Barcelona to south of France

Apr 25th, 2012, 08:11 PM
  #1  
kbb
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Barcelona to south of France

Hi there. My husband and I are flying into Barcelona early July. We plan to stay there for 2-3 days and then head up to France. We will be flying out of Barcelona as well. We have 12 days. I am looking for quaint towns along the way and a destination in France just above the boarder. Ideally we would take a few day trips out of our destination spot And be able to take a train back to Barcelona. Don't want to try and fit in too much. I know well have our taste of city in Barcelona so would love to balance that with beautiful towns.
Appreciate you help
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Apr 25th, 2012, 08:52 PM
  #2  
 
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The Roussillon region just across the border in France is fabulous. We've spent a total of 3 1/2+ years vacationing in France, and our most "active" trip was 2 weeks in a gite near Ceret. My wife is still talking about how we were "on the go" for almost all the time during this 2 week period. Cute villages, the Pyrenees, coast (Collioure), Cathars strongholds, beautiful countryside, Carcassonne, etc. Easy train connections between Barcelona and Perpignan.

Stu Dudley
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Apr 26th, 2012, 04:01 AM
  #3  
kbb
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Thanks so much. I will definitely look into that. Any hotel recommendations and how long of a train ride?
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Apr 26th, 2012, 05:39 AM
  #4  
 
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We stay in Gites (houses), so I don't have any hotel recommendations. The train trip is about 2 hrs 20 mins with 1 train change, or a no train change that leaves at 16:40 & arrives in Perpignan at 19:38 (this was a Thurs in May).

Stu Dudley
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Apr 26th, 2012, 05:46 AM
  #5  
 
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Do you plan on taking the train from Barcelona to southern France or will you rent a car? In October 2010, we spent 5 days in Barcelona, then went on a 3 night/4 day roadtrip north along the Costa Brava, Girona & the Pyrenees. We didn't go into France, but if you are driving, you could stop along the way in northern Spain to see some beautiful coastal villages. We stayed overnight in Girona and Cadaques & loved both places. You can click on my name to read my trip report to see if this is something you would be interested in doing.
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Apr 26th, 2012, 07:04 AM
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Trains don't typically deposit you in "quaint towns," so if you really want to experience all the lovely small villages on the Med and inland north of the Spanish border in France you'll need to drive. There are plenty of places to explore: Collioure, Banyuls, Ceret, Port-Vendres, west into the Pyrénées, and north toward Carcassonne.
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Apr 26th, 2012, 07:13 AM
  #7  
 
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We've spent 8 weeks vacationing in the Languedoc/Roussillon region & I've developed a 35 page itinerary for this area that describes our favorite villages, scenic drives, restaurants, markets, caves, etc. E-mail me at [email protected] & I'll attach a copy to the reply e-mail. I've sent over 4,000 copies of my various itineraries to people on Fodors.

Stu Dudley
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Apr 26th, 2012, 07:57 AM
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Good advice above.

Hub and I took train from Barcelona to Montpellier (where we based for continued trip to Nice and Paris.) We took train day trips to Arles and Avignon from there. We stayed in the New Hotel du Midi (22 blvd. Victor Hugo) and it was very convenient to train station and main square. To Montpellier was about 4.5 hours and was a straight shot. We bought our tickets at the main renfe train station but the train left from "Estacioz de Francia"--do be aware of that. It also took almost an hour to buy our tickets. We had to take a number and wait. If our experience was typical, I'd suggest getting your tickets a day earlier to save stress!

I know you want France, but from the train I spotted what looked like a sweet town called Port Bou. Girona is another in Spain folks have recommended. Others can give first-hand info.

Collioure, France was one an artist friend of mind heartily recommended. I just googled it and came up with the following Fodors thread and Port Bou is mentioned as a stop to get there:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ure-to-bcn.cfm

Have a great time and please do a trip report!
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Apr 26th, 2012, 08:01 AM
  #9  
 
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ps-just looked at my notes and I wrote that we took the blue line to Sants to buy our tickets for Montpellier. Metro was very convenient.
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Apr 30th, 2012, 09:43 AM
  #10  
kbb
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Another question. Unless we drive from Barcelona into France are there any trains that would allow us to get off at some stops along the coast so we can spend a few days in between?

Also any hotel/ bb recommendationsion cadaques?.
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Apr 30th, 2012, 12:40 PM
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" are there any trains that would allow us to get off at some stops along the coast so we can spend a few days in between?"------------Sorry I don't know unless there is a special pass.
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Apr 30th, 2012, 12:52 PM
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You'll need to pick the places you want to stop and buy point-to-point tickets, at least in France (I don't know much about Spanish trains). As far as I know you can't buy a long-distance ticket and then just hop off when you feel like it. You are ticketed for a specific train at a specific time on a specific day.
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Apr 30th, 2012, 02:07 PM
  #13  
 
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There are lots of tickets in France that are not for a specific time and day, a lot of regular train tickets are like that (meaning non-TGV or idTGV), although some do have a one day limitation on use. TER trains are like that, no time or date and no reservation. It's hard to find longer distance trains like that on any route that has TGVs (eg, I had a ticket like that from Paris to Reims once but now with the TGV not sure you have that route). However, you can't hop on and off with the same ticket as once it is validated, it is used, so you couldn't reuse it on the same route a a couple days later. No TGVs are like that, of course, as those require reservations. So no, you won't be able to get off to spend a couple days somewhere and reuse the same ticket that has already been validated.

If you have a regular tickets without a reservation (and no reservation is required on a train) you can use it for 61 days from purchase. But once validated, you have 24 hours to finish your trip, so you can't stay a couple days some place.

There are TER tickets between Perpignan and Montpellier, for example, which don't require reservations. these trains probably do stop in Beziers, Narbonne and Sete (I know some do). YOu really are not going to save any money doing this, ony a couple euro.

For example, the TER ticket from Perpignan to Montpellier is 24.70 euro. From Perpignan to Sete is 21 euro and Sete to Montpellier is 5.60 euro, so you could stay overnight in Sete or have most of a day there if you got there early, but you'd only save about 2 euro and you'd have to make sure you got on the same type of train within 24 hrs of validating it (and that there was such a train the next day at the right time).
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Apr 30th, 2012, 05:01 PM
  #14  
kbb
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Thankyou. Not sure I'm as concerned about the money as I am about all the driving in a foreign country.
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Apr 30th, 2012, 09:22 PM
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>>as I am about all the driving in a foreign country.<<

Driving where you live now was "foreign" before you got a drivers licence.

Stu Dudley
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Apr 30th, 2012, 11:30 PM
  #16  
 
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If you take a train in Barcelona and want to stop along the way, do not take the TGV which is non-stop between Figueres and Perpignan.
Take a local Spanish train from Barcelona to Portbou via the coast (Granollers, Colera, Llança) then a French TER train which stops in Cerbere, Banyuls, Collioure, Argeles.
See www.sncf.com for timetable Enter one of the towns above as your final destination otherwise you'll be redirected to the fast and direct train from Figueres.
Cadaques is not accessible by train. Neither is Ceret.
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May 1st, 2012, 05:11 AM
  #17  
 
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Hi kbb,
We stayed at the Playa del Sol in Cadaques & were very happy with our room. It was in October, and there were 4 of us, so we had a 2 bedroom suite with a balcony overlooking the Mediterranean. I don't remember the price but I remember thinking it was reasonable.
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