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Help with Itinerary Paris, Nevers, Lourdes, Barcelona

Help with Itinerary Paris, Nevers, Lourdes, Barcelona

Old Feb 10th, 2014, 07:10 PM
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Help with Itinerary Paris, Nevers, Lourdes, Barcelona

A few months ago I had posted about a trip that my sis and I were planning for end of May, beginning of June. We had originally considered doing an organized tour thru Globus or Trafalgar, but after reading various trip reviews decided that it would not be a great fit for us given the early mornings and extensive bus rides. So now the plan is make the reservations ourselves and sign up for some organized day tours in the various cities. Here is what I have so far. I would be very appreciative for suggestions etc.

May 24 Depart for Paris
May 25-May 29 Paris (considering hotels close to the Louvre)
May 29--Depart Paris to Nevers via train--stay in hotel in Nevers with plan to visit sites related to St Bernadette--any other suggestions of what to do while in Nevers?
May 30--Depart Nevers to Lourdes France via train
May 31--Depart Lourdes to Barcelona via train
May 31-June 3--Barcelona

Am planning on booking all this thru one of the online websites on my own. I have called various travel agents in my town and have not gotten far. I suspect that there is no money to be made on a small trip like this and at this point feel like I need to get this organized quickly and hopefully do not make too many mistakes! Regarding train travel--i know that I can't book more than 3 months in advance, but is there a way to see the timetables so that I can plan which trains and what the timeframes are? Are there multiple stations that I could depart from in Paris? Also, am confused about how to book the trains as I keep reading that I will get redirected to raileurope if I indicate that I am a US customer? So any info about which website to use would be most appreciated. Also what about the train to Barcelona is that also TGV or something else? Thanks in advance for any suggestions etc.
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Old Feb 10th, 2014, 08:32 PM
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Schedules are pretty consistent through the year, and likely to be more extensive if anything in May, so if you pick the day of the week in, say March, you'll see trains that should be there in May. The schedules will tell you the time of travel, type of train(s) and stops.

I've had no problem with www.voyages-sncf.com or www.tgv-europe.com as long as I indicate I'm from Great Britain or Australia. Actually no reason not to say you are from France; it's easy to figure out even if you can't read the language.

Don't think you'll get a TGV from Lourdes; but you may get a faster train if you first cross into Spain and change at Zaragoza. I think you'll see options that include Spanish rail (www.renfe.com).
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Old Feb 10th, 2014, 10:10 PM
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It looks like the best options for Lourdes to Barcelona are either very early in the morning or a late afternoon train to get the least number of changes. There's a 6:24 train that only has 2 changes (Regional train changing to the TGV). The 17:31 train only has 1 change but gets into Barcelona very late - 11:30 at night(TGV).

I believe there are 6 train stations in Paris (could be 7). Most of the trains to Nevers depart from Paris Bercy.

The trip from Nevers to Lourdes will be a long one, 9 hours with 3 changes.

If you've never traveled by train before, fortify yourself with lunches and bottled water and wine (don't forget to pack a corkscrew). Whatever food you bring on board is sure to be better than what you buy in the buffet car.
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 07:08 AM
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Given all the train changes from Nevers to Lourdes would it make sense to just do a day trip to Nevers while we are in Paris and then go from Paris to Lourdes? I think that might be more of a straight shot?
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 10:05 AM
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>

The train trip is 2 hours each way and you have to get to the train station and return to your hotel so you'll spend 5 hours (minimum) in transportation for a day trip. The earliest train is 7:00 which gets to Nevers at 9:00; the next shortest trip is at 9:00 getting in at 11:00. The quickest trip Paris to Lourdes is 6 hours with no changes.

It will be about the same amount of time either way. The advantage is that you won't need to change hotels to stay in Nevers. I don't know anything about Nevers so I can't comment but it looks pretty from the photos.
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 04:38 PM
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More than 10 years ago now we stayed in Pouilly-sur-Loire and took drives all round the area including Nevers. It was lovely and we had amazing meals in hotels in Pouilly-s-L and Sancerre, with the local wine, which is excellent. (My stomach still remembers!) You might think of exploring the Loire in that area if you had a car, driving north (many picturesque towns). Nevers itself is pretty, and Bernadette is tiny. I felt a bit sorry for her as she looked so small and frail, and there were busloads of people coming into the shrine to see her. Also not that far away are Dijon and Auxerre, both pretty. In Dijon there is the historical shop for Maille mustard, as well as the beautiful patterned rooves.
In Nevers itself apart from the shrine to Bernadette and the cathedral there is the Palais Ducal, which is also worth seeing, and quite a good covered farmers' market, and I think an open-air artisan's market (it was a long time ago, not 100% sure any more). Nevers is not huge though so I would think you could see the best of it all in a day.

Lavandula
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