Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > Paris to Barcelona - train or fly?
Notices

Paris to Barcelona - train or fly?

Reply

Jul 10th, 2013, 03:45 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 58
Paris to Barcelona - train or fly?

Going from Paris to Barcelona in October and trying to decide whether to take the 6+ hour train, or fly from Orly to Barcelona El Prat, which is a 1 1/2 hr flight. The flight appears to be cheaper but of course there are airport transfers. Maximizing time is the priority, not savings. Looking for advice - thanks!
magrb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 10th, 2013, 04:05 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,342
<>

In that case, haven't you answered your own question?
BigRuss is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 10th, 2013, 04:51 PM
  #3
P_M
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,342
Think about what time you would have to leave your hotel in Paris for the airport and what time you would arrive at your hotel in Barcelona. Then consider that the train takes you from one city center to another. That should help you to decide which will be faster.
P_M is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 10th, 2013, 05:15 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,687
<>

then look at the Elipsos Hotel Trains that roll nightly between Paris Austerlitz and Barcelona - save daytime time and the cost of a night in a hotel and these are some of the very nicest night trains in Europe - a veritable hotel train.

For lots of great info on overnight trains and European trains in general I always spotlight these IMO superb sites - www.seat61.cxom (great info on getting deep discounts on trains like that); www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 10th, 2013, 06:13 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 821
We were going the other direction Barcelona to Paris and options were as above: day train, night train, plane. Easyjet was $127 for 2, one way for an hour flight. We also took into consideration travel time to airport, need to be there early, transport from airports to city centers and the bag restrictions on Easyjet.

Day train was going to take too long and was about $400 for w while the night train was going to be $800 for the two of us to share a cabin with no sink or toilet. So for us flying was a lot cheaper and quicker.
jan47ete is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 10th, 2013, 07:00 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 436
fly
leuk2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 11th, 2013, 02:09 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 60
Another vote for the Elipsos Trenhotel - as long as you manage to sleep, you won't feel like you lose travel time it'll be your hotel for the night.
Loco2com is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 11th, 2013, 02:52 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,752
We have taken the hotel train several years ago - we certainly did not pay $800 - I think you could find a better deal than that.
suec1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 11th, 2013, 02:54 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5,832
I've recently used the Elipsos Trainhotel (June) and think if I were doing this journey again I'd go for the daytime option instead. It's hard to sleep on a train, and some of those overnighters currently in service are ancient and very worn. On the plus side there is some lovely scenery as you get down to the south west of France and into Spain and its very relaxing compared to flying - with a book, a coffee and the views on the last part of the journey it's positively civilised.

Regarding the day time journey, here's what you need to know. There was supposed to have been a high speed direct day time service launching this spring. There have been a lot of problems with this and I don't think it's currently running at all. What you can still get is the daytime service which terminates at Figueres, where you board another train to Barcelona - easy change straight across the platform. It's still in that 6-7hr time bracket you mention, so very doable.

One other point to note - overnight trains tend to come in Estacio de Franca, daytime services into Sants - but just double check this.
RM67 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 11th, 2013, 05:15 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,608
The flight will end up taking 4 or 5 hours in total, including taxis or grotty suburban trains to and from remote airports, lengthy security checks and so on.

The trains - whether high-speed daytime TGV or overnight Elipsos trainhotel - are centre to centre with no check-in to worry about. And in many ways both train options are an experience in themselves.

The Elipsos trainhotel is likely to be withdrawn from late October this year when direct high-speed trains finally start linking Paris and Barcelona in 6h30. So this is a last chance to experience something unique!

On the other hand, the TGV is a double-decker, book a top deck seat for views of the Rhone Valley with pretty villages and picturesque churches, the Med in places and all those flamingos on the étangs (lakes) in the south of France. Unlike the 4-5 hours of trains and flights and airports and taxis, this is 6-7 hours of USEFUL time, putting your weary sightseeing feet up for an afternoon, reading, watching the scenery go by with a glass or two of wine...
Man_in_seat_61 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jul 11th, 2013, 05:20 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5,832
I didn't see flamingos. Can I get a refund?
RM67 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 11th, 2013, 10:48 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 514
+1 on everything Man_in_seat_61 said. We just did this trip in reverse in May. Whomever said $400 upthread must have waited until the last minute. We paid $115 each for 1st class seats (the singles facing each other), which were a tiny bit more than regular class seats, although I don't remember specifics right now.

It was SO relaxing. The seats were large and comfortable and we brought our lunch -Iberico ham and Spanish wine, of course. The scenery was lovely. My husband had to hold me down when we stopped in Nimes (I love Nimes) but other than that, it was a calm, quiet trip. No one-quart Ziplocs for us. I mean, how would we have fit our wine in there? ;-)
YankyGal is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 11th, 2013, 02:36 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,687
The Elipsos trainhotel is likely to be withdrawn from late October this year when direct high-speed trains finally start linking Paris and Barcelona in 6h30. So this is a last chance to experience something unique!>

Perhaps there will be overnight TGV trains like on other routes with just regular seating?
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 11th, 2013, 05:57 PM
  #14
P_M
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,342
topping for magrb
P_M is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 11th, 2013, 05:59 PM
  #15
P_M
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,342
In case anyone is wondering why I topped this, the OP has re-posted in another forum. I hope by topping I cfan help the OP to find this thread.
P_M is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 11th, 2013, 06:42 PM
  #16
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,527
I'm going to highjack this thread a little as I am trying to check out the Elipsos overnight from Paris to Barcelona 3rd week of September, and the train is not listed at all (that I can find.) Is it just not available to book yet?

Day trains are there - but the night train says "not available."
rialtogrl is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 12th, 2013, 03:36 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5,832
Rialtogrl - this happened to me when I booked for June - it took an age for the overnight service I wanted to appear, even though some later trains were already showing. Apparently the scheduling is quite complex and sometimes they are having to arrange them round engineering work, etc quite close to the departure date. My train did eventually show up and I booked about 2 months ahead of travel if I remember correctly.

You could consider use of the daytime service too though.
RM67 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 12th, 2013, 05:49 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,687
Man in Seat 61 posted the other day that when the TGV runs directly from Paris to Barcelona the Elipsos Hotel train will be scrubbed - maybe before Sept?
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 12th, 2013, 06:38 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,527
Thanks... I will keep checking. 2 months ahead is next week!
I would consider the day train, but one leaves really early (like 7 AM) and the other would get us in too late. It would make more sense to fly in that case. I'll be with my mother and she's never done a night train, so I thought it would be neat to do it (I already told her she won't get any sleep!)

RM67 - did you have two people in a private compartment? How much did it cost?
rialtogrl is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 12th, 2013, 07:31 AM
  #20
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5,832
Nope - it was just me in a reclining seat. (My travel companion flew in from further north). I think my fare was something like 200 euros and I booked the day the service was announced.

(Btw, I've done Paris-Verona on an overnight sleeper too - that was a 4 berth couchette if I remember correctly).

Tbh, I didn't get much sleep on either due to a) snorers in the reclining seat cabin and b) the couchette bunk being uncomfortable in that cabin.

It doesn't matter though - the scenery was lovely for much of the journey, specially the last bit, and I had tea, toast and marmalade at 6:00am as we went past the flamingo lakes.
RM67 is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:14 AM.