Leave your car in the car park and reach the French ski slopes by train. From Paris, it is possible by chaining TGV and bus or seasonal shuttles. Our selection of resorts among the closest to the capital, from the Alps to the Pyrenees.
Arrive at the foot of the ski slopes (almost) when you get off the train? Some mountain areas offer this luxury to travelers from Paris. Using public transport to get to the Alps or the Jura saves you the fatigue generated by several hours of driving and possible traffic jams. Motorists must now equip themselves with snow tires in 48 mountain departments since November 1 and until March 31 in application of the Mountain II law. All the more reason to turn to public transport.
Reservations started early for this winter 2021/22. TGV InOui tickets have been on sale since November for the winter holidays. Ouigo, which provides a seasonal link between Charles-de-Gaulle airport and Bourg-Saint-Maurice, in Savoie, is also positioning itself.
In Savoie, in the Doubs or the Hautes-Pyrénées, Le Figaro has selected ski areas that are easily accessible from Paris thanks to the combination of train and bus (regular lines or seasonal shuttles), and for which the plane and the car are less competitive in terms of travel time and even price.
In the northern Alps
- Les Arcs 1600 (Savoie): about 5 hours
From Paris, Les Arcs resort is the only one fully accessible by train. On the menu: a direct TGV to Bourg-Saint-Maurice (Savoie), then a funicular, renovated in 2019, which takes you to Arc 1600 in just seven minutes. Good to know: access to the funicular is free on simple presentation of your SNCF ticket (otherwise it’s a one-way ticket €3). From there, shuttles serve the three other altitude sites (Arc 1850, Arc 1950 and Arc 2000), opening up the 425 km of pistes in the Paradiski area.
Departing from the Gare de Lyon in Paris, the inOui TGVs take at least 4h40 to reach Bourg-Saint-Maurice without changing. Traditionally, between five and seven round trips are provided each day, including one trip made at night in the Paris-Alps direction. The frequencies for this winter season 2021-2022 have not yet been communicated by the SNCF. Since last winter, Ouigo has also been serving the Tarentaise valley with its low prices (from €16 one way, or a fixed price of €5 for children under 12) from Charles- de-Gaulle and Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy. The low-cost train will serve Lyon Saint-Exupéry, Grenoble, Albertville, Moûtiers Salins Brides-les-Bains and Aime-la-Plagne from December 16 to March 28. Reservations, timetables and fares on oui.sncf and Ouigo.
- Villard-de-Lans and Corrençon-en-Vercors (Isère): about 4 hours
Grenoble (Isère), one of the main gateways to the Alps, is connected to the capital in three hours with the TGV inOui. From there, it takes an hour by bus to reach Villard-de-Lans, the largest alpine ski resort in the Vercors massif with its 120 km of slopes, linked to the neighboring village of Corrençon-en-Vercors. You have the choice between the regular bus lines of the Transière network (lines T64 and T65) or the seasonal shuttles of the Transaltitude network set up by the department of Isère. From €9.50, sales in November for the line opening on December 18.
- Alpe d’Huez and Les Deux-Alpes (Isère): about 5 hours
Still departing from Grenoble, Transaltitude also serves the two main areas of the Oisans massif: Les Deux-Alpes and its ski area, the highest in France; and L’Alpe d’Huez, the queen resort of the department. Count two hours of journey. From €12.50; sales in November on Transaltitude for the opening of the line on December 4, .
- Morzine, Les Gets and Avoriaz (Haute-Savoie): from 5.30 a.m.
Located in the Portes du Soleil ski area and perched at an altitude of 1800 metres, Avoriaz was designed from the outset as a car-free ski resort. To get to the avant-garde spot of Haute-Savoie, take the TGV to Thonon-Les-Bains (4h40 from Gare de Lyon, several direct trains in winter). Buses on line 91 of the regional coach network then allow you to reach Avoriaz 1800 (1h30), but also Morzine (45 minutes) and Les Gets (1h10). Count 8 € the journey by bus. Reservations, timetables and fares on SAT Léman and Altibus.
In the Southern Alps
- Serre Chevalier (Hautes-Alpes): from 5:30 a.m.
