Fastest journey6hr 50m
The main route from London to Geneva is via Paris, using Eurostar and TGV Lyria trains. There is an occasional option from London to Geneva via Lyon. The route via Lille was withdrawn in December 2015.
The journey by train from London to Geneva is very easy. There are five or six daily options via Paris – the exact number varies according to the day of the week. The journey kicks off with a high-speed ride from London to Paris on Eurostar. In the French capital you change stations from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon, where you join a TGV Lyria service to Geneva. The entire journey can be accomplished in 6 hrs 50 mins.
An alternative route from London to Geneva was introduced in December 2014, with a change of train at Lille Europe rather than in Paris. This route has been available on four days each week, but it will not run after 12 December 2015. If you are looking for the widest choice of departure times from London, the route via Paris is your best bet.
Whichever route you choose for your journey from London to Geneva, tickets will normally be available for sale four months prior to travel. If you are keen to get a good deal, then it is wise to book as soon as tickets are released for sale.
London to Paris
Board a Eurostar service from London to Paris. There are upwards of 15 trains to Paris from London each day with departures at least hourly from the beautifully restored station at St Pancras in London. The fastest trains speed to Paris in just 2 hrs 16 mins, with slower services taking up to 20 mins longer to reach the Gare du Nord in Paris. The first part of the journey from London sweeps through Thameside landscapes and rural Kent to reach the Channel Tunnel. Little more than an hour after leaving London you'll already be in northern France, tracking south through Flanders fields towards Paris.
Remember to factor in at least half an hour for Eurostar's airline-style baggage check prior to boarding your train. There is a luggage and body scan and you'll be asked to show your passport. There are no restrictions on taking liquids on board Eurostar trains.
Paris interchange: Paris Nord to Paris Lyon
When you alight from the train at Gare du Nord look for signs to the Metro and RER. Once you've bought a ticket follow the signs to 'RER D', direction 'Melun' or 'Malesherbes'. So long as you're heading in the right direction, all the trains on this line stop at Gare de Lyon. The actual train journey takes around 10 mins with just one stop on the way at Châtelet-les-Halles. Upon alighting from the RER train at Gare de Lyon, follow the signs to the mainline station. The signs read 'Accès aux trains Grandes Lignes'. The whole journey from the concourse at Gare du Nord to the mainline departure platforms at Gare de Lyon will normally take about 40 mins but we recommend leaving at least 50 mins.
If you are arriving at Gare du Nord from London, bear in mind that you can buy Paris Métro tickets at the Eurostar terminal at St. Pancras and on board the Eurostar train. Similarly, passengers arriving at the Gare du Nord on Thalys trains from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands can buy Metro tickets on the train (at the Thalys Bar). Although universally referred to as Métro tickets, they are in fact valid on RER trains too.
Paris to Geneva
The high-speed TGV Lyria service runs about eight times each day from Paris to Geneva. In Paris, these trains all leave from Gare du Lyon. In Geneva the trains terminate at Gare de Cornavin in the heart of the Swiss city. The fastest trains on this route make only one stop along the way and take just three hours. Other services make one or two additional stops and may take up to 20 minutes longer.
The route from Paris follows the main high-speed line from the French capital to Burgundy, crossing the Saône Valley near Mâcon. The route then tracks east through the Jura Hills towards Geneva. There is some very fine scenery along this latter part of the journey.