Tag Archives: bus

Discovering Evasion Mont Blanc and evasive buses

One of the added bonuses of a Chamonix Season Lift Pass, is the chance to discover three other winter resorts in Haute-Savoie. The next big winter station down the valley is  Evasion Mont Blanc, a series of linked resorts including St Gervais, Megeve, Combloux and La Giettaz. In all 445 km of pistes. This is a photo essay of Evasion Mont Blanc. The photos are all from the ski area, not the story of the journey there and back. If you are not interested in bus journeys that don’t turn out as planned, just skip the text and enjoy the photos. I will be submitting this post for #MonPics on Twitter as they were all taken this weekend.

At the booking office in Chamonix, I booked a return bus ticket to Megeve, leaving Chamonix station at 7am the following day. Unfortunately the girl who issued my ticket got a lot of things wrong, as I would find out as the discovery day progressed.

Panorama from Mont Joux
Panorama from Mont Joux

Amazingly, I managed to get up at 6am and drag myself to the station for 6h45. Boarding the bus for Chamonix, I was told that I’d have to change at Le Fayet which sounded reasonable, as the destination matrix on the bus indicated that it was bound for Geneva Airport.  The bus departed on time and 5 minutes later, stopped at the Bus Stop outside my apartment. I could have saved a 15 minute walk if only I’d asked!

Piste with Mont Blanc backdrop
Piste with Mont Blanc backdrop

Arriving at Le Fayet, the lady in the ticket office pointed out that there was no service to Megeve on Saturdays. I asked if the bus passed the Télécabine at St Gervais and was told no. She explained that I could get there though. So unconcerned, I boarded the 8h30 bus to Les Contamines. At St Gervais I caught the free ski bus to the lift. I presented my documentation at the cash desk and my  pass was activated for Evasion Mont Blanc, or so I thought.

Mont Blanc from Mont Joux
Mont Blanc from Mont Joux

I boarded the lift and started exploring the area. It was bitterly cold with tiny ice crystals floating in the air and glistening in the sun like diamonds. Certainly no hidden gems that day. Up on the top of the mountains the view over the cloud filled valleys was magnificent.

Mont Blanc from Mont Arbois
Mont Blanc from Mont Arbois

Throughout the day, I stopped more than is usual for me, to get some photos of the views. Many had Mont Blanc and the rest of the peak of the Mont Blanc Massif as a backdrop, but the Aravis and other mountain chains also figured. From here the lofty heights of the summit of Mont Blanc can be appreciated more than in Chamonix, where the closer, lower peaks look much taller  from the bottom of the Chamonix Valley.

Moguls at Megeve
Moguls at Megeve

Managing to time my lunch with my arrival at Megeve, so that I could eat it on the resort ski bus, I made my way to Jaillet.  At Jaillet Télécabine, the electronic pass reader rejected my pass and so I enquired at the cash desk about what the problem was. The cashier informed me that my pass had only been activated for the St Gervais ski area. She could do nothing about it as a different lift company operated this sector of Evasion Mont Blanc. I chose to return to Megeve and keep exploring the St Gervais area.

Mont Blanc from Mont Arbois
Mont Blanc from Mont Arbois

After a day of riding, I caught the 17h30 bus back to Le Fayet. This was exactly the time the bus to Chamonix called at Le Fayet. I managed by catching the train to Chamonix,  but had to pay 5.10 euros for a train ticket. Sometimes though, travel plans going wrong don’t spoil your day, or am I just speaking for myself?

There are more photos of Evasion Mont Blanc (minus Combloux and La Giettaz obviously) in the gallery. Some are 3D anaglyphs requiring Red / Cyan glasses to appreciate the 3D. Click on the thumbnails to see a larger photo size.

 

About John Williams

John Williams looks at travel from a responsible consumer's perspective. He is doesn't accept hosted trips, so don't expect gushing reports of experiences that neither he, you, nor our planet can afford. He, is the first to acknowledge that when it comes to sustainable travel, he has a lot to learn. TravelCrunch is a platform for sharing his learning, but if you have any tips or disagreements feel free to air them in the comments.

Brussels to Chamonix via Eurolines

To travel to Chamonix, from Brussels, I booked a seat on a Eurolines coach, boarding by Gare du Nord. One of the main advantages of travelling by bus, is the low carbon footprint. Buses are generally light and do not use much fuel per person. They can also be quite cheap. I noted that the tickets from Brussels to Chamonix start at 9 Euros one way, shame mine wasn’t quite that cheap. I actually paid 90 Euros return, but had no extra fees for baggage etc.

Eurolines coach

I departed the Euro lines bus station at 18h00 on Sunday, after checking in a good sized bag with another in a snowboard bag. From what I read on the website for Eurolines Belgium, they don’t accept skis and snowboards, but the crew stowed mine in the baggage locker. Just don’t go turning up expecting them to accept your winter sports equipment in Belgium. If you are travelling from the UK then it is no problem. It all boils down to the fact that each country has a different coach operator badged as Eurolines operating their part of Europe. The journey was uneventful. We drove out of Brussels and on to Lille in France, a DVD was shown as we left Brussels, then another DVD on the leg from Lille to Paris.
Most of the passengers alighted at Paris and new passengers boarded, some with skis in carry bags. It was now about 11h00, so no more DVD’s were played. The coach then travelled down the Autoroutes headed for Geneva, but stopping for a break every two hours or so. Fortunately the coach was half empty so everyone had two seats each to try top get comfortable on for the night. I did manage to sleep in a number of unusual positions before waking after about half an hour each time.
As we went through the Jura, I noticed that the scenery looked very white, I was having difficulty making out why as I had removed my contact lenses for the night. It soon became apparent that it was snowing heavily. The bus stopped at the border at Switzerland and all passports were checked. There was a short stop at Geneva and then we headed back for France and Chamonix.

Chamonix, my destination
Chamonix, my destination

It was just getting light as we entered the Chamonix valley. It looked magnificent with its new covering of fresh snow. The coach had difficulty with the build up of snow on the streets of Chamonix, but managed to get to the bus stop outside the railway station.

I was tired most of Monday and slept really well on Monday night. Would I travel by coach again? Yes, in fact I have to on my return leg. It would be good to find some of those 9 euro seats and may well look out for them.

About John Williams

John Williams looks at travel from a responsible consumer's perspective. He is doesn't accept hosted trips, so don't expect gushing reports of experiences that neither he, you, nor our planet can afford. He, is the first to acknowledge that when it comes to sustainable travel, he has a lot to learn. TravelCrunch is a platform for sharing his learning, but if you have any tips or disagreements feel free to air them in the comments.