We have a few nights towards the end of our trip (after Burgundy and before Paris) during which we'd like to visit Chamonix. Yes, I know it'll be a quick visit, and less desirable in early June because it'll be cold and some summer activities will still be closed... but we don't know when (if ever, really) we'll be this close to Chamonix again, and we have a few days to spare. So we're going for it.
Have any feedback on the routes to get there? Quickest vs. most scenic? Then, any suggestions on most efficient ways back to Paris? (This trip more than ever I wish I could simply blink like I Dream of Genie.)
Also, are the roads getting to Chamonix curvy and winding (i.e. with lots of switchbacks).... as in, might I need to worry about my kids getting carsick?
And in the first week of June, will we have to worry about icy road conditions, if traveling early in the morning?
Here's our proposed route:
1) Depart Beaune and drive to Chamonix.
Google maps says (point to point) it's about 2.5 hours (is that realistic)? We're willing to allocate this entire day for travel, so we don't necessarily have to power through that and get right to Chamonix after checking out of Beaune. We have some flexibility to stop along the way, either to pull off and enjoy the view, or visit a village. (i.e... should we stop for a few hours in Annecy?) We're open to all suggestions at this point.
2) Depart Chamonix and get ourselves to Paris (in the same day)
This will be a very LONG travel day no matter which way we slice it. We've considered a number of options... just for fun I'll share them in case I've missed anything:
--Driving all the way back to Paris is 6+ hours and would be exhausting. Ick.
--Driving from Chamonix to Geneva (1.5 hrs); then flying from Geneva to Paris (only a 1 hr flight). BUT... getting from Chamonix to Geneva Airport seems complicated. We may or may not need a Swiss Vignette pass? Does it complicate things that we'd need to cross the border into Switzerland, then go back to the French side of the airport to return our rental car (which we picked up and would need to return in France?) And the only affordable flights from Geneva would require us to leave Chamonix early, (like 7:30 am).
So, we're thinking the most logical and flexible option is to drive from Chamonix to Lyon (about 2.5 hours), then take the TGV to Paris (another 2 hours). It'll still be a long travel day, but some of it will be on the train where the kids can play cards or read, and we can relax. Plus there seems to be a TGV leaving for Paris almost hourly (vs only a couple of cheap flights from Geneva in the morning).
All that said (thanks for wading through it), what's the most efficient way to drive from Chamonix to Lyon? Google maps gives us 2 options (A43 or A40). The satellite terrain looks like A43 (that goes by Annecy) might perhaps be flatter... though that's had to tell.
I really appreciate all the help you kind folks are willing to share with fellow travelers. It's really invaluable having a good sounding board for ideas and planning.
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