London to the Alps by Train
At Tasty HQ we have been in the ski game for a number of years now. One of the biggest improvements during our time in the Alps is the number of flights that fly directly to Geneva from multiple UK airports. Competition amongst airlines has increased and prices have fallen, and the passenger experience has also improved (seat reservations from Easyjet anyone??). Morzine is just a 1 hour 15 drive from Geneva airport and Le Grand Massif is even closer at just under 1 hour.
However a couple of weeks ago we decided to make a change and took the train for the first time. We were pleasantly surprised by the speed, price and comfort or the journey from London St Pancras to Geneva. It was also nice to know that we were cutting our carbon footprint by 80% when opting to take the train instead of the plane.
Step 1 – Booking the Ticket
Booking a ticket seemed like a minefield until we stumbled across loco2.com. They are an independent online agent who are not affiliated with any one rail operator. They offer the cheapest prices for each route in a simple format with tickets sent through instantly to your email. Our one-way ticket cost £65 per person including luggage from London St Pancras to Geneva. Tickets during the winter season start at around £100 per person for a return ticket with luggage. The total journey time is around 6 hours and 30 minutes from St Pancras to Geneva including a change at Paris du Nord to Paris Gare Lyon.
Step 2 – The Journey
Our train departed at an unsociable 07:55. Fortunately we were at a competitive advantage as Tasty HQ is a 15 minute stroll from London St Pancras. The station itself is stunning and made a welcome change to Luton airport. There was an airport style baggage check followed by a brief wait in the quiet lounge area. The Eurostar is spacious with larger seats than a normal UK train that gave us a good vantage point for the 2 hours 20 minute journey to Paris Gare du Nord.
On arrival we ignored loco2.com’s advice to prebook a taxi or uber and intrepidly set out to take the Metro. This was a mistake and we immediately got lost. Fortunately a brave Parisian understood our french (english but speak louder) and we managed to make our connection at Paris Gare Lyon which set off just 45 minutes after we arrived at the Gare du Nord. The Train de Grand Vitesse (TGV) seemed to go even faster than the Eurostar and the double decker behemoth arrived in Geneva at 15:30 local time. The food was also good with a larger choice than on a plane and a nice seating area in the buffet carriage.
Step 3 – Geneva to the Alps
This was the easiest part of the journey as we had done it hundreds of times before. We were going to Morzine so pre-booked a shared transfer (an 8-seater minibus heading to the same resort) with Skiidy Gonzalez. The transfer cost €40 per person and we arrived in Morzine at 17:15 local time. So door to door the journey took 8 hours and 30 minutes.
We loved the journey and will definitely do it again. The pros are 1) Competitively priced against flights 2) Much more comfortable and less stressful than airport travel 3) Allows you to take in the beautiful french countryside 4) Train travel is significantly more environmentally friendly than plane travel. The big con is that it takes longer. Door to door London to Morzine by plane takes around 6 hours. Door to door London to Morzine by train takes around 8 hours and 30 minutes (and can be longer depending on what train you catch). When we travel to Morzine from London we like to be out on the slopes in the afternoon. Traveling by train makes this impossible. However this does not always apply to holiday makers traveling to resort so this may not be a factor.