Ski resorts by train

Licence to Lille! (especially for peak dates)

Wed 23 October, 2019


Daniel Elkan

I once spent a very enjoyable chairlift ride with a couple of chaps who were snowifying James Bond film names. It was probably things like:
"You Only Ski Twice", "Dr Snow", "Snowfall", "From La Rosiere With Love".   But to this list I would add now, "Licence to Lille". 

That's because there are some routes to the Alps via Lille that you might find advantageous.

Journeys via Lille are particularly useful for peak dates, such as February half term, when the direct Eurostar Ski Train sells out, and then journeys via Paris eventually do too.

Also, travelling via Lille, there's no change of station needed, just a change of platform at Lille and (for most journeys) again at Lyon Part Dieu.

You may also find that you save money travelling this way, vs going via Paris or the direct Eurostar Ski Train.

So why haven't you heard of these journey options? The main reason is that they won't show up online.  If you put 'London' or 'Ashford' as your start and then stations such as 'Bourg St Maurice' or 'Moutiers' as your destination, you are very unlikely to be shown journey options via Lille. The algorithms that given what options the websites show you, preclude it.  It's as if your hosts had a lovely cheesecake in the fridge, but when you came over they didn't offer it to you because they mistakenly thought you were vegan. 

But we are adding these routes to relevant resorts in the Snowcarbon Journey Planner, so you can view them there.

And to book them, you can use an expert rail-booking agent, like some of the rail-booking agents that we recommend, on our train-travel booking guide.

Below, I've written out some schedules, which can be particularly useful when emailing rail-booking agents.

Outbound journey - every Saturday – to Moutiers, Aime la Plagne and Bourg St Maurice.

(NB: these journeys run on other Saturdays and other days of the week too)

Dep     06:57     London St Pancras    Eurostar
Arr      09:26     Lille Europe
Dep     11:01     Lille Europe        TGV
Arr      14:02     Lyon Part Dieu    
Dep     14:33    Lyon Part Dieu        TER train
Arr      18:12     Bourg St Maurice (or earlier in Moutiers and Aime la Plagne)

Or do it with a stopover on the outbound:

Dep     18:04     London St Pancras    Eurostar
Arr       20:26     Lille Europe

And then a direct TGV from Lille Europe to Moutiers, Aime and Bourg St Maurice

Dep     07:21     Lille Europe        TGV
Arrive  14:08    Bourg St Maurice

Return journey – Saturdays
Dep     08:14     Bourg St Maurice    TER train
Arr       11:52     Lyon Part Dieu
Dep     14:00     Lyon Part Dieu        TGV
Arr    16:57     Lille Europe    
Dep    18:35    Lille Europe        Eurostar
Arr    19:15     London St Pancras

It's a different way to go, with no change of station in Paris required and may save you money too.

To book journeys like this, copy the above schedule into an email, and then contact one of the rail-booking agents that we list in our guide to booking train travel to the Alps.

And please let us know how you get on. We are always pleased to hear that you've got your ski holiday by train sorted, and how it goes. Or any advice you need to help that happen.