocking up on booze on the outbound ferry to consume in the disco car!!!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
terrygasson wrote:
@BobinCH,
Quote:

@snowball, the days of the disco car…


ah, great memories (though some very hazy Toofy Grin Toofy Grin ) of the Calais to BSM various T/O's chartered train, stocking up on booze on the outbound ferry to consume in the disco car!!!


Certainly did not set you up in great shape for that first morning of skiing!
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@ster, no, you are right.
plenty of people with sore heads, slowly picking up hire equipment and lift passes and gently pottering around resort after lunch!!!
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Sounds like Eurostar are about to ramp up prices again. Making train travel appealing but not for the cost conscious who will find driving or flying way cheaper. Real shame.
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