Ski resorts by train

Paris stopover journeys - another good option

Mon 16 September, 2019


Daniel Elkan

It’s funny how sometimes something that seems an obvious, good idea, doesn’t occur to you till much later. Apparently when text-messaging technology was originally invented, it was a while before it occured to mobile-phone companies that their customers might like to send messages to each other. And in 1876 when the telephone was invented, Alexander Graham Bell was told that 'the idea is idiotic' and 'the invention is practically worthless. It will never amount to anything.'

I’d been travelling by train to the Alps for about 15 years, with many journeys by Eurostar to Paris and TGV train from there, before I discovered the ‘Paris stopover’ as a good travel option. I thought that you might like to know about this, for this winter or the next:

The concept is simple:
1. Take a Eurostar to Paris
2. Stay overnight in Paris
3. Take a TGV to the Alps the next morning.

I'd always travelled by Eurostar and TGV on the same day and not considered taking the Eurostar to Paris the day or evening before. But there are several benefits of the Paris stopover, as I now realise:
1. Because you’ve already done the UK/London to Paris leg the previous day or eve, you can now start your onward journey from Paris to the Alps much earlier.  Therefore you get into resort much earlier. More time to play in resort — and in the snow.
2. There is a huge variety of ski resorts that you can reach this way, and you can travel further. The Alps is your oyster, so to speak (the world will come later)
3. You get to spend some time in Paris. Perhaps you’ve got friends there you’d like to meet; or you fancy seeing a bit of the city;  or want to enjoy the ambience and a Parisien meal.
4. If your ski holiday is Sunday – Sunday, you can travel on any Saturday Eurostar to Paris and then get a direct TGV from Paris to your resort on the Sunday morning.
5. For some destinations, you’ll arrive in time to get an afternoon on the slopes.
6. If you do the Paris stopover on the return journey as well, or instead, you can get a morning or even a whole extra day on the slopes (arriving in Paris in the early or late evening and spening the night there).

The downsides? Well your journey will take longer overall, and you need to pay for a night in a hotel.  But there are plenty of decent, inexpensive hotels right by Gare de Lyon station, from where your TGV will depart the next morning. Indeed, in the Snowcarbon Paris Stopover Guide, we've listed a few hotels for starters. as well as other useful info.

Please feel free to get in touch anytime with any questions.