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17 replies
The train from Paris to Barcelona...
Jord
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Hello. I have two questions.
1. How long on average does the train take from Paris to Barcelona? If there are multiple trains — whichever one accepts the Eurail Pass. (I am very inexperienced in European travel, so please excuse any ignorance on my part)
2. If you were arriving in Paris in the morning, after a flight from Dallas/Ft. Worth, and wanted to get to Spain as soon as possible without pushing it, would you:
A. After leaving the airport, get on the first train to Barcelona.
B. Stay in Paris during the day, wandering around and getting acclimated and then take the night train to Barcelona, sleeping on the train.
C. Stay in Paris during the day. Spend the night in Paris, and the next morning, take the train to Barcelona.

Thank you for your consideration and counsel.

augustin25
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Times vary between roughly 10 and 12 hours depending on which train you take.
I’ve done this twice and would either stay in Paris overnight and get some decent sleep/acclimate to the time change or take the overnight train the night I arrived.  I don’t think I’d want to get off the plane and then immediately jump on a train for 10-12 hours and arrive in Barcelona between 10 and 11 o’clock at night. You could also end up having to change trains four or five times if you take a train that leaves during the day.

Both times I spent the day wandering Paris until my overnight train left around 8:30 P.M.  This way I didn’t have to pay for both someplace to stay and transport to Barcelona.  I will say that by the time I got on that train I was exhausted, but it allowed me some time to get a decent meal and do a little sightseeing.  I even paid like 5 or 6 euros to use the shower at the train station before the train departed (seriously, it wasn’t that bad).

If you decide to spend the night and leave the following day, I’d suggest flying.

Airlines that fly Paris-Barcelona:
http://www.ryanair.com
http://www.vueling.com
http://www.easyjet.com

Train schedules:
rotocol=http:&” class=“bb-url”>http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en?newrequest=yes&amprotocol=http:&

Info on the overnight train:
http://www.elipsos.com/htm/default.htm?lang=3

Jord
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Thank you again, Augustin. I really appreciate your help!

nivid
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I have to agree with Augustin.

The only time i’ve traveled this route was on a night train.  I think we left Paris around 8PM and arrived in Barcelona around 9AM the next day.  Shortly after we departed Paris, they came around to collect our passports.  This way we could sleep through the entire night and didn’t get woke up in early morning when we crossed the border.  We got the passports back in the morning.  I’m not sure if this still happens.  I did this in 2001, when the Euro wasn’t even around yet!!!

Basie
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If you’ll be leaving from DFW, could you not find a flight that would take you to Barcelona? For example, arrive in London and connect there with a flight to Spain? Or fly to Madrid from DFW? Or from Paris to Bacelona?
I love train travel in Europe but, as others have said, you’d have a trip that would be long and really difficult after a transatlantic flight!!

anoojibail
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Hi guys,

I will be going on Europe trip coming month & I am planning to go to Barcelona, Spain from Paris by train. Since I am going for the first time, I would like to know if there day trains from Paris to Barcelona? If yes, how frequent are they? I feel that If i take train, I would be able to see both countries on the way & I will be starting from Paris after a good 1 day rest. Please let me know

oldlady
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Yes, there are day trains, but unless you have a lot of extra time, a cheap flight (often both faster and cheaper than the train) or an overnight train (expensive, but it saves time) is usually a better choice. There are a couple of daytime options, each taking about 7 1/2 hours and requiring one transfer. One leaves in the AM and the other mid-afternoon. Check rail schedules for anywhere in Europe on the German national rail company website:
http://reiseauskunft…?

Note for future posts — probably better to start a new post than to tack onto one that’s been dead for nearly 5 years.

anoojibail
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Hi guys,

I am planning a trip with my family from Paris to Barcelona by a day train, to see both countries in day time & I have found this possibility in Rail Europe website, but there is a stop over in one place where we need to change the train for which we get some 22 minutes only. I would like to know if this time is sufficient for us to change the train with our luggage(will have at least 2 suitcases since we are on a 2 weeks Europe trip). Also I have seen some other websites where they suggest us to take high speed French train upto France-Spain Border & take up a local train to Barcelona which goes in hilly scenic areas of Spain. For this can anyone of suggest the links for Paris to the border & then local train from border to Barcelona?

Thanks

oldlady
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22 minutes will be plenty for a transfer. The trains will probably be across the platform from each other, Although with two suitcases APIECE??? this will be one of the lower points of a miserable trip.

You are responsible for your own luggage on European trains. You must carry it onto the train, carry it down a fairly narrow aisle and usually hoist it up to an overhead rack. You often need one hand free to grab a bar or handle to climb onto the train. Wheeled luggage is handy in the airport and sometimes in the train station, but you will have to deal with steps, curbs and actually getting on the train, so you will have to carry you suitcase sometimes. Very few train stations have luggage carts (and you still have