London to Chamonix with a bike

Hi I'm trying to travel from London to Chamonix with a bike, preferably unboxed around May to September in 2014.

What services would I be allowed to do this on?

Regards,

Stuart
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) March 05, 2014 17:10
    Hi Stuart,

    A connection from London to Chamonix would take about 9.5 hours and involves at least 2 train changes along the way; once in Paris and then once in either Annecy or Bellegarde. Otherwise, the connection might involve one more train change in St. Gervais-les-Bains, in between Annecy or Bellegarde and Chamonix.

    You would purchase tickets and check schedules by clicking on 'Find Fares & Schedules' on the homepage of our website, www.raileurope.com. For a trip from London to Chamonix, you would just need to break up your search once in Paris. Therefore, you would do one search for trains from London to Paris and then another search for the part of the connection from Paris to Chamonix.

    The Eurostar (the trains from London to Paris) is unique in that it can be booked 6 to 9 months in advance of a departure, while the trains between Paris and Chamonix can only be booked within 90 days of an intended date of departure. With regard to trains from Paris to Chamonix, you would just have to enter an earlier date to get an idea of the ticket costs and schedules, if your intended travel happens to fall outside of the 90 day booking window.

    The Eurostar from London to Paris is also unique in that it does checked luggage, and you would be able to transport a fully assembled bike as checked luggage on this train. There would be a fee for checking your bike. Since this is a fee that would be assessed locally, we would not be able to advise definitively what it would cost, but I believe it's about 20 to 30 Euros.

    The trains from Paris to Annecy or Bellegarde are TGV trains. Technically, fully assembled bicycles are not allowed on the vast majority of TGV trains in France. While that is the case, there are a very select few TGV trains that have designated areas for fully assembled bicycles to be stored, there is just no way to tell which trains those are (on such trains, you would purchase a ticket for your bicycle locally at the station). You can check locally to see if a specific TGV train would allow you to take you bike on board still fully assembled.

    Also, even with regard to the TGV trains that state they don't allow fully assembled bicycles, the conductor may be indifferent or not even notice, as long as you've found sufficient space in the luggage area at the end of the car.

    Of course, if you have a special bicycle bag, then you can take your bicycle on board any train as luggage, including TGV trains. A bicycle can fit in such a bag with the wheels and pedals detached, and the handlebars parallel to the frame.

    The trains that connect Annecy or Bellegarde with St. Gervais-les-Bains and Chamonix are regional 'TER' trains, on which you would be able to take your bike on board fully assembled at no extra cost. In France, fully assembled bikes are allowed on board regional trains (only with some rare exceptions during rush hour periods), and you would not have to purchase a special bicycle ticket for it.
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) March 05, 2014 17:26
    To ensure you are able to take your bike on board still fully assembled for the part of your trip from Paris to Chamonix, you would have to take a connection comprised solely or regional 'TER' trains. A connection from Paris to Chamonix comprised of regional trains would take about 11 hours in duration and involves 2 train changes along the way; once in Lyon and then once in St. Gervais-les-Bains.

    For a route from Paris to Chamonix comprised of regional trains, you would have to
    break up your search once in Lyon (i.e. one search for trains from Paris to Lyon and then another search for the part of the connection from Lyon to Chamonix).

    You would just want to be sure that you choose a regional trains for each segment. Most trains from Paris to Lyon will be TGV trains, but the TGV and TER trains should be labeled accordingly. Otherwise, you can distinguish the regional trains by their train numbers. In France, the regional TER trains have 5 digit train numbers. If the regional 'TER' trains from Paris to Lyon (or from Lyon to Chamonix) don't display when you do your search, you can call us at 1-800-622-8600 to purchase the tickets.
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