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Plannin trip to Barcelona n South of France, advice n suggestions pls...

Plannin trip to Barcelona n South of France, advice n suggestions pls...

Old Feb 28th, 2010, 10:31 AM
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Plannin trip to Barcelona n South of France, advice n suggestions pls...

hello all!!!

Well Its nice to be back on the board planning another trip. Your suggestions for my trip to Paris, France and London, England this past Aug 2009 was great... Now I need your help again... My mother and Aunt want me to plan a trip for us to go on. My friend will be coming with us as well. My Aunt has never been to Europe, while my mom has been to Paris, London, Venice, Verona, Florence and Rome. I have been to all those places my mom has plus Madrid, Greece and Poland, while my friend has been to Paris and Normandy. So I want to plan a trip where we all have never been. I was thinking of Barcelona, Spain and then going up to the south of france. My mom does want to go to the town of Lourdes in france. What do you all suggestion I do and how Ishould divi up my time. We will have about 9-10days. We would leave Chicago, Il either on Aug. 5th or 6th and return between the 15th to 17th, not sure yet. What places do you suggest in the south of France and what should I do while in Barcelona? Or any other suggestions for other places to visit besides those mentioned. What are your thoughts about renting a car? Thanks for all your great help....

ps.FYI my mom is 64yrs, aunt is in her 50's and my friend and I are in our 30's... Just thought add this info...
Toodles
lily
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Old Feb 28th, 2010, 11:16 PM
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Allowing for jetlag and clearing arrival airports, you only really have just over 1 week.

Research Barcelona, Girona, Figueres, Andorra, Ceret, Perpignan, Carcassonne, Narbonne, Sete, Pezenas, Cevennes, Montpellier, Nimes, Avignon, Uzes, Arles, Marseille.

See if you can get air tickets arriving in Barcelona and departing from Paris.

You won't have time to visit all of these places, but they are in logical order and on road and rail routes. Montpellier and Marseille have flights to Paris. Nimes, Avignon and Marseille have TGV trains that take less than 3 hrs to Paris.

Peter
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Old Mar 1st, 2010, 10:34 AM
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Trying to fit in Barcelona, Lourdes, and the "south" of France in 9 night & 8 1/2 days is quite difficult for 4 people traveling together with perhaps different daily "routines" (late/long breakfasts, early to bed, long lunches/no lunches, etc).

Plus, if you start in Barcelona and leave ORD on Aug 5 or 6 - that has you arriving in Barcelona sometime mid-day on Fri or Sat. Sundays are not good days to visit most European cities. Often shops are closed. Also, Aug might be a little hot.

Where do you consider your "south" of France destination?
1. Roussillon - near Perpignan, Coulliore & the beautiful Pyrenees mountains? Just across the border from Spain.

2. Languedoc - farther into France. Montpelllier, Narbonne, Carcassonne, OK beaches, rugged interior landscape (Gorges du Tarn), with stalactite & mite caves and gorges.

3. Provence - perched villages, Roman ruins, lavender & sunflower fields, lots of toursits, Avignon, Arles, Aix

4. Cote d'Azur - beaches, Nice, beautiful Nice Hinterland, perched villages, St Tropez.

I don't see how you can fit Lourdes into this itinerary unless you are willing to do a lot of extra driving. If only one person has a "need" to go there - then I would skip it.

Basically, I would fly into Barcelona and spend 3 nights there - 1 to recover from jet lag. Then I would take a train to either Perpignan (3 hrs from the Franca station), OR Montpellier (4 3/4 hrs) and start your Languedoc or Provence visit from there. You'll need a car in France. Getting to the Cote d'Azur takes more time - and with your limited days, I would visit it on the next trip.

