Far more enjoyable than flying
A few reflections after my recent train-based trip to the Alps. It was a solo trip this time around, and I stayed in Courchevel Moriond for five days.
Should probably start out by saying that the direct Eurostar service to Moutiers on Saturday 29th Feb was delayed arriving by a couple of hours, and we actually had to divert to Paris to change trains due to a technical issue. Despite that, the London to resort experience was a FAR more relaxing and enjoyable experience. The team on-board dealt with the delay really well, kept us well informed throughout - and, I suspect, as most of us were headed off on an enjoyable skiing trip, the mood of the passengers remained positive.
As I was only away for a short trip, I didn't have the option of a direct train coming home. I took a local RER service from Moutiers to Chambery, a TGV up to Paris, a Eurostar into St Pancras, and then a Thameslink back to Brighton. Yes - a long day, but even so I found it a more relaxing experience than flying. The only touch-and-go moment was getting across Paris in plenty of time. My TGV was a little late arriving into Gare De Lyon, and I then struggled to find my taxi driver at the station! Made it to check-in at the Gare Du Nord with a little time to spare though.
What I found most compelling during my journey home yesterday - the last time my wife and I went away with a group of friends (Val D'Isere, 2018), it took us seven hours to get from our chalet in resort to Chambery airport for our return flight - just one of those horrendous road journeys down the mountain in traffic.
Yesterday, after seven hours of travelling, I was arriving at the Gare Du Nord, what felt like 'most' of the way home.
Next time (next year) we're heading to the French Alps for a full week, we'll 100% take the direct train in both directions. I can't even begin to think of a reason we wouldn't! I'd also be happy to take the several-train option to head home after a shorter trip, but might think differently about the connection times, and connection options I choose - even if this added an hour or two to my journey time. Not sure at this point what it would take to get me back on a flight to Geneva/Lyon/Chambery!
It was my first time back in Courchevel Moriond for quite a few years, and I found myself bonding with it as a place more than in previous visits. It helped that my visit coincided with some of the best skiing conditions I can remember - plenty of snow overnight, but largely bright and sunny days on the slopes. The bottom end of Moriond, around the Rue De Marquis is fab - with several first rate restaurants, some really fun bars and great supermarket within spitting distance of each other. You've also got the main Ariondaz bubble lift only steps away as well...