In March 2023, Iain presenter of The Ski Podcast and founder of Ski Flight Free, travelled from London to Verbier by train.
0801 (GMT) – London St Pancras
Eurostar check-in is so much simpler and faster than flying: 12 mins to get through security and passport control AND with a full water bottle, cup of tea and no faffing around with toiletries in separate bags
1130 (CET) – Paris Metro
The RER service was affected by strikes, so I had to change at Chatelet Les Halles, but it still only took 30 minutes from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon (via the ‘D’ and then the ‘A’ lines).
1145 – Gare de Lyon
I tend to cut it fine (I’d left myself an hour between trains), but I had 30 minutes at Gare de Lyon to buy some lunch and catch up on a few emails.
1214 – Paris to Geneva
I love the Lyria trains to Switzerland. I always book an upper deck (for the light and the views) with a table. The Wi-Fi is good and in the three hour journey I got plenty done.
1530 – Geneva
We arrived bang on time in Geneva.
1545 – Le Jet d’Eau, Lac Leman
I’d been sitting down most of the day, so went for a short stroll down to the beautiful Lac Leman to admire the 140m plumes of the Jet d’Eau.
1630 – Lausanne
The views on Swiss trains are incredible. I stopped working and just gazed in awe across Lac Leman to the northern French Alps.
1742 – Martigny
Guess what? We arrived bang on time again, with a perfectly timed seven minutes to get across the platforms for my next connection.
1749 – Martigny to Le Chable
My last train of the day took me from Martigny to Le Chable. From there it’s a very short walk to the gondola which takes you directly into the centre of Verbier.
1830 – Verbier
About 10 minutes from leaving Le Chable, I arrived in Verbier. It took just 9h30m from London, slightly longer than flying, but at a fraction of the carbon cost.
The actual cost of Iain’s journey was £224 return, from London to Verbier:
Eurostar (London to Paris return) – £104
SNCF (Paris to Geneva return) – £67
SwissRail (Geneva to Verbier return) – £53
Note that the earlier you book, the lower prices can be. I booked the SNCF leg of my journey on the day the fares came available (typically about three or four months beforehand). I also have a ‘Carte Avantage‘, which cost €49, but gives a discount on certain fares. I earned the cost back the first time I used it and, as I travel regularly, it’s saved me €150-€200 this winter.