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Train Travel from Marseilles to Barcelona

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Dec 27th, 2014, 08:04 AM
  #1
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Train Travel from Marseilles to Barcelona

Hello Fodorites - Is there a train available between Marseilles to Barcelona? Or... is driving the better mode of travel between these two cities?
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Dec 27th, 2014, 09:52 AM
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Train might take more time but would probably be cheaper if you intend to drop off the car in Spain. Check SNCF.com for schedules and pricing, doing a practice run for the latter by choosing a date three months hence to see what reductions are available.
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Dec 27th, 2014, 10:05 AM
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Trains are faster, especially now with the high-speed trans-Pyrenees rail link all the way to Barcelona is finished. Probably have to change to a French TGV or Spanish AVE train at Montpelier - check www.voyages-sncf.com for schedules and discounted tickets if you buy far enough in advance to get the limited in number discounted ducats which are train-specific and cannot be changed nor refunded I believe.

www.capitainetrain.com sells the same ticket on the same trains as the sncf site and by most accounts is much easier to use than the sncf site for foreigners.

For lots of great info on French and Spanish trains check these informative sites: www.seat61.com - great info on discunted tickets; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com. discounted tickets sell out early - at times as soon as they come on the system months in advance but they can save you $100 or more for two people than walk up tickets, which are also IME usually available if you do not want to book in advance.
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Dec 27th, 2014, 10:21 AM
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The fastest direct (no changes) timing takes a little over five hours and runs to Barcelona's Franca station. Why drive when you can sit back and really enjoy the scenery? Sit on the left side facing forward.
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Dec 27th, 2014, 11:24 AM
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The driving time listed is around 5 hours but that is in an ideal situation, something I have never experienced on that stretch of autoroute.

Train would be my preference.
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Dec 27th, 2014, 02:32 PM
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Well trains go well over 100 mph so I can't see how driving would be nearly as quick (unless you're a German in a Mercedes!) plus you have the probably steep drop-off fees for renting in France and returning in Spain - though if going back to France that would be mute.
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Dec 27th, 2014, 02:49 PM
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I would never drive in such a case when it is between two countries, starts and ends in very large cities, the sole purpose seems to be to get between two points, and there is a fairly direct train between them.

Driving could be faster in the case of a train trip that required a change and you had a long layover. And the fastest trains do not go to Franca, they go to Sants (at least there are some direct trains to Sants) and they don't take 5 hrs, but 4:30. I don't even know if they have direct trains to Franca station. The one SNCF lists that takes over 5 hours really goes to Sants and then you have to take the train/metro to Franca.
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Dec 27th, 2014, 02:58 PM
  #8
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Thanks much for the advise. Are there any quaint little towns along the coast of France & Spain on the way to Barcelona from Marseilles that you'd suggest we depart from the train and spend a day or two?
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Dec 28th, 2014, 03:38 AM
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Perpignan is a connecting point for some of the Marseille-Barcelona trains.

From there you could easily reach Colliure or Port Vendres by bus or rental car. Very nice weather from April to October, very crowded July and August.
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Dec 28th, 2014, 03:40 AM
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"From there you could easily reach Colliure or Port Vendres by bus or rental car".
Or by train.
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Dec 28th, 2014, 06:47 AM
  #11
 
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The direct TGV high-speed train leaves Marseille St Charles daily at 08:06, arrives Barcelona 12:36.

Fares from 49 euros at www.capitainetrain.com

Journey time 4h30, reaching 200mph over the new high-speed line - although part is on classic lines, with superb views of the Med, the etangs (lakes) with flocks of flamingos, the Fort de Salses right by the tracks, and Mt Canigou, one of the peaks in the southern Pyrenees visible all the way between Perpignan and Girona, on the right.

Other options are available with a change of train.
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