Fancy taking the train to the Alps this winter? Then listen up. From 5am tomorrow morning, October 16, you’ll be able to buy tickets for trains to the French Alps and beyond.
On offer will be routes connecting cross-Channel Eurostar services with trains to the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps. Many journeys are via Paris (which means a taxi or the Metro from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de Lyon, or the Gare d’Austerlitz). But some connections are in Lille and only involve a change of platform.
Return tickets start from £109 a head.
Journeys are surprisingly quick. London to Grenoble (where you can pick up a bus to resorts such as Les Deux Alpes and Alpe d’Huez), can take as little as six hours. The minimum journey time from London to Moutiers (for Meribel, Courchevel and other resorts of the Three Valleys) is 7hrs 15mins.
You can also book trains to the Swiss Alps via Lille and Geneva, as well as TGV services from Paris to the resorts of the Milky Way in Italy, such as Sauze d’Oulx.
To book, visit voyages-sncf.com or call 0844 848 5 848.
Tomorrow’s release of tickets covers the period December 14 to February 6. On November 7, trains from February 7 to March 9 will go on sale.
Don’t wait if you need tickets for a peak week
If you’re in the market for French ski trains over New Year or February half term, you need to be on the phone or website at 5am exactly on the appropriate day. Because you won’t only be competing with Brits for trains on these days, but the French too. New Year is a key skiing week for them – and so is the period February 14-21, which this winter is the slot allocated to schools in the Paris area for their half-term break.
Christmas isn’t quite so popular, but if your plans are already laid, then book early anyway, to be sure of getting the lowest fares.
Bear in mind also that Eurostar’s direct train to from London to the French Alps went on sale in July, and is already sold out for New Year and February half term, although plenty of other dates remain (over Christmas, for example, it currently costs £339pp return).