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Stay in El Born, in Barcelona, and getting to the Languedoc, France

Stay in El Born, in Barcelona, and getting to the Languedoc, France

Old Nov 29th, 2015, 10:08 AM
  #1  
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Stay in El Born, in Barcelona, and getting to the Languedoc, France

I'm planning at trip for DH, DD (17yo) and myself in early summer. We will start in Barcelona, which DH and I have visited previously, but not DD. We stayed in Bari Gotic the last time, just off Placa del Pi, which worked great then, as our 12yo DS was with us. Now that we will have an older teen with us, and a subsequent visit to a different region of Spain got us hooked on tapas, I'm thinking El Born is a better neighborhood for us to stay in.

Because we need a triple, though, my hotel choices seem to be limited. In our price range, I've come up with Musik Boutique Hotel, Sant Pere Mes Baix, 62, Borne Apartments, Carrer de la Pescateria, 1, and Ciutat Barcelona Hotel, Calle Princesa, 33, 35. I like the proximity to Mercat Santa Caterina. I'm leaning toward Musik Boutique Hotel, but would welcome input on location, street noise, etc.

Also, after Barcelona, we will head to the Languedoc and then the Dordogne, picking up a rental car on the way. One of the "musts" on the way is the Dali Museum, and I would like to visit Girona again, and possibly spend the night there. We will make final transportation plans closer to then, but because we did this same route before, I know that there's no great way to do it. Last time, we took the high-speed train from Barcelona to Perpignan, picked up a rental car, and drove back into Spain. Spent the afternoon in Girona (lovely), then drove to Figures, where we visited the museum and spent the night. The next day, we headed back into France. This time, I'm trying to come up with something better; I've checked train times and even local buses. But would welcome any suggestions from Fodorites who know the area and options better than I do.
Lexma90 is offline  
Old Nov 29th, 2015, 11:41 AM
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I use to stay in El Born when in Barcelona, and I think I would recommend Ciutat Barcelona Hotel for the location. Musik Boutique Hotel is a little out of the way and Borne Apartments could be a bit too much spot on, dozens of music bars etc that stay open to 3-4am around here.

El Born is cradle of Catalan identity and culture and you'll find some excellent tapas bars (and nightlife) here. Carrer Montcada, just behind the beautiful Gothic Santa Maria del Mar Church, was the most important street in the city from the 12th century on. http://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/...-montcada.html

I recommend the two very different tapas bars at the start of Carrer Montcada:
Tapeo was a great food find on our last trip here earlier this year. The Coca de Sardina tapa was to die for: http://www.tapeoborn.cat/
"Coca de Sardina" http://www.tapeoborn.cat/tapas-menu/...ardina-en.html
Famous Xampanyet: http://www.worldsbestbars.com/bar/ba...r/el-xampanyet

And of course Cal Pep. Get in line 15-20 mins before opening to get a seat at the bar where all the action and fun is. Fabulous seafood tapas, the tortilla is out of this world and a fabulous butifarra sausage. Make your own choices, don't go for the set menu. Expensive and worth every penny: http://www.calpep.com/

And perhaps go and see the archeological site of Barcelona anno 1700 in El Born Cultural Center, 200 meters from Carrer Montcada: http://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/...-cultural.html
http://elborncentrecultural.barcelona.cat/

In El Born, you are also close to 7 Portes from 1836, an institution in town and tons of history in the walls. And great, traditional Catalan food. http://www.7portes.com/catala/index2.php

More info about medieval and cutting edge El Born/La Ribera, atmosphere, sights etc.: http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.c...s/el-born.html
http://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/...la-ribera.html
kimhe is offline  
Old Nov 29th, 2015, 01:42 PM
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Thanks, Kimhe - your advice on the hotels is exactly what I was seeking.

I have the other information already, from info you've provided to other Fodorites going to Barcelona, thanks!
Lexma90 is offline  
Old Nov 29th, 2015, 04:24 PM
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We did the reverse last summer starting in the Langdouc and ending in Barcelona. We got our rental car from Montpellier train station (took the train from Paris) and then drove about 45-50 minutes west to our rental house for the week in a tiny village near Pezenas.

https://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p18695

It was a wonderful base for exploring the region and I highly recommend it. Our kids had a great time too- there are plenty of things to do in the area and we spent each day sightseeing; castles, villages, hiking, caves, swimming in the sea, gorge, lake, river etc. If you have any questions feel free to let me know.

In Barcelona we stayed in Poblenou which is outside of the main downtown area but was perfect for us because it was quiet, had a pool and we could walk to the beach and take a quick and cheap taxi to the tourist sites.

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1396354

Happy Planning!!
jojo2015 is offline  
Old Nov 30th, 2015, 12:37 AM
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Have a great stay in Barcelona!
kimhe is offline  
Old Dec 1st, 2015, 03:06 AM
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Mercat Santa Caterina is something like a gravitation place in El Born - very lively. When we were there they had an informal restaurant inside the market hall which was extremely popular among the younger crowd of locals. They served good food and was very inexpensive - a much better choice than the tourist rip-offs in the Ramblas area. But be aware that there is much life on the streets in El Born until late at night. A room facing the courtyard might be a good idea.

Ideas for sidetrips:

For me, the best sidetrip from Barcelona is Cadaques - a most picturesque white town on the sea. Be sure to visit Salvador Dali's eccentric home in nearby Port Lligat - an excellent complement of your planned visit of the Dali museum in Figueres. Also, you should drive around Cap de Creus - a most bizarre landscape that Dali inspired a lot. I am afraid you need a car for this sidetrip.

If you drive further northwards from Cadaques and if you cross the border you find the picturesque French fishers village Collioure and, within the Pyrenees, the quaint town Ceret. If you drive a little further westwards, you may take the small mountain road to the hilltop village Corsavy. You may proceed up the flank of Mont Canigou (often painted by Dali) until the road ends at the lost uranium mines which were exploited in World War II.

In Arles-sur-Tech, you may hike through the Gorges de la Fou, a scenic canyon.

What else?
- north of Perpignan: Fort de Salses, a medieval castle
- Carcassonne, a completely walled medieval city
- and many more picturesque villages and castles in the area
traveller1959 is offline  
Old Dec 1st, 2015, 03:12 AM
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I'll second the suggestion of a stop in Cadaques, and a visit to Dali's nearby house. Along with a drive around the Cap de Creus, I enjoyed a boat ride from Roses to Cadaques.

In Barcelona I prefer staying in the Eixample neighborhood.
f1racegirl is offline  
Old Dec 3rd, 2015, 03:51 PM
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Thanks for the additional suggestions. Unfortunately, even though I strained my boss's goodwill by getting two weeks off, it's still enough time and, as this trip is our daughter's graduation present, she gets more votes than usual on our itinerary.

So some of your great suggestions will have to be added to the "Future Trips" list.

I was tentatively planning, after leaving Barcelona (4 nights there), on spending the night in Girona - I found the place charming when we visited in 2007. I already brought up Cadaques, and DH and DD were not interested. They are also not interested in Collioure, or the coastal area of France

Then driving to the Languedoc, possibly spending the night in Couiza, and visiting the "Cathar" castles in the area. And while DH and I liked our visit to Carcassonne, we don't feel the need to return (we DO plan to return to Queribus and Peyrepertuse). I was thinking that our next night could be in either Foix or Albi. And after that, we head north for time in Sarlat, then Paris.

I would like to visit Montsegur, even though I know there's nothing left from Cathar times. But any suggestions about Foix or Albi or other places in the area would be great.
Lexma90 is offline  
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