how to get from Barcelona to Avignon

Dec 10th, 2008, 06:20 PM
  #1  
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how to get from Barcelona to Avignon

hello fodorites,
I've been looking into this and I'm not sure what the easiest / most economical way would be to get from Barcelona to Avignon (or Madrid to Avignon). My preference would be via public transportation of some sort and in the december / january time frame.
thank you!
sjk1976 is offline  
Dec 10th, 2008, 07:36 PM
  #2  
 
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The 08:25AM train departing from Barcelona-Sants station takes 8:47 hours and gets into Avignon-TGV station at 5:12PM. You change trains twice en route, in Cerbère near the border (arr. 11:13AM dep. 12:40PM, time for an early lunch), and again in Montpellier Saint-Roch (arr. 3:14PM, dep. 4:04PM). That takes up an entire day.

You can take a night-train combination, with three switches en route, lvg Barcelona Sants at 4:42PM, arr. Narbonne 8:13PM, time for dinner, lvg. Narbonne 10:04PM arr. Toulouse-Matablau 11:27PM, lvg. on the nighttrain with couchettes (bunks) at 00:13, att. Marseilles-St.Charles at 5:09AM, lvg. Marseilles-St.Charles at 6:10AM, arr. Avignon TGV 6:43AM. You won't get a great night's sleep, but you save time and you save the money for a hotel that night.

You can fly from Barcelona BCN to Marseille, but it won't be cheap, and most flights are not direct. Search for your dates on www.mobissimo.com and others.

The Spanish airline www.vueling.es flies from BCN to Nice, cheap - see if that, combined with a train, helps your schedule (trains in France are at www.voyages-sncf.fr).
DalaiLlama is offline  
Dec 11th, 2008, 02:58 AM
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There is a direct train, the Talgo, leaving Barcelona Estacion de Franca at 8.45 am, arriving Montpellier at 1.22 pm. Reservation is compulsory. You do not have to change trains at the border.

Then take a train to Avignon at 1.49 pm, 2.23 pm or 2.43 pm. The journey is a little over 1 hour except for the 1.43 pm train which is slower and takes 1 hr 53 min.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Dec 11th, 2008, 08:49 AM
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Good catch - the Talgo leaves not from Barcelona Sants but from Estacion de Franca, and the train from Montpellier gets not into Avignon TGV but into the more centrally located Avignon Centre.

With the Talgo you have the option of staying on until you get to Montpellier Saint-Roch (at 1:22PM) and switching to a train for Avignon, or you can get off the Talgo sooner, at Narbonne (arr. 12:20), look around, have lunch, and take the 1:36PM TER train that gets to Avignon Centre at 3:42PM.

You have one more option: If you don't mind staying the night in Montpellier instead of Avignon, you can take the afternoon Talgo (called Mare Nostrum) from Barcelona-Sants at 4:42PM, it gets to Montpellier at 9:09PM, too late for the last train to Avignon, but there are plenty in the morning...
DalaiLlama is offline  
Dec 11th, 2008, 09:30 AM
  #5  
 
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These Talgo trains can be often full - book early = they are the rare trains that do not demand a change at the Spanish-Italian frontier (tracks in Spain are wider than those in France - only Talgo trains have wheel bases that they can crank together or apart at the border) - otherwise if changing at border you will take a lot longer to get to Avignon. book early - www.renfe.es - also have cheaper advance online fares i believe.

Talgos terminate at Montpellier so you also need required reservations on TGV connecting trains to Avignon - book early for cheapest fares - www.voyages-sncf.com (French railways) In U.S. book thru www.raileurope.com
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 11th, 2008, 09:36 AM
  #6  
 
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" or you can get off the Talgo sooner, at Narbonne (arr. 12:20), look around, have lunch, and take the 1:36PM TER train that gets to Avignon Centre at 3:42PM."

I don't see the point in leaving the (relative) comfort of the Talgo at Narbonne, wait an hour and take another train which arrives at almost the same time in Avignon. There is nothing worse than Narbonne station on a windy day and there is not much to see around it anyway.

The night train suggestion (via Narbonne, bactracking to Toulouse, then Marseille and Avignon) is not very practical and I would advise against it, if only for the extra cost of the Narbonne/Toulouse leg of the journey.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Dec 11th, 2008, 09:42 AM
  #7  
 
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TER trains i've been on recently on that route are IMO some of the dumpiest in Western Europe.
PalenQ is offline  

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