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Getting from Mont St. Michel to Geneva

Hello. My family of four adults will have a car for our tour of Normandy in July. We plan to end our visit of Normandy at Mont. St. Michel. We then need to get to Geneva, Switzerland. We are seeking opinions from other travelers as to whether we should drive it or return the car in Caen and then take a train on to Geneva.

Is it a relatively easy drive? If we drive it, where would we return the car once we got to Switzerland and is this a difficult process in any regard?


Posted by
8042 posts

It is a long drive, but if you have 2-3 nights to spare it would give you the opportunity to stop off en route. Normandy to Geneva by train would involve going via Paris, which is not optimal.
The Loire valley, or Burgundy are suitable stops.

Via Michelin says:
Time: 09h09, Distance: 865 km including 776 km on motorways, Costs: Toll €75.40, Consumption €69.68
That is assuming no stops, and maintaining speed.
See route here:

If you return your car in Switzerland you would get a large surcharge. There is a way to avoid this. Return the car in the French half of Geneva airport (the airport is divided between France and Switzerland), walk across the border and get a local train into Geneva.

Posted by
2770 posts

You most likely would have to pay a drop charge in Switzerland. I know there is a high speed train (TGV) out of Paris. My inclination would be to return the car somewhere be in Caen or Rouen or Bayeaux and then take the train.

Posted by
2153 posts

How long do have from the time you leave Normandy until you have to be in Geneva? You have options. You can take an Air France flight directly from Caen to Geneva.

You can drive down towards the Loire Valley and then across towards Macon/Cluny and then Geneva. I think it would take me a lot longer than the EDIT 9 hours google maps (7.5h around Paris) says it is because I’d want to stop so much. If you drive all of the way to Geneva confirm that there would be no drop off fee for returning the car to a different country. I seem to remember that Geneva’s airport is close to the French border.

You can take the train all the way from Caen to Geneva but i think it involves going into Paris to change train stations across town.

It kind of depends on how much time you have and cost if that is a consideration. You can purchase less expensive airline and train tickets early rather than last minute. Gas and toll costs can be calculated more accurately on via Michelin. For driving times consider more time than via Michelin states if you want to sightsee along the way.

Good luck with your initial decision.

Posted by
11241 posts

I'd drive from MSM to Rennes (about a two hour drive), drop the car, and fly from there to Geneva on a European carrier. A quick search on skyscanner shows $127 to fly between the two on Air France (3 1/2 hours with a stop in Paris). I searched on July 10 but I find better, direct, options searching with my VPN.

The time driving is too much without at least an overnight somewhere and dropping after crossing a border is always expensive (though sometimes necessary).

Posted by
201 posts

Thanks to all who replied. This is very helpful info.