Meeting Your Trip on the LAC de JOUX, 2014
On this page, you will find information about meeting your trip. Topics include...
We suggest that you print these pages out, and bring a copy with you to your trip.
When and Where:
Where: in one or another of the little villages on the Lac de Joux, a gem of a lake in the Swiss Jura mountains, above Lausanne along the French border. See “Finding Your Hotel,” below, for details regarding your particular trip.
When: you may arrive at any time on Sunday, though the bikes and the Coordinator don’t usually arrive until late afternoon. This (first) night of our Swiss itinerary is often one of the week’s two “independent” nights, since arrival times are unpredictable. But you have a bed reserved, and your Trip Coordinator is around by supper time, to organize an informal dinner for anyone interested.
Included in Your Access Package, if you subscribed to it:
“Open” train tickets (good on any train) from Geneva to the appropriate village. Trains run every hour, from both the downtown Geneva rail station and from the Airport rail station, but you must make two connections.
Alternate tickets are available from Paris, Zurich, Milan, Frankfurt tickets from outside of Switzerland will be train- specific, valid for travel on the train you requested, but not on any other train. Tickets from Zurich are generally “open,” and can generally be used on any train.
The schedule of all available trains can be consulted on line:
If you are arriving via Paris, your ticket(s) will be available to you in our Paris office (see here for opening hours), unless you requested that they be sent to you in advance. Rental items, such as paniers and handlebar bags, can also be picked up in the office (should you not be stopping there, be sure to request that anything you need be brought to you in Switzerland).
If you are arriving via other than Paris (or requested that we do so), your tickets will have been sent to you at home. These “tickets” may take the form of a regular ol’ train ticket, an electronic ticket which you print out on your home computer, or a railpass with accompanying explanation regarding its use.
Travelling to the Lac de Joux
All travel to the Lac de Joux begins with a trip to a railway junction: Vallorbe if you are coming from Paris or Burgundy, Le Day if you are coming from anywhere else.
At Vallorbe or Le Day, you catch a little train up into the mountains, operated by a private railway. Here are hints for riding this little train.
Hints for reaching the little mountain train in Vallorbe or Le Day follow in separate sections, city by city.
The train that runs up to the Lac de Joux is a 2-car shuttle. It generally runs every hour, though there are rare exceptions. Its route it always the same: it originates in Vallorbe (connections from Paris or Burgundy), stops in Le Day 2 minutes later (connections from all other points), and then climbs to the lake.
If you are boarding in Vallorbe (coming from Paris or Burgundy), you have plenty of time to find the train: Vallorbe station has 4 platforms, and a clear departure board (the train to the lake generally leaves from platform 1). Connections from Paris are always comfortable, giving you time to puzzle it all through and find the train, which will be sitting there quietly, well in advance of its departure.
If you are boarding in Le Day (coming from all other points), your schedule may at first unnerve you. The connection time is often 2 minutes (!). Relax. Le Day is the definition of a country junction. You can see cows from the platform. In fact, that is all you can see. There is no actual town here: the station’s only purpose is to serve as a connecting point between the main line and the Lac de Joux local.
When your train up from Lausanne pulls in, step off. Look up and down the platform. Everyone else (and this will not be very many people) is going to the same place: another train, across the platform on an opposite track. You go there, too. This is the mountain local to the Lac de Joux.
The first stop on the lake, 5 minutes after leaving Le Day, is Le Pont (this may be your destination). Le Sentier - Orient is at the other end of the lake, and Le Brassus is beyond that, at the far end of the line. A map above each car door inside the train indicates all the stations on the line, but beware: apart from the three mentioned above (the biggest villages in this isolated valley), the others are all “flag stops.” That means that the train only stops if someone pushes a button requesting that it do so. Thus it can happen that the first stop after Le Pont is Sentier-Orient, even though there are six listed stops between the two!
Below are instructions on reaching Vallorbe / Le Day from Paris, Geneva, Zurich, Milan....
Travelling from Paris or Burgundy (Dijon) to Vallorbe
Vallorbe is on the French / Swiss border. It is reached by direct TGV departing from Paris’ Gare de Lyon, and stopping at Dijon on the way through Burgundy.
Either of these sets of instructions may be of help to you:
1. Paris airports to our office.
2. Paris airports to Gare de Lyon.
If you are spending a night in Paris before setting out, and booked it through us, you should also have received instructions on reaching that hotel.
Travel time on the TGV to Vallorbe is about 3 hours. Vallorbe is not the final stop for these trains, which are typically travelling on to Lausanne, more rarely to Brig. But any or all of the following hints may help you to detrain without undue angst.
