Meeting Your Trip on the Lac de Joux

This page offers help (concrete or informational) on reaching your trip. Topics include...

  1. Where you Join Your Trip (see immediately below)
  2. Our “Access Packages,” designed to help you to do so.
  3. Suggestions on how to time your trip to the trip, whether you are having us arrange your travel, or doing it yourself.
  4. Service information regarding train travel to your trip start location.
  5. Suggested pre-trip visits, especially when these are not geographically obvious, but are rendered economical and convenient by direct rail connections.
  6. Hopefully helpful hints for those setting up their own travel to the trip.

If you wish to arrange some or all of your travel through us, please tell us what by means of this response questionnaire, designed to collect all the information we need to be able to book your travel.


1. WHERE and WHEN do you Join Your Trip?

Your trip assembles at our hotel, in one of three little villages along the lake, on Sunday.  There is no required arrival time, but restaurants along the lake close early.

We will send you details of meeting time and place with your final itinerary.

If you wish to make your own way to the trip (in other words, not to set up your travel arrangements through us), a couple of hints on getting there are offered at the bottom of this page.


2. Our ACCESS PACKAGES
as of January 20, 2014

The closest intercontinental airport is Geneva.  The base version of our “Access Package” includes an open rail ticket (valid on any train on the selected day) from the Geneva airport to the Lac de Joux.

Zurich, Milan, and Paris all have more intercontinental flights, and extra-cost options are available from these cities.  Our London “Access Package” includes a train from London to Lac de Joux, via Paris.

Base (Starting) Access Package Price:  58 CHF (Swiss Francs).
To see what this means in your currency, look here: http://www.bluemarble.org/CurrencyConv.html

Availability is guaranteed.  Some alternate arrangements have higher prices or constrained availability if ordered w/in 35 days.

Included:

  • Train tickets to the Lac de Joux from Geneva or Geneva Airport.
  • A printed schedule / itinerary, highlighting connections.
  • Our “Route Sheet to the Trip,” helping you through your journey.

Options Offered at an Extra Cost.
Prices are in addition to the “Base” Access Package Price. 
For a general discussion of train upgrades, see here.  Topics include the relative comfort of first versus second class, and different types of accommodation available on overnight trains.

  • First class train tickets from Geneva (in lieu of 2nd class):  +36 Swiss francs.
  • Train from Zurich (airport or downtown):  +45 Swiss francs 2nd class, +114 Swiss francs 1st class (relative to 2nd class price from Geneva).  Discount first class price sometimes available:  +79 Swiss francs.

Alternate Arrangements, in lieu of our usual packages (subject to availability)
Prices are complete (in other words, they are not in addition to the “Base” Access Package Price).  These prices are in €uros, not Swiss Francs.

  • Tickets from London. 179€ if you are also purchasing tickets back to London from any point on the continent, 219€ if not, or if you prefer a modifiable (and partially refundable) ticket.  In 1st class, prices are 229€ or 279€; 1st class tickets include meal service on the London - Paris train.
    Return (round-trip) tickets are neither refundable nor exchangeable once ordered.  Add 43€ for modifiable tickets in either class, also refundable less 25%.  A Paris stop-over is available at no additional cost.
  • Train from other points.
    • Paris:  96€ 2nd class, 126€ 1st class, including (required) seat reservations on the TGV.
      Tickets, are train-specific, not refundable or exchangeable once ordered.  Higher fare code tickets are available, exchangeable at any French railway station on a space-available basis, for a nominal fee paid directly to the railway, at any time prior to your reserved train’s departure.  Add 31€.
    • Milan:  93€ 2nd class, 128€ 1st class, 99€ 1st class discount rate.  Seat reservations on the train from Milan to the Swiss border are required, and included in the price (you may stay in the same seat for the journey on to Lausanne if the train is direct).  Please specify train time desired.
    • Overnight trains available from Italy, Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam... 169€ from all points, includes a “Comfort Couchette” on board.  Sleeping car upgrades available at additional cost.
  • Paris airport train tickets, from Charles de Gaulle or Orly to Paris center.  Follow this link for details.


