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Travelling from Paris to Madrid

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Hi all,

I'm wondering if you might have some suggestions as to the best route to take from Paris to Madrid.

I arrive into Paris on the 11th March and will need to be in Madrid by the 23rd to meet up with friends and tour Spain. At present, I've booked 5 nights accommodation in Paris, so will have 7 days to make my way to Madrid.

I've toyed with the idea of a train to Lyon (4 nights) > Marseille (1 or 2 days) > Madrid, however this doesn't seem that economical, both financially and time-wise (point-to-point, based off fares on Captainetrain will be 139EUR). I'm also considering staying in Lyon and heading straight to Madrid (109EUR).

Alternatively, I could make a few small trips out of Paris (Tours, Reims, Normandy), and fly out of Paris. Also looked at train travel via Bordeaux, but that seemed a little more cumbersome to manage (plus, 13hr train to Madrid seems a waste of a day!).

A couple of things that may be of note:
I'm a female in my late-20s, travelling alone on my first trip to Europe (exciting and daunting!)
This is the start of a three month backpacking adventure, so I'll be travelling on from Spain to Italy and am planning to attempt Southern France along the way (so a stay at Marseille is not necessary on the first leg).

Any recommendations, suggestions or better alternatives would be much appreciated!
Thank you all in advance.

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