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Paris-Lyon-Geneva and back Zurikh-Paris with Eurail and Swiss Pass

  • 26 October 2023
  • 8 replies
  • 214 views

Dear Eurail Experienced Users,

We are as 2 adults + 2kids are planning to visit Paris Disneyland and than travel to Switzerland in the beginning of early November. This is the first time when are going to use trains across Europe and we want to make sure that our plan is valid and will not bring any issues.

The plan is to purchase 2 day one country Eurail pass for France and Swiss Pass to cover all our movements across Switzerland:

  • 5th of November move from Marne de Vile (Disneyland) to Lyon for short day visit. Same day we will take train from Lyon to Geneva. Then we are going to spend 5 days in Switzerland .
  • 12th of November travel from Zurich to Paris to take our flight back home.

We did a math and looks like that purchasing Eurail France one country pass is cheaper than buying individual tickets as we didn’t book anything in advance. But the question is - will Eurail pass +Swiss Pass two together cover our train movements from Lyon to Geneva and from Zurich to Paris? If yes, how the process works in this case? Should we make seat reservation using Eurail from Paris to Geneva and from Basel to Paris for way back? Will be portion from Zurikh to Basel will be covered by Swiss pass? Can we use both passses on the same train?

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Best answer by thibcabe 26 October 2023, 21:43

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8 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

I don't know the answer, but I'll give it a try!

On the outbound, you want the French pass to be valid as far as Geneva. This is a French train, so my guess is that it would be valid, but I'm not sure. Worst case, you have to buy a ticket from Bellegarde-Geneva.

For the return, I assume you'll take the TGV Lyria direct from Zurich-Paris. The Swiss Pass is definitely valid as far as Basel, no reservation needed. I don't know if the French pass is valid from Basel. Worst case, you have to buy a ticket Basel-Mulhouse.

This might save you money, since the reservation from Mulhouse-Paris is cheaper than from Basel.

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

In order to get a full picture: what are your travel plans in Switzerland?

By the look of it, I would just go for a global pass in this case. No need to puzzle for the most advantageous prices. Ordinary TGV-tickets are already quite expensive on your given dates, a pass will be easily good value. Switzerland is also pricey so a Eurail pass is easily good value.

In order to get a full picture: what are your travel plans in Switzerland?

By the look of it, I would just go for a global pass in this case. No need to puzzle for the most advantageous prices. Ordinary TGV-tickets are already quite expensive on your given dates, a pass will be easily good value. Switzerland is also pricey so a Eurail pass is easily good value.

 

This is how we wanted to split our visit to Switzerland:

 

6-Nov - Marne le VILLE to Lyon, eventing train to Geneca

7-Nov - full day Geneva

8-Nov - Monreux, Golden panoramic train to Interlaken, have a tour to Jungfraujoch

9-Nov - stay in Interlaken and travel to Bern and back

10-Nov - travel to Luzern and visit Rigi or take panoramic train to St.Gallen, travel to Zurikh

11-Nov - Zurikh and way back to Paris

 

We were considering Swiss pass because it gives access to city transportation, boat travel and museums as well

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

The Swiss pass is a lot more expensive than the Eurail pass.

You are gaining city travel with a Swiss Pass, but I don’t see you having much time to travel in the cities much. (As an aside, unless you have a special reason to spend a day in Geneva, I would recommend Bern or even Zurich as more interesting).

And you’re gaining a small amount of included travel on your Jungfrau day. (The Eurail pass is valid as far as Interlaken, the Swiss pass is valid as far as Grindelwald, slightly further up the mountain. In both cases, either pass gives you a 25% discount on the remaining fare.)

So you need 2 days travel in France, and 3 days in Switzerland.

I agree that the Eurail 5 day in one month is probably going to be much better value.

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Local transport in Geneva:

3 CHF for a single ticket or 10 CHF for a day ticket (8 CHF if you buy it after 9am)

Similar prices in Zurich.

You probably won’t need any local transport in Bern - all the sights are within an easy walk of the station.

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Some advice :

I’d take the Global Pass too. 10-20€ reservation for Marne-la-Vallée - Lyon Part-Dieu and 29€ for Zurich - Paris.

Do you have some plans in Geneva ? Otherwise I’d say it isn’t the most attractive Swiss city, especially in November when most of the country is grey.

Part of the Golden Pass route is closed due to engineering works between 6th and 13th November. Rail replacement buses run. The journey could look as follows :

  • IR90 Geneva - Montreux 08:10 - 09:10
  • Bus Montreux (back of the station) - Montbovon 09:15 - 10:15
  • Golden Pass Express Montbovon - Interlaken Ost 10:23 - 12:50

You can’t leave later if you want to go to Jungfraujoch on the same day. There’s no point in going there if the weather is bad : the main building is cramped and a tourist trap.

You get 50% discount on Rigi with the Eurail Global Pass. It can be a nice day trip if the rest of the lowlands is under stratus clouds.

Thanks a lot for answering my question in such details! You are all amazing! You helped me to chose towards Eurail Global pass pass. I hope that  everything will be smooth and we enjoy the trip!

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

You’re welcome ! Since there are 4 of you I’d recommend booking trains with mandatory reservations soon so you’re sure you sit together (otherwise ask nicely people on the train).

At around what time would you like to leave Zurich ? Morning TGVs are quickly selling out. Since the direct TGV Lyria costs 4 x 29€ you may prefer to board the high-speed train in Mulhouse or Strasbourg (10-10€ per person).

Option 1 via Strasbourg :

  • ICE Zürich HB - Basel SBB 07:59 - 08:53
  • TER Basel SBB - Strasbourg 09:21 - 10:39
  • TGV Strasbourg - Paris-Nord 10:52 - 12:53 10€

Option 2 via Mulhouse (4 x 19€ saved and only 35 min longer) :

  • EC Zürich HB - Basel SBB 10:59 - 11:53
  • TER Basel SBB - Mulhouse 12:21 - 12:44
  • TGV Mulhouse - Paris Gare de Lyon 12:59 - 15:42 10€

Book all domestic TGVs here (4€ fee per order) : https://travel.b-europe.com/Eurail-GE/en/booking-tgv#TravelWish

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