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Paris to Barcelona and Lourdes by train/car

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Paris to Barcelona and Lourdes by train/car

Old Jan 16th, 2017, 03:46 PM
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Paris to Barcelona and Lourdes by train/car

My wife and I are planning to be in Paris the 3rd week of June this year (Air Show). I plan on TGVing to Montpellier and then renting a car.

Day1
TGV from Paris to Montpellier (about 3 1/2 hours)
Drive from Montpellier to Barcelona (about 4 - 5 hours)

Day 2, 3 & 4 in Barcelona

Day 5
Drive from Barcelona to Lourdes (about 5 - 6 hours)
Suggestions on the E9 vs A138 route ?? Also is it worth leaving Barcelona late evening on Day 4 and stay somewhere en route to Lourdes and enjoy a small town atmosphere ??

Day 6 in Lourdes - We have been to Lourdes a few times and dont mind the crowd during this time of the year. Last time we stayed at the Hotel Chapelle et parc and found it convenient and close to the santuary

Day 7
Drive from Lourdes to Montpellier (about 4 hours)
TGV from Montpellier to Paris (about 3 1/2 hours)

Day 8 - Fly back to US from Paris

Appreciate comments and suggestions !!
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Old Jan 16th, 2017, 05:29 PM
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You could dump the car in Lourdes, take a train to Paris, about 6 hours with a late afternoon arrival. Schedules here [also check Montpellier to Paris]:

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en?
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Old Jan 16th, 2017, 08:07 PM
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Thx for the suggestion Ronz. I was trying to avoid the drop off charge (typically $300+) if I have drop it off at Lourdes vs Montpellier.
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Old Jan 16th, 2017, 08:13 PM
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There typically is no drop fee when dropping at a different location within the same country.
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Old Jan 16th, 2017, 08:16 PM
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Just an additional note: last year, I picked up my car in Annecy and dropped it in Strasbourg. The previous year, I picked up in Toulouse and dropped it in Nice. No drop fees for either rentals.
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Old Jan 16th, 2017, 08:24 PM
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I agree -- I've never had a drop off fee when both locations are in France.
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Old Jan 16th, 2017, 09:01 PM
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I just posted this on another thread:

>>We have rented around 80-100 cars in France, and almost always we return them to a different location than where we have picked them up. In all but 2 rentals, we have never paid a drop off fee. Hertz is starting to charge drop off fees - but we rent Europcar through Kemwel/Autoeurope & don't pay any drop off fees.
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Old Jan 17th, 2017, 07:51 AM
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Thanks for all the replies especially the ones highlighting the no-drop off fee if returned within the same country. I did check Avis and there is no drop off fee.

For now, I found a cheaper air fare returning to the US from TLS instead of Paris.

I am planning to TGV to Montpellier and rent the car there, drive to Barcelona and then to Lourdes and return the car at TLS and fly out.

Still looking for a scenic route from Barcelona to Lourdes thru the Pyrenees - E9 vs A138 ??

Hope to post a trip report in early July !!
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Old Jan 17th, 2017, 07:59 AM
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What are you going to do with the car while IN Barcelona? IOW do you really, really feel the need for one while there?
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Old Jan 17th, 2017, 08:29 AM
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I've made the drive along the route between Montpellier & Gerona many times. We've rented gites in that region for 6 weeks over 3 trips. Except for near the Spanish/French border - it is not scenic. Why wouldn't you just take the train directly to Barcelona from Paris??? As Ducky1 stated - what will you do with a car in Barcelona and where will you park it??

I don't know where you came up with 5-6 hrs between Barcelona and Lourdes on a "scenic" drive. The all-autoroute non-scenic drive (which you've already taken if you drive from Montpellier to Barcelona) will consume 6 hrs after you account for pottie breaks, toll both backups, lunch, any border crossing back-ups, and the always present "deviation". The quickest "scenic" drive through the Pyrenees will consume 7 hrs.

I would just take the train from Barcelona to Narbonne, rent a car, & then the much shorter 3 1/2 hr drive to Lourdes. Visit Carcassonne along the way. We stayed in a gite just south of Lourdes in the Pyrenees for 2 weeks recently. There are fabulous day trips you could take from Lourdes. Here is part of my Pyrenees itinerary for that region:

Now you're encountering serious Tour de France climbs. This is the famous Col d'Aubisque***. It's quite dramatic. We stayed on the "other" side of this Col in the village of Gaillagos for 2 weeks in '12. My wife enjoyed the "old" hotels in Eaux-Bonne at the west end of the Col.

Continue on to Argeles Gazost and stay overnight in the "Haute Pyrenees". This is your chance for the "stay in one of those lovely, picturesque little villages" . We dined at two very nice restaurants, which are also hotels in the Vercos mountain region in the Pyrenees. They are close to each other - both just south of Argeles Gazost. The first one is La Grange aux Marmottes in Viscos (population 44). www.grangeauxmarmottes.com . The second one is Les Viscos in St Savin (population 372). www.hotel-leviscos.com .

Visit the fantastic Pont d'Espagne*** Don't miss . This is a remarkable site.

Donjon des Aigles birds of prey show around a crumbling castle. This was fabulous - we've seen several of these in Europe - and this was the best.

The most famous Col in the Pyrenees is the Col du Tourmalet**. Head west over the Col. After Tourmalet, head east over to the equally scenic Col d'Aspin***. At the east end of the Col d'Aspin, Arreau is a nice village to walk around & perhaps have lunch.

Stu Dudley
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Old Jan 17th, 2017, 08:35 AM
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I don't understand why you are renting a car to drive to Barcelona, a huge city. I don't understand that at all, it seems to serve no purpose and is going to cost a lot and be a lot of trouble.

I agree with Stu, if you need a car, get it in France later on for your drive to Lourdes. You could get it in Perpignan or Narbonne.
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Old Jan 17th, 2017, 08:39 AM
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In case not versed in French train fares - booking yourself can yield huge discounts in fares (non-changeable non-refundable at the cheapest level however) - www.voyages-sncf.com - for general info about trains check www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

Many TGVs are double-deckers -when booking your mandated seat reservation comes with the ticket and you can chose your own seats I believe - book one on the upper deck for much better views than down below where views are often obstructed by windblocks and retaining walls.
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Old Jan 17th, 2017, 10:01 AM
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Truly value the suggestions about the car - will reconsider the point of rental !!
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