Paris to Geneva

I bought 4 days eurail pass and this is my first trip to Europe. When I am trying to reserve seat from Paris to Geneva, it says around £102 for 2 kids and 2 adults. But if I check other website then tickets are cheaper for same route and same train. What is the benefit of eurail pass if reservation takes more money than normal ticket.


Best answer by ralderton 5 March 2023, 18:54

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Userlevel 7
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Unfortunately the Paris-Geneva route is really poor value with a rail pass. 

You cash reduce the fees by going Paris to Lyon or Bellegarde, then continue by local train, or by traveling via Germany

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

You'll find that the French and Spanish railways (and derivatives like Thalys) are very bad value with Eurail, sometimes the reservation costs are as much as tickets bought cheaply in advance.

Alternatives exist, like mentioned in the post before. Don't hesitate to share your travel itinerary to find tips, hints, tricks to avoid very high seat reservations. 

In the rest of Europe, passes are much, much better value ;) 

Thanks for the response. My itinerary is London -Paris - Geneva - Interlaken - Venice - Florence - Pisa - Florence - Rome.  Can you please suggest what is the best value travel for these destination? I have 4 days on Eurail and 1st day I am using for London - Paris 




Userlevel 7
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Each journey in Italy, (in fact each train, if you have to change trains) is going to cost you a €10 reservation fee I'm afraid. Unless you take the slower Intercity trains, then it’s €3.

Travel in Switzerland is no problem, no fees. There are various lovely options to go over the Alps from Switzerland to Italy.

What do you plan in Geneva? It’s not top of most people’s tourist itineraries, so if you don’t have firm plans to visit, I’d suggest there are other ways to get from Paris to Switzerland while avoiding the reservation fee. (Or you just pay the fee!)

One would be Paris - Strasbourg - Basel. Another would be Paris - Chamonix - Martigny.

Userlevel 7
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If you want to avoid Geneva, I would suggest this.

Paris - Strasbourg (€10 reservation, 1h45)
Strasbourg - Basel (no reservation needed, 1h20)
Basel - Interlaken (no reservation needed, 2h)


For Italy, on the trips from Florence to Pisa, avoid the fast trains - they’re not much faster then the regional trains anyway. On the other journeys, I’d pay the €10 supplement. The Frecciarossa is high quality, and the time saving is significant.


And for Switzerland - Venice, the excellent Seat61 website has sketched out some good route options. It’s written from a point of view of ‘London to Venice’, but options 4, 5 and 6 go through Switzerland. The Bernina Pass is *stunning*!

Userlevel 7
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Actually, I forgot the Bellegarde trick I mentioned above (if you do go Paris-Geneva).

The direct Paris-Geneva train stops at Bellegarde (France), and it’s only the cross-border portion that makes the reservation really expensive. You can reserve to Bellegarde for €10, then get off there and get a TER (regional train) to Geneva at least once an hour. No reservation needed.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

Yes I'd travel via Bellegarde.

10€ seat reservation fee (if bought enough in advance)

These are the best connections (and if whatever problem happens, there'll be a later train)

- TGV Paris - Bellegarde 08:14 - 11:00

- TER Bellegarde - Geneva 11:07 - 11:35

This connection isn't any longer (less than 10 min)

Or a bit later :

- TGV Paris - Bellegarde 10:15 - 13:00

- TER Bellegarde - Geneva 13:33 - 14:00



Userlevel 7
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For your other journeys :

Eurostar to Paris needs to be reserved ASAP : 30€

Interlaken - Venice would be :

  • Interlaken Ost - Spiez 07:30 - 07:51
  • Spiez - Milano Centrale 08:05 - 10:40 11€ seat reservation
  • Milano Centrale - Venezia S. Lucia 11:45 - 14:12 10€ seat reservation

As already said you’ll need seat reservations on Italian high-speed trains, best bought on

Florence - Pisa doesn’t need any reservations.


But you say that you only have a 4-day pass… so you’ll have to decide which journeys you’ll make with the pass and which with regular tickets.

Paris - Geneva can be cheap if bought way in advance and no need to use a day between Florence and Pisa (tickets are 17,80€ return) for example


Let me know if you have other questions.

Edit : I’d at least use the pass between Geneva and Interlaken, Interlaken and Venice. For the last day it’s up to you. :)

Between Geneva and Interlaken I’d travel via Montreux and Zweisimmen, it’s a panoramic journey (Golden Pass). No need to reserve anything (unless you plan to take the direct train Montreux - Interlaken which can be quite busy)

Thanks everyone for replying but my Geneva is just a stopover before going to Interlaken. I will be staying 3 days Interlaken. Do you suggest I should use eurail or do I need another Swiss pass to travel in Switzerland. Or eurail will give me any benefit to use it in Italy because as per my analysis, only Florence to Pisa is included in the pass and for rest, I need to buy tickets.


Userlevel 7
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A Eurail global pass is valid in both Switzerland and Italy. And in Italy you can use it on the complete route you mentioned.

Userlevel 7
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The Eurail Pass is valid on all your journeys but there are mandatory seat reservation fees for the high-speed trains.

So if you’re travelling between Paris and Interlaken in one day, it’ll be a lot easier and quicker travelling via Basel (if there’s no specific reason to see Geneva). Again either a direct TGV to Basel (expensive seat reservation) or a TGV to Mulhouse or Strasbourg (10€ fee) and then a (fast) TER train to Basel + an Intercity train between Basel and Interlaken (no reservation).

The Eurail Pass only offers a 25% discount for travelling to Lauterbrunnen/Grindelwald/… from Interlaken btw (you don’t need to use a travel day to get the discount).


So your 4 days would now look like this :

  • Day 1 : London - Paris (30€ fee)
  • Day 2 : Paris - Geneva/Basel - Interlaken (10-30€ fee depending on your choice)
  • Day 3 : Interlaken - Spiez - Milano Centrale - Venice (11 + 10€ fees)
  • Day 4 : Venice - Florence (10€ fee)

And you’ll buy regular tickets for :

  • travel in the Interlaken area (25% discount for the Lauterbrunnen/Grindelwald area)
  • Florence - Pisa
  • Florence - Rome

Let me know if you’ve got any questions.

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

You’d need to add up the cost of the tickets you would buy instead. And bear in mind for the cheapest tickets you have to commit now, with no refunds.

With the pass you have the flexibility to choose on the day which train you’ll take. Even in Italy, you can easily buy reservations on the day of departure and there’s usually plenty of availability. (Not so for France.)