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Paris, Normandy and Spain

We are considering a trip in April or May to visit Paris for a few days and then on the Normandy and then Spain as far as Madrid. We could do Spain first and then France or the other way around, We are wondering what the weather is like during April and May or is there a better time to visit? We travel independently and like to explore but plan to spend possibly a 4 or 5 days in Normandy. We have only been to Barcelona in Spain but plan to visit Madrid, Salamanca and San Sebastián and possibly Bilboa.

Thank you for your help. We are trying to figure out when to go.

Posted by
5467 posts

The first three weeks of April are Easter school holidays, so places will be busier and more expensive. The weather will be better in May. I would start south and work north.

Posted by
1767 posts

Fly in and out of Madrid and Paris, depending on which way is cheaper. If the prices are the same, head south first as Jennifer said. Paris can be cold and rainy in Apr if not wearing layers.
There are direct trains from Madrid’s Chamartin station to Salamanca (1h 45m). To get from Salamanca to San Sebastian takes 5h 45m and requires a transfer in Vitoria. You can easily take a day trip from San Sebastian to Bilbao by direct bus (1h 15m).
I took a direct overnight train from Vitoria and got off in Blois in 2012 and believe the end of line was Paris; I don’t see that option anymore but that could change; there are no direct flights either.
To get from San Sebastian to Paris take a train from the Amara-Donostia station and transfer in Hendaia (45-minutes) and take a direct train to Paris Montparnasse (4h 45m).

Posted by
150 posts

Thank you Jennifer and Pat for the great info. We will probably rent a car when we leave Madrid to head north. We had planned on possibly taking a train for some of the trip. From Spain we will initially go to see the Normandy beaches and stay there a week before going to Paris as our last stop. Wonder if keeping a car and driving from San Sebastián to the Normandy beach area is doable? I will check on that. Maybe car rental service might not let us drive across borders and return in Paris.

Great suggestions. Thank you.

Posted by
1767 posts

Hi Jacque, if renting a car in ES and dropping it off in FR, most likely you’ll encounter an exorbitant drop off fee. I’ve heard of one being as high as $900 and that did not include the car rental, etc.
Since you’ll be in Basque you won’t be far from FR. You can take a direct bus from San Sebastian to Bayonne, FR (1h 30m) and pick up your car there.

Posted by
20797 posts

Vueling flies non-stop from Bilbao to Paris, though possibly not every day.

Posted by
3606 posts

The info given above on the train from S Sebastian to Paris is incorrect; the "Euskotren" railway from S Sebastian goes directly to Hendaye where you catch the high-speed train to Paris.
Otherwise, there are several flights a day between Bilbao and Paris, Air France flies the route as well.

Posted by
1767 posts

The info given above on the train from S Sebastian to Paris is incorrect

Thank you balso I edited my post.

Posted by
150 posts

Thank you for your input - I have now purchased our tickets to fly into Madrid and out of Paris. We arrive on the 15th of April (I know it is Easter weekend). We plan to spend a few days in Madrid and then branch out - working on itinerary this week. We prefer the smaller towns and have made note of several - we will be renting a car. On the list for sure is Bilboa, San Sebastián, Toledo, Elciego - We plan to spend a week in the Normandy area of France and also see Mont St. Michel.

Would love to have any recommendations - we are 72 and have traveled to Portugal, Barcelona, Most of Italy and some of France. We generally have a car and drive ourselves. We generally like to base out of somewhere for a few days and then. move on.

Thank you for your assistance.

Hi there, we are planning a similar trip (Madrid to Paris) for June 2022. I would appreciate any suggestions you have based on your trip. Any changes you would make on your itinerary? Did the car rental plan work?