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Arriving in Geneva on way to Chamonix: Linger or move on?

My wife and I will be taking the train from Paris to Geneva on a Monday morning in September with plans to stay at the Montenvers Refuge in Chamonix Tuesday and Wednesday nights. This is a first trip to the region for both of us and we're trying to decide whether to linger in Geneva (either for the day or overnight) or instead push through to Chamonix and spend our pre-Montenvers time in the Valley before heading up to the Refuge. We are in our 50s, outdoors oriented but also like exploring/window shopping in villages (or old parts of cities). We are planning to take the shuttle to Chamonix but are open to other ideas. Maybe there's a destination between the two that we should consider? Thanks in advance for any suggestions you can offer!

Posted by
1782 posts

hey hey wuxtry
we are headed on a train from gard de lyon to geneva on a monday in september also. bought our train tickets when was cheap. we are staying 2 nights (geneva's expensive and so is rest of switzerland) then headed to annecy across border in france on the lake.
do you have a place to stay in chamonix, are you flying in that day and from where and what time? if you can get all the way to chamonix, i would go. have a good sleep that night otherwise spend night in paris and continue on. if flying overseas are you good with jetlag, how long thru customs/passport. due your homework of what is best trains, bus, the cost you agree with, how long is travel. reserve ticket
spend night in geneva, reserve hotel and continue on. only you can decide what's best.

Posted by
3840 posts

To me Geneva is not worth the overnight, but why not leave your luggage at Genève Cornavin station, which is a short walk to the center of town, and explore the city for a few hours before taking a shuttle or bus to Chamonix. It is quite pleasant on a sunny day.

The valley between Geneva and Chamonix is not particularly scenic until the last part (understatement), so head straight to Chamonix from Geneva.

Too bad that you can't take the train all the way from Paris to Chamonix (I see there are replacement buses on that line, but I wouldn't recommend it) - It would have been a longer journey, but more straightforward. Your Geneva plan is better in these circumstances.

Posted by
3304 posts

Geneva is absolutely worth an overnight or more!!

We spent half of our honeymoon in Geneva and absolutely loved it. The old town, jet d’eau, taking a boat ride on Lake Geneva, the parks, Carouge, the Rhône.... we loved it all. Plus the system of public transport whether it is buses or trams is excellent.

On PBS, while Rick Steves avoids Geneva, both Samantha Brown and Burt Wolf ( whose lived there) focus parts of their respective Swiss episodes in Geneva. Take a look. Maybe you’ll find them on YouTube.

Posted by
7205 posts

Definitely move on! For people who live Geneva...I wonder if they been to any other Swiss destination like Lucerne, Murren/Wengen, Bern it even Zurich? Those places are very very nice. Geneva- the only thing that makes Geneva worth a visit for me is that my family lives there!

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you for these responses! A bit of a whipsaw of opinions but definitely helpful as we continue to strategize.