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5 days between Barcelona and Paris

We are planning to arrive in Barcelona, spend a few days, then travel by train with a final destination of Paris… but we’re looking for 3 or 4 places to stop, explore, stay over night, and then proceed North. We could go along the south of France and up or go along the west coast of France and then east. All adults traveling, one person completely new to travel in Europe.

Your thought and ideas for must stop for an overnight visit in our journey are appreciated.


Posted by
36 posts

Have you looked at the possibilities on a map of train connections? What are your interests? Tours is wonderful for castles, fortresses, and abbeys. Arles has excellent Roman ruins. Lyon is famous for its high quality food experiences.

Posted by
10340 posts

Do you want to take the high-speed train and get off at the city stops, or are you looking at the slow local trains that stop in smaller towns, or a combination of the two. An example would be a high-speed train Barcelona to Narbonne and then a local train to Carcassonne. After that an Intercités train from Carcassonne to Marseille and a local train to a town in Provence. You could then finish with the TGV to Paris from Avignon.

Posted by
7063 posts

Some good suggestions above already.
Here are mine, to give you more ideas:

  • Collioure, near Perpignan, is a postcard-pretty seaside village, though very touristy: quite a good stop for the night.

  • Nîmes is a great stop for 2 nights, charming city with world-class Roman ruins and Pont du Gard nearby.

  • Some people would argue that you need more time, but I find that 2 nights is just enough for Lyon, which has renowned cuisine, good museums and a very striking cityscape (2 rivers and hills).

This route barely deviates from the main Barcelona-Paris train route, to minimize travel time.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you all for your thoughts. Yes it is perhaps a bit of a crunch in time between Barcelona and Paris. TGV or slower trains both are fine. I’d like to experience small towns, perhaps the “caves”, Roman ruins are great, good food, not be rushed to get to places, chateaus in Loire Valley, as mentioned packing in highlights of France along a meandering route between two heat cities. 5 days of travel could become 7 days.

Question is to take a semi coastal route towards Marseilles or go more north and then east.


Posted by
10340 posts

From Barcelona, you are on the costal/ Rhone Valley route. To go up the Atlantic side, you need to cross the Pyrenees. The Loire, at least the area with the famous château, is inland. You'd have to consult railroad maps to see what lines cross through there. But you are describing a zig-zag route when going from Barcelona, to the caves in the Dordogne, to the Loire.

Posted by
1194 posts

Hi from Wisconsin,

Arriving one day and leaving the next. That is not a visit capable of much. By the time you arrive, disembark, arrive and check into where ever you are staying. wash your face, and hit the sidewalks for touring you will be tired. The same for the next morning. You might skip out quickly in the morning for breakfast but then it is check out time, getting to the train station...and repeat. You would be much better served to pick a place between Barcelona and Paris and settle down. Lyon would be a place or even Bordeaux (I know opposite coast, but a truly amazing city).

wayne iNWI

Posted by
8219 posts

It takes two nights to get a full day -- I would not do one night stops if I could avoid it. Lyon is a good 2 night city -- we did it as a sidetrip from Paris last year and had a full afternoon/evening for the Roman ruins and Basilica and spent a day with the traboules and other old town sights before leaving the following day -- worked well.

We once did Arles in a one night stop and enjoyed the food and wandering the city -- we were lucky to be there for the running of the bulls -- an unexpected delight and very unexpected crowds.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks everyone for your thoughts, it helps to give us ideas. We aren’t going to pack in too much so as to not enjoy and journey and destinations.

Posted by
254 posts

I recommend Giverny if you enjoy gardens and/or Monet. You could go there and back from Paris in a half day, but it could be that you do it on the way to Paris.

Posted by
1073 posts

I did a similar trip a few years ago.
Day 1: Train from Barcelona to Perpignan. Rent car in Perpignan and drive to Carcassonne. Stay in Carcassonne.
Day 2: Drive from Carcassone to Beynac in the Dordogne.
Day 3: Drive to Sarlat market to pick up picnic supplies. Canoe down the Dordogne. Picnic on sandbar in the river.
Day 4: Drive to Lascaux caves, Prehistoric Museum, La Roque St-Christophe, back to Beynac.
Day 5: I drove to Bergerac, dropped car and flew to London. You could drive to Bordeaux, and take TGV to Paris.