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fabsam Feb 26th, 2004 11:16 AM

Geneva to Chamonix Mont Blanc
My wife and I are arriving in Geneva via TGV on Sunday(March 21) at 10:45am from Gare de Lyon Paris. I wanted to go and see Mont Blanc that day since Geneva will be dead. What are my options (cheapest) in getting to Mont Blanc and back to Geneva the same day (buses, rent a car, etc?)

Wayne Feb 26th, 2004 12:57 PM

You'll need to do some homework on your own with regard to train or bus schedules, but if it were my trip I'd rent a car for total flexibility. It sounds as if you want to go to Chamonix / Mont Blanc and return to Geneva all on the same day. When you consider having to disembark from the TGV, find and rent a car, you are probably going to start your trip to Chamonix around noon. That is enough time to get to the village and back, plus a little while to enjoy Chamonix itself. You will need about an hour and a half each way (I've driven that same route several times), which leaves you only 3 or 4 hours in Chamonix unless you want to drive back at midnight. You'll have enough time to scoot around the village and possibly even take a cable car up to Mont Blanc if your timing is right; but it certainly doesn't allow you any leeway for delays or for enjoying an unexpected and unscheduled treat. If that is all the time you have, I'd say go for it and enjoy it. Good luck.

hopscotch Feb 26th, 2004 03:48 PM

I've driven up to and through the Mont Blanc tunnel from Italy and then continued into France. I've also flown into Geneve with Mont Blanc on the starboard side.

It is difficult to appreciate the mont from the ground. From the air it is simply an unbelievably huge thing.

You can also see it from Geneve on a clear day. From the UN area or the quai look across Lac Leman for that white monster in the distance, 60 miles away.

Maybe there are air tours from Geneve?

flanneruk Feb 26th, 2004 10:49 PM

You should be just in time to get the 11.15 bus from Geneva bus station, which is 5-10 mins walk from Cornavin railway station(, The next one gets you to Chamonix almost too late to get a cablecar or tramway (

Chamonix itself is pretty charmless, with next to nothing worth seeing in the town itself: it's the stuff around it which is worth visiting.You practically have to lie down to get a decent view of the mountains. To make the journey worthwhile, you really have to take a cable car or tramway at least part of the way up the hill.

If you can hire a car at the station on a Sunday, it's only a bit over an hour's drive to Chamonix: the last trips down the mountain are 4.30 or so, so the drive back around 6 is really pretty painless.

Trains between Geneva and Chamonix are lousy, because the system requires you to go back into France and change. It might be worth checking whether your TGV stops at Annemasse (France) before Geneva, as there's a reasonable train service between Annemasse and Chamonix, which might get you up into the hills earlier. Although the return journey takes a few hours, it still gets you into Geneva in time for some food - if any restaurants are open in Geneva on Sunday nights (a real "if")

Florence Feb 26th, 2004 11:19 PM

Bonjour Fabsam,

You might look for a direct TGV connection to Chamonix from Paris via Bellegarde, then come back to Geneva by bus.

For renting a car on a Sunday, the easiest would be to take a train from Cornavin station to the airport (6 min.) then drive directly to Chamonix from there.

ealing_calling Feb 26th, 2004 11:38 PM


Florence has the real deal - go directly to Chamonix, changing at Bellegarde (which is a bit of a time trip in itself, if you have more than 30min's transfer time) . . .

Just throw your luggage in the station lockers at Chamonix, and make the most of every minute by the mountain.

Plus you will be so inspired, you will want to have a nice drink - and at altitude, it's not a good idea to drive at all after just 1 ; )

There's an 11am train from Bellegarde that'll get you in for 13h27 . . . just in time for lunch . . .

ps - you've got the right vibe, Geneva will be seriously tucked up and unexciting on a Sun! Have fun!

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