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Transportation to Chamonix

I would like to travel to Chamonix from Avignon using public transportation. My teenage granddaughter and I will be traveling mid July, midweek. I would appreciate any insight, recommendations. I was originally planning to rent a car, but I read that negotiating traffic in the small Alpine villages could be rough. Now I’ve read the train ride is 7-8 hrs , and involves a bus ride too. I also read to buy my train tickets as soon as this really necessary? I’d love to hear from someone who has done this...should I go back to car rental idea? When we leave Chamonix, after 3 nights, we plan to go to Beaune for 2 nights, and then on to Paris to fly home.

I’ve only been to France once before, and we rode our bicycles all around for 6 weeks. No reservations, no problems on the was spectacular. Making all these advanced plans is daunting, but this forum has been so helpful. Thanks

Posted by
18466 posts

You can travel on unreserved TER trains. It is 8 1/2 hours from Avignon to Chamonix and then 7 3/4 hours on to Beaune. Price is generally always the same on TER trains.

Posted by
32050 posts


The method I'd probably use is train from Avignon to Geneva, which varies from about 3H:17M to 4H:38M (1 change at Lyon Part Dieu). There's a departure on the current schedule at 08:51, arriving Geneva at 12:31.

Pre-arrange a ride from the main station in Geneva to Chamonix using one of the Shuttle services (about a 1 hour ride as I recall). Some that you could consider are.....

For the reverse trip, again use the Shuttle to Geneva and then train to Beaune via Lyon Part Dieu. The only reference I could find for the rail station in Beaune is "Chagny" and I assume that's the correct one.

Posted by
12 posts

This sounds like a great idea. We will definitely check into this. Thank you

Posted by
5142 posts


We took this route in reverse but we actually traveled from Chamonix to Annecy before traveling to Avignon.

Do consider spending some time in beautiful Annecy, en-route to Chamonix.

If you'll be taking a TGV train, it's a good idea to buy in advance especially if you want discounted tickets.

We took a TER train from Annecy to Vallence Ville, then we transfered to a TGV train to Avignon-- You'll do this in reverse.
If traveling all the way to Chamonix, it will be a very long trek requiring at least two train transfers.

Enjoy your time in France!