London to Chamonix by train (Eurostar & Intercités de Nuit)
It is easy to travel by train from London to Chamonix. There are good daytime options via Paris or Lyon and also a popular overnight route which relies on the night train from Paris to Saint-Gervais-les-Bains. This overnight service runs every night during the ski season and the French school summer holidays. At other times of the year it normally runs (in both directions) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights with some variations and additional journeys around French public holidays.
The journey from London to Chamonix starts with an afternoon Eurostar from London to Paris. In the French capital, you’ll join the night train to Saint-Gervais-les-Bains. You’ll reach Saint-Gervais at breakfast time the following morning. Then it is just a short hop on the Mont Blanc Express which runs up the valley to Chamonix.
Tickets for the journey from London to Chamonix may go on sale anytime from six weeks to four months prior to travel. You may find it cheaper to buy separate tickets for each component leg of the journey, but don’t buy the London to Paris ticket without having confirmed that the overnight train from Paris to the Alps does actually run on your preferred departure date.
London to Paris
Board a Eurostar service from London to Paris. There are upwards of 15 trains to Paris from London each day with departures at least hourly from the beautifully restored station at St Pancras in London. The fastest trains speed to Paris in just 2 hrs 16 mins, with slower services taking up to 20 mins longer to reach the Gare du Nord in Paris. The first part of the journey from London sweeps through Thameside landscapes and rural Kent to reach the Channel Tunnel. Little more than an hour after leaving London you'll already be in northern France, tracking south through Flanders fields towards Paris.
Remember to factor in at least half an hour for Eurostar's airline-style baggage check prior to boarding your train. This is a light-touch security scan, and there are no restrictions on taking liquids on board Eurostar trains.
Paris interchange: Paris Nord to Paris Austerlitz
When you get off the train at Paris Gare du Nord, look for the Métro on the lower level, which can be accessed via stairs or lift. Follow signs to Metro line 5 and take a train in the direction of Place d'Italie. There are 9 stops between Gare du Nord and Gare d'Austerlitz, which usually takes around 30 minutes so we recommend you leave at least an hour for your transfer.
If you arrive at Gare du Nord from London, bear in mind that you can buy Paris Métro tickets at the Eurostar terminal at St. Pancras and on board the Eurostar train. Similarly, passengers arriving at the Gare du Nord on Thalys trains from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands can buy Métro tickets on the train (at the Thalys Bar). Although universally referred to as Métro tickets, they are in fact valid on RER trains too.
Paris to Saint-Gervais-les-Bains (night train)
The overnight train from Paris to Saint-Gervais-les-Bains (for Chamonix) departs from the Gare d’Austerlitz in the French capital. The departure time is normally just before 11 pm, but do check the times as you book. On certain evenings the train leaves Paris up to two hours earlier. It runs non-stop from Paris to Chambéry in the French Alps, so most passengers normally sleep comfortably for several hours.
From Chambéry, the train cuts through gorgeous Savoie landscapes, so if you’re up early and it’s a bright morning, you’ll see a feast of fine scenery. The train makes six further stops on that final three-hour stretch from Chambéry to Saint-Gervais-les-Bains.
Saint-Gervais-les-Bains to Chamonix
Travellers arriving at St-Gervais-les-Bains on overnight or high-speed trains connect there for the mountain railway up to Chamonix. Grab a seat on the right-hand side of the red and white Mont-Blanc Express, for the best of the scenery is on the south side of the Arve Valley. On a clear day, you’ll have excellent views of the Mont Blanc massif.