Respectueux du climat

When I had given myself the mission to visit my hitherto unseen European microstates (Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Andorra) I immediately thought that this should be possible in an eco-friendly manner. Reaching Liechtenstein with Deutsche Bahn and SNCF was hassle-free, but the trip to Monaco was a very long one with many things that could go wrong. I tried it anyway.

My first step was to go down from Göttingen to Basel by ICE, the German railway network brings you there to Basel Badischer Bahnhof (already located at Switzerland) and over to Basel SBB (if you own a BahnCard 100 make sure to buy a ticket for this short trip). I considered this German section of the trip most problematic because trains run all the way down from Hamburg and are often delayed, sometimes so much that they get denied access to the Swiss railway network. Trains then and at Basel Badischer Bahnhof and you‘ll have to take a regional train or a tramway to cross river Rhein.

This time the train was not a problem: it was delayed in northern Germany because of obstacles on the track and had to change the originally planned route in the area of Frankfurt but it was perfectly on time when arriving at Basel. I had a buffer of 1.5 hours at Basel SBB that I could use to relax, walk around and have lunch in the neighbourhood of the railway station.

Next section was by TGV Lyria train to Dijon which departed on time but was then hit by a power outage on the track. It arrived 25 minutes late at Dijon which was not a problem as my connecting TGV was delayed for the exactly same amount of time. At Dijon changing trains just required me to cross the platform where the TGV INOUI to Nice departed.

This second TGV went via Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Cannes, Antibes to Nice; an amazing route. Unfortunately a passenger needed medical assistance which stopped us at Aix-en-Provence for an hour and later for unknown reasons we we‘re standing half an hour which in the end brought me to Nice two hours later than expected (at 0:26, I was happy having chosen a hotel close to the railway station). It is possible to do the route in 14 hours, I planned to do it in 15 hours with a break at Basel; in the end I needed 17 hours.

If it fits into my calendar I would definitely do the trip again as it was eco-friendly, affordable and a great route. It is a burden to sit in a train for such a long time but you can always walk around and visit the Bordbistro or Le Bar and you should plan a break at the middle (Basel is perfect for this). It all depends on whether you enjoy to have so many hours for reading, listening, watching our sleeping. I do.

If you want to be informed well about your trip the necessary smartphone apps are DB Railnavigator and SNCF Connect. French trains are a bit special, be aware that:

  • trains close doors two minutes prior to departure. Be there on time.
  • you need to reserve a seat, getting on a long distance train spontaneously is not possible.
  • you‘re required to label baggage with your name if you put it in a baggage rack.
  • platforms are assigned shortly before arrival. That means you need to check this at the railway station or within the smartphone app.

Bon voyage!

Germany, Switzerland, France

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