Fastest journey4hr 45m
It is a very easy journey by train from Paris to Martigny (for the Swiss ski resort of Verbier). The journey starts with a fast run south from Paris on a TGV Lyria directly to Lausanne, where you change onto an InterRegio train for the short onward hop to Martigny.
On Saturdays in the winter sports season, there is even one TGV Lyria train which runs directly from Paris to Martigny. 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 a late afternoon return run from Martigny 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 Martigny 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 Martigny via Geneva, which are a shade slower than the normal Lausanne route, but they do usefully plug a few gaps in the timetable.
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 Martigny
Swiss InterRegio trains run every half hour from Lausanne to Martigny. Local journeys of less than an hour just don’t get any better than this. Leaving Lausanne, the railway skirts the beautiful Lavaux wine-growing region. Look out for great views across the lake to the Alps beyond. Just after leaving Montreux there is a fine view of the fortress of Château de Chillon. The route then follows the Rhône Valley upstream to Martigny. Trains make three to five intermediate stops on the 55-minute journey from Lausanne to Martigny.
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Image credits: Martigny Castle © Sebastian Czapnik