We will be traveling from Chamonix to Paris on a Friday in late June. In looking at the RailEurope site, we would go from Chamonix to St. Gervais Les Bains to Annecy to Paris Gare Lyon. Our concern is only having seven minutes to catch the train from Sr. Gervais Les Bains to Annecy. Whatever time we leave Chamonix, it works out this way. Will this be a problem? Also, we are debating the merits of a Paris Pass or a museum pass while in Paris. We will have two full days there. Is a pass the best thing to do? Or, just using the Metro system to get around? We are most interested in the outdoors, not necessarily entering a lot of museums.
The change at St Gervais ( Le Fayet ) is very simple . it is a cross platform change and a piece of cake unless you are bringing along a Giraffe ; -- ) ---Besides why are you looking at RailEurope ? f you want more time for the change , the train from Chamonix to Le Fayet is a TER regional train and you could jump on the one before with no problem . PS , you should look at SNCF - voyages for your tickets , not Raileurope
Great information, thank you.
Or if your credit card does not work at the SNCF website, you can try capitainetrain.com. If you use the SNCF site, select France or Antarctica as your country.
If you're not interested in museums, than the Paris Museum Pass may not be worthwhile
for you. All you should need for the metro are individual tickets. A carnet is 10 tickets
at a slightly reduced price.
You will always have to change at St Gervais because the line beyond there to Chamonix is narrow gauge. Many passengers will be changing so you can follow the crowd.
The Paris Pass is an expensive combination of Paris Visite transport pass and Paris Museum Pass, plus a handling fee. If you are only interested in travel then for two days buying carnets of single tickets will almost certainly be cheapest. No reason to buy a PMP unless you actually want to visit museums.
Is it best to buy train tickets in advance? Would there be a problem in waiting until we are in Chamonix to buy tickets?
You can buy tickets on the day, but for a lengthy journey like Chamonix-Paris there are significant discounts if you buy in advance. The cheapest tickets go on sale 3 months or so in advance, so you need to go to SNCF or Capitaine Train (some people report difficulties in using SNCF without being redirected to Raileurope from US IP addresses, or using US credit cards on the site, if so use Capitaine Train) NOW and buy your ticket. See this site for full details.
If you buy the cheapest "Prems" tickets, you will be strictly limited to a single departure time from Chamonix, and if you miss that you will have to buy a new ticket. However, if you miss a subsequent connection due to the train being delayed (but not if you spent too much time buying a coffee or using the toilet), you will be allowed to use the next available train.
One more thing to be alert to - Be sure to check the train number on your ticket so it is consistent with the number of the train you are boarding . While it is only a cross platform switch , there may be other trains going from that platform . Your train goes to Paris via Annecy . Some departing trains to Paris go via Bellegarde sur Valserine , like mine did .
Definitely do NOT get Paris museum pass. You can't see and enjoy enough museums to justify the cost. You can get individual tix from the Tourism office on rue des Pyramides.