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Need you help and input to build an itinerary to Spain and France

Old Feb 5th, 2013, 11:02 AM
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Need you help and input to build an itinerary to Spain and France

Hi!
I just started looking into planning a trip to Spain and France (approximately 10 - 14 days) sometime in September (assuming the weather will be nice/ temperature in the mid to high 70s).

I wish to fly from Chicago to a major city in Spain (perhaps centrally located) and preferably use the train system or if necessary rent a car to visit a few other major popular cities; as well as, if possible, visit small recommended towns on the way.

Eventually, I wish to take the train from Spain to France stopping at the most notable towns/cities on the way to Paris where I plan to spend a few days before returning to the states. Any and all recommendations are welcome.

I enjoy adventuring different cities, learn about different cultures and history, site seeing, wine tasting, and absolutely dinning. I appreciate the small local shops or what they call (hole in the wall) restaurants where I can mingle with the locals and enjoy a home cooked meal.

I am so looking forward to your response and thank you in advance for your input.
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Old Feb 5th, 2013, 11:06 AM
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Madrid-Barcelona-Lyon-Paris
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Old Feb 5th, 2013, 11:16 AM
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That would work.

Another thought--Barcelona, avignon, Lyon and Paris.

You could use four days in the beginning city [one day to recover from the flight].

So if you have 14 nights, two other cities would work. But if you only have 10 nights, three or even two cities would work.

With 12 nights, Avignon could be a nice stop, between Barcelona and Paris.

Then you need at least four days in Paris.
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Old Feb 5th, 2013, 11:25 AM
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I wish to fly from Chicago to a major city in Spain (perhaps centrally located) and preferably use the train system or if necessary rent a car to visit a few other major popular cities; as well as, if possible, visit small recommended towns on the way.

Eventually, I wish to take the train from Spain to France stopping at the most notable towns/cities on the way to Paris where I plan to spend a few days before returning to the states. Any and all recommendations are welcome.>>

sadly, Karolina, that's an itinerary for a month, not 10-14 days.

you have a few choices to make - just Spain, or just France or a little of both. a lot depends on how long you actually have - in this context there's a lot of difference between 10 and 14 days [or nights].

if you decide on Spain and France, an open-jaw flight into Madrid and out of Paris would be a good idea.
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Old Feb 5th, 2013, 11:31 AM
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fly into Madrid

Day trip to Toledo included

Train to Barcelona

Train to Provence - Avignon area - public transit good to such gems as Arles, the Pont du Gard, Nimes, etc.

Train to Paris
day trip to say Chartres, Reims (Champagne tours) or Normandy D-Day beaches

If going by train I always spotlight these IMO fantastic sources - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. If doing day trips by train and using train the whole time inevestigate the France-Spain railpass, valid on trains in both countries.
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Old Feb 5th, 2013, 11:51 AM
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We have done four cities in 13 nights, twice.

So it can be done.

Listen to everyone here and now you have a decision to make. Good luck
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Old Feb 5th, 2013, 02:18 PM
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I agree with annhig - if you only have 10 nights you'll be hard pressed to visit just Barcelona and Paris. Each deserve at least 4 nights each and you'll need to factor in jet lag and travel time between(a day each). If you end up with 14 days then you may be able to visit a couple of smaller towns along the way. My first thoughts were also of Arles and Avignon.
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Old Feb 5th, 2013, 03:08 PM
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I don't like Barcelona, so no matter how convenient it was to make up an itinerary that included it so I ended up in Paris, I wouldn't want to take that trip. Nor can I ever work up much interest in Lyon as a destination.

I'm not suggesting YOU shouldn't go to Barcelona or Lyon because of the way I feel, but I am trying to point out that picking on the basis of content -- rather than "what's to see along this train route?" -- might be a better way to go about this.

I would prefer Madrid-San Sebastian-Bordeaux-Paris because the content of that trip intrigues me. In the end, if I needed to fly between some destinations in order to make the whole journey worthwhile in terms of sights, I'd do it. (That is to say, if you want to go to the Alhambra or Sevilla but that would mean taking a plane, worth it I think.)
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Old Feb 5th, 2013, 03:19 PM
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For me. Barcelona works. Then a train to Avignon and finally a fast train to Paris.

You can look at this guide for some information in Spain. www.maribelsguides.com

Maribel has good information.
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Old Feb 6th, 2013, 06:12 PM
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Thank you all so much for your input!

Goldenautumn, can you please elaborate. What intrigues you about these cities and could you please expand on the flight to Alhambra & Sevilla. Where would you take the flights from?
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Old Feb 8th, 2013, 11:42 AM
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ttt
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Old Feb 10th, 2013, 09:22 AM
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I agree with annhig - if you only have 10 nights you'll be hard pressed to visit just Barcelona and Paris>

I disagree with the notion you should spend all your time in just those two cities.

3 days is max for most in Barcelona and 4 full days in Paris is fine - then yes perhaps stop of in one place like Avignon, smack on the main Barcelona to Paris high-speed rail line to get a taste of something besides huge cities.
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