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Paris as point of departure for ski holiday? - Page 2

post #31 of 42

Geneva to Zermatt is about 3 1/2 hr. Trains leaves Geneva every half an hour. You can check by going to sbb.ch.


I'll wait for the TGV experts for Paris to Geneva journey time and frequency. I suspect the combine journey will take a good part of a day, EACH WAY.


3-4 hrs is about as long a journey I personally would find enjoyable. Going in, with excitement and mountain scenary, it feels like nothing. But after skiing and looking at snow all week, the multiple hour journey is likely to feel never-ending. At least that's how I felt coming back from St Moritz to Zurich (4 hrs, wished it were 2).


Add the leg from Geneva to Paris, I suspect you'll be asking "are we there yet" for a good part of the journey.


Hate to repeat my earlier comment. By train, Paris is a long way from the mountains. Geneva is a lot closer. Maybe you'd better re-think about the train part, or at least look into the travel time to VdI to compare.

post #32 of 42

NY makes some good points, but I would still include Paris...you could consider flying into Paris and out of Geneva (either), Zurich (closer to Zermantt, I think) or Lyon (Val).  From Val, you can take a bus directly to the Lyon or Geneva airport- about 3-4 hours.

post #33 of 42

This is a personal opinion but I'm not sure why you would want to combine skiing with a trip to Paris. Goto Paris in the Summer when the weather is nice and the days are long. 


In winter fly to Geneva and get the train to Zermatt (you can even use the fly rail baggaeg service so you can check your bags when taking yur flight and pick them up in Zermatt). It has (in combination with Cervinia) probably got the best mountain restaurants in the alps - and I'm not talking about fondue!, the Matterhorn is simply stunning and the town and surrounding villages have a great feel. The skiing is marginally better in Val d'Isere but we are picking hairs. They are both in my top 5 in Europe and the Klein Matterhorn is the highest lift in Europe so nowhere is more snowsure.


I spent a fabulous week in Val d'Isere in January this year but will be choosing Zermatt for a mid April week with friends next year as I know Zermatt will blow them away. Here are some photos from a week back of the final Friday and Saturday of the regular season in Zermatt (ignore the last few which are of Chamonix)



post #34 of 42
Thread Starter 

If you check my original post, you'll see that the idea is to make the trip a little more than a ski vacation (as was the case with our Venice/Cortina experience).  I've never been, but Geneva/Zermatt might also give us that. I'll look into that. We would have to do it mid-March at school break, probably not the best time of year to visit Paris, or to ski. But Paris is not so bad then either.

post #35 of 42

I think March can be a good time for both Paris and skiing unless you like peak tourist crowds (which is Summer for Paris and Feb school holidays for French ski resorts). 


While its true that you might get March rain in Paris without super long days, it can get pretty hot at times in the Summer and all the tourist sites are very crowded...if you want to avoid Parisians, go in August when everybody takes their beach holidays.  The last time I visted Paris in the Summer, some American tourists were very disappointed when I replied in english when they asked me where the metro was- seemed they couldn't find anyone to practice their rudimentary french with.


When I was in Les Arcs 07-08, the Feb to early March period was crowded with families while the first week after the holidays (second week of March) was pretty full with better skiers which caused the off piste to get skied out quicker than normal.  From mid-March to the end of the season was good snow and light crowds.  Snow conditions vary year to year, but that year, Feb was the worst with all the other months (Dec, Jan, March & April) being very good. 

post #36 of 42

Skiing in March is perfect. Good snow base and longer, sunnier days.


I was in Paris recently for work - 9 Euros for a beer and dog shit everywhere isn't my idea of fun. .    

post #37 of 42

There's no mention in here yet of using Munich, Salzburg or Innsbruck as city stops while skiing in Austria. I just thought I'd mention it.

post #38 of 42

What about flying to milan and then go skiing in the monterosa ski (algna+gressoney+champoluc) or in cervinia (connected to zermatt) they are about 2h away from milan and they are both really nice places!!

post #39 of 42


Originally Posted by ami in berlin View Post

There's no mention in here yet of using Munich, Salzburg or Innsbruck as city stops while skiing in Austria.

One reason those citie han't been menioned, is because it's more expensive to fly into those cities than Paris or Geneva.


The amount of fun to be had in Paris over Munich might also be another. ;-)

post #40 of 42


Originally Posted by pookie View Post

if I can re-frame the question in light of the suggestions: using Paris as point of departure for ski holiday, how would you compare Zermat and Val D'Isere as destination in terms of 1. the skiing 2. the feel of the place.


Forgive me if you are already familiar with it, but Where to Ski and Snowboard is a great book for weighing pros and cons of Alpine ski areas.  Many large public libraries carry it.  Here are links to condensed comments on Val d'Isere and Zermatt:


I've been to Paris and Zermatt, never Val d'Isere.  I wouldn't blame you for wanting to add a few days in Paris to a European ski trip.  Magnificent city with handy subway system.  Mountain scenery in Zermatt is stupendous.  If you speak functional French that might add a layer of richness to making Val d'Isere your ski destination.

post #41 of 42


Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post


  If you speak functional French that might add a layer of richness to making Val d'Isere your ski destination.

Its always nice to speak the local language, but Val (& Paris for that matter) are international destinations with lots of people who speak english...Unless your french is pretty good, you will likely find most people in Val & Paris switching over to english...better to practice your french with people who don't know much english (like you might find in some of the smaller or less well known resorts who don't get many Brit tourists).


post #42 of 42
Thread Starter 

Just to touch on a couple of points mentioned: we speak serviceable French, and have experienced the sometimes dicey late season conditions in the Alps. Milan, Munich may have their charms (visited both briefly) but fair to say, neither compares with Paris (which by the way, I don't associate with dog shit). I guess it comes down to putting up with some less convenient travel in order to spend time there. Clearly, Val and Zermatt are both great destinations. My sense is that Zermatt maybe a bit more to our liking as a village 'away' in the mountains, but the logistics of Paris/Zermatt may just be too daunting. So I'll look more closely at Val d'Isere. Thanks to all for the very informed suggestions.

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