You can travel from London to Bern without flying in just 8 hours. Leave London in the morning and, via Paris be in Bern by the evening.
HOLIDAY - FROM 4 DAYS
JOURNEY TIME 7HRS 55MINS
BOOK UP TO 3 MONTHS IN ADVANCE
TRAIN FROM £110 EACH WAY PER PERSON
There are several direct TGV Lyria services a day between Paris and Bern. The trains are modern, with interiors designed by Christian Lacroix. Bern is a compact city and so getting to your hotel from the station will not take long.
If you take a morning train from London and an afternoon return service from Bern it's possible to do this trip in 3 days and still enjoy the city, but we recommend 4 days.
If you need more time to reach London before beginning your holiday, you could also depart from London in the afternoon and stay an extra night in Bern, or stopover in Paris.
If you'd like to book the trip by yourself we've set out below a guide to help. The earlier you book train tickets, the cheaper the prices.
If you decide to take a train to Basel and change for Bern there, there are direct trains between Paris and Basel that run every 2 hours until 16.23, and so you're free to choose which connecting Eurostar service you'd like to take. You change in Basel for Bern and there are trains every 30 mins. There are also options to change at Strasbourg, adding around 40 mins to your journey.
Train timetables may vary in summer and winter (changes occur in December and June) so always check.
If you'd like someone to do all the work for you, we recommend that you call Ffestiniog Travel ( see the blue box to the right) and talk to a real person. They'll take care of rail tickets, hotels and any passes and extra tickets. They're based in Wales and all their profits go back into helping run the Ffestioniog Railway company in Porthmadog. They've got over 40 years experience. Quote RRS for the best deals.
HOW TO BOOK
The earlier you book, the cheaper the ticket. Book up to 90 days in advance.
OPEN THESE TABS
DEUTSCHE BAHN ( Best for checking timetables, but you can't book online for this trip)
STAGE 1 PARIS -BERN - PARIS
Firstly book your ticket between Paris and Bern ( up to 90 days in advance), Voyages SNCF often have deals on first class, so check this as meals are included. Having bought your ticket for Paris- Bern visit the Eurostar site and book between London and Paris.
Eurostar has the facility to book all the way through to Switzerland, so check the prices here first. They are sometimes a few pounds cheaper ( eg 135 as opposed to 141 ), 3 months in advance.
STAGE 2 - LONDON - PARIS
Having bought your ticket for Paris- Bern visit the Eurostar site and book between London and Paris. You can also do this on the Voyages SNCF site. However, the Eurostar site offers the option for booking from UK departure points.
If you can't find your UK departure point on Eurostar use THE TRAINLINE.
When checking times the DB site only allows 5mins changeover time at Basel. This is not enough.
Enter times for Paris - Basel, then Basel - Bern and allow 30 mins.
IF GOING VIA BASEL ALLOW TIME TO GET FROM THE FRENCH SIDE OF BASEL STATION TO YOUR CONNECTING TRAIN TO BERN. CLICK HERE FOR OUR GUIDE TO BASEL STATION
STAGE 3 HOTEL
We find that Booking.Com has the most comprehensive list of hotels, an easy to use website with reviews and the best prices.
You can also try LATEROOMS
DEPART LONDON - PARIS - BASEL - BERN
Lon 09.17 - Paris 12.47 Paris 14.23 - Basel 17.26 (change) Basel 17.59 - Bern 18.56
Lon 10.25 - Paris 13.47 Paris 15.11 - Geneva 18.16 (change) Geneva 18.45 - Bern 20.26
Lon 10.25 - Paris 13.47 Paris 16.23 - Basel 19.26 (change) Basel 19.59 - Bern 20.56
13.31 - Paris 16.47 Paris 18.23 - Bern 22.50 (1 change in Paris, direct from Paris to Bern)
DEPART BERN - BASEL - PARIS - LONDON
Bern 09.10 - Paris 13.37 Paris 15.13 - Lon 16.39 (1 change in Paris, direct from Bern to Paris)
Bern 10.34 - Basel 12.29 (change) Basel 12.34 - Paris 15.37 Paris 18.13 - Lon 19.39
DEP VIA LAUSANNE
Lon (or 10.25) 11.31 - Paris (13.47) 14.47 Paris 15.57 - Lausanne 19.37 Lausanne 19.50 - Bern 20.56
Bern 11.04 - Lausanne 12.10 Lausanne 12.24 - Paris 16.03 Paris 18.13 - Lon 19.39
Go from the champagne bar of St Pancras to the heart of Paris in under three hours.
Check-in at The Eurostar terminal is smooth and simple, with e-ticket machines and a brisk security scan. Queues are usually short, though there may be a slight delay at rush-hour and weekends.
Check-in is open until 30 minutes before departure, and once checked in, there is a large passenger lounge with wifi and plug sockets, shops and cafes including WH Smith and Costa Coffee and comfortable seating, with a travelator which delivers passengers directly to the platform, and makes it easy to manoeuvre luggage. There’s also a lift if you prefer.
There is a buffet car on board the train, and an optional executive upgrade means food service at your table, a quieter carriage, more spacious seats and a plug socket and free wifi.
The Eurostar sets off from the beautifully refurbished St Pancras station, speeds through the countryside and takes just twenty minutes to dash through the Channel Tunnel and emerge in France. The journey is deceptively fast- the comfortable train rockets trough Kent, beneath the channel and emerges in France in the time it takes to queue at an airport.
Leave in the morning and the Eurostar will pull into the Gare Du Nord two hours and fifteen minutes later, in time for lunch.
Cross from Gare Du Nord by RER ( click here ) to Gare De Lyon and take the connecting TGV train to Bern.
The service uses super fast TGV Lyria trains. The interirors were designed by Christian Lacroix. There's a buffet on board and the journey takes you down through the Rhone valley and so the views can be wonderful.
Arrive in Bern just over 3 hours after leaving Paris and check into your hotel. CLICK HERE FOR OUR GUIDE TO BERN.
Days 2 - 4
Time to explore Bern. Bern is the capital of Switzerland and is famous for its medieval streets lined with arched walkways that means you can shop in all weathers. You'll easily be able to pass a couple of days in this charming city.
CLICK HERE to visit our page on Bern for some suggestions based on what we found when we visited.
Take the train back to Paris after seeing more of the city in the morning. It's a fast TGV so the journey is quick and comfortable.
If you're coming from Gare de Lyon (or Gare D'Austerlitz and Gare Montparnase) you'll need at least 90 minutes to allow for check-in time at Gare du Nord. Gare De L'Est is much closer, just a 10 minute walk.
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