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Train from Paris to Geneva

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Hello again. Having organised most of our accommodation, my wife and I are now planning the inter-country travelling phase.

Our first major train trip will be from Paris to Geneva. I have heard so many differing view on how best to accomplish this:

Cost: Anywhere from 20 euro to 200 euro
Travel time: Anywhere from 3.5 hours to 7 hours
Best place to purchase ticket: Wait until you are in Paris/on the internet/from Australia.
Class: Second class if good enough (but others suggest that there is no room for suitcases unless you are in 1st class).

Can anyone please narrow down the points above on the best and cheapest way to arrange a train from Paris to Geneva?

Also, while on the subject of trains and Switzerland. Our plan is to be in Switzerland for 12 days. We will have home bases in:

Vevey for 3 nights (taking day trips to Geneva, Lausanne and Montreaux)

Brienz for 7 nights (taking day trips to Bern, Lucerne, Kleine Scheidegg, Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Murren, Jungrau Region, Schilthorn, Grindelwald and Thun - unless other places can be suggested.

And finally, 2 nights in Zermatt - we are unsure what day trips - if any - we will be taking from here. We are then travelling to Milan, Italy.

My question is: Given our proposed itinerary, would purchasing a 15-day Swiss Pass still be the best and cheapest option for us? I am told that it covers all trains, buses, ferries and has 50 per cent discounts on Gondalas. The only real issue is that we are there fro 12 nights and the closest Day Pass is 15. We are not sure if that is the best way to go or should we buy an 8-day pass and travel independently for the remainder?

Any help will be gratefully received. Thanks in advance,

Steve

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