How to get to the French Alps?
For those of you travelling from the UK your travel options are: air, train, car or coach.
The airports serving the Northern French Alps include: Geneva (in Switzerland), Lyon, Chambery and Grenoble.
Geneva airport is right on the French-Swiss border and is only a 30 minute drive away from Annecy. Don’t forget to drive on the Swiss motorways you will need to buy a “vignette” (sticker) or you will face an “on-the-spot” fine. Geneva airport has a very good range of flights from all over the world. To get to France without a car there’s an excellent coach service, Ouibus, that goes direct to Grenoble via Chambery.
Chambery airport, located at the end of the Lac du Bourget, offers a wide selection of flights during the winter ski season (from December to April) but very, very little at other periods of the year.
Lyon St Exupery airport, on the east side of Lyon, is close to the motorway heading for Chambery and co-located with the TGV (high-speed train) station. There’s plenty of parking. From here either hire a car, catch the train to Lyon and then onwards or use a coach service like Altibus.
Grenoble airport is not very close to Grenoble itself ( around 45 km) on the motorway between Grenoble and Lyon.
The Eurostar train from London, St Pancras offers a great, environmentally friendly option to get to the Alps. In the winter (at the time of writing) the “snow train” runs non-stop to the Alps, with the final destination Bourg St. Maurice in the Tarentaise.
In the summer you will probably need to change trains in Paris crossing from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de Lyon. From here you can catch the TGV ( Voyages SNCF) to Chambery before using local or regional trains.
If you choose to drive from the UK the distance from Calais to Albertville is c. 938 km using the A6 or A39 motorways. Non-stop the journey to the French Alps and the departments of Savoie and Haute Savoie, will take about 8hrs 30 mins. The cost of the peages (motorway tolls) will add around Euro 90,00 the cost of the journey (at the time of writing). To keep up-to-date on the latest travel information on the French motorway network look at the Bison Fute website and tune your radio into 107.7 FM.