I want to take the fast train from paris to Barcelona. I cannot find out if it stops anywhere in France as I was thinking of staying somewhere in France before getting to Barcelona. It is a new train route and the information seems to be confusing. thank you in advance.
Cynthia, the new direct TGV services between Paris and Barcelona have not started yet, but when they do it is likely that they will stop at Nimes, Montpellier, Narbonne and Perpignan in France, then at Figueres Vilafant and Girona in Spain, before terminating at Barcelona.
See the news page on The Man in Seat 61 for the latest on these services:
Direct Paris-Barcelona TGVs postponed again...
Direct Paris-Barcelona TGVs will not now start on 15 December with the new pan-European timetable. It's been put back again until 2014. The present change-at-Figueres service will continue, although it's still not open for booking yet as I write this (on 1 November) for any date after the timetable change. Elipsos is likely to continue running on Fri, Sun & Mon nights southbound, Thur, Fri & Sun nights northbound, but is also late opening for booking. UPDATE: Or has this changed yet again? One report and several rumours suggest TGVs may indeed start on 15 December, and that there may be a formal announcement on 27 November. But after so many rumours, expect them when you see them.
Until the direct train services begin you can get a TGV as far as Figueres Vilafant, with the same stops in France that I've listed, then change to a Spanish AVE train to Barcelona. Some services also stop at Valence TGV and that is likely to continue after the direct trains commence.
Thank you so much! I was reading such conflicting reports! Which of the stops do you think might be worth a 2 day stay??
Do yourself a favor and fly on the Spanish budget air carrier, Vueling Airline.
You'll save substantial money, and be able to spend more time in the fabulous Barcelona.
Direct trains will definitely be running from 15th December, according to The Man in Seat 61:
Direct Paris-Barcelona TGVs are GO!
It's now definite. The two daily Paris-Figueres TGVs will be extended to/from Barcelona as from 15 December, with fares likely to start at €59 each way. Southbound departures from Paris either 07:17 & 14:07 or at 10:07 & 16:07 depending who you believe, with arrival in Barcelona 6h20 later, 20 minutes faster than with the change at Figueres. Northbound departures from Barcelona are also unconfirmed, but could be 09:29 and 16:29, saving 20 minutes over the current time. The new trains will go on sale by the end of November, for travel from 15 December onwards.
Thank you so much for the new information. Can I assume the train does not stop in France? I was trying to stay a couple of days somewhere in between Paris and Barcelona . thank you.
Hi Cynthia, yes it stops in France, at the places I listed previously. It's really the same service that runs now, just without the change at Figueres Vilafant.
Kevin, when you said "likely", I interpreted as a maybe. So good to know, I will try to stay two nights in one those stops. thank you again.
Kevin, have you been to Carcassonne? and is that near the Narbonne train stop at all? Because it says there is a Narbonne gate in Carcassonne. On the map is looks pretty far away. I am trying to find an interesting place to stay on the fast train route. thanks.
You'd have to change trains in Narbonne to get to Carcassonne; it's a half hour trip (there are many trains per day in both directions). Carcassonne is very nice and would be a good choice if you want to break up your journey.
Will, I am trying to decide between Avignon and Carcassonne. Train schedule being the most important and then which would be more interesting? thank you!
Cynthia, there are separate frequent TGV trains from Paris to Avignon. They stop at a newer station about a mile outside central Avignon. The older station in the center is called "Avignon Centre." It's about a half hour again on a local train from Avignon Centre to Nimes, where you could catch a TGV on to Barcelona.
I liked Carcassonne and Avignon about equally well. I had read about the "Babylonian Captivity of the Church" (when French popes moved the seat of the papacy to Avignon) in history classes, and I found the Palace of the Popes really interesting. It's a wonderfully imposing building from the exterior. Some of the folks on this board have said the interior is unremarkable; I though it was worth seeing- I especially remember the enormous ovens that fed the popes' huge retinues and diplomatic guests.
Then there's the ruins of the famous-in-song "pont d'Avignon." Other than that it's a nice small French city with a pleasant setting on the Rhone.
So it's still a toss-up for me between Carcassonne and Avignon... maybe if you read up on each further you may lean one way or the other.
Just a couple of additional notes on Kevin's good information above.
The €59 euro fares will only be on sale for a while (a few months.). According to a report in Le Figaro, those are the "old" rates from the slow train, which RENFE and SNCF are holding on to for now even for the fast train -- but at some point they will recalculate the fares to put them more in line with other TGV fares. (I.e., hike them)
Second, in April, they will double the number of trips per day in order to meet (what they expect to be) greater demand.
Going the opposite direction, Barcelona to Paris on the fast train, on May 21, 2014. Thinking of stopping in Nimes, Montpellier, Narbonne or Perpignan overnight enroute. Of those four cities/towns, is there one that you would recommend over the others? Also, will it cost more to break up the train ride by stopping enroute, or will the fare end up the same?