- Have your train’s arrival time in mind. You can find this information on your ticket (or on your reservation card if you are travelling on a railpass). Remember from your Railroading 101 class: trains can never depart early (though they can, of course, run late, and even arrive early). So, if your train is due into Vallorbe at 10:52, and it comes to a stop at 10:36, the stop cannot be Vallorbe. Unless, of course, the train then just sits there until 10:52. In that case, it is wise to look out the window for a station sign during the intervening 16 minutes, and get off.
- Announcements are made, and they are usually audible. But they may not be in English....
- The previous stop will vary depending on your train, but most trains stop in Frasne, about 15 minutes before Vallorbe.
- If you come to Lausanne, you have missed your stop. Get off and catch the next (hourly) train back, headed for Vallorbe. Should this happen to you, see the instructions on reaching the Lac de Joux from Geneva / Zurich / Basel / Lausanne, as you will not ride all the way back to Vallorbe to make your connection.
Travelling from Geneva to Le Day
Service is hourly, from either the Airport rail station, or from the downtown “Cornavin” station (the hotels we usually use in Geneva are across the street from the station). You must change trains at a little station called Renans, and the connection is a tight one. It may thus help to know that the arriving train generally pulls in to Renans on platform 3, and the connecting departure for Le Day leaves from platform 1. To help you get off in Renans: the previous stop is a fairly large station called Morges, 6 minutes prior.
The connection is guaranteed (the train to Le Day waits for the arriving train from Geneva), but should you miss it in a jet-lagged fog, the next one is an hour later, and you are surrounded by pretty green hills....
Exact schedules can be consulted here: http://www.sbb.ch/en/index.htm.
Travelling from Lausanne / Zurich / Milan...
to Le Day
Getting from all of the above gateways to Le Day involves taking the hourly local train from Lausanne. This thing has a route number, as part of Lausanne’s suburban “RER” network: S2. It generally departs from platform 7 of the Lausanne station.
Riding it is straightforward: occupy any open seat. To help you get off, the previous two stops are Croy-Romainmôtier (10 minutes prior) and Bretonnières (8 minutes prior). At Le Day, the doors will open on the left.
Comments on reaching Lausanne itself are below, city by city.
Zurich or Zurich Airport
Trains run to Lausanne every hour, from both the Zurich Airport rail station, and from Zurich Hbf (the main station, downtown). You must read the departure information carefully: none of these trains ends its run in Lausanne. The “destination” will generally be Geneva (“Genf” in German, or “Genève” in French).
Journey time is a shade over two hours, and trains are equipped with pleasant dining cars for a nice meal (credit cards accepted). Prices are reasonable for Switzerland, though you may find them high.
Note to the adventurous: if you are feeling brave, and a train to Geneva via Neuchâtel is scheduled out before the next train via Bern, you can sometimes save an hour by taking it. Ask at information for a route via Yverdon-les-Bains. This involves an additional connection, and sometimes a bus, but it will get you there....
Trains run to Lausanne every 2 or 3 hours, departing from Stazione Centrale (Central Station) in downtown Milan. You must read the departure information carefully: none of these trains ends its run in Lausanne. The final destination of direct trains will generally be Geneva; those requiring a change in Brig are generally bound for Basel (Basilea in Italian).
An hourly train runs from Malpensa to the Stazione Centrale, and a frequent bus service runs from Linate (the last stop for the bus).
From Milano Centrale, some trains run directly to Lausanne, which is where you want to go. Others (generally bound for Basel, Basilea in Italian) turn north in Brig, which is about 1h45 away, and offer a connection there to Lausanne (overall trip time is about 30 minutes longer).
If you must change trains in Brig, here are instructions to help you get off there: the last stop before Brig is Domodossola. A short while after Domodossola, the train enters a 15-minute-long tunnel under the Simplon pass. When it resurfaces, Brig is 2 minutes away.
To help you get off in Lausanne: the stop prior to Lausanne is Vevey, 15 minutes before you reach Lausanne. Start paying attention when you see a huge lake (Lake Geneva) out the left-hand windows.
Journey time from downtown Milan to Lausanne is about four hours, and there is a sandwich / drink cart on the train. Seat reservations are required to ride all trains on this line.
Finding Your Hotel
It is a 2-to-5-minute walk, depending on the village and on the hotel.
If your hotel is the Auberge de la Truite in Le Pont, exit the station and walk out to the lake (which you can see from the station, just a few meters away). Turn left. The hotel is the first building on the left.
If you are at the Hotel de la Ville in Le Sentier, get off at the Sentier-Orient station. The hotel is three blocks away. Turn right outside the station and walk to the first intersection (Route Neuve). Turn left and walk up to the main street (Grande Rue). Turn right. The hotel is just ahead of you.