Rail Question-Northern Italy to Paris

Old Jun 29th, 2002, 02:07 PM
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Rail Question-Northern Italy to Paris

Before I get jumped on, I've been on raileurope.com for the last hour. So, pardon me if I sound as if I didn't do my homework. I'd like to do Northern Italy and end up in Paris. I'd like a scenic train say from Milan up through the Lake Region which I assume will take me into Switzerland. My destination is Paris. Can anyone suggest such a route? I've been to the library and have tapes and books but just can't seem to figure it out. If someone could direct me to a source that I've missed, I'd appreciate it. If you have experienced any rail in this area, I'd be grateful to hear your experience.
Thank you. Alice.
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 02:18 PM
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I won't jump on you. I'll sympathize. There aren't any really good web sites for visual (i.e., map-based planning) of train routes that vary from the standards.

There IS a new flash-map capability on www.raileurope.com but it still leaves a lot to be desired for routes that cross from one country to another. And then no good way to look up times, connects and the like. This is one time when a book is better.

I don't know of any really good alternatives to owning (or using at the library, as Ben Haines is fond of pointing out) - - a Thomas Cook timetable. You can find numerous references to online sources to buy you one.

I'm not home now to look in mine for you. Perhaps Monday when I get home if you don't mind waiting that long.

Best wishes,

Old Jun 29th, 2002, 02:32 PM
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Thank you Rex. I'm a woman of patience. Monday will be fine. You're a kind man (not just for response to me but for your responses to others).
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 02:45 PM
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Alice, according to my rail guide you can't go wrong on this trip. You can go from Milan to Zurich by way of Lugano and the Gotthard Tunnel, with lots of great scenery on route. Or you can go from Milan to Bern by way of Domodossola and Brig, connecting these with the Simplon tunnel and the Bietschtal bridge, which spans a ravine at a height of 255 feet. Also great scenery. Milan to Bern or Zurich is about 4 hours.

From Bern you reach Paris (Gare d Lyon) by way of Frasne (?) in about 5 hours.
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 04:27 PM
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We traveled from Milan to Stuttgart last week by rail. It was the Cisalpino train from Milan through the lake area into Switzerland and then into Germany. Many of the rail routes in Switzerland are private lines which don't take the rail pass. The route that I described did take our rail pass, although you need a seat reservation on the Cisalpino trains which is an extra cost.

The train we took left Milan at 11:10 am and went through Zurich. My guess is that you could easily make connections in Zurich with a train into France. The Die Bahn website allows you to check schedules - http://bahn.hafas.de/bin/query.exe/en.

By the way, the train through Switzerland was beautifully scenic! It was a longer train ride for us back to Germany, but well worth the extra time to see the gorgeous country of Switzerland. Dee
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 06:16 PM
Bob Brown
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The following web site is invaluable for train trip planning, particularly if you are doing it with a map of Europe.

If you access it, you will quickly see that this site has clickable icons that will link you to every national rail site on the Continent.

The Swiss site, www.sbb.ch is in 4 languages, including English. For your immediate purposes, it is probably the superior one to use. It will show you every station at which each train stops all along the way.

Moreover, it will show you the details of every trip from Milan, Italy, through Switzerland to Paris, and you can even plan your own variations.

If I was going from Milano Centrale to Paris, and wanted to maximize scenery and travel time, here is my route:

Leave Milano at 9:10; arrive Lausanne at 13:00.
Leave Lausanne at 13:14; arrive Paris, Gare d'Lyon at 17:01 (I love the way they put the schedules down to the minute!!) If you wanted to stay over night in Lausanne, the train station is on a main street not far from some hotels. Of course if you spend the night, you might end up staying longer than 1 night! Lausanne is a lovely town.

If you go by way of Lugano to Luzern, I think you get the best of the possible routes IF scenery is the primary goal. From Lugano, the train winds its way to Luzern through deep valleys and long tunnels. From Luzern you go to Basel, and from there you go to Paris, Gare de l'Est.

Travelling that route is more than a 10 hour trip, and you might want to consider spending the night in Luzern before going on.

Luzern is worth a whole day, or more depending on what you want to see around there.

On the Lausanne route, you could go as far as Brig, detour to Zermatt for a night, and go on to Paris from there.
It would lengthen the trip, of course, but if it is scenery you are after I will tell you this much: You MUST leave the main lines and penetrate into the valleys. The main lines are at the bottom of valleys and inside tunnels.
In my experience, you cannot see much from either.

Unfortunately, the high peaks of the Pennine Alps are mostly hidden from the Rhone. You are either in a tunnel or down deep in the Valley of the Rhone most all of the way. The high peaks are off on the side valleys that flow into the Rhone: Val d'Anniviers, Val de Torrence, the Turtmanntal, the Vispertal (which leads to 2 branches; 1 goes to Saas Grund and the other Saases, and 1 goes to Zermatt.), and the Lötschental.

But all trips are a series of compromises. Time, transportation, and money always seem to limit what I want to do.

Old Jun 29th, 2002, 09:24 PM
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