Train Oviedo to Paris?

Old May 16th, 2010, 04:36 PM
  #1  
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Train Oviedo to Paris?

Fellow travelers:
In July my family and I are staying with family in Gijon, Spain for 20 days, Paris for 10 days, and visiting family in Andorra for 3 days and back to Gijon.

From Gijon to Paris train or air travel?
Why am I having such a hard time finding train connections? Renfe, Feve, Euroline?
Flying from Asturias to Paris is $900 one way and over $800 round trip with Iberia.
I would consider the bus, but it seems to take to long from Gijon to Paris.

Any advice on web pages that will help me book my train trip or find economical one
way flights?

As far as debit cards. I am in the process of taking two (accessing two banks; credit union and Chase checking accounts). Can anyone tell me the fees that withdraws accrue from the foreign bank and your own back. Credit union says no fee for using debit card, Chase says 3%.

One last thing, I am a bit anxious about crime for I am traveling to Paris alone with my 10 year old. I will be grateful for your advice.

Ribota
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Old May 16th, 2010, 06:36 PM
  #2  
 
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Believe me, you are not the first to be frustrated by train connections between the northwest coast of Spain and its French neighbour. Two possible reasons for the tangle:
One, there is no direct train route along the coast across the French border into Biarritz/Bayonne. Two, despite years of promising to harmonize, some of the European train systems still can't co-operate, or at least co-ordinate.

The TGV website (www.tgv-europe.com) is not bad if you are going from a major city such as Madrid straight into France but it won't sell connections within Spain and there's always the problem of where you pick up the ticket. RENFE apparently doesn't sell international destinations.

The travel page of the German system, Deutsch Bahn, is often very informative and in this case it does list several routes between Gijon and Paris Austerlitz. Here is the US site http://www.bahn.de/i/view/USA/en/index.shtml

But all are overnight, taking 19 hours or more with at least one connection -- not a particularly easy journey with a child. And DB doesn't sell tickets.

You may have to turn to your contacts in Europe to see if they can make arrangements for you there.

The other invaluable source for train information is The Man in Seat 61 who seems to been anywhere two ribbons of steel run parallel to each other. I looked at his site, www.seat61.com , to get some of this background. It is a big site and you may be able to unearth more than I did.

As to banking, I will endorse the advice that frequently appears in these threads: ATM machines run by European banks generally do not make a direct charge, although the rate of exchange is always open to their own policy. As at home, stay away from "grey" machines in brasseries etc. which may impose charges. Let the security office at the card issuer know your itinerary and be sure to have a four-digit (or -letter) PIN
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Old May 18th, 2010, 01:06 PM
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Simply take an afternoon train from Oviedo/Gijon to Madrid or Valladolid, book it at www.renfe.es.

Allow at least an hour to make the connection in Madrid.

then take the Madrid-Valladolid-Paris overnight 'trenhotel' sleeper train. Book this too at www.renfe.es and print out your own ticket.

The prioce for this is the same from Madrid or from valladolid, going into Madrid will cost a bit more from Oviedo but will give you a longer evening on the trenhotel, time for a meal in the restaurant, etc., than picking it up late at night at valladolid, but it's your call, it might save a lot of time switching at Valladolid!

www.seat61.com/Spain.htm explains a bit about what the trenhotel is like.

www.seat61.com/Europe-train-tickets.htm has step by step instructions for uing renfe.es
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Old May 18th, 2010, 01:48 PM
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Unless you want to do everything by train ...
You could get the Alsa night bus to Irun ( 01:00- 07:00 ) and then the TGV at 07:53 or 10:22 from Hendaye. The Alsa buses sometimes end up at Hendaye train station, check it.
Or get the 07:45 Supra bus to Irun, and then the 17:22 TGV to Paris, arriving there at 23:35

Just another option ...

Rgds, Cova
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Old May 19th, 2010, 03:43 AM
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Thank you all for your kind suggestions I will investigate each one in detail. Since I am organizing my trips within Spain mainly by seeing were the fast trains travel, I may take three nights in Madrid before heading for the 10 day Paris stay. Price and length are important factors since I am traveling with my 10 year old son.

Special thanks to Southam, your reply made my day.
Ribota
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