We will arrive in Millau by train from Barcelona on Sunday 20 May. We cannot collect a car until Tues as Monday is a holiday. We have to leave Friday to go to St Malo. Any ideas please on where to stay in Millau. Peferably with breakfast and free parking. We are 70'ish, married, from New Zealand. We want to see mainly the Viaduct then any other side trip as we understand the area is interesting and picturesque. Maybe Roquefort too.So any help of accomodation in Millau and suggested sights please. Also best train way to get to St Malo without stopping in Paris. Thanks.
It is 23 hours to get from Millau to St Malo without going through Paris, including an 8 hour over night in Nantes. Or spend 13 hours in Nantes and look around for a morning before getting noonish train to St Malo through Rennes.
The French rail system is pretty much "all trains lead to Paris", the fast ones anyway. Through Paris it is 10 1/2 hours back tracking to Montpelier and changing from Gare de Lyon to Gare Montparnasse in Paris.
I've never driven in Europe and haven't been to Millau or the immediate area around it, so my input is limited. There's a string of interesting destinations between Barcelona and Millau. I'm not sure what you're going to be able to do in Millau on Monday without a car. Have you considered stopping somewhere else on Sunday night and doing non-Millau sightseeing on Monday? These places are all worth at least a few hours for wandering around:
Girona, Spain (worth a full day or longer)
Figueres, Spain (for the Dali Theater and Museum)
Collioure, France (cute little place; touristy)
Perpignan, France (larger, major transportation hub, not my first choice)
Narbonne, France (medium-sized town with some tourist sights.
Sete, France (attractive coastal town)
Pezenas (craft town; requires a bus)
Montpellier (university city with large, atmospheric historic district)
Since I don't know Millau at all, I have no idea which of those options might give you the best look at something different.
Once you're in Millau, you're not all that far from Albi (Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, key religious sights, distinctive red-brick architecture). Or you could take 2 days (or more) and see some of the Dordogne.
There's no practical way to avoid Paris when you want to travel by train from Millau to St. Malo.
Millau is awkward to get out of if you want to head north. It appears that you must first go south to Beziers. The fastest route then goes through Montpellier and Paris (changing trains in Montpellier and changing rail stations in Paris). Some routings also require a change of trains in Rennes. The Deutsche Bahn is showing only two daytime departures, at 7 AM and 10 AM. The 10 AM departure gives you a choice in Paris between a short time for the cross-town transfer and a longer layover. Total travel time will be about 9-1/2 to 11 hours. SNCF doesn't offer the 7AM option for some reason.
Forcing a routing that runs through Bordeaux does avoid Paris, but it extends the travel time greatly--from 14-1/2 to 24-1/2 hours.
I wish I could come up with a good solution for you, but I can't find one.
Would it be possible for you to take the train from Barcelona to a city in southern France with airport where you could rent a car on Sunday? How about Montpellier? That would give you more flexibility. I have not been to this part of France but just east of Millau is a very beautiful area. I think if you poke around on the Internet, you will find some lovely places to stay. In smaller towns, parking shouldn't be a problem.