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Barcelona and Road Trip to Southern France

Barcelona and Road Trip to Southern France

Apr 26th, 2015, 05:49 AM
  #1  
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Barcelona and Road Trip to Southern France

Hi
We are thinking about flying in to Barcelona 9/23/15 and renting a car and then going north into southern France and looping around and driving back to Barcelona. We have 10 non travel days. We would end up back in Barcelona on the 9th day and spend 2 nights in Barcelona which leaves us 8 full days on the road.

We have been kicking around where to go this year and were thinking about flying into Paris and then driving into southern France, but that seems like too far a drive. We had gone to Paris in 2001 and drove to Honfleur/Caen/Rouen/Mont St Michel/Bayeux/Normandy Beach. That was a great trip. We went to Spain a few years ago, but flew into Madrid and rented a car and went south. We did not go to Barcelona. We did spend a day in Barcelona in the 1970s as part of a 2.5 month trip.

We do have a book of road trips in France. Has anyone taken a similar trip. We like to see the sights and are not big foodies or wine drinkers. This is probably too open ended of a question. We will formulate our itinerary and post back. We have taken a trip every year since 2001 and we are running out of places we want to visit in Europe. I like to go to the beach 1 or 2 days on each trip. It might be too late in late September unless we get lucky with the weather.

Any feedback would be appreciated.
James_P is offline  
Apr 26th, 2015, 07:10 AM
  #2  
 
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If you must see Barcelona and also want to see southern France then I would fly into Barcelona and spend a few days there and then take a train across the border to your first French destination and rent a car. Spend your time visiting what you want in France and then fly home from wherever in France you can get a decent price on a plane ticket to go back home. So basically do an "open jaw" ticket, flying into Barcelona and out of a French city. I think you're wasting time looping back to Barcelona.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Apr 26th, 2015, 08:06 AM
  #3  
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That is a good thought. The reason I was doing it this way was to avoid drop off charges for the rental car in another place other than where you rented it. We have done this in Madrid and Athens and Venice we were able to see different sites on the loop. Also, airfare is pretty expensive this year. The cheaper fuel is offset by the recession ending an the devalued Euro which might drive up traffic for the airlines. We found flights on Aer Lingus for $1,000 apiece from Chicago to Barcelona. We took a trip recently where we flew into Budapest, trained to Vienna and then to Prague and then flew out of Prague, but that was mainly a urban trip.

This does not work if you visiting more than 1 large city.
James_P is offline  
Apr 26th, 2015, 08:33 AM
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>>thinking about flying into Paris and then driving into southern France, but that seems like too far a drive. <<

It is!!!! Instead, relax and take the 4 hr TGV from CDG to the Avignon TGV station and start there if you want to visit Provence. Fly home from either Marseilles or Nice.

If you want to visit Barcelona and southeast France, I would spend 3-4 nights in Barcelona and then take the TGV from Barcelona to Toulouse, pick up a car, then on to the beautiful/interesting Dordogne & stay 4-5 nights. You could alternatively take the TGV to Narbonne, pick up a car, visit Carcassonne for 2 1/2 hrs then to the Dordogne. Fly home form either Toulouse (preferred), or Bordeaux.

Stu Dudley
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Apr 26th, 2015, 08:37 AM
  #5  
 
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>>If you want to visit Barcelona and southeast France<<

southwest France.

Stu Dudley
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Apr 26th, 2015, 08:38 AM
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If you'd like to spend some time in the Pyrénées-Orientales, then head up the coast to the historic coastal village of Collioure. Take a drive to Saint-Laurent-de-Cerdans in the Orientales and explore the area for the day. You can head back to Barcelona by way of Ripol and Vic, beautiful country.
Robert2533 is offline  
Apr 26th, 2015, 12:58 PM
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I always think flying in and out of the same city is a waste of time/money in Europe, unless you don't intend to go to another country (and even then, in large countries, I do). I don't have enough vacation time to waste a full day of it usually getting back to my start city, and there is little reason to do that. I've had open jaw fares be cheaper in France than RT the same city (Paris), for some reason. Air France sometimes prices it cheaper to fly into MRS or Nice and fly out of Paris, for example. And you have the cost of getting back to the original city, also.

IN any case, I have taken the train from Barcelona to Perpignan in France, it's easy and I think that's a good idea, also. When I did it, you did have to make a transfer somewhere (Figueres probably), but it was easy peasy as the train arriving and departing were directly across the quay from each other.

But I do like Toulouse very much also, and Stu'd idea is a good one if you haven't visited it.

Aer Lingus is usually very cheap, though, but I'd check their rates home from Paris, for example, rather than BCN, I know they fly out of there, and it could be even cheaper as it's closer to Ireland.
Christina is offline  
Apr 26th, 2015, 06:21 PM
  #8  
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That is a good idea about flying into Paris via Aer Lingus. We have to check into that. (This is the wife writing) So far I am just reading up on what to see. We did the trip along the coast before -Rouen, Honfleur, Normandy coast and drove as far as Mont St Michel. We saw Chemenceau on the way back up to Paris. So we wanted to see another part of France.

So far I have Carcassone, Nimes - I want to see Pont du Gard, Avignon, Arles perhaps St Tropez. Nothing is definite just writing down places it might be nice to see. They might not work because of their locations. We found a cheap fare for Barcelona so we thought while there we would see Montserat and of course Barcelona. But I am open to any suggestions because we have never been to this section before. I read that the roads are very narrow with a lot of hairpin turns so we should expect long drives between places, too. We don't have to go to Barcelona it was just going to be a starting point.

So any suggestions will be appreciated. And thanks for the info so far. Deb
James_P is offline  
Apr 26th, 2015, 08:43 PM
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Where did you hear that the roads are narrow with hairpin turns? Which roads?? We've spent around 65 weeks vacationing in the south of France - and your comments are kinda vague & "questionable".

Don't fall in love with a cheap airline fare. Decide where you want to go and then determine where to fly to & depart from.

Stu Dudley
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Apr 27th, 2015, 12:30 PM
  #10  
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We probably are a little vague regarding this trip. I do not know about questionable. I think that my wife was reading a guidebook that stated that the roads from Barcelona to France went through mountains where the roads were narrow. We tend to only visit an area once so we are not as familiar with the area as frequent vistors are. It looks like we need to do some more research.
James_P is offline  
Apr 27th, 2015, 12:36 PM
  #11  
 
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There are certainly some mountain roads through the Pyrenees between Spain/Barcelona and France/Roussillon. We've taken several of them, but I don't recall any being dangerously narrow with lots of hairpins. There is a fast/straight autoroute that you can take also.

Stu Dudley
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Apr 27th, 2015, 01:20 PM
  #12  
 
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As SD says, there are a few, and some are only 1-1/2 lanes wide, if that wide. Some may not even be shown on a map unless it's a regional map..

You're likely to encounter a few delivery trucks and local buses, and cyclist on weekends, beginning in late April.
Robert2533 is offline  
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