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Paris, Geneva, or Chamonix for 2 1/2 days

My daughter and I are trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc in the first week of September. I had a few days in advance of that where I could spend a few days exploring.

The options that I was considering are as follows:

A. Fly into Paris and spend the 2.5 days there. I have been to Paris once before but that hardly accounts for anything in a city like Paris.

B. Fly into Geneva and day trip to Lake Lausanne and other locations, possible even Annecy.

C. Fly into Geneva but head to Chamonix to actually explore the area, gondolas, Courmayuer.

I am leaning a slight bit to options B and C, but it is also hard to pass up a return visit to Paris. It is more likely that future travel could take me back to Paris, but unlikely I would find myself in Geneva/Chamonix again.

Thanks for any thoughts.

Posted by
366 posts

We were in Chamonix and Annecy in the 3rd week of September 2022. They were both beautiful!!! Your timing will be better than ours in terms of being able to use all the lifts in Chamonix - many of them closed the day before we arrived. I had hoped to take a lift up, and then hike across one of the Balcon hikes, and then the lift down. The Panorama restaurant was closed. So, these are a few options you would be able to do...and there are so many more things to see, do, and enjoy in both cities. Here's a link to a post I made before our trip, and it has good advice from others, ending with my mini trip report with highlights of our time in the French Alps. It might be helpful. We loved our time there and would return to both cities!

Have a great trip!

Posted by
5647 posts

I like option C, which gives you the chance for some warm-up hikes before the real thing! The TMB, popular as it is, is no small undertaking.

Posted by
1776 posts

We visited both Chamonix and Annecy a few years ago. Chamonix was pretty but seemed like a typical ski town. Annecy was charming - lots of canals and winding streets.
Useful fact you may not know: Geneva airport you can rent either a Swiss rental car or a French rental car. So, you can fly into Geneva, get a French rental car and return it in another French location for a reasonable drop fee instead of a very expensive one.

Posted by
71 posts

Cynthia, I was not aware of this and if I decide to pursue the Chamonix option renting on the French side would be most helpful. Do you have any details as to how this is done? Can it be done at the Geneva airport or do I need to go into the city?

Thank you for this suggestion.

Posted by
1776 posts

We flew British Air from LHR to Geneva. The plane landed in Geneva, Switzerland. We went through immigration in Switzerland (very quick), walked through a long corridor and were then in France. (There may have been another quick immigration check - I don't remember, this trip was in 2018). We walked to the car rental counter (Europcar) and completed the paperwork. Quite simple to do. Just be sure the GPS knows which country you are in - we got lost for about an hour because the GPS was set for France and we were driving to Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland.