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Best way to travel between SE France and Italy

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Mar 15th, 2011, 09:50 AM
  #1
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Best way to travel between SE France and Italy

I have a question about getting from Languedoc or Provence to Italy (Florence or Rome areas).

We will be renting a car in Girona Spain this June, exploring Catalonia, driving into France and winding up around Avignon and Arles around the 19th of the month. At this point we'd like to find the best way to fly out of France to Florence or Rome to begin our second stage of our trip. On travelocity all of the airfares out of the nearby airports (MRS, MPL, TLN) are steep and most have layovers. Barcelona has cheap direct flights to Rome but we'd really rather not drive the 3+hrs back there. Also, is it a problem at all to pick up a car in Spain and drop-off in France, other than hopefully a nominal fee added on?

Appreciate any ideas!!
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Mar 15th, 2011, 09:52 AM
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A cross-border drop-off usually involves a steep fee. It might be worth driving back to Barcelona.
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Mar 15th, 2011, 10:45 AM
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Well, you're probably looking at spending about $500 to drop that Spanish car off in France anyway - and if you take it on to Italy, even more whopping fees as the insurance requirements are more stringent, so I'd go back to Barcelona.
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Mar 15th, 2011, 10:49 AM
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I would simply cancel the car and go around in Public Transport. All countries have good and extensive public transport and you can avoid problems finding parking and petrol costs.
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Mar 15th, 2011, 11:10 AM
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Hi TM,

>Barcelona has cheap direct flights to Rome but we'd really rather not drive the 3+hrs back there.<

I think that that is going to be the cheapest and easiest way to get there.

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Mar 15th, 2011, 11:29 AM
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There is also an overnight ferry Barcelona to Italy
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Mar 15th, 2011, 01:28 PM
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Michael, StCirq & ira - thanks ($500! yikes), I'll plan on returning the car to Girona

PalenQ - hadn't even thought about a night ferry, will check it out, thx

Nerissa and all- do you think public transportation will work if our itenerary has multiple stops (Girona->Figueres->Cadequez->Collioure->Carcassonne->Rennes le Chateau->Beziers->Arles->Avignon) I'd hate to spend hours at train and bus stations, possibly missing transfers, etc.
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Mar 15th, 2011, 01:33 PM
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I would go from Collioure to Rennes-le-Chateau via Perpignan, Estagel and Quillan. This would give you the opportunity to see 3 cathar castles on your way. I'd then go to Carcassonne.
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Mar 16th, 2011, 08:21 AM
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Pvoy - just looked at the map and that route looks fantastic. Have you driven it? Any other recommendations in the region (this will be our first time there)?
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Mar 16th, 2011, 08:39 AM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin-du-Canigou and generally the area around Prades.
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Mar 16th, 2011, 10:31 AM
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"Have you driven it?"
Many times, it's my home turf, I live in the area

"Any other recommendations in the region"
Sure if you let me know what interests you.
If you are not in a hurry, drive from Rennes-le-Château to Carcassone via Lagrasse (Abbey).
Excellent restaurants
-in Montner near Estagel : Auberge du Cellier
-in Fontjoncouse, Auberge du Vieux Puits (Michelin star)
-in Quillan, Restaurant Pierre-Lys - an old-fashioned restaurant where they have an incredible menu for €25.
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Mar 17th, 2011, 09:42 AM
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Pvoy - ah, a local! I knew I posted here for a reason. I love your suggestions and am salivating over those restaurants. My interests when traveling are history, dramatic scenery, architecture, art, regional food/drink, oh, and music, I love music. I'm not particularly interested in religion per se (e.g., pilgramage to Lourdes), expensive hotels or group tours and activities.

We have only 8 or 9 days to spend in Barcelona/Catalan and SE France before flying to Italy for 8 or 9 days there. Don't know yet how many days we'll have in France, probably 3 or 4. Originally I wanted to check out Nice/Monaco, but decided to concentrate on Languadoc. Likely, we'll focus on the very SE region with maybe a side jaunt to Avignon or Toulouse (any opinion/preference?)

Michael - Canigou abby & environs look charming, thx
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Mar 17th, 2011, 10:34 AM
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If you like music, don't miss a visit AND a concert at the Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona.
http://www.palaumusica.org/
The program of the various music festivals around here won't be published before April or May but I'll let you know (if you remind me when the time comes!).
The three cathar castles mentioned above (Peyrepertuse, Queribus and Puilaurens are very dramatic
Ceret has an interesting museum of modern art :
http://www.musee-ceret.com/mam/index.php
In 8 or 9 days I would not attempt to go to Avignon or even Toulouse.
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Mar 18th, 2011, 07:57 AM
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I will be in Barcelona on a Fri and Sat night and the Palau Catalana is on my list - hoping to catch a performance! Hopefully I will rember your offer (making a note of it) and take you up on checking the program when it gets closer.

I didn't know that about Ceret (or even that there WAS a Ceret!) - will check out the website to see their collection.

Am seriously second guessing going too far afield as time is limited. My girlfriend wants to see Arles and Van Gogh's inspiration/stomping ground and I want to see Avignon and the gothic papal palace but we don't want to shoehorn everything into such a short period and end up driving the whole time.
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Mar 22nd, 2011, 11:32 AM
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What worries me is the following:

- Fuel costs
- Stops to sleep: costs and safety?
- Danger when driving in a foreign country (Sorry to sound pessimistic but my husband had a traffic accident on that route and nearly all his family died so...)
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Mar 22nd, 2011, 04:01 PM
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thanks for bringing this up, Nerissa.

pvoy (or other locals) - what are the costs involved in renting a car and driving around for 3 leisurely days in Catalan & the Aude (no more than 600km rt max)? In the states that would cost about $200 or about 140e, is it much more than double this?

As for sleep, I fell in love with this Chateau from their website and wow it looks romantic, reasonably priced and a good base to explore: www.chateau-des-ducs.com
Has anyone heard anything about this little gem?

Terrible about the accident! Are the roads in Calonia and the Languadoc known for being particularly dangerous?
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Mar 22nd, 2011, 04:05 PM
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For car rentals, check out:

AutoEurope.com

Kemwel.com

economycarrentals.com

If your credit card will carry the CDW, look at the basic rate for the first two rentals. The last one offers a rate that has no excess, aka deductible.
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Mar 22nd, 2011, 11:38 PM
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"Are the roads in Calonia and the Languadoc known for being particularly dangerous?"

No, but some of them can be tricky notably in the mountains or along the coast (Cadaques for instance).

Hôtel des Ducs de Joyeuse has an excellent reputation.
In the same league:
www.chateau-valmy.com

http://www.hostellerie-lapomarede.fr...a-pomarede.php

www.terrasse-au-soleil.com

www.chateau-de-floure.com

http://www.hoteltroiz.fr/
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Mar 23rd, 2011, 09:14 AM
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What worries me is the following:

- Fuel costs
- Stops to sleep: costs and safety?>

And if taking autoroutes then figure in really high predatory tolls you pay every few miles plus $8 or so gallon for petrol.

Taking side roads is great but can be oh so slow so folks often gravitate to the faster toll autoroutes.
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Mar 24th, 2011, 09:01 AM
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Thanks for the helpful info, looking forward to check out the chateaux you linked to! A quick look at that 1st auto rental site shows an econobox for about USD135 for 3 days and a mini convertible running USD250. That's in the realm of what I expected. USD8 for a gallon of gas is hard to fathom as are "really high predatory tolls".

I look forward to "tricky" roads as that's much of the charm of touring!
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