Zurich to France Train/Boat

My son is flying into Zurich before he begins studying abroad this July and will have 8 days on his own before he meets up with his group. His flight arrives in Zurich at 7am and he's thinking of traveling to Chamonix and taking the Augille du Midi tram, spending a couple of days in Avignon (may have to stay in Arles due to a special event. Does anyone know of a creative way to get from Zurich to Chamonix? Our family traveled through Switzerland last summer and he's confident with using the trains.
He'll have jet lag but wants to take advantage of his 10 day selectpass (Switz/France/Benelux) and maybe take the train to Geneva, then the boat on Lake Geneva, and reconnect to the train if possible to Chamonix the first day. Are these connections possible? He'll have his luggage. Any info/suggestions you can share is greatly appreciated!

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6699 posts

The best way to get to Chamonix-Mt. Blanc from Zurich could be by train. I don't think that there are buses for the entire run but there are some on the French side. The journey will take 4.5hours and require three train changes. The Zurich Flughafen (airport) station is directly beneath the Zurich airport terminal. The journey can begin there. Just take the elevator or escalator. down to the train station. A train to Geneva first will take just under 3 hours with no train changes. You can see all of this on www.sbb.ch/en/index.htm.

Posted by Tom
Newport Beach, CA, USA
756 posts

The trains are probably the easiest and you can find a fast train from Zurich to Geneva - may stop in Bern along the way - check the swiss rail website (sbb.ch) for schedules. Or fly to Geneva from Zurich. Id recommend taking a shuttle to Chamonix from Geneva Airport -they take about 90 min or less I think - and a lot faster and direct than the train. Also quite cheap. I was there last summer and it was about 4 hrs by train in a longer path. But shuttles like "Alpibus" to chamonix for 30-40euros or so is the best way in a mini-van or van. From Chamonix you can take the train back where ever. Save the pass for those more expensive ticket days!

Posted by Karen
Metairie, LA
7 posts

Thanks so much for your help!

Do you know how we can get the schedule for the boat on Lake Geneva?
Is the boat very far from the Geneva train station?
Is there a train from Montreux or Evian le Ban to Chamonix?
Any help is appreciated!
Karen