Fastest journey5hr 7m
It is a very easy journey by train from Paris to Visp (for the Swiss ski resorts of Saas-Fee and Zermatt). The journey starts with a fast run south from Paris on a TGV Lyria to Lausanne, where you change onto an InterRegio 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 Visp. 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 Visp 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 Visp 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 Visp 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 Visp
Swiss InterRegio trains run every half hour from Lausanne to Visp. The journey takes 90 to 100 minutes with trains making six to nine stops along the way. 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 you’ll see the fortress of Château de Chillon. The route then follows the Rhône Valley upstream through vineyards and orchards to Visp 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: Karim von Orelli