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Road Trip from Paris to Barcelona

Old Oct 7th, 2009, 02:54 PM
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Road Trip from Paris to Barcelona

Hi all-

My husband and I are planning to do a road trip (some car. some rail) from Paris to Barcelona in November and wanted to see what recommended itinerary's are out there. We have a round trip from Paris, so the specifics are:

Arrive: Nov 15th in Paris
Depart: Nov 28th from Paris.

We definitely want to do most of our trip in North east Spain in the Basque Country. But maybe couple of stops in Provence area before heading to Bilbao and San Sebastian. We don't mind driving and would love to drive through Pyrenees towards Barcelona stopping at few villages to spend a night or two. Of course, only if weather permits.

But all is really very open. Would love help in creating the trip. Little bit about us; more country people than city. But definitely want to stay few days each in Paris and Barcelona. A little bit of everything interests us- food, hiking, museums, cultural sites, ruins, caves etc. Not huge about touring wineries.

Give us your ideas! Thank you.
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 03:22 PM
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How many days total do you have? Since Provence isn't anywhere near on your route, I hope you have a lot.

And you couldn't pay me to drive from either Paris to Provence or Paris to Barcelona in November unless I had at least 5 days to pick my way across France on the N and D roads. It's just not that pretty a drive, in either direction, on the highways.

I'd think about taking the TGV from Paris to Avignon, rent a car and spend a few days visiting Provence, then drive along the coast to Barcelona.
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 05:21 PM
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Not sure your plan is even close to doable. And especially not if you want 'a few' days in Paris and Barcelona.

Forget about the 15th - jet lag, and forget about the 28th - you have to be back in Paris to fly out. That only leaves 12 days Nov 16 through Nov 27 for both major cities AND all that travel through Provence, the Pyrenees and Spain.

That is more like a 4 week itinerary rushing. And at the end of November the days are short and the weather often nasty.
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 05:23 PM
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Meant to add - the only prayer you'd have to make this trek work is to fly back to Paris -- but even then it is too much and too far in too few days.
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 05:53 PM
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hahahaha.. do we have enough time ever?

I am not sold on going through Provence. It was just an idea. Are there any town on the way to San Sebastian or Bilbao from Paris than we can take the train too?

And yes, the plan is to fly back to Paris. The trek is just one way!

I guess the question was more open-ended. If you had 12 days or so to get from Paris to Barcelona what places on the way would you spend few days in?

Thanks for all your help!
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 06:36 PM
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One thing that makes it hard for me to even get my head around your plan is -- you say you want to stay a few days in both Paris and Barcelona. Even just 3 or 4 days in each (and 4 days is nothing for Paris) doesn't really leave you enough time for much of a road trip. A few long train trips, and 3 or 4 overnight stops - yes, but driving? Hopefully someone else will have some practical suggestions for you.
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 09:49 PM
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Two years ago we flew into Paris, spent 4 nights, then took the TGV to Avignon, rented a car and spent 4 or 5 nights in Lourmarin and St. Remy touring around and then drove to Montpelier turned in the car and trained to Barcelona. We stayed in Barcelona for 4 or 5 nights (my husband had a business conference) and flew home from Barcelona. A great trip with city and country combined.
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Old Oct 8th, 2009, 01:24 AM
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One suggestion would be to take the TGV from Paris to Biarritz (five hours) and drive from there to San Sebastian and Bilbao then head to Barcelona and fly back to Paris as Janis suggested.

Or, you could do Paris to Toulouse by train or plane (no TGV service yet) then on down the coast by car or train to Barcelona.

I guess a lot depends on how long you want to be in a car each day. Not my idea of fun and in November, days are short and you can get caught in bad weather. Some roads through the Pyrenees will begin to close, although you will have drives on either route where you have some great views of the Pyrenees and the valley routes will be open.

We use www.mappy.fr to plan our trips and find it realistic in terms of time and costs (petrol or diesel (gazole) and tolls). Google as well is also good for proposing alternative routes. The autoroutes will get you from A to B fastest but as St. Cirq said, you won't see much.
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Old Oct 8th, 2009, 04:42 AM
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I guess I read too fast to note your dates. Way too few days to do much of anything but those "few days" in Paris and Barcelona. If you assume 4 days in each of those cities (and that's not much), you've got 4 days in between.

France does have an extensive train system, so yes, there are loads of cities and towns you can take a train to between Paris and Barcelona, but with only 4 days, it would be best to stick to train stops along the shortest route. Those would be, e.g., La Rochelle, Bordeaux, Bayonne, Biarritz, or, if you wanted to stay inland a bit, Brive, Toulouse, Montpellier (just to name the big towns - there are of course myriad small towns). I agree with using Mappy for routes and times and costs.

I would abandon the idea of visiting Provence.
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Old Oct 8th, 2009, 05:13 AM
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Hi S,

You realize by now that your RT from Paris is your major problem.

May I suggest that with only 12 nights you visit Paris and Provence (or Alsace or Burgundy) this trip and go to Spain next time?

Either that or get an immediate flight from Paris to Barcelona and then fly back to Paris for the rest of your visit.

Enjoy your trip.
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Old Oct 8th, 2009, 10:23 AM
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Thank you all for your great advice.

Between Bordeaux, Toulouse, Montpellier and La Rochelle, which city do you recommend? We are looking for a relaxed town to spend a day and a half in.

Does anyone have a preference?
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Old Oct 8th, 2009, 12:21 PM
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La Rochelle (and the Ile de Ré)
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 05:02 PM
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How did your trip work out, Sandhyaandress? Did you find it too rushed? My husband I are heading to Paris/Barcelona next year. We won't stay more than 2 nights in Paris as we have been there sveral times before, but would like to spend 3-4 days in Barcelona.
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