Madrid, Paris - Summer 2013


Mar 4th, 2013, 02:48 PM
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Madrid, Paris - Summer 2013

Hi, planning a family trip to Spain/France and would appreciate all the advice on how to plan out the perfect itinerary. Family of four. 1st two weeks in July 2013, 12 nights total. Flying into Madrid, out of Paris. We would like to do the overnight train to Paris.

So far, I am thinking of the following:
1. Madris (3 nights)
2. San Sebastian (2 nights)
3. Barcelona (3 Nights) – coming back to Barcelona to essentially get the overnight to Paris
4. Paris (3 nights)

Also, how does the euro rail pass work? I was planning on using the pass to travel between the cities above. Would this pass also work for travel within the cities?

Please feel free to be critical and offer your advice. The cities (except for Paris and Madrid) are flexible. We would like a leisurely vacation with time to enjoy the scene.

Again, I appreciate all the help you can provide.
smak112 is offline  
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Mar 4th, 2013, 03:30 PM
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If you only have 12 nights and Madrid and Paris are not flexible then I'd probably just stick with these 2 cities and fly between.

IMHO Paris, Barcelona and Madrid all need five days or so especially when traveling with a family. With 6 days each or 5/7 you could have enough time to adequately visit Madrid and Paris and do daytrips. I suppose you could cut San Sebastian and visit Madrid, Barcelona and Paris but even if you give each 4 nights this equates to 3.5 once you factor in travel time - and this is just enough to see the cities. I wouldn't even try to squeeze in San Sebastian.
CathyM is offline  
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Mar 5th, 2013, 09:36 AM
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Cathy thank you. I will take that into account. Anyone had any experience with rail pass?
smak112 is offline  
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Mar 7th, 2013, 11:58 AM
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I definitely agree about cutting out San Sebastian. How you split up the time for the rest depends on what your priorities are/what you are hoping to see. Browsing through the major sites in any guidebook should help you narrow it down. Remember to allow plenty of time for travel between locations/checking in and out of hotels/etc.

I have never used a rail pass, but you should price out your route and see if it will actually save you money. We are traveling a somewhat similar itinerary in late May/early June: Paris (7 days) to Provence (5 days) to Barcelona (2 days) to Madrid (5 days).

The Spain/France Eurail pass costs between $350 and $600 depending on how many days you need to travel: I'm almost certain that you could find individual train tickets that would be cheaper than that. For example, our Paris-Avignon tickets were only 50 euros for two people. Tickets from Madrid to Barcelona look to start around 32 euros per person. I would check prices on Renfe and SNCF website and for your route and get an estimate for the separate price vs. rail pass price. You won't be able to see your exact travel dates yet (the schedule open 2-3 months in advance), but you can get an idea of the price by searching a similar day of the week in an earlier month.

For travel within the cities, I don't think the rail pass will work. You can purchase individual metro/bus tickets for that. Paris offers a pack of metro tickets at a discounted rate, which can be shared among members of your party. Depending on how many days you stay in each place, a metro pass may or may not work for you vs. a la carte tickets.
TheZim is offline  
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Mar 19th, 2013, 01:49 PM
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Thank you TheZIm for your insight. This provides me a good place to continue my research.
smak112 is offline  
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Mar 19th, 2013, 02:22 PM
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The new Barcelona-Paris train should begin operations in April.

"Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has promised that the Barcelona to Paris high-speed train route will be operational by April 2013, according to an article in La Vanguardia.

All that is required is for the Spanish end of the high-speed train line to be put into place. The exact journey duration has not yet been unveiled, but with existing trains from Paris to Perpignan, the French part of the route, taking under five hours, it would seem that the 1,000km journey from Paris to Barcelona should take around six. That's city center to city center, with no need for extended check-in times or getting to out-of-town transport hubs, and no hand baggage restrictions or surly customs guards.

The new train line will also stop in Figueres, home to the Salvador Dali Museum."
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