Eurostar + Couchette sleeper

Thu, 22/09/2011 - 09:25 -- admin


new exteriorCorail Lunea sleeper train

Taking a Eurostar to Paris and then a Corail Lunea sleeper train from Paris to the Alps is quite a good way to get two extra days on the slopes. It's not a direct as taking the direct overnight Eurostar Ski Train (obviously) but it does have some advantages: 

1. You can reach more far more resorts this way - because there are more routes.
2. There lots of journey options, and you can travel most days of the week.
3. Breaking the journey in Paris can be fun and interesting
4. The train doesn't arrive as breathtakingly early as the Eurostar Ski Train
5. The train has couchette beds (while the Eurostar Ski Train only has reclining seats).

Step 1: Take a Eurostar to Paris

new exteriorBoarding Eurostar at St Pancras

You get on the Eurostar, sit down, have a chat with your friends, go to the cafe bar, read a book, look at the scenery gliding by, share a joke with a fellow passenger.

There are lots of great ways to use the time and then before you know it your Eurostar is arriving in Paris-Nord.

You may also want to see our guide to what the Eurostar is like.

Step 2: Change from Paris-Nord to Paris-Austerlitz

new exteriorBoarding Eurostar at St Pancras

So next you want to get from Paris-Nord, where the Eurostar arrives, to Paris-Austerlitz - the station from where the Corail Lunea trains depart, bound for the Alps.

The easiest way to do that is with a pre-booked taxi, where the driver waits for you at the end of the Eurostar platform, holding a placard with your name. But there is also a taxi rank, a 50 metres to the right of the Eurostar platform.

You can take the Metro, but if you have a fair bit of luggage avoid this, as the section from Paris-Nord to Paris-Austerlitz requires going up and down some stairs. When you get to Gare d'Austerlitz, you can have dinner opposite the station, or bring some food onto the Corail Lunea. 

You can find all about these options in our guide to changing station from Paris-Nord to Paris-Austerlitz

Step 3: Overnight to the Alps on the Corail Lunea

new exteriorCorail Lunea couchette

There's something about getting on an overnight train that is always a bit exciting - but never more so than when you are headed for the Alps.

You'll see Paris slipping away through the window, then the suburbs and then you are into the countryside.

In the morning you'll wake up close to the slopes and be able to ski shortly afterward, while thousands of other skiers are standing in airport queues or cooped up on long transfers.

Now, French Corail Lunea trains are not built for luxury and they are cosy, not spacious. But they do the job and you can lie flat and get a good night's sleep, dreaming of the slopes. 

You may also want to see our guide to what the Corail Lunea sleeper train is like.

Step 4: Transfer to your resort

new exteriorEight-seater transfer vehicle

The final step is to get from the train station to the ski resort.  These transfers are typically between 15 minutes and 45 minutes,  and are far shorter than airport transfers - which can take 1.5 - three hours - or even longer.

It's a good idea pre-book a taxi transfer (although at popular stations like Bourg St Maurice and Moutiers you can find a taxi driver on the spot too).

There are also buses from train stations to ski resorts, usually timed to coincide with the arrival of the Corail Lunea train.

For every ski resort on the Snowcarbon website, we have a transfer guide page to show you taxi and bus options and how to book them.

Eurostar + TGV vs flying to the Alps

Twelve of us travelled to the Portes du Soleil by Eurostar and Corail, and made a film of the journey.

We travelled in Standard Class on the Eurostar and Corail, sleeping in a six-berth couchette.

The journey was a lot of fun, a good way for friends to socialise on the way and get to know each other at the start of the holiday.

How to book Eurostar + Corail Lunea journeys

new exterior  Sitting comfortably

There are two ways to book Eurotar + Corail Lunea journeys to the Alps.

You can book the journey independently, or you can book the journey via a ski tour operator as part of a rail-ski package with the train included.

Prices start from £124 return from London to the Alps, but on peak dates it can be higher (£180 - £400 return) depending on when you book.

The journeys go on sale from October 2014, and you can book travel dates up to about 90 days in advance.

You can find out more about how to book Eurostar + Corail Lunea journeys in our guide to booking ski holidays by train.