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Travel from Lyon to Chamonix

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Montreal
posts: 879
reviews: 39
Travel from Lyon to Chamonix

Hi: I'm hoping to do the tour de Mont Blanc in early September 2014. Flights to Lyon are MUCH cheaper than flights to Geneva. The train website is a bit confusing. Does anyone know how often trains would leave for Le Fayet/St. Gervais Les Bains (which I understand is where we would have to transfer) from Lyon? I read somewhere that the airport has a train station. Would we be able to leave right from the airport train station?

Would train make the most sense for getting from Lyon to Chamonix? We'll be 2 people. We could also rent a car, but I have no idea what that would cost. It would have to be a 1 day, 1 way rental.

Thanks,

Kay

9 replies to this topic
Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
posts: 53,620
reviews: 11
1. Re: Travel from Lyon to Chamonix

There is a TVG train station at Lyon airport, called Lyon Saint Exupery. You can travel from there to Chamonix with changes of train at Annecy and St-Gervais-les-Bains.

See en.voyages-sncf.com/en using "Antarctic" as the "Ticket collection country" to avoid being transferred to RailEurope.

Imperia, Italy
Destination Expert
for Italian Riviera
posts: 19,325
2. Re: Travel from Lyon to Chamonix

On many days of the week there is currently only one sensible connection to Chamonix from Lyon St Exupery station.

You may need to take the Rhone Express airport tram to Lyon Part-Dieu train station (takes 30 minutes, leaves every 15 minutes) and go from there instead. For times from Lyon Part Dieu use the website already recommended, using a date in the next 90 days.

Montreal
posts: 879
reviews: 39
3. Re: Travel from Lyon to Chamonix

Thanks for the very useful information. We would have to take the Rhone Express to Part-Dieu, and then train to St. Gervais and then train to Chamonix. A lot of work, but it would save us about $700 pp, over Geneva.

Please expand on the train info. How far in advance can one book? Is it best to buy tickets in advance or do we risk not getting a seat if we buy a ticket at the train station? If we do book, which site is best to book with? Can we book and then pay at the station?

Much appreciated,

K

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
posts: 53,620
reviews: 11
4. Re: Travel from Lyon to Chamonix

For the best prices on train travel, book direct with the operator as far ahead as possible. Tickets go on sale 3 months before travel, and the cheapest tickets often sell out quickly. Discounted ticket prices keep going up as the travel date gets closer.

You can get train times and costs, and make bookings, at en.voyages-sncf.com/en but use Antarctic at the "Ticket collection country" to avoid the possibility of being transferred to RailEurope USA, which has higher prices and does not list all the trains.

If you have trouble with voyages-sncf, www.capitainetrain.com is a private website which links directly to the SNCF ticketing system.

Edited: 10:09 pm, November 21, 2013
Imperia, Italy
Destination Expert
for Italian Riviera
posts: 19,325
5. Re: Travel from Lyon to Chamonix

Most trains from Lyon Part Dieu to St Gervais and onward to Chamonix are TER trains (or sometimes a bus, which is called a CAR on the SNCF website). These have no reserved seats so cannot sell out, and there are no advance reductions. So advance purchase is not really necessary.

Buy in advance for any journeys using TGV trains with reserved seats, on which significant reductions can be made.

Edited: 6:21 am, November 22, 2013
Montreal
posts: 879
reviews: 39
6. Re: Travel from Lyon to Chamonix

Thanks for the additional info. Very helpful.

For not that much more than the price of the Rhone Express, then train to St. Gervais, then train to Chamonix, we can rent a car 1 way from the airport to Chamonix with Europcar.

Is Europcar a reputable company? It might be nice to have a car, and maybe have time to visit Lyon and anywhere else along the way, rather than spending many hours on trains and transferring 3-4 times. Any thoughts about this option?

K

Imperia, Italy
Destination Expert
for Italian Riviera
posts: 19,325
7. Re: Travel from Lyon to Chamonix

Europcar is reputable. But don't drive precisely the wrong way into Lyon and get tangled up in big-city traffic and parking issues. Somewhere small and en route like Annecy would be a much more sensible visit.

Montreal
posts: 879
reviews: 39
8. Re: Travel from Lyon to Chamonix

Thanks again Perilizia. I'll take your advice. K

Montreal
posts: 879
reviews: 39
9. Re: Travel from Lyon to Chamonix

Hello again:

It turns out that the Europcar place in Chamonix is closed on Sundays, the day I was thinking of arriving. It also doesn't open there until 9. Since our flight arrives at 6:30 a.m., that would mean waiting until 9 to rent a car in Lyon, and having to park it somewhere overnight in Chamonix and return it the next morning. The per day cost is very high, so I wouldn't want an extra day tacked on. I was in contact with Europcar and they don't make exceptions for closed offices.

So it looks like it will be the train, at least to get to Chamonix. There don't seem to be other rental car companies with offices in Chamonix, but I will ask on the Chamonix forum.

Thanks again for all the info. 3 months before our trip I'll check out the trains, and make reservations if needed.

K

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