Fastest journey4hr 25m
It is an easy journey by train from Paris to Cluses in the French Alps with a wide choice of routes – including on many evenings a direct overnight train from Paris. Here we describe the fastest option, which uses a TGV Lyria train from Paris to Bellegarde, connecting there onto a TER regional express to Cluses. There are alternative routes from Paris to Cluses via Lyon and / or Annecy, but these options normally take longer than the route via Bellegarde.
Tickets for daytime journeys from Paris to Cluses normally go on sale three months prior to the date of travel, but there are times when Loco2 is able to sell tickets on this route as much as four months in advance.
Paris to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine
High-speed TGV trains to Bellegarde depart from Paris Gare de Lyon station. Most of the trains on this route are TGV Lyria services bound for the Swiss city of Geneva. Some trains on this route make no stops at all on the 470-km journey from Paris to Bellegarde. Other services make one or two stops en route. The train speeds south from Paris, crossing Burgundy and then heading east through increasingly hilly country towards the Swiss border. The last half hour through the Jura hills is full of drama. You’ll alight at Bellegarde, where it’s worth taking a look at the striking circular building which is the centrepiece of the modern station.
Bellegarde-sur-Valserine to Cluses
Regional TER trains generally run every two hours direct from Bellegarde (Ain) to Cluses, with most trains making about a dozen intermediate stops along the way. The train runs east towards Geneva, skirting the southern suburbs of the city but never actually crossing the Swiss border. At Annemasse, the train reverses and then heads south into the Alps. The TER train service from Bellegarde to Cluses is supplemented by an occasional SNCF bus (on which tickets purchased through Loco2 are valid).
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Image credits: Aeroeths