Bellegarde TGV station guide
Bellegarde TGV train station is the secret you need to know about if you want to get to your favourite places like Chamonix, but you don’t fancy flying. Taking the train from the UK to the French Alps is the low-carbon, laid-back way of travelling to the mountains.
Why Bellegarde for ski resorts in Haute Savoie?
Compared to other train hubs in the area like Annecy or Geneva, Bellegarde is by far the quickest and easiest to get to from Paris. It’s direct with no changes and it’s the high speed line all the way.
Organising your journey by train to the main French ski resorts yourself is very much ‘do-able’ now, with Eurostar and international train ticketing websites like Trainline selling ‘through tickets’ to go by train from your hometown to the Alps in one easy transaction.
London to the Alps by train with just one connection
So imagine, you leave London St Pancras (or Ebbsfleet or Ashford) early Saturday morning and the Eurostar whizzes you across the Channel and directly to Paris’s Gare du Nord in less than 2h30. From there, it’s a hop over to Gare de Lyon for your direct TGV fast train to Bellegarde, which takes between 2h45 and 3h15. Then it’s less than 1h30 to the centre of Chamonix by road. The whole journey can take as little as eight hours.
Getting from Bellegarde to your final destination in the mountains
Mountain Drop-offs offers transfers to ski resorts from Bellegarde TGV station. According to demand, it can be a regular service to correspond with the TGV arrivals from Paris, or private, on-request transfers. We fit in with your schedule and make sure we’re there to meet your train on arrival and ensure you arrive in time for your departure.
Examples of approximate transfer times from Gare de Bellegarde:
To Chamonix town centre – 1h30
To Morzine tourist office – 1h25
To Megeve Palais des Sports – 1h15
To Saint Gervais market place – 1h10
These are just some examples of the resorts covered by Mountain Drop-offs’ shared and private transfer services. All transfers take you directly to the door of your accommodation (with exceptions at car-free resorts like Avoriaz), or wherever you want to be dropped off, and the same for the journey back to Bellegarde.
Our guide to Bellegarde’s TGV train station
Bellegarde is in Ain, the neighbouring department to Haute Savoie. It has its industrial heritage to thank for the excellent train connections to France’s capital. The station itself is split into two halves with local TER (Transport Express Regional) trains on one side and the national TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) on the other.
The station has undergone a complete modernisation and is light, bright and airy. The distinctive dome structure houses the main facilities at the station, including the ticket office, newsagents, cafe-snack bar, toilets and resident concours piano. Wifi is available everywhere, there’s an excellent waiting room with plug sockets and the whole thing is air-conditioned in summer.
If you find yourself with more time to spend in Bellegarde, the train station is just a short walk to Rue Lafayette and Rue de la Republique, the two main streets. Bellegarde is very much a commuter town, but there are some nice restaurants walkable from the station if you fancy a bite to eat.
Bellegarde Station and Train Travel FAQ
Is Bellegarde the same as Bellegarde-sur-Valserine?
Yes. Bellegarde-sur-Valserine is the town’s full name. Make sure you get the right station when booking train tickets online!
How do you get from Paris Gare du Nord to Paris Gare de Lyon?
Line D of the RER suburban train service runs every 3 to 6-minutes from Gare du Nord (where the Eurostar arrives) to Gare de Lyon for the TGV services to Bellegarde. It’s just two stops and takes around 6-minutes. If you’ve got a lot of baggage or you fancy seeing a bit of Paris, take a taxi. It’ll cost you around 20€ and take around 25-minutes in normal traffic.
I heard there’s a direct Ski Train service?
There was. Eurostar has announced that the weekly, return service direct from London to St Pancras to Bourg St Maurice in the Tarentaise has been cancelled for at least the 2020/2021 winter season. The route used to take skiers straight to the train station at Bourg st Maurice, with access by foot to Les Arcs from the adjacent funicular railway link and waiting coaches to bus you up to resorts like Tignes, Val d’Isere, Meribel and La Plagne.
What’s the advantage of the train over the plane?
These days some people prefer the space and leg room of a train carriage to an aircraft cabin. Whilst there may not be much in it in terms of journey time, a lot of that time is spent queuing and waiting at the airport, whereas once you’re in your seat on the train, you can sit back and relax. The train is also great if you want to work whilst you travel.
Is there wifi onboard?
Yes. Eurostar and TGV trains are some of the best in Europe. Onboard facilities are excellent, including free wifi, so you can work and play on the move.
Why not take the train all the way to Chamonix?
You can do…but be prepared for lots of changes and slow regional stopping trains, which make the journey a lot longer. And if you’re travelling with lots of luggage it can be a nightmare.
Why take a transfer from Bellegarde to resorts like Chamonix?
Speed and convenience. After alighting Bellegarde, it’s a lot quicker to go by road than by train to most of the major Alpine resorts. At Mountain Drop-offs we’ll take you to your door in comfort to where you want to go and when.