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seanmc Feb 27th, 2010 01:05 AM

paris to barcelona itinerary
Paris to barcelona
We are a couple with twin 15 year old boys traveling from Paris to Barcelona. I'd like advice on an itinerary. We arrive in Paris on 31st August and fly out of Barcelona on the evening of 14th September. At the moment our plan is to spend two nights three days in Paris then drive a hire car to 'camping le clapas' (near Avignon), staying in an onsite cabin/caravan for about four days? I hope this area will offer a combination of 'action' for teenagers and relaxation with nearby excursions to historical sites and day to day french culture. We also want to spend about two nights in Barcelona. So, can anyone recommend a cheap Spanish accommodation option between Avignon and Barcelona? Beaches, mountains, art, architecture, sports, lazing around all of interest. We're happy enough with the shortish stays in Paris and Barcelona. What about the car hire aspect, in particular the drop off in different country? Car hire seems a cheaper option than other transport for four people. Any other ideas on itineraries welcome...

Itinerary so far
31st August-arrive Paris
2nd September-depart Paris with hire car, arrive (5 1/2 hours later) Le Clapas Camping ground
7th September- depart Le Clapas Camping, arrive ?????? (Spain)
12th September- depart ???????(Spain), arrive Barcelona
14th September- depart Barcelona


jamikins Feb 27th, 2010 02:48 AM

I cant help with the southern part, but you will really only have 1 full day in Paris, Sept 1. If you really arent interested in Paris, I would head straight for Avignon via train from CDG airport and pick up your car there and head to the camp ground. 5 1/2 hours plus the hassle of checking in and out of a hotel and getting to your car rental place wastes another whole day, so I would give Paris a skip this time around...or I would spend at least several nights (3-4) giving you 2-3 full days in Paris.

Hope this helps!

isabel Feb 27th, 2010 03:56 AM

I agree with jamikins. Have you been to Paris before? Even if you think you aren't "city" people, there is so much Paris has to offer. If you are concerned about the cost, I can suggest a very inexpensive hotel that has quad rooms in a great location in the 5th. It's the Hotel Marignan, a very basic one star but it's at least as good as camping.

I also think Barcelona has a lot to offer and deserves more than a day. I was there for four days a few years ago and barely touched the surface and so am going back in two weeks. We are renting a car for four days and visiting the area between Barcelona and Carcassone France and I'm very excited about all that area has to offer. You could look into that. Some of the towns, besides Carcassone itself, are Colloiure France, Ceret France, Cadaques Spain, Besalu Spain and Girona, Spain.

annhig Feb 27th, 2010 05:36 AM

hi sean,

your other problem is that if you hire a car in France and return it in Spain, you will pay a very high drop-off penalty.

the remedy for this is to limit your touring to one country or the other, and take the train to complete the trip.

for example, if you stick with the Paris/Avignon/? idea, make yor third place near to the Spanish border, then retun your car to somewhere like Perpignan station, and get the train to Barcelona.

I can't help agreeing that you're trying to squeeze too much out of your trip. travelling with kids, we have found that they really preferred trips where we stayed still as much as possible. I would therefore suggest 4 days in Paris, a week or so somewhere camping in between, then another 4 days in Barcelona to round it all off. Remember you have the beach in Barcelona to amuse the lads and cool off when necessary.

if you stay for 3 nights or more in Paris and or Barcelona, you could rent an apartment which should work out cheaper than all but the cheapest hotels.

have a great trip,

regards, ann

annhig Feb 27th, 2010 05:44 AM

hi again,

I had a look at the website [thought by many here to be the best website for looking up inter-country rail travel, even if one of those countries isn't Germany!] and came up with the following [the dates are April as the schedules for september aren't out yet]

this is for Avignon to Barcelona on a friday:

it takes 7-8 hours, but seems to be a direct train.

I also looked at Perpignan to Barcelona and found 3-4 trains a day, taking between 2.5 and 4 hours, depending on what class of train you take.

hope this helps!

StCirq Feb 27th, 2010 07:46 AM

IMO, this is not a well-conceived trip, especially with teenagers. If you're not interested in Paris, get out of it immediately. If you are, devote at least 4 days to it.

Don't drive to Avignon; it's a bore, unless you are planning stops along the way for a night or two. Take the TGV. You can get PREM fares for as low as 19 euros. Pick up a car in Avignon and use it to explore the area for 5-7 days. Drop off the car and take the train to Montpellier or Perpignan or Collioure (if there's a train there - not sure). Spend a couple of days, then train to Barcelona for the remainder of the trip.

You definitely do not want to drop off a French rental car in Spain.

seanmc Feb 27th, 2010 02:50 PM

Really great advice, thanks. The limited time in the two major cities is all about limited finances. Still, I like the advice about staying longer in each city (I assume there'll be plenty of free/cheap stuff to do) and limiting travel to one stop over at the camp site near Avignon. The train from Paris to Avignon to pick up a rental car is a relief and a similar price in the end really. Dropping the car back off at Avignon/Perpignon train station before a train to Barcelona makes sense. So does a longer stay in Barcelona.

DougP Feb 27th, 2010 08:57 PM

Looks like you've made up your mind. One more vote for train travel from Paris to Avignon. The tolls on the autoroute are expensive, not absolutely sure how much, but probably as much as two train tickets.
Paris has an incredible amount of inexpensive stuff to do....many of the parks are overlooked...local markets... flower market... bird market. Eating in Paris can be inexpensive, cheese, bread if you stay out of the full course restaurants. Of course for some that's why they go to Paris!

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