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London, Paris, Biarritz...then back to Paris

For our June vacation, we have planned one week in London, one week in Paris, three days in Biarritz to spend time by the sea and make a day trip to Bilbao then four days up in the air before we head back for three more days in Paris for Fete de la Musique. We had thought maybe a quick train ride from Biarritz to Provence for those four days would be nice but we're finding out that there is no such direct train service in the area. From what I've read on this site, perhaps renting a car and driving from Biarritz to Provence might be a good idea but unfortunately we've never driven in Europe before and we aren't comfortable with long drives anyway. We are unfamiliar with this part of Europe and would appreciate any suggestions of places to stay for four days that's easily accessible by train before we head back to Paris. Many thanks.

Posted by
914 posts

"A quick train ride..." I have never been in Biarritz but have taken the TGV from Paris thru Bordeaux over to Dax and Lourdes. France, as you know, is a big country and even with TGV speeds, it's a long day to reach the south. I only want to bring this up so that you don't try to cram too much into too little time. The western & Haute Pyrenees area is beautiful if you don't want to travel as far as Provence.

Posted by
3580 posts

You can get to San Jean de Luz easily from Bayonne which is a short train ride from Biarritz. It's a seaside sort of resorty town with great views, a laid-back atmosphere, and good walking/shopping. I was there a couple of years ago just briefly and decided this is the place to return to for some R&R. The town is all walkable from the train station. I think it is mentioned in the RS France books.

Posted by
7175 posts

Spend 2 nights in Bordeaux from where you can get a direct train (2hr 53min) to Carcassonne for another 2 nights.
From Carcassone it's 5hr 20min via Narbonne to return to Paris.

Posted by
173 posts

If this were me I might spend that time in San Sebastian.

Posted by
4684 posts

There isn't a through train service from Biarritz to Provence but there are fairly fast trains on a direct route. It will still take about ten hours from Biarritz to Marseille with only one change in Bordeaux. I wouldn't call the scenery unmissable, but it's an attractive and interesting trip through southern France if you can sit on a train that long. Alternatively, I wouldn't rule out a domestic flight from Biarritz or Bordeaux airport to Marseille, Montpellier, or Nice.

Posted by
243 posts

Thank you, everyone. We are no longer bewildered and can look forward to researching all the great ideas offered here. All the best and happy travels!