Les Arcs is very well connected to two of Europe's largest cities by train: London thanks to the ski train and Paris thanks to the high-speed TGV trains. More than ever encouraged as the sustainable and eco-friendly travel option, getting to Les Arcs by train is most definitely the right way to go and more viable than you might imagine. Follow our recommendations to hit the slopes at full steam.
Relaxing on a train with friends or family, scenery gliding by as Les Arcs gets ever closer is a great way to travel – a way to make the journey feel like it’s part of the holiday. There’s more legroom than flying or driving and you can get up and walk down to the café bar. As well as buying a meal and drinks on board, you can also bring your own food and drink and create your own picnic. You can chat with friends, play games, read, watch films, work, snooze – the train journey is time to do stuff you enjoy on your way to Les Arcs.
Whilst we know the video in our Watch this... is about getting to "Courchevel", we have included it here as it is applicable in almost all other aspects to a train journey from London to Les Arcs.
- Nearest train station to Les Arcs
- Journey time to Les Arcs by train
- Train prices to Les Arcs
- Travelling by train in France
- London to Les Arcs by train
- Getting from the train station to Les Arcs
- Booking train tickets to Les Arcs
- Luggage & sports equipment on trains to Les Arcs
- Snowcarbon Journey Planner to Les Arcs
- More inspiration...
Nearest train station to Les Arcs
There is no train station in Les Arcs but this doesn't mean that you can't come here by train. Bourg St Maurice, just down the valley from Arc 1600, boasts an international train station with connections to London and Paris.
What's the closest train station to Les Arcs?
Located on the valley floor, Bourg Saint Maurice is the nearest train station to Les Arcs. Ski trains from London and high-speed TGV trains from Paris stop here. To get from Bourg Saint Maurice to the ski resort, there is a funicular that departs just behind the train station (around a five to 10-minute walk) and whizzes passengers up to Arc 1600 in only seven minutes.
See Getting from the train station to Les Arcs for information on how to reach the ski area.
Journey time to Les Arcs by train
You may think that coming to Les Arcs by train takes much longer than by plane but that's not always true. When adding up your transfers to and from the airport, plus all the waiting time, travelling by train can be as fast as flying. Train travel is also more sustainable and environmentally-friendly – studies have shown that carbon footprint can be reduced by as much as 90% when travelling by train as compared to flying. Plus, coming by train has its very own charms. As well as more legroom, on a train you can enjoy the ever changing scenery – from urban London to the French countryside and the majestic Alps, it never gets boring.
How long does it take to get to Les Arcs by train?
It depends on where you're travelling from. The London to Les Arcs train travel time is between nine and 12 hours while the Paris to Les Arcs train travel time is about six hours, taking into account connections and transfers.
Train prices to Les Arcs
Train ticket prices depend on multiple factors: the time of year (peak weeks like Christmas, New Year, February half-term and Easter can be considerably more expensive), your age (there are discounts for children), the size of your group, your destination and even how far in advance you've booked.
Our top tip is that you try and book as early as possible. Ski train tickets usually go out for sale in mid-July and that's when they're at their cheapest. TGV train tickets from Paris to other French cities are normally available to buy 120 to 90 days before your travel time and, again, the earlier you book the lower the price will be.
Travelling by train in France
SNCF (Societé Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français) is France's national railway company, owned by the French state, operating throughout continental France and Monaco. There are over 32,000 kilometres of railway laid all across the country, a good chunk of them sustaining high-speed services, the world-renowned TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) which reaches average speeds of around 320km/h. Trains connect cities and towns all around France and even cross the border into Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Belgium. Many routes will begin in Paris, stopping at convenient stations throughout the country before arriving near Les Arcs.
How do you get from Paris to Les Arcs by train?
Direct high-speed TGV trains connect Paris Gare de Lyon and Bourg Saint Maurice every weekend during the winter season (from Friday to Monday). They take around five hours to reach their destination.
When travelling during the week or the rest of the year, the shortest route from Paris to Bourg Saint Maurice is to get a TGV from Paris Gare de Lyon to Chambery and then change to a regional TER train to Bourg Saint Maurice. Travel time is around five hours.
A funicular links Bourg St Maurice and Les Arcs (see 'Getting from the train station to Les Arcs' below).
London to Les Arcs by train
It couldn't be easier to get from London to Les Arcs by train. There are two main options available, you can either take the Eurostar to Paris before changing to TGV, or book onto the Travelski Express ski trains running direct from the UK's capital to Bourg St Maurice during the winter.
How do you get from London to Les Arcs by ski train?
Taking around eight hours, the fastest and easiest route to get to Les Arcs from London by train is on a direct Travelski Express train from London St Pancras (and Ashford in Kent) to Bourg St Maurice from December to April. Since winter 2021-22 these ski trains, previously run by Eurostar, have been exclusively chartered by Travelski, a French tour operator. Outbound trains travel to the Alps by day and returns are overnight. However, these tickets are only available as part of an all-inclusive package of train ticket, resort transfer, accommodation and ski pass. The train leaves London St Pancras early on a Saturday morning, from mid-December to early April, reaching Bourg St Maurice late afternoon the same day.
