The TGV (short for “train de grand vitesse”) is so named because it travels at high speeds of up to 320km per hour.
Even at these hight speeds it is quiet, smoothly and a very comfortable way to travel to the Alps
We've used the TGV to get to ski resorts many many times – and like the journeys a lot.
The carriages are generally a mobile-free zone, so you won't get anyone shouting "Oui, je suis dans la train!" (in French or English!)
Instead, people go to the corridor to use their phones.
Eurostar + TGV vs train
To see what it's like travelling on the TGV, you might enjoy this Top Gear style plane vs train race, that we made, which pits Snowcarbon co-founder and ski journalist Daniel Elkan against ski writer Neil English.
Daniel travelled in Standard Class in the making of this film.
We won't tell you who won the race (you'll have to watch the film), but Daniel certainly had a more comfortable journey - as you will see!
The seats on the TGV are comfortable, whether you are in standard or first class. People often ask whether it is worth upgrading to First Class. We'd say no, because the seating is remarkably similar between the two classes. In both Standard and First Class there are are plenty of table seats, and those without have a pulldown table where you can rest a book or laptop.
However, First Class carriages have plug sockets for charging phones and laptops (or perhaps plugging in an iron if you are so disposed), but Standard Class carriages don't. When booking, you'll sometimes find that the price of a First Class seat is little more than a Standard Class one, and in that case worth the extra pounds.
There is space to store skis and luggage in the overhead racks and space for larger case at the ends of carriages.
As mentioned, every carriage is a “quiet carriage” and people generally only talk into their mobile phones in the corridor space instead.
Cafe bar and food
TGVs have cafe-bars that sell hot and cold drinks, alcohold, hot snacks and sandwiches. The prices are not exhorbitant, but it is worth thinking about stocking up at a Paris station first, where you'll have more choice - and the wine will be cheaper!
You can eat at one of the counters in the cafe-bar (some have stools) and enjoy the views from there, or take items back to your seat. The atmosphere in the cafe bars is somehow very nice - we've got chatting to lots of other people enjoying their journeys too.
At the cafe bar you can also buy tickets for the Paris Metro - although we'd recommend in most cases changing in Paris with a taxi (it makes things so easy).
Group and family facilities
The TGV is particularly good for groups or families, especially if you book table seats. When you walk through the TGV its great to see that children are enjoying the journeys by train - busy scribbling, drawing, playing games. The picture on the right is one that Daniel took on a train v plain race to the lovely resort of La Clusaz.
Table seats are great places for a group of friends or family to get a game of cards out, scrabble, Connect Four, whatever.
Booking the TGV
Independent booking for the TGV for the 2012-13 winter season will open in October.
However you can already book Eurostar + TGV packages from tour operators at preferential rates, including transfers up to the resort. To do this, visit the rail packages section.
To view journey schedules and booking options visit the resorts and journey planner section.