travel from marseille to barcelona

Old Jul 3rd, 2012, 05:37 PM
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travel from marseille to barcelona

my boyfriend and i are planning to travel by train, on a france-spain railpass, from paris to marseille, then, on to barcelona, valencia and madrid. we are finding that it is a bit of a challenge getting from marseille to barcelona. it will be a 7-hr +/- trip with three trains, minimum. the raileurope website is also a challenge and routinely tells me that i cannot book on line. we're thinking that , instead, we will rent a car in marseille for the day and drive to narbonne, stopping along the way to sightsee. we can drop the car in narbonne in the evening and, from there, pick up a train into spain. does anyone have any ideas, comments or suggestions?
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Old Jul 3rd, 2012, 06:04 PM
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Don't use RailEurope to search for train times, use the French national railway company SNCF. Though it will still be a bit of a trek by train.

You might want to rethink the railpass too. They're not as good a bargain as they were, and you can get cheaper tickets by booking in advance.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2012, 06:16 PM
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Be careful in Marseille. There are areas you better stay away from. I'm quoting the advice we got from the lady who owns the Bed&Breakfast we stayed at in southern France, on the morning she was scheduled to drive to Marseille for business.
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Old Jul 4th, 2012, 10:41 AM
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I am a massive train fan so I think it's a far superior way to travel. Depending on where you're going and how far in advance you book, it could be cheaper than a car which expensive when you add up the rental cost and then price of fuel.

I would recommend going from Paris to Barcelona by night train and then onto Madrid and beyond in the day. point to point tickets will probably be better value than a railpass (as you will also have to book additional reservations)

It depends when you plan to go, the cheapest tickets are available 92-120 days in advance. You can use bahn.com for schedules, and loco2.com might have the trains you need!
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Old Jul 4th, 2012, 10:58 AM
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From Marseilles take a train to Avignon TGV then change to TGVs to Montpellier and onto to Figueras, Spain where you must transfer for the time being to a train to Barcelona.

High-speed train line right into the heart of Barcelona is not quite finished so everyone gets off one train in Figueras new high-speed station and transfer to train to Barcelona proper.

You will need a seat reservations - 3 euros with a pass for each portion Marseilles-Avignon TGV and Avignon TGV to Figureas (some times may involve a change at Montpellier as well) - so not really that hard but yes a long time period - driving would perhaps not be as fast however and returning a car in a country you did not pick it up in could cost a ton in extra fees.

And there is an overnight train I believe between Marseilles and Port Bou, border station on old conventional rail line with trains direct to Barcelona after getting off the overnight train. Save a night cost in a hotel to boot.

For lots of great info on French and Spanish trains and night trains, reservations, etc I always spotlight these IMO fantastic sites - www.ricksteves.com; www.seat61.com and http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id8.html.
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Old Jul 4th, 2012, 11:08 AM
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Actually checking schedules the quickest rail link leaves Marseilles daily 8:18am, arrives in Montpellier at 9:53 (no change - direct) - Lv Montpellier (change train) at 10:41 arrives Figures St Valant 12:41 - leave there 13:03, arrive in Barcelona Santa 14:46 - before 3pm and with the changes at least you get out and stretch your legs. seat reservations are required on all segments however.

Other connections later can take much longer.
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Old Jul 4th, 2012, 11:23 AM
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There is no need to go to Avignon to catch a train to Barcelona!
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Old Jul 4th, 2012, 12:03 PM
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Yup and I did correct that in the post above yours!
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