We have four adults traveling from Paris to Spain. We'd like to go to Bilbao/San Sebastian first, then travel to Madrid and Sevilla, ending in Barcelona. We have ~ 15 days in Spain. Question: Is train travel from Paris to Bilbao / San Sebastian straight forward or challenging? Many transfers? Should we consider flying? Should we consider a faster train from Paris to Madrid or Barcelona, then taking a side trip up to Bilbao / San Sebastian? Many, Many thanks. We have traveled with Rick Steves in the past and have most of his European travel guides and videos.
Fly from Orly to Bilbao, Vueling non-stop, 90 minutes, not too much more expensive than the train if bought well in advance. It sure saves a lot of time. Iberia also has a non-stop (although it may be on the same plane since Vueling is a subsidiary.) www.skyscanner.net The border crossing by train is awkward. The TGV runs to Biarritz/Hendaye where the connection is a narrow-guage train run by the regional mass transit for Bilbao and Sebastian and one step up from a streetcar. Nice mountainous scenery in the area, though.
Bilbao has a fairly new airport very convenient to the centre (the elevated road runs over top of the Guggenheim Museum) and the city is worth at least a day or two.
Going in and out of Spain, use Vueling if they're going to and from where you're wanting to go. You can see so more in Spain with the extra day traveling.