Train itinerary Paris-southern France-Barcelona

I'm looking for recommendations for travel with 2 boys (12 & 14) from Paris to Barcelona by train in July. We have 3-day France rail passes and tentative itinerary is Paris-Cassis-Carcassonne-Barcelona. We got 3 nights in Paris and 1 in Barcelona already taken care of, but 4 nights between them is still under works. Any recommendations as far as teenager activities and easy access by train?

Also, any feedback for coach surfing in France?

Posted by Lee
1017 posts

If you and the boys are interested in the Romans you could stop in Nimes. See the arena and temple. Take a bus to the Pont du Gard.

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
9964 posts

Couch surfing for a family of 3 or 4 sounds difficult. If you are intrepid hikers and also pack light, then I recommend traditional youth hostel La Fontasse, which is in a dramatic, isolated location above the Calenques (only rain water, no showers, bring food to cook, dorm beds only), but hard to get to without a car (about an hour hike from the train station, map link on that web site is NOT correct). A few Cassis hotel listings in Rick's Provence book do have quad rooms; is cheapest on that list at 99 euros/night.

Posted by helis
2 posts

Great, thank you for your advices.

And as far as train reservations, is it safe to go without advance seat reservations? We are somewhat flexible with our schedule, only need to get to Barcelona by certain date.

Posted by Adam
2925 posts

Re reservations: Note that they are required for TGV trains. There are enough trains that if you are flexible you should be okay, but I'd recommend buying reservations (in France) as soon as you can figure out when you actually want to travel. Otherwise you could be told to cool your heels for 3 or 4 hours, or not get seats together.

Posted by shawn
28 posts

While in Cassis, we took the boat rides along 3 calanques. Kinda cool.

Yes, get your tickets for TGV in advance!

Pont du Gard is good.

We had great Bike Tour in Barcelona - Fat Tire Bikes.