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July 1, 2015 Help Please Going to Southern France from Barcelona

July 1, 2015 Help Please Going to Southern France from Barcelona

Jun 23rd, 2015, 11:49 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2015
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July 1, 2015 Help Please Going to Southern France from Barcelona

Hello awesome Fodor's peps! I need your expert advice. Going to Europe for first time on JULY 1, 2015. I will be in Barcelona and want to rent a car and visit France!! I want to drive no more than 3 hours to final destination with a few stops along the way. I was told Definitely go to Toulouse, and Carcassonne. No idea about these cities or what they offer. I am hoping there might be some stops on my way there.
Please help make a road map of where to stop along the way to Carcassonne pretty pretty please.
2015europeyippe is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2015, 12:53 PM
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YOu can't do that, it's too far. It is at least 4-5 hours to get from Barcelona to Toulouse, without stops. It's about 400 km.

On the way are Girona, Perpignan and Narbonne. For smaller places, Ceret is just a bit off the main highway in France (just after crossing from Spain) and I've heard it is a nice small village.

Why the rush? If youthink you are doing this in one day -- drive to Toulouse and then drive back, I'd rethink that plan as there is no point going to these major places if you aren't going to do anything there (Toulouse and Carcassonne). Toulouse is a big city. If you just don't want to drive that far, then why must it be in 3 hours? It's about 300 km just to Carcassonne.
Christina is online now  
Jun 23rd, 2015, 01:14 PM
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Please find out for yourself what it will cost to rent a car in one country (Spain) and drop it off in another (France). There is typically a rather large "drop-off" fee for doing this. Often there is little to no charge for picking up on one French city and dropping off in another French city. You can ascertain this by visiting Kemwel and/or AutoEurope websites.
zorrosf is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2015, 02:57 PM
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Thank you so much for your replys!
I was going to keep the car and return it where I rent it in Spain.
I only have a day to visit France and since so close, I want to go.
I will not go to Toulouse. Thank you for the correction of information.
The 3 hours is so that I can be out of the car and enjoy the cities in France. I have to be able to drive back that night. I just want to get some feel for France...I've always wanted to go.
I greatly appreciate all advice.
2015europeyippe is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2015, 03:16 PM
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It is hard not to try to see lots of things when you go to Europe. Sadly though, that trip will not give you a feeling for France. Without knowing the rest of your itinerary, it is hard to make suggestions, but there must be something else that would give you a great experience without using up so much time driving with little time seeing much.
Sassafrass is online now  
Jun 23rd, 2015, 04:18 PM
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Assuming you are getting off an overnight jet and are somewhat jetlagged getting in a car, driving 3 or more hours to get to ? in France, trying to see something and then driving more than 3 hours back to Barcelona is close to madness. You don;t want to fall asleep and be a menace on the road. And if it's THIS July 1 you should have had the reservations for this and plans what to do long ago.

Have a look at viamichelin.com and it will give you detailed info on routes from Barcelona airport into France, including travel times (and are you planning on no meals or bio breaks or time to gas up the car?) to get to anyplace. Then check you France guidebook to see what's there and how long it will take to see anything - and what hours sights are open.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2015, 09:13 PM
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I will have been in Barcelona for four days. The last two days I want to use spending one full day (might stay over night) in France.
I am fine getting up early and driving three hours to get to Carcassonne. The castle looks amazing.
I might not make any other stops along the way unless I am directed by someone that a destination along the route is worth stopping.
I want to find where there might be fun places to walk around and see the downtown areas, cool architecture and find a cute bistro to have a relax style meal. And if possible a dairy free bakery!!!
2015europeyippe is offline  
Jun 24th, 2015, 01:39 AM
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If you want a small town feel along the way to Carcasonne, you can stop in Tuchan. Some very francophile friends have bought a house here and stay here for the good part of the year, and they are having the best time of their lives. http://www.tuchan.occitan.net/
kimhe is offline  
Jun 24th, 2015, 01:44 AM
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I would take the highway from Barcelona to Figueres, then follow the coast road to the French border via Portbou, Cerbère and Banyuls and stop in COllioure.
Pvoyageuse is offline  
Jun 24th, 2015, 12:55 PM
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Thanks again.
Just found out my grandmother's family is from Alsace-Lorraine. I think I might have to travel that direction. Is this a good destination place to visit?
2015europeyippe is offline  
Jun 24th, 2015, 01:15 PM
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Do you have a map? Alsace-Lorraine is not a day trip, not even a two-day trip.

