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Most economical route from the west coast of Switzerland to Paris?

We'll have the Swiss Travel Pass. I'm assuming we cannot use that to get to Paris, correct?
If our Switzerland touring ends on the west coast, is it less expensive to take the train from Lausanne to Paris or would an airplane flight from Geneva to Paris be better?

Posted by
3979 posts

Correct, you can't use the Swiss Travel Pass to travel into France.

There is no west coast of Switzerland as it has no ocean boundary. From Geneva to Paris it takes just over 3 hours by train (TGV) and costs about $100. It is about the same to book from Lausanne. Flights plus the transportation to get you into the city center cost a bit more and take longer when you add in your time to get to and wait at the airport. You can to roughly check this out at www.rome2rio.com

Posted by
106 posts

Thank you Mona. Train it shall be. The train will be much more scenic as well I hope.
I didn't actually mean "coast" .... LOL.

Posted by
16636 posts

A Swiss pass will give you a slight discount on a full price ticket from Lausanne to Paris, bringing it down to 118 CHF. But if you buy well in advance (2-3 months), you may find a Special Offer price as low as 32 CHF per person. These are non-refundable and non-changeable tickets on the direct train that takes 3 hours 40 minutes. I believe that is faster than flying, by the time you add in travel time to the airport, security time, and travel from the airport into Paris.

Posted by
106 posts

Lola, that sounds wonderful. Do you have a website that I can go to to find out about discounts, etc. ? Thank you.

Posted by
16636 posts

Yes. Use the Swiss national site, SBB.ch. For English here is the link:

http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html

The site is not particularly good at narrative explanations of discounts. I just put a proposed trip in the journey planner and work it through. To find the prices I gave you, I used July 5. Give it a try and you will figure it out.

You may want to compare prices with what is available on the French train site. Lots of people have trouble with that one, so they use a booking site instead---capitaintrain or something like that. I will find it and post the link. I have not used it but my sister had success after failing with the Official French TGV site.

Posted by
16636 posts

OK, it is https://www.captaintrain.com/search/

I tried it and they do offer a ticket on a direct train for €29, but it is a much later train than the ones shown on sbb.ch, so you would not arrive in Paris until after 10 pm.

I would buy it directly from sbb.ch. The site is very clear and easy to use for purchases. When I bought Special Offer tickets there several years ago, they had to be picked up in Switzerland. Now they offer "print at home" tickets so be sure to choose that option.

When is your trip?

Posted by
106 posts

We'll be leaving Switzerland on September 1, so I still have lots of time to lock down the details. But Lola thank you SO much for all your great help with this!!

Posted by
16636 posts

You are most welcome. I love Switzerland and do not get to go as often as I would like, so get vicarious pleasure from helping others.

It is too early to buy tickets for Sept. 1, but you can start practicing with the website and exploring schedules for the rest of your time in Switzerland.

Posted by
106 posts

Thanks. Can you tell me how far ahead of time I can reserve train travel?

Posted by
8889 posts

Cindy,
Within Switzerland you don't reserve trains in advance. It is not necessary (unless you are a group of 10+), and usually not possible.
For the TGV-Lyria trains between Switzerland and Paris, French rules apply after the border and you can book 90 days in advance.
Times and prices are here: http://www.tgv-lyria.com/en-CH
If you want to buy a ticket this will re-direct to another site depending on where you are.

An alternative is the French-based booking agency: https://www.captaintrain.com/en This offers tickets without a mark-up, but is a much more easy to use site than the official SNCF website.

P.S. Switzerland definitely does not have a "west coast".

Posted by
106 posts

Thank you. The 90 day rule seems to apply everywhere in Europe. Frustrating to this impatient Canadian! LOL.

Posted by
11294 posts

"The 90 day rule seems to apply everywhere in Europe"

Almost everywhere, but not everywhere. One important exception, for example, is the Eurostar connecting London to Paris or Brussels. These trains go on sale 180 days ahead. If you try to book 90 days ahead, you may have already missed the cheapest tickets, particularly for popular times.

The Man In Seat 61 is a great resource for this kind of information. Here's his main page; on the left you can click the country your trip is starting in to learn more: http://seat61.com/

Posted by
3172 posts

What "90-day rule"? I just found tickets from Lausanne to Paris on the Swiss website sbb.ch for August 10---more than 120 days from now. The low price is 39 francs, not 32 like Lola found, but still a great price. Here:


Outward journey
Lausanne - Paris-Gare de Lyon
Wed, 10.08.16, 12:23 - 16:03 Hour
Duration: 03:40, 0x Change(s)
Passengers: 1 Adult, 2nd Class
Special offers
Prices apply to all customers and include all compulsory supplements.
Details of any seat reservation charges are shown in the next stage of the booking process.

Total for outward journey Outward journey
standard offer
exchangeable, refundable, only valid for the service selected

Prices per person
Conditions and validity
125.00
special offer
no exchange, no refund, only valid for the service selected

Prices per person
Conditions and validity
39.00
special offer
exchangeable, refundable, only valid for the service selected

Prices per person
Conditions and validity
66.00
Total selected CHF 39.00


And I have bought tickets for Italy trains at the 120 - day mark.

Posted by
424 posts

We had great experience with Captain Train (https://www.captaintrain.com/en). We were traveling in the opposite direction than you're describing. We booked the tickets on the TGV Lyria from Paris to Basel 90 days in advance, and secured reasonable rates. It was satisfying to see the rates climb as we got closer to our departure date! We did print out paper tickets, but were able to simply show our e-tickets on the phones.

We then continued on the Swiss trains to Luzern and Engelberg, then back to Luzern for a few days, then to Zurich and our flight home. The Swiss train system was fantastic, as promised. After much calculating, we decided that the Half Fare pass was best for us, rather than the Swiss Travel Pass. It's a lot to consider!

Have a great trip!

Laurie

Posted by
16636 posts

I used an early July date ( July 5) for my search and got that 32 CHF. I see that today it is up to 50 CHF for that date. And July 7 is 39 CHF. They must have a tiered price structure for the Special Offer tickets, with limited numbers at each price.

It might be a good idea to decide and purchase soon.

Posted by
106 posts

Just checked on both sites and September 1 isn't available yet. But now I know exactly where to get them when they are! Thanks everyone.

Posted by
16636 posts

Correct. But August 31 is available, and that one is 32 CHF. So mark your calendar for the purchase date to get the lowest price. Isn't your trip the end of September?

Posted by
106 posts

No it's September 1, so I'll check tomorrow for sure. Which site did you find Aug 31 available on?

Posted by
16636 posts

On the Swiss site, SBB.ch

Sept. 1 won't necessarily be available tomorrow--- they may release dates by the calendar month - like release all of August on April 1, then all of September on May 1. But I actually don't know how they do it, so just keep checking every day.