Travelling to the Alps by train should be easier this winter with the launch of a dedicated shared transfer service to help skiers cross Paris.
The shuttles, offered by established Alpine transfer-company Ben’s Bus, will help skiers connect smoothly between popular pairings of Eurostar and TGV trains on Saturdays.
Skiers arriving by Eurostar into Paris Gare du Nord will be greeted by a Ben’s Bus rep at the end of the Eurostar platform and driven to Paris Gare de Lyon, from where they depart for the Alps by fast TGV trains.
The transfer takes around 20 – 25 minutes. There is no limit or charges for luggage, including skis and snowboards.
“A Paris shuttle service specifically for skiers has never existed before,” says Daniel Elkan, founder of rail-ski guide Snowcarbon, who helped devise the service. “This will help many more skiers to have a smooth and sustainable journey by train.
“There are plenty of fantastic resorts you can reach via Paris, and lots of skiers discovering the benefits of rail travel.”
There is a dedicated Eurostar Ski Train, which travels from London straight to the Alps, but seats sold out in record time for February half-term and Eurostar has cancelled its service that operates via Lyon for the 2017-18 ski season.
The TGV trains connected by the new transfer shuttles serve over 50 ski resorts in France, Switzerland and Italy.
“Helping skiers travel by train is an important goal for us, both in terms of journey-quality and to contribute to a sustainable future for the Alps,” says Jean-Marc Silva, director of France Montagnes, the umbrella organisation promoting French ski resorts. “The launch of these shuttles helps join the dots for skiers – so it is excellent news.”
Ski tour operators believe that the service will be useful for their customers, too. “We have a lot of clients who are interested in travel by train via Paris,” said Jane Bolton, managing director of self-catering specialist operator, Erna Low.
“Whilst some are happy crossing Paris on the RER (Metro), there are others – for example families, first timers or those who want to be able to bring the kitchen sink – for whom this will be a real benefit.”
This winter the service will run every Saturday from February 3 to April 7, 2018, with plans to run it every week of the 2018-19 ski season.
A return transfer costs £22 and a one-way transfer £14, with 10% discounts for children and for groups of four or more.