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ramalama Jun 18th, 2007 08:45 PM

Night Train Reservations in Spain
Hello! Does anyone have experience booking a night train sleeper for a train going from Madird to Avignon, France? We arrive on a Thursday, and need to catch the NT on Saturday, same week. I can't wait to get to Spain to do this, since it's a weekend?! Advice? US Travel Agent or ?
Many thanks, I'll be with my elder parents, and need to have smooth sailing!

GeoffHamer Jun 19th, 2007 02:15 AM

There is no sleeper from Madrid to Avignon. The only sleepers from Madrid to France go to Hendaye or Paris, or there is one overnight to Cerbère which seems to have only couchettes.
Use for international schedules.

ramalama Jun 19th, 2007 06:35 AM

Thanks for the quick reply. This brings up another question I've seen before, but don't quite get...the train I'm looking at leaves Madrid at 2245--a D205 sleeper to probably the two cities you mention. Then, and here's where I'm confused/ a very early hour, there is a train change. There are several more before we reach Avignon, but I can't imagine we change in the wee small hours of the night?
But, back to the pressing question of how I make the reservation before I leave the States, without paying lots of money unnecessarily. Of course, if this is the only way for some peace of mind, I will do what I have to do.
Thanks for the help!

GeoffHamer Jun 19th, 2007 06:57 AM

Train D205 is the overnight train from Madrid to Hendaye which is the first station in France on the Atlantic coast. It arrives there at 0725, and you have to change a further two times to get to Avignon in the afternoon.
In the Deutsche Bahn web site, you can click on "details" to see where you might have to change trains, and if you then click on the train number (D205 in this case), it'll tell you where that train goes and where it stops.
This is a computer programme and doesn't care whether you have to change trains in the middle of the night, or whether you have time to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner. It's a very useful tool for planning journeys, but you need to consider the human aspects of the journey yourself.

Graziella5b Jun 19th, 2007 10:59 AM

Great response,Geof Hamer, in other words
common sense is always needed.

PalenQ Jun 19th, 2007 11:11 AM

Try first to reserve at - Spanish rail web site for the Spanish night train and for the French day portion.

IN the US you may pay more but if nothing else works contact BETS 800-441-2387, who i always recommend and many others have commented positively on them. But as they work thru RailEurope and obviously have RE pricing, if not some of RE's mailing fees, check all sources to be sure you are not paying a whole lot more.

That said at times RE pricing can be surprisingly competitive, esp on Spanish night trains it seems.

Seems you could do Madrid-Barcelona early in day and catch the afternoon Catalan Talgo to Montpellier and on to Avignon - but a long day.

Otherwise i'd hop the NT Madrid-Barcelona and then connect with the 8:45am Catalan Talgo to Montpellier where you change for trains to Avignon.

Barcelona-Montpellier Talgos can be hard to book since they are the only of two trains in daytime that go thru the border - all other links are much slower since tracks in Spain are wider than those in France - Talgo trains like these have moveable wheel bases so they crank the wheels apart or together at the border so you stay on and need not change. So book this early as well.

ramalama Jun 19th, 2007 03:45 PM

To everyone who took the time to help me, I really thank you. Finally, someone answered the question of does the train change or do we change. I was hoping the trains would unhook and rehook up---dream on!
And thanks for the heads up on working the itinerary different ways, and the RE connection.
Great 'talking' with you all!
bye for now.

PalenQ Jun 20th, 2007 07:05 AM

It's nice to see someone saying thanks so nicely - been a topic of discussion amongst Fodor oligarchs about folks who never acknowledge the help of others!

ramalama Sep 2nd, 2007 06:20 PM

This is a reply to my own query...for anyone who may be in the same situation. I wound up booking the Trenhotel from Madrid to Paris, then will take the TGV and a local train, Paris to Nimes, and Nimes to Arles. The same amount of time-alot more money, but this a vacation and why not? And alot more comfort--the Grand Class or whatever it is called-shower, toilet, sleepers (2) and Dinner and Breakfast. Should be quiet nice. Happy trails

cruiseluv Sep 2nd, 2007 06:40 PM

Hi Ramalama, good luck with the trains . Hope everything goes smoothly for you and your parents.

ramalama Sep 2nd, 2007 11:05 PM

Thanks cruiseluv for the kind wishes...
It's great to have this fourm for all kinds of tips and advice.

PalenQ Sep 25th, 2007 11:03 AM

Ramalama: what happened? how did you book or if done find the train to be pleasant, etc.


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