In January 2023, Iain Martin, presenter of The Ski Podcast and founder of Ski Flight Free, travelled from the UK to Méribel – in the heart of Les 3 Vallées – by train.
London to Paris
All train trips to the Alps from the UK depart from London St Pancras International. I booked the first Eurostar of the day, which was an early start at 0605.
I don’t live close enough to London to get to the station this early, but found an adequate Airbnb just 10 minutes’ walk away.
The big plus of checking at this time of day is that check-in, security and passport control took me less than 10 minutes – try doing that at Gatwick at any time of the day!
Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon
I’ve written about this before, but transferring from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon is very straightforward. It usually takes me 20-25 minutes from platform to platform.
It’s two stops on the RER and I detail the journey in this video.
Gare de Lyon to Moutiers
If you are organised and know when you’re travelling there are some excellent fares available via Ouigo – the ‘no frills’ train service offered by SNCF.
Admittedly the route took in Grenoble, adding 40-50 minutes to the journey, but it cost me just €27. And that includes paying extra for a bag (it’s a ‘no frills’ service, remember).
The train was full of skiers, but I had a comfy seat, plenty of space and used the train’s Wi-Fi to work during the journey.
Moutiers to Méribel
Altibus offers regular buses from Moutiers to Méribel in winter. These cost €12 for adults and €8.40 for children. If there are several of you in the group, you might prefer to book a taxi which will cost you €35-€45 euros.
If you’re spending any time in Moutiers, you might find this guide to the station useful.
As noted above, I booked this trip well in advance. Checking back I see that I booked the Eurostar in June and I booked the SNCF seats the day they came available.
Eurostar (London-Paris) £49
SNCF (Paris-Moutiers) €27
Bus (Moutiers- Méribel) €12
I should note that the return journey cost slightly more (Moutiers to Paris was €75, Paris to London was €54) costing approximately £110.
That still means the return trip cost less than £200. If you are comparing this to flying, make sure you take into account your transfer from the airport to resort.
I left St Pancras at 0605 GMT and arrived in Moutiers at 1538 (so 1438 GMT). That’s 8h23m journey time. I took a cab to Méribel-Mottaret, which took about 25 minutes, so we’ll call it 8h45m in total.
The most important reason I choose to travel by train is to reduce my carbon footprint. The impacdt of travelling by train is around 15% of flying.
Methods of calculation vary, but the approximate carbon generated by train is 13kg CO2e, compared with 81 CO2e when flying. Typically, if you fly, this represents 50-70% of the carbon cost of a ski holiday.