August is not a good time to visit Provence - when "everyone else" is also visiting Provence. I would try to schedule a visit in late June/early July when the lavender is in bloom and the hords have not officially arrived yet.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 1st, 2010, 11:22 AM
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Thanks Peter and Stu for your comments... They will be most helpful... @Stu: we are all on the go people when need be so that will not be a problem... I really do want to go to lourdes also... I know that with our time constraint we have to limit what we want to see. I just thought since we will be in Barcelona we could cross over the border to France and see a little. So much to think about.... all your help is appreciated...
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Old Mar 1st, 2010, 11:46 AM
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Perhaps you should consider Barcelona, Lourdes, and then San Sebastian or Hondarribia,exploring the French and Spanish Basque regions. Lourdes is taking you west so this would work better. Also,you would then be picking up and dropping off a rental car in the same country(Spain.)
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Old Mar 1st, 2010, 11:56 AM
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We rented a car in Girona and stayed in Cadaques and Llanca. You need to check the car insurance though, they wanted a considerable amount more to take the car into France even for 1 day. We took the train to Coulliours, France and back.
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Old Mar 1st, 2010, 12:36 PM
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Stop by Carcassonne for sure en route to Lourdes
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Old Mar 1st, 2010, 01:10 PM
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Thank you all for your help... Im sure ill be asking more questions haha...
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Old Mar 1st, 2010, 02:35 PM
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Barcelona is so fascinating...you could spend the whole time there!not that you will so here are a few places I could recommend to you while you are there...walking tour of Barcelona's cathedral and the Cuitat Vella (Old City). Visit the Museo de la Cuitat. Go to Montserrat...only an hour's drive away, also another nearby place with plenty to see is Tarragona. A nice place to eat in Barcelona is the famous artists' restaurant Quatre Gats (Four Cats).
Another nice place nearby in Spain is Girona full of multi-cultural history.Pals near the coast and not far from Girona is another good spot...the old quarter, El Pedro, many historic buildings, an old castle, a Gothic church etc and Dali Museum is close by in Figueres...also a visit to Costa Brava which is nearby.
Hope these give you some food for thought.
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Old Mar 1st, 2010, 03:14 PM
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Typically, as with autoeurope, there is no problem with bringing the car into another country, only with leaving it in a different country than where one rents it.
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Old Mar 1st, 2010, 04:35 PM
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Chania - I'm confused when you say the car rental company wanted "a considerable amount more to take the car into France even for 1 day". I have never heard of this. It's common if you want to drop off the car in another country, but not to just drive there (and back). How would they even know your plans. I've never been asked where I was planning to go. Only Eastern Europe, but not Spain/France, etc. Could you elaborate on exactly what you were told. I'm actually planning on doing this in a few weeks.
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Old Mar 1st, 2010, 05:50 PM
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We went from Argelès-Gazost (close to Lourdes) to Barcelona. Obviously the reverse trip is possible. St Bertrand de Comminges is worth a stop, and I would definitely visit Taüll in the Spanish Pyrenees; although the original frescoes are in Barcelona, there's nothing like seeing them in the original churches even as copies.

The last pictures in this series are of Taüll:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...654780/?page=2
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Old Mar 1st, 2010, 09:55 PM
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You are all just awesome!!! Thanks for the info.. Yes Moonrise I have thought about all there is to see in Barcelona... I will keep this all in mind... Muchas Gracias... Merci
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Old Mar 1st, 2010, 10:08 PM
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Chania is right.
You can find surcharges for driving to France in rental car company's terms, while most/many let you drive to Portugal or p/o in Girona and d/o at the other end of Spain w/o a surcharge.
I *think* the extra fee for driving in France is in the vicinity of €5 per day but you will find that in the remarks or fineprint of the rental car quote.
I assume that you void your insurance if you don't take it, so the rental car company will only know if you have an accident in France. Or any ticket from France gets processed through the rental car company.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 12:16 AM
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Just a note about the car rental :

The charges for crossing the border do not apply to all companies.

It is a myth that has also appeared on my own travel forum. I resolved it by phoning the spanish airport car hire desks and asking.

In fact, I live in France close to the Spanish border and many 2nd home owners fly into Girona, pick up a rental car and drive here. Car Rent and fuel (+booze & fags) are cheaper in Spain !

So, if you rent a car with one of the majors (I use Hertz) there is no charge for using the car in Western European countries.

Now, that is not the end of the story. The people on the desk get commission on selling up - think carefully before accepting upgrades, gps, daily excess cover and 2nd driver cover. All are expensive and OPTIONAL.

To save money :
1)Use Hertz reservations via the Ryanair website quoting a Ryanair flight number (even if you are not on the flight !)

2)Follow this thread for info on the excess cover : http://the-languedoc-page.com/phpBB2...pic.php?t=3082

3)Only accept upgrades etc if you need them and understand the cost

4)Always check the condition before driving away

5)Always get the condition signed off and ask for the invoice before catching your flight

Not all credit cards issued in all countries cover the excess. Best to check.

It is easy to make mistakes when picking up the rental car - you want to get away quickly, and are tired - so are the people in the queue behind you - and the desk staff are under pressure.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 09:41 AM
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We made this trip last year, going on to Paris. We took the train to Perpignan and rented a car there, which we dropped in Paris. Even after paying for two first-class (but not fast) train tickets we saved more than $200 for a five-day rental.

We rented from Hertz, reserved online from the U.S. As far as I know it doesn't cost more to drive into/out of another country but it costs a lot more to drop in a different one.

If you have a portable GPS, it may pay to go to eBay or some other source and buy a European chip rather than rent one. Ours cost $40 and worked perfectly.

If you stay three or more nights in Barcelona you can rent an apartment and all be comfortable, for less than two hotel rooms or even one large one.

Where you go in France depends on your interests. Avignon is a substantial city and well-located as a base for day trips.
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