Eurostar + Intercités de Nuit
Taking a Eurostar to Paris and then an Intercités de Nuit couchette sleeper train from Paris to the Alps is quite a good way to get two extra days on the slopes. There used to be sleeper trains from Paris to many parts of the Alps.
Then in 2016, SNCF axed some of the routes. It was a brutal cull of popular train options.
These two routes were axed:
- Paris - Moutiers, Aime, Landry and Bourg St Maurice
- Paris - Annecy, Cluses, Sallanches and St Gervais
Because of this, here's a list of resorts no longer served by these sleeper trains from Paris:
Avoriaz, Brides les Bains, Courchevel, Flaine, La Clusaz, La Plagne, La Rosiere, La Tania, Le Grand Bornand, Les Arcs, Les Carroz, Les Contamines, Les Gets, Les Menuires, Manigold, Megeve, Meribel, Morillon, Morzine, Peisey-Vallandry, Sainte Foy, Samoens, St Gervais, St Martin de Belleville, Tignes, Val d'Isere, Val Thorens and Valmorel.
But - good news:
The French Government and SNCF have decided to reinstate the above to routes in 2026. So sleeper trains will return fully to the French Alps!
NB: Something should be said about names. We at Snowcarbon now call these trains 'couchette sleeper trains from Paris'. The trains used to be called 'Corail Lunea' - which kind of sounded nice. Then in 2014 SNCF decided to 'rebrand' them as 'Intercités de nuit'. As this name is not very memorable, and few people have even heard of this new name, we just say 'couchette' and 'sleeper' for clarity.
Paris - Briancon and Paris Latour-de-Carol still running
However, one of the lines that was retained was Paris - Briancon.
The other was Paris - Rodez/Latour-de-Carol
Key resorts served: (in Andorra) Pas de la Casa, Soldeu
In the section below, you can find out more about how to do it.
Step 1: Take a Eurostar to Paris
You get on the Eurostar, sit down, have a chat with your friends, go to the cafe bar, read a book, look at the scenery gliding by, share a joke with a fellow passenger.
There are lots of great ways to use the time and then before you know it your Eurostar is arriving in Paris-Nord.
You may also want to see our guide to what the Eurostar is like.
Step 2: Change from Paris-Nord to Paris-Austerlitz
So next you want to get from Paris-Nord, where the Eurostar arrives, to Paris-Austerlitz - the station from where the Corail Lunea trains depart, bound for the Alps.
The easiest way to do that is with a pre-booked taxi, where the driver waits for you at the end of the Eurostar platform, holding a placard with your name. But there is also a taxi rank, a 50 metres to the right of the Eurostar platform.
You can take the Metro, but if you have a fair bit of luggage avoid this, as the section from Paris-Nord to Paris-Austerlitz requires going up and down some stairs. When you get to Gare d'Austerlitz, you can have dinner opposite the station, or bring some food onto the Corail Lunea.
You can find all about these options in our guide to changing station from Paris-Nord to Paris-Austerlitz
Step 3: Overnight to the Alps on the Corail Lunea
There's something about getting on an overnight train that is always a bit exciting - but never more so than when you are headed for the Alps.
You'll see Paris slipping away through the window, then the suburbs and then you are into the countryside.
In the morning you'll wake up close to the slopes and be able to ski shortly afterward, while thousands of other skiers are standing in airport queues or cooped up on long transfers.
Now, French Corail Lunea trains are not built for luxury and they are cosy, not spacious. But they do the job and you can lie flat and get a good night's sleep, dreaming of the slopes.
You may also want to see our guide to what the Corail Lunea sleeper train is like.
Step 4: Transfer to your resort
The final step is to get from the train station to the ski resort. These transfers are typically between 15 minutes and 45 minutes, and are far shorter than airport transfers - which can take 1.5 - three hours - or even longer.
It's a good idea pre-book a taxi transfer (although you can also find a taxi driver on the spot too).
There are also buses from train stations to ski resorts, usually timed to coincide with the arrival of the Corail Lunea train.
For every ski resort on the Snowcarbon website, we have a transfer guide page to show you taxi and bus options and how to book them.
London to Briancon (via Paris) - journey schedule winter 2022-23
This is the journey schedule, which runs everyday, from London to Briancon via Paris.
|London and Paris to Briancon|
|Dep||London St Pancras||15:31/16:31|
|Transfer from Paris Gare du Nord to Paris Gare'd'Austerlitz|
|Dep||Paris-Austerlitz||20:50||Ski resorts served|
|Arr||L'Argentiere-les-Ecrins||08:03||Puy St Vincent|
|Arr||Briancon||08:22||Montgenevre, Serre Chevalier|
|Briancon to Paris and London
|Depart||Depart||Arr. Paris Austerlitz||Ski resorts served|
|Dep||Briancon||20:23||Montgenevre, Serre Chevalier|
|Arr||L'Argentiere-les-Ecrins||20:42||Puy St Vincent|
|Class||Minimum number of people||Total supplement required|
|Second Class||4 or 5||€45|