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Train vs Air Question

Hi! We are spending a month in Europe and doing a whirlwind trip. I am looking at doing most all of our travel by train. However, the train fares in Switzerland are driving me batty. So expensive. Anyway, I will suck up most of it and pay the fare. We are traveling our last leg from Geneva to Paris. The airfare is half the trainfare and the air time is 1/3 the train time. I do not want to miss the experience if there is beautiful countryside from the train. Can any of you give me your thoughts or advice? Thank you in advance.

jenny

Posted by
16883 posts

A Swiss Travel Pass or Half Fare Card can be a good value during your stay there, or a pass for more countries might be appropriate. The TGV train running Geneve-Paris does offer advance-purchase discounts starting about 3 months ahead. (See www.capitainetrain.com or www.raileurope.com, since I believe that SNCF does offer a PayPal payment option on this route.)However, you will not miss any very special scenery by flying.

Posted by
8889 posts

As for time, it is about the same if you include getting to and from the airport, check-in etc. Train is approx 3h10 Geneva to Paris.

As for cost, www.sbb.ch is showing CHF 45 (depending on which train) for a random date in April, https://www.capitainetrain.com is showing €45 to €85 for the same day. Are those the prices you got?

Have you investigated a Swiss Half Price Card. That may save you some money.

The countryside is not spectacular, just normal rural France.

Posted by
815 posts

Well the train journey between Geneva and Paris is nothing special.... If you want to have trip to remember then you'd do much better to take a train through part of Switzerland.

Posted by
67 posts

On both sbb.ch and capitainetrain.com the prices were $224 chf...The cheapest I found was through TGV at 70 chf and the time was not one I was interested in. Not sure what you all are doing differently than me. Thanks!

Posted by
8889 posts

Jenny,
What date are you looking at? Fares are cheaper 2-3 months in advance. I picked a random date in April. If you look at prices for tomorrow, it will be more expensive.

Not sure what you mean by "$224 chf". CHF = Swiss Franks, they don't use '$' in Switzerland.
www.sbb.ch quotes in Swiss franks, https://www.capitainetrain.com quotes in € (Euros).

Posted by
2580 posts

I just did the TGV from Geneva/Lausanne to Paris, I enjoyed it very much. Nice countryside, especially during the first portion. In fact the rain we had on departure turned into snow briefly as we were crossing the border and it was gorgeous.

Also if you're a train buff, I was surprised to discover that they don't turn up the wick on the TGV until they're past Beaune, that's when the in-car speedo will start showing 300 kph. Up until then I almost wanted to call Rail Europe and get a partial refund since we weren't at warp speed.

Also, if you're in TGV first class you will get a meal at your seat on the segment between Lausanne and Beaune. Just like if you're in first class on a plane. It was very tasty and wine was included!

Posted by
31471 posts

Jenny,

Aside from the price, I'd suggest travel by train. The flight time may be shorter on that route but by the time all is considered (check-in, security, travel to and from airports, waiting times, etc.), the train will probably be faster (especially since at least part of it will be via TGV). It will for sure be a much more pleasant experience!