How do I find and buy the train trip connections that will take me from Strasbourg to Chamonix by going through Switzerland, as Rick describes in his 2013 France guyide book? The only connections I can find from RailEurope et al go through Lyon.
Go to www.bahn.com and use the search facility on the home page. Assuming you mean Chamonix-Mont-Blanc and not Chamonix-Aiguille-Midi, I can see routes via Basle and Geneva. Also see this recent thread here on Rick Steves: http://www.ricksteves.com/graffiti/helpline/index.cfm/rurl/topic/100662/martignychamonix-in-late-june-by-bus-or-train-not-car.html And also this, which may help you plan the best route: https://www.ricksteves.com/graffiti/helpline/index.cfm/rurl/topic/100720/chamonix-to-montreux59-via-geneva-or-martigny.html Book the train from Strasbourg to Basle at www.tgv-europe.com, and when the popup asks if you want to go to RailEurope or stay on tgv-europe.com, choose the latter. Pick Antarctica as your ticket delivery country. There is no price difference for buying tickets early for Swiss trains on the onward journey from Basle, but you can if you wish at www.sbb.ch.
With the help of an earlier posted answer, I have found that a good way is to find a train trip from Strasbourg to Geneva airport (not city!) on Rail Europe - there is about one/hour. Then search on-line for shuttle buses from Geneva airport to Chamonix. There are about 20 private companies offering this service, so it looks like that will work. I hope this helps someone else.
Brad: Just a correction. "Rail Europe" does not run trains. They sell tickets (usually at a mark up) for the trains in Europe. But the trains themselves are either run by national operators (like Trenitalia in Italy), by competitors (like Italo in Italy) or by consortiums involving several countries (like Thalys, involving France, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands). It's almost always cheaper to buy tickets from the entity running the train you want to take (of course there are exceptions, but that's what they are - exceptions). In addition to charging more, Rail Europe does not list all trains. So, follow this advice to look at train schedules: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/db_tips.htm To book French tickets: book at http://www.tgv-europe.com/, choose Great Britain as your country and France as your ticket collection country (anything but US), and refuse to be redirected to Rail Europe. Buy one ticket at a time, and if possible, use the "print at home" option. If not, choose "pick up at a French station"; don't choose "pick up at ticket machine" unless you have a chip and pin credit card, as the machines do not accept swipe cards. In addition to stations, you can also pick up tickets at SNCF Boutiques, which are train ticket stores in French cities (often easier than going to the station).
From the Geneva airport, there is a shuttle service to Chamonix-Mt. Blanc that departs every 45 minutes. Here's a link to the website. http://www.chamexpress.com/?gclid=CNiC1-rTxLECFWIGRQodNBgA7w