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Zurich to Paris: Train or Flight?

We will be travelling from Zurich to Paris and back in the 2nd half of May. I have been looking for rail tickets to book. But I just realized that the flight tickets cost the same price. I am looking at air france and rail europe website. Am I looking at the right place to buy the train tickets?

What are the pros and cons of the train vs flight travel?
We would have 2 carry on baggages and a backpack with us.
I am an Indian national travelling on a Shengen Visa. I am not sure how much time it takes to clear customs at Paris.

Your suggestions please?

Thanks
Anush

Posted by
16848 posts

You can find rail tickets from Zurich to Paris at http://en.voyages-sncf.com/en/?DISTRIBUTED_COUNTRY=GB
You can print the tickets at home. The cheapest way is to commit to a nonrefundable non changeable ticket. I see tickets for as low as 25 euro each way per person. These tickets are available for purchase 3 months before the departure date. So you should look to buy the tickets exactly 3 months before you anticipated departure date. They sell out quickly and then only higher priced tickets are available. The trains run every 2 hours starting at 7:34 am until 7:27 pm. The journey time is about 4 hours and the trains arrive at Paris Gare de Lyon. I don't know how credit cards work in India, but in America we have to notify our bank that we are making the purchase in advance or they will decline it because of suspected fraud (we're at home, but it appears that someone in France is trying to buy railroad tickets with our credit card). Do the same for your return trip later in the month. You can also use an alternate site at www.capitainetrain.com (the TGV credit card vetting system can be so stringent as to reject your card even after you notified your bank. Captaine Train vetting is not so stringent).
Hope this helps.

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks Sam for the tip. I guess one needs to grab the tickets 3 months in advance. I will keep a watch :).

Posted by
4684 posts

If the train travel time is four hours it will almost certainly end up faster than air overall - no need to travel between city centres and airports, no lengthy check-in, security check or baggage reclaim. There aren't even any formal immigration checks arriving in Paris although sometimes there are passport checks on the train.

You will need to carry your own baggage on the train - small items go in racks above the seats, large items go in racks at the end of the carriage. Some people like to lock them to the rack just in case of baggage theft.