3. TIMING Your Trip

The Lac de Joux is beautiful, even idyllic.  But the villages along it are small, and you will have ample time to explore by bicycle in the first days of your trip.  If you are in Le Sentier, our usual stop, there is an interesting Espace Horloger, a museum in tribute to the history of clock- and watch-making, a specialty of the valley, open until 5:30p (and closed Mondays, so Sunday, your arrival day, would be your only chance to see it). 

Otherwise, there is no need to arrive early.  Dinner is independent on this arrival night, so you don’t miss an included meal by arriving late.  Conversely, it is a nice time to meet your fellow travellers, who tend to drift in by the end of the afternoon....


4. Service Information
Schedules are approximate – exact timetables can be consulted at http://www.raileurope.com/index.html
Best trains are mentioned.  Others are slower or have multiple connections.

  • From Geneva or Geneva Airport.  Hourly service, 2-hour trip time, 2 connections.  Connections are timed tightly (welcome to Switzerland), but they take place in small stations where the connecting train is obvious (and we send you the platform numbers in advance).  At worst, if you miss a train while you are trying to figure out where to find it, the next one is precisely an hour later.
  • From Zurich, downtown or airport.  Travel time is 4 hours, a bit less from downtown.  Hourly service, 2 connections.  Trains operating on the odd hour offer more comfortable connections than those operating on the even hour.
  • From Paris. 8a, 12n, 2p, 4p or 6p.  4-hour trip, with one change of train.
  • From Milan.  6 hours, 2 connections, service every 3 hours.
  • From London.  7:30a, 9:30a, 11:30a or 1:30p, via Paris.  8-hour trip, including the Paris connection (which involves changing stations).
    There is additionally a one hour time change, so the trip looks like it takes 9 hours on the clock face.


5. Suggested PRE-TRIP VISITS

Dijon and Bern, the beautiful capital cities of (respectively) Burgundy and Switzerland, are both within a couple of hours by train.  Or give a day or two to a mountain rail tour on Switzerland's amazing network of narrow-guage trains.


6. Hints on TRAVELLING INDEPENDENTLY to the Trip
Guests subscribing to an “Access Package” need not read this section.

See also “Timing Your Trip” and “Service Information,” above, as either of these may additionally help.

We gladly provide travel consulting (schedule or routing information) concerning pre-trip individual travel.  In particular, we have invested a great deal to become railway experts.  Our service fees are reasonable:  a 20€ charge for all but the most complex projects – or the most simple (for instance, only a 10€ charge applies if the service is limited to the preparation of a routine rail ticket).  You will generally find them well-justified by the time they will save you in research / learning to use arcane web sites in foreign languages, standing on line, overpaying for your tickets, or all three.

But, for some, this type of research is fun.  So, here are some hints, intended to start off hardened “do-it-yourselfers.”

Trains.  Schedules for all routes can be consulted on this web site:
http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/point_to_point/triprequest.htm

A little train serves the west shore of the Lac de Joux, stopping in all the villages where we have hotels.  It originates at Vallorbe, a junction with the Paris - Lausanne main line.  This means that 2 other trains are necessary to connect to it from all airport cities except Paris (which has direct TGV service to Vallorbe).  But the trip from Geneva or Zurich is not difficult.  All Swiss trains operate to an hourly schedule.  If language problems or a delay cause you to miss a connection, another train on the same route will run exactly an hour later, and no ticket changes are required to ride it.

Planes.  No real tricks here:  Geneva is the closest airport, and offers the most flexibility in connecting rail service (plus, trains come directly out of an airport rail station).  Coming from Paris eliminates a train change, but the trip is 2 hours longer, and more expensive.  Zurich is a compromise:  more flights, direct rail service from the airport, 1.5 hours further away than Geneva but an hour closer than Paris....  The closest airport with meaningful service by a “low cost” airline is St.-Etienne / Lyon, served by Ryanair.  The closer Dole airport has so few flights that they never line up with a trip, and train service from Dole to the Lac de Joux, though it exists, is sparce.  Easyjet serves Geneva, but unless you reserved your flight back in the 20th century, its “low” fares tend to be higher than those for the (easier and more comfortable) train, once ground costs are factored in, and the time savings are typically zero.


If you wish to arrange some or all of your travel through us, please tell us what by means of this response questionnaire, designed to collect all the information we need to be able to book your travel.

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