Fastest journey5hr 35m
It is very easy to travel by train from Paris to Chamonix. The fastest route is via St-Gervais-les-Bains, where you change from a main-line SNCF train onto a local train, called Mont-Blanc Express, running up the Arve Valley to Chamonix. On peak travel days during the ski season and at some other holiday periods, there are direct high-speed TGV trains from Paris to St-Gervais. On days when there is no direct TGV service, you'll change from a TGV onto a regional train for the last part of your journey to St-Gervais. The change of train adds little to the overall journey time.
On very busy days there’s also an occasional SNCF bus to Chamonix, giving a direct link from the main-line stations at Lyon-Part-Dieu or Bellegarde (Ain).
Bookings from Paris to St-Gervais-les-Bains normally open at least three months in advance. Tickets covering travel all the way from Paris to Chamonix are available, but may not be released for sale until later. Our advice is to book tickets to St-Gervais-les-Bains as soon as they go on sale. You can always buy the add-on ticket for the short hop up the valley to Chamonix later.
Paris to Saint-Gervais-les-Bains
Whether you take a direct train to St-Gervais-les-Bains, or one of the options with a change of train along the way, your journey will start at the Gare de Lyon in Paris. The TGV trains from Paris to St Gervais-les-Bains generally make four to six stops on their 572-km journey. Travel time is normally about five hours.
If there is no direct TGV from Paris to St-Gervais on your preferred travel date, don’t worry. You’ll still find plenty of alternative options with one change of train along the way, usually at Bellegarde (Ain) or at Annecy, from where you continue by TER train to St-Gervais.
Saint-Gervais-les-Bains to Chamonix
Travellers arriving at St-Gervais-les-Bains on overnight or high-speed trains connect there for the mountain railway up to Chamonix. Grab a seat on the right-hand side of the red and white Mont-Blanc Express, for the best of the scenery is on the south side of the Arve Valley. On a clear day, you’ll have excellent views of the Mont Blanc massif.
The train makes six to ten stops on the journey from St-Gervais to Chamonix – a number of smaller halts on this line are request stops. There are two stations in Chamonix, and tickets from or via St-Gervais purchased from Loco2 can be used to either. The first stop is at Chamonix Aiguille du Midi station, and the second at Chamonix Mont-Blanc station. The latter is the larger of the two. Both stations are in the valley just a short walk from the town centre.
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Image credits: Edward Simpson