Pyoyageuse has a good suggestion. The short corniche drive from Port Vendres to Collioure is particularly pretty.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Jun 25th, 2015, 07:29 AM
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Yes I do have a map. Mapquest said it was 4 hours from Barcelona. I was thinking of staying the night if worth the visit.
Thank you for your suggestions.
2015europeyippe is offline  
Jun 25th, 2015, 08:15 AM
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I don't know how you are entering info but the drive from Barcelona to Strasbourg is about 11 hours on toll roads.

For a day trip we don't like to drive more than hour - otherwise you just spend time in the car, and for larger distances the road is a featureless freeway.
jamikins is offline  
Jun 25th, 2015, 08:24 AM
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It's a 10.5 hour drive to Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace-Lorraine. You can't drive from Barcelona to Nice in four hours.

A flight to Strasbourg would be about 4 1/2 hrs, all flights have oone change.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Jun 25th, 2015, 08:37 AM
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I dont' mind day trips up to even 3 hours myself (by train I usually have 1.5-2 as upper limit). But by car, the drive itself can be part of the trip if you enjoy the countryside and driving, which I do. On super big highways, not so much.

I just used www.mapquest.com wondering what they were doing, and just putting in Barcelona and Strasbourg, nothing fancy, it gives 9:50 driving time.
Christina is online now  
Jun 25th, 2015, 09:01 AM
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Strasbourg (capital of Alsace) is completely at the far end of France from Barcelona. Yes, mapquest shows about 10 hours via major highways - but with food, bio and gas stops it will be more than 11 hours. There's no way I would try to do that in one day - and we have done MANY road trips in europe.

You really need a map - just get a basic map of europe anywhere and look at where these cities are.

Also, not sure of your age - but have you checked out how old you have to be to rent a car in europe?
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 26th, 2015, 09:41 AM
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Please view this link.
I have no idea why it tells me that it is 3.34 - 5.4 hours away.
From this information, I thought I might drive there, spend the night and sight see and drive home. For me, this is not out of the question to drive 3 and half hours in one day.
Thank you so very much for all your help. I am not going to try and go to this location.
I am however, going to go to Carcassonne.
Any friendly suggestions on where to stay for the night and what to do other than the castle would be great information.
I apologize for sounding crazy to you, I am not young ( I can rent a car) but I only can go off the information I see and mapquest said it was 3 and half hours way.
2015europeyippe is offline  
Jun 26th, 2015, 10:22 AM
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Looks like you typed in Toulouse which is about 4 hours northwest of Barcelona. It's Alsace-Lorraine that is 10+ hours.

Carcassonne is probably an hour closer to Barcelona than Toulouse. It's a walled town which was restored in the mid-1800s with many embellishments which actually didn't exist in its heyday. But, the restoration/fantasy bits is pretty spectacular.

Inside the walls are shops, restaurants and a few hotels, one quite expensive. There are one or two more hotels just outside the main entrance to the fortified town and many more down in the new town.

Not knowing your budget, you might want to have a look on booking.com. If you come up with a few suggestions, some of us might be able to comment on the location if not the hotel itself.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Jun 26th, 2015, 10:25 AM
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Avoid it on the weekends but if a weekday, I would still drive part way along the coast, either on your way to Carcassonne or on the return.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
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