Since December 12, it is again possible to fall asleep in Paris and wake up in the Hautes-Alpes thanks to the return to service of the Paris-Briançon night Intercity. The opportunity to go skiing in Serre Chevalier and celebrate this winter the 80th anniversary of the ski area and its cable car. Despite a long journey time (12 hours), this connection allows you to arrive (almost) at the foot of the slopes in the early morning. In Briançon, the Serre Che Bus serves the villages of the Serre Chevalier valley as far as Monêtier-les-Bains every 20 minutes from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Timetables and fares on the Resalp and Zou! websites.
There are several alternatives for getting to Briançon by day. The fastest is to take the TGV to Oulx (4h40), in Italy, then the bus line I to the Serre Chevalier valley (1h, departure after each TGV arrival). Another solution, go to Grenoble (3h) and take the LER 35 bus (2h) which stops in all the villages of the “Serre Che'” valley (only two to three round trips per day), before the Briançon terminus.
- Super-Besse and Le Mont-Dore: about 5 hours
Departing from Clermont-Ferrand station (Puy-de-Dôme), served in 3h30 by Intercités from Paris-Bercy, buses take you to the two main ski resorts in Auvergne. For Le Mont-Dore, count 1h30 by coach TER to the city center (about 7 round trips per day); some of these buses lead directly to the foot of the slopes. Reservations and fares on oui.sncf. For Super-Besse, take bus line P74 (1h15, €3 per trip, two round trips only on Saturdays during Christmas holidays and winter holidays).
- Le Lioran (Cantal): about 5h30
Le Lioran, in the Cantal Massif, is the only one in Europe to have a train station at the foot of the ski slopes. Upon getting off the train at Lioran station, skiers only have a few meters to travel to reach the ski lift which takes them to the heart of the area in three minutes, 103 meters higher. In winter, a combined TER + ski lift ticket is sold thanks to a partnership with the SNCF and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. From Paris-Bercy, count 3h30 journey by Intercités to Clermont-Ferrand, then 1h50 by TER.
In the Pyrenees
- Barèges (Grand Tourmalet), Cauterets and Gavarnie-Gèdre: from 6am
Lourdes, accessible in 4h50 by TGV inOui from Paris-Montparnasse, is one of the main gateways to the ski resorts of the Hautes-Pyrénées. Since December 12, the city has been the terminus of a new night train line which connects it to the capital in 10 hours via Tarbes. Line 965 of the Lio network serves three of them all year round: Barèges (1h), which together with La Mongie constitutes the Grand Tourmalet area, Cauterets (1h) and Gavarnie-Gèdre (1h30). Count 2 € per bus journey. Information on the n-py.com website.
In the Vosges
- La Bresse-Hohneck (Vosges): about 3h40
Located in the Ballons des Vosges regional park, the resort of La Bresse is, with Gérardmer, one of the closest to Paris. From the Gare de l’Est, take the TGV to Remiremont (2h40) then an SNCF coach, which leaves ten minutes after the arrival of the train. Travel time to La Bresse: 50 minutes. Note that only a direct TGV connects the capital to Remiremont (departure at 12.23 p.m. every day except Saturday, additional departure at 6.10 p.m. on Fridays and Sundays). Reservations and prices on oui.sncf and TER Grand Est.
In the Jura
- Monts Jura (Ain): about 3h40
Very close to the Franco-Swiss border, the resort of Monts Jura (Ain) has three alpine ski areas (Lélex-Crozet, Mijoux-la Faucille and Menthières) and one Nordic ski area (La Vattay-Valserine). The fastest way to get there is to take the TGV from Gare de Lyon to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine (2h40), then line 153 of the regional bus network to Lélex and Mijoux (1h ). Count 2 € per bus journey.
- Métabief (Doubs): about 3h30
The Métabief ski area extends between 950 and 1430 meters above sea level and has 37 km of slopes. From Gare de Lyon, take the TGV Lyria to Frasne (2h44), then a TER coach towards Jougne which stops at Métabief (45 minutes). This leaves about ten minutes after the arrival of the train. Reservations, timetables and fares on oui.sncf and the TER Bourgogne-Franche-Comté website.
Published in October 2021, this article has been updated