Fastest journey5hr 17m
It is a very easy journey by train from Paris to Brig in the Valais region of the Swiss Alps. The journey starts with a fast run south from Paris on a TGV Lyria to Lausanne, where you change onto an InterRegio or EuroCity train for the onward journey to Visp.
On Saturdays in the winter sports season, there is even one TGV Lyria train which runs direct from Paris to Brig. It’s not quicker, but it’s popular with skiers who don’t want the hassle of changing trains in Lausanne. This special ski train (branded TGV Lyria des Neiges) has a breakfast-time departure from Paris with an afternoon return run from Brig back to the French capital. For the 2015-2016 season, this Lyria des Neiges service will run from 19 December to 2 April.
Tickets for the journey from Paris to Brig normally go on sale four months prior to travel. If you are keen to get a bargain fare, that’s the moment to book.
There are alternative routings from Paris to Brig via either Basel SBB or Geneva. The travel time is broadly similar to the route via Lausanne which we describe here.
Paris to Lausanne
Comfortable TGV Lyria trains serve the 480-km Paris to Lausanne route. These trains depart from the Gare de Lyon in the French capital and terminate at the main station in Lausanne, from where it is just five minutes on the Metro to either the city centre or down to the shores of Lake Geneva.
The journey starts with a high-speed dash to Dijon. The train then traverses increasingly hilly country on its way through the Jura to the Swiss border. Once in Switzerland, it takes just 35 minutes to reach Lausanne. There are normally four trains each day on this route, and the journey time is 3 hrs 40 mins. An extra train on certain days takes a completely different route, running via Mâcon and Geneva. It takes over four hours.
Lausanne to Brig
Swiss InterRegio trains run every half hour from Lausanne to Brig, making seven to ten stops along the way. The journey takes about 1 hr 45 mins. There are also five EuroCity trains each day on this route, each making just two stops en route and taking just 85 minutes for the 146-km journey from Lausanne to Brig.
Leaving Lausanne, the railway skirts the beautiful Lavaux wine-growing region. Just after leaving Montreux there is a fine view of the fortress of Château de Chillon. The route then follows the Rhône Valley upstream through vineyards and orchards to Brig with brilliant views on both sides of the train: the Pennine Alps to the south and the Bernese Oberland to the north.
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Image credits: Diriye Amey