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Advice sought - Madrid & Paris

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Another year, another niece finishing high school and traveling to Europe with her favorite uncles. This time, though, there's a new wrinkle. The sister of this year's niece will do a summer internship in Madrid and we are thinking about visiting Madrid and seeing her. (Yes, she is fine with this - welcomes it, in fact.) I have not been in Madrid since 1996 so need counsel from those with more / more current knowledge.
Plan is to fly into Madrid, out of Paris. Thinking about arrival Madrid 5th July, would like to be in Paris by 11 or 12th. Appreciate suggestions for accommodation and activities in Madrid, practical advice and potential day trips. Also, have read that high speed rail linking Madrid and Paris has just started, am wondering if anyone has experience with it?
As always, thanks / merci bien / muchísimas gracias for your assistance!

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