Snowtrain to the Alps – Briançon

This one will be rather short, so just enjoy the images and scroll down for some practical information or ask me if you want more details on the trip.

Nighttrain:

I took the thalys from Brussels to Paris (25 EUR one way if you book early) and than a nice bunkbed in the nighttrain from Paris Austerlitz leaving at 20h50 to the alps (98 EUR one way, I booked only a couple of days in advance, so I’m sure you can get it cheaper). At 8h30 the next morning you arrive in Briançon, a 10 minute hike away from the closest ski lift of Serre Chevalier.

Note of december 2019: This year we booked a ski trip again to Briançon and managed to buy a one way ticket for 50 euro from Brussels to Brainçon: 25 euro from Brussels to Paris and another 25 euro for the sleeping train with a bunkbed from Paris to Briançon!

Next to that it’s worth checking out the new sleeping train line from Brussels to Innsbruck that will be operating as from January.

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Hiking or ski?

Since I was staying in Puy-Sain-Pierre I had to rent my material in Briançon at the bottom of the main lift. You can just rent your material by the day and get your ski pass for as many days as you want. It’s rather expensive so try to group the ski days together and maybe plan some hiking before and after.

For hiking I did multiple hikes that start in Puy-Saint-Pierre: look on the Visorando website and do (1) (part of) the Notre dammes des Neiges hike in the snow (deep snow hike, requires some material and enough food). (2) Circuit des chapelles, which can be done mainly without hiking on deep snow.

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Sleeping

I can only recommend the exact place I stayed, since it was absolutely perfect: Maison de Catherine. A room costs around 90 EUR per night for 2 people. Don’t worry about not having any other restaurants closeby, because the own cook provides plenty of variation and impressive food for a very reasonable price (normal 3-courses menu for 23 EUR or more gourmet for 30 EUR per person). The picture below was the view from my room.

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Visiting Briançon

Since Briançon itself is at a strategic point in the Alps, it has plenty of military constructions and buildings around. The old citycenter is built within a fortress. Truly worth spending at least half a day visiting. If you go to the office de tourisme they give you a map with a nice 1-2 hour loop and some background information. If you’re cold an looking for gluhwein and pancakes: L’armure (the food was good, service medium friendly).

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