|* = Logical, recommended break points for multi-year trips; the others can serve in emergencies. Some intermediate points with bus service have not been listed.
Train information can be found at the http://oui.fr
Northern Alps Accesss Points:
Thonon-les-Bains, Evian-les-Bains, St-Gingolph by train, bus, and lake steamer from Paris, Geneva and other Swiss points. Airport in Geneva. See detailed discussion of starting points by clicking on ” Starting Points”... in the menu. Because of COVID many trains may no longer run.
Samoëns : 4-5 days’ walk from Lake Geneva, buses connect to Cluse RR Station on the Chamonix line.
*Chamonix Valley : 6-8 days’ walk from Lake Geneva; cog rail trains run to St. Gervais-les-Bains with a change to a regular train for Annecy, with connections to Paris, or towards Geneva. One night train direct between St. Gervais and Paris.
Landry (or Aime or Bourg St-Maurice), all on the Isère River): 3-5 days’walk from the Chamonix Valley; trains go directly to Paris via Albertville.
Tigne or Val d’Isère: 2 days’ walk from Landry or Aime. Buses run to, respectively, Aime or Bourg St.-Maurice.
*Modane: 4-6 days’ walk from the Isère River; only 4 hours from Paris on the main Paris-Rome train route.
Bardonnechia, Italy (off route): 2 days walk after Modane—Can be reached by taxi from Nevache (a bit expensive) or from the GR5 at the Refuge de la Vallée Etroite by continuing northeast down the valley, or from GR5B branching northeast at the Col de l’Échelle, and walking down the highway. Bardonnechia is the train stop in Italy after the tunnel from Modane in France, about 4 1/2 hours from Paris.
Southern Alps GR5 Access Points:
Briançon: 3-4 days from Modane. The train route goes via Valance on the Rhone River south of Lyons, and takes 8 or 9 hours. There is one overnight train with sleeping “couchettes” (bunks). An alternative is to take the three hour bus trip to Grenoble, and continue to Paris from there in about 3 hours. The bus schedule can be found at: http://www.vfd.fr/HorairesLignesRegulieres/Ligne35.htm
Chateau Queyras: 2 days from Briançon. Bus connects with Montdauphin-Guillestre railroad station on the Briançon – Valance line, which is 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 hours from Paris.
Ceillac: 3 days from Briançon. Bus connects with Montdauphin-Guillestre railroad station on the Briançon – Valance train line, which is 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 hours from Paris.
Larche: 5 days from Briançon. It is probably necessary during the hiking season to take a cab or find a ride between Larche and Barcelonette.(27 kilometers). Bus service from Barcelonette to Gap on the Briançon – Valance train line. The train takes 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 hours to reach Paris. There are also daily busses to Nice, Marseilles, Grenoble, and Briançon.
*St. Etienne-de-Tinée or Auron: On the GR5, 2 days from Larche, Twice a day buses run from these towns to and from Nice in 2-3 hours. Price is less than 2 Euros. Connections in Nice by train or air.
*Isola 2000: (on the Balcons du Mercantour special alternative route or 3 to 4 days from Larche) Buses run to and from Nice during July and August at a price of less than 2 Euroa.
Saint-Dalmas-Valdeblore: A 3 days’ walk from St. Etienne-de-Tinée. Bus to Nice. Price 1 Euro.
Nice Route (GR5):
Levens or Aspremont: 5 days away from St. Etienne-de-Tinée. Local bus service takes you to Nice in less than an hour. You can walk there in half of a day.
Nice (an endpoint of the walk): Train connections to Paris (under 6 hours), to the rest of France and to Italy. International Airport with connections to many European cities and New York. Several bus lines connect the airport with the train station and the bus station.
Menton Route (GR52) Access Points:
St.-Dalmas-de-Tendé (off route): A couple of hours’ walk from the Refuge des Merveilles, this town lies on the Tendé-Sospel-Nice train line. It is an escape route for those not willing to make the day-long, 2,000 meter (7,000 foot) descent towards the Mediterranean. Train service to Nice.
Sospel: Only the physically injured should bail out here, as in clear weather the next day’s descent into Menton on the GR52 is without question one of the very best hiking views in the Alps. On the train line from Tendé to Nice, and access to Menton by bus. There is also bus service to Menton.
Menton (an endpoint of the walk): Train service to France and to Italy. About a 45 minute train ride to the Nice Station, from which there are buses that go to the Nice Airport. There is also a train stop across from the Airport. There is also bus to the Nice bus station for less than 2 Euros, and a bus connection from there to the Nice airport. In July and August, and indeed any time of year, the train can be super-crowded and the roads clogged.