Travelling by Train
As more and more of our guests choose to travel to the alps by train I decided it would be a good experience to travel home this way and so booked a ticket from Oulx in Italy back to the UK.
Zoe - our resort manager in Serre Chevalier - collected Tracy and myself at 7.30 from Montgenevre and drove us down the mountain to Oulx (approx 25 minutes away) A taxi would cost approx 40€ and there is also a public bus....
We arrived at Oulx just after 8am and our train was due at 08.40 so we found a table at the little cafe inside the station and I had a croissant and a cafe latte macchiato for breakfast. The train was running 15 minutes late, but we were kept informed by the announcements and so waited inside in the warmth.
When the train pulled in there was a bit of a mad dash on the platform as the carriages were not in the order we had all been expecting and so everyone was switching ends to board the train, (maybe this had caused the delay as I suspect this was happening at each station?) but we found our carriage and settled into our seats.
The train journey from Oulx to Paris was very comfortable - I was able to catch up on some work - my laptop has a good battery, but there was an electric socket if I needed it and I found the seat and dropdown table gave me plenty of space (far more than on the plane journey out) Coffee was 2€50 and it was nice to be able to stretch my legs and walk along to the restaurant car. (there is a mini bar which comes around too) The toilets were clean (and heated I noticed) and there seemed to be plenty of luggage space. As it was half term the train was busy, but it didn't feel like we were crammed in.
I did see one person with a dog on the train although I couldn't imagine doing the journey with mine (apart from the fact that he would need more than one seat I could imagine him wanting to meet every passenger on the train and give them a sloppy dog kiss which I suspect would not go down too well) He also snores too loudly!
The train stopped at Bardonnechia before entering the Frejus tunnel and crossing the border into France. The border police came down the train asking to see our passports at this point and I assume they got off at the next stop which was Modane. We then made further stops at St Jean de Maurienne, Chambery and Lyon St Exupery and then went straight through to Paris Gare De Lyon where we arrived at 13.40
From the Gare du Lyon the easiest way to Gare du Nord is using the RER as it's only 2 stops away - you follow the signs down to the metro and then to RER D line - it was platform 2 for us and cost 1€70 each.
on the RER
The train stops at Chatelet Les Halles and then Paris Nord. Once you get off the RER train at Paris Nord look for the Eurostar signs or the Rue de Dunquerque signs. We arrived at the Gare du Nord at 14.15
At the Gare Du Nord the Eurostar check in area is well signposted - you go up an escalator to the check in and then go through passport control to the waiting area before boarding. There are various shops and cafes in the waiting area so we had a sandwich whilst we waited.
Gare du Nord
Our train left on time at 15.13 and as with the previous TGV was comfortable, had clean toilets and a bar-cafe on board.
In no time at all we had crossed the rest of the french countryside and entered the tunnel - as I live in Kent I was getting off at Ashford so I put my watch back an hour and at 16 was off the train and I was home by 17.30. It was not a stressful journey at all - quite the opposite. I felt as if I had passed a pleasant day doing some work and reading for a while. It's definitely still my favourite way of travelling.
For more information about travelling to and from the alps by train click here
Travelling by Train was posted on 7 March 2013 by Katie Waddington.