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Going to Paris in March, need to ski quick and easy when there...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hello.  Im going to Paris the second week of March and will have a day or two afterwards to ski if possible.  What is the quickest way to hit the slopes in France from Paris in mid-march? Is it possible to take a train or etc. to the nearest slopes with relative ease? Can a trip be done in a day or is at least a one night stay required? I have two days. Both I have to travel either to or from Paris and I can ski the other. Im trying hard to get a third full day squeezed in there.

 

Ive never been to Europe so traveling there will be a new experience.  Where do I look for bus/train connections and a small one/two person accommodation.  Most of all, which resort would accommodate such a schedule..

 

I ski and board advanced and normally go to Snowbird and Park City.

 

Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 10

There are plenty of trains, they leave from Gare de Lyon, although they are more frequent on weekends. A TGV with minimal stops to Bourg St. Maurice will take about 4.5 hours.  From Bourg you can get to numerous resorts within an hour or less by bus.  Depending on resort, there are a few other stops before Bourg where you may get off.  Moutiers (approx 4 hours) is the stop to transfer to Trois Vallees. Check schedules at http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/  

 

Les Arcs in the closest to Bourg St. Maurice.  Tignes is about 40 minutes away and Val D'Isere a little further (the two resorts are connected and you can ski both in one day on the same lift ticket).

 

You also may consider renting a car and driving (about 5.5 hours depending on the resort).  Another option is to fly to Geneva.  Lots of options within 2 hours of Geneva. Verbier is about 2 hours away.

 

Finally, there's always the helicopter option if budget is unlimited. http://www.helicopter-courchevel.com/uk/Liaisons_aeroports.php


Edited by chraya - 11/5/13 at 8:11am
post #3 of 10

two years ago, we took a nigth train (with bunks) from paris to briançon. it was fairly cheap too.

 

we left at 22h00 from paris and arrived at 9h00 or so in briançon wich is rigth next to serre chevalier ski area... if you have a place to put your bags you can easily ski that day. We didn't take it on the way back but there was also a nigth train the other way.

 

 

i'm sure there are also nigth train going to other ski areas but this one is pretty conveninent in terms of proximity between the rails and the slopes...

post #4 of 10

Paris is not close to any of the good ski areas.  There is (was?) an overnight train that runs to Moutiers for 3 Vallee, but this is a long ride.  Check out  http://www.les3vallees.com/en/by-train/from-paris.50/ or the SNCF (French train) site.  Another option might be a TGV (Fast) train to Lyon (or better yet, Grenoble if they offer it)

 

I would consider seeing if you can get a flight from Paris to Geneva (or Zurich or another location closer to good skiing) and fly home from there)  i.e. Paris-Geneva-home.  I am not a fan of Air France, but they have a new airline (hop?) that runs reasonably priced domestic flights..

 

While lots of the resort accommodations run a Saturday to Sat schedule, you can usually find a hotel that does shorter stays.  Try the Hotels Combined search box at http://www.lodging247.com/ and just plug in the town, city or resort name.   

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post
 

 

While lots of the resort accommodations run a Saturday to Sat schedule, you can usually find a hotel that does shorter stays.  Try the Hotels Combined search box at http://www.lodging247.com/ and just plug in the town, city or resort name.  

 

Don't overlook the complexity of booking a hotel in French ski towns.  It's possible as MEfree30 mentions but single night options are very limited and can be sold out.

post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanvg View Post
 

 

Don't overlook the complexity of booking a hotel in French ski towns.  It's possible as MEfree30 mentions but single night options are very limited and can be sold out.

Some truth to this, BUT, given how short the trip is the OP might consider staying closer to transportation rather than the ski slopes-

 

i.e. Moutiers http://www.hotelscombined.com/SearchResults.aspx?fileName=Moutiers&checkin=2014-01-15&checkout=2014-01-17&Adults=1&Rooms=1

 

Of course, that search only yields 5 results while Chamonix has a lot more choices for 1 or 2 night stays.  

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

All of this is great advice. Since this is my first time Im trying to get my head wrapped around it. I know traveling in France is not like traveling in Arizona/Utah. A night train sounds like a good idea, but so does a flight to Geneva. Keep the thoughts coming, this is all new to me.

post #8 of 10

Don't get me wrong, doing a short ski trip is doable and a great idea.  I've combined several euro biz trips with skiing.  A lot of things are just a bit tricky because you're not the typical customer.  The typical customer arrives on Saturday midday and stays for a week. 

 

From Geneva, I did Portes du Soleil which you can access via train from Champery.  It's one of the closest and I recommend it.  You could even do it for the day from Geneva but it would be a long day.  The Swiss seem more open to short hotel stays.  Geneva has a direct flight to DC which gets you home pretty fast.

 

Other tips: 

Lift tickets are generally inexpensive. 

Ski areas are generally bigger and taller than the US.  There are usually only 1 or 2 groomed runs per lift.  Most ungrounded runs are back country/side country runs.

The ski towns are usually very nice with lots of food options

post #9 of 10

Here's the map of nigth trains (in pink)

http://www.intercites.sncf.com/reseau-intercites/carte-reseau-intercites-lunea-teoz

 

 

Here's the schedule for Briançon (Serre Chevalier) for until december, in french: http://www.intercites.sncf.com/lignes-nuit/paris-briancon

 

The schedule for march is not available yet but it looks like train doesn't run everyday. i have no clue if that is also valid for the ski season.

post #10 of 10
Did the opposite to the OP. Went skiing in Wengen, and then trained it to Paris. Local to Lausanne, and then TGV from their to Paris. Basically was an all day train ride. Left the Wengen station around 7AM, and got into Paris about 5:30PM. TGV was not all that fast until we got about an hour out of Switz. Like the idea of an overnight train. Even if you fly, you are still dealing with getting through the airport, etc. But would think it would be a good way to go if you are renting all your gear.
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