The return ski train leaves Bourg St Maurice for London on Saturday evenings, arriving back in London St Pancras early the next day. Bear in mind that for the overnight journey there are no beds on the Eurostar trains, only reclining seats.
NB: There are exceptions to the train times at Christmas and New Year, so you should check with Travelski if you plan to travel at this time of year.
How do you get from London to Les Arcs by train?
If you don't wish to take the Travelski Express, aren't travelling at the weekend or in the winter, you can always travel by train via Paris. Here's what you need to do:
- Hop on a Eurostar train from London St Pancras or Ashford (Kent) to Paris Gare du Nord. This journey takes around 2h15-2h30.
- You'll need to change train stations in Paris, from Gare du Nord to Gare du Lyon. There are several ways to do it and you should allow at least one hour for this connection. The options are to book a taxi (it takes 20-50 minutes, depending on traffic); get on Line D of the RER (‘Réseau Express Régional’) suburban commuter trains towards Melun/Malesherbes (it takes under 10 minutes); or hop on Metro Line 4 towards Montrouge and change in Chatelet to Metro Line 14 towards Olympiades (it takes 15 minutes).
- Then take a train direct to Bourg St Maurice, there are around nine trains per day with an average journey time of 5h40.
For transfers from Bourg St Maurice up to Les Arcs see the section below.
Getting from the train station to Les Arcs
There are a few different options when trying to make your way from Bourg St Maurice train station to the Les Arcs resorts. In our experience, the quickest and easiest way is to hop on the funicular to Arc 1600 and then get a free shuttle bus or a taxi to your accommodation.
How do you get from Bourg St Maurice train station to Les Arcs?
The modern funicular that runs between Bourg St Maurice and Arc 1600 departs just behind the train station, around a five to 10-minute walk from the platforms. In the winter, it opens every day from 07:30 to 20:00 (until 21:00 on Saturdays), running every 20 minutes. In the summer, the funicular runs from early July to the end of August every 30 minutes from 08:00 to 19:00. Access to the funicular is included in your Les Arcs and Paradiski pass, and there are also single and return tickets available. From Arc 1600, there are free local shuttles running to Arc 1800 (15min), Arc 1950 (20min) and Arc 2000 (25min). Find the current bus timetables on our Bus Services page.
Private transfers and local taxis also run between Bourg Saint Maurice train station and Les Arcs taking around 25 minutes to reach Arc 1600 and up to 40 minutes to Arc 2000. On Saturdays from December to April, there also local buses running between Bourg Saint Maurice train station and Les Arcs a few times per day.
Those staying in Peisey, Vallandry, Montchavin or Nancroix and coming by TGV train from Paris may want to get off the train at Landry, the stop before Bourg St Maurice, and pick up a taxi, shuttle bus or local transfer to their accommodation.
Booking train tickets to Les Arcs
For more information and timetables, or to purchase train tickets online, visit the Eurostar website (train travel from London to Bourg St Maurice and Paris) and the SNCF (National French Railway Services) website (train travel within France). If you have questions, you can also book by phone but bear in mind that there may be a booking fee involved.
Luggage & sports equipment on trains to Les Arcs
Being able to carry more luggage with you is one of the main advantages of travelling to Les Arcs by train, especially if you want to bring your fat powder skis, heavy split board or your bulky downhill mountain bike with you.
How much luggage can you carry on Eurostar trains?
Eurostar's standard luggage allowance includes two large bags (85cm max) and one small piece of hand luggage. On Eurostar trains to Lyon, you can carry one pair of skis or one snowboard with you in addition to your two bags. However, on trains to Paris, skis and snowboards are included as one of your two large pieces of luggage. They must be kept in a protective case that covers them.
Bikes can only be taken on Eurostar trains between London, Paris and Brussels. All non-folding bikes or those over 85cm long need to travel with EuroDespatch, Eurostar's luggage service. Boxed bicycles and fully assembled bikes will be transported for an additional fee. Limited spaces available. If you're travelling with any dangerous sports equipment, such as mountaineering gear: ice axes or crampons, you'll need to contact EuroDespatch in advance.
How much luggage can you carry on French trains?
French TGV and TER trains let you carry luggage and bikes (boxed or in a bag measuring max. 120 x 90cm). There is no maximum number of pieces or weight limit but you must be able to carry all your luggage by yourself. Skis are also allowed on TGV trains (max. 2m).
Snowcarbon Journey Planner to Les Arcs
Snowcarbon was launched in 2009 as the one-stop source for train travel to the Alps after its founder, Daniel, realised how hard it was to figure out which ski resorts could be reached by train and how. They offer a very helpful tool, the Snowcarbon Journey Planner which you can use to design your train trip, from viewing the recommended journey times for any date during the season to journey and transfer information to and from the train station.
If after you've read all this you can make travelling by train work for you, be safe in the knowledge that you're making great decisions for the planet, and if you'd like to learn more about the environment and skiing visit our environmental page.