Travelling to the French Alps
Travelling to the French Alps – Getting there
There is a wide variety of options when travelling to the French Alps. No matter whether travelling in winter or summer, the majority of Alpine resorts are very accessible from motorways, airports and train stations. The most economical travel option is to self-drive via the Eurotunnel or Ferry services (such as P&O or Brittany Ferries).
Driving to the French Alps
From the UK you have many crossing options for self-drive. If you are taking a crossing from the South of England then there are ferry ports in Portsmouth, Newhaven, Southampton, Poole, Plymouth and Dover. Dover has the shortest ferry crossing time at 90mins (docks into Calais). There are also routes from the North of England from Hull into Zeebrugge. Most of these offer overnight routes, ideal if you have young children. There is also the ever popular Eurotunnel from Folkestone (South of England, Kent) to Calais that takes a mere 35mins and offers you an exit straight onto the motorways to the French Alps.
Flying to the French Alps
If driving is not an option, then many budget airlines offer affordable flights from major and regional UK airports to international airports in France. Geneva, Grenoble, Chambery and Lyon airports all offer fantastic access into the French Alps. The transfer to Alpine resorts can be just 1 hour but vary between 1-4 hours depending on where you are staying.
- Fly to Geneva for resorts in these areas – Aravis (1hr), Grand Massif (1hr), Portes du Soleil (1hr), Mont Blanc/Chamonix Valley (1h30)
- Fly to Chambery for resorts in these areas – Paradiski (2h20), 3 Valleys (1h45), Espace Killy (2h30), Maurienne Valley (1h45 – 3hr).
- Fly to Grenoble for resorts in these areas – 2 Alpes (1h50), Vaujany/Alpe d’Huez (1h30), Montgenevre (2h30), Serre Chevalier (2hr)
- Lyon is further out but is an option for all areas, just a bit of a trek!
Train services to the French Alps
You can travel down to the French Alps via the Eurostar, TGV and local SNCF trains from London or Kent. There are some direct Eurostar options to Moutiers or Bourg St Maurice (some overnight and some even with ‘disco train’). There are also trains to Paris with a change and then onto the likes of Lyon, Chamonix, Annecy, Chambery and Briancon. If you can afford the first class ticket it is definitely worth it for the extras you get. These include separate carriage, larger reclining seats, meals, champagne and coffee to name a few). Rest assured, the standard class ticket will do you fine; you just have to pay for any snacks.
For extra travel advice for France, see the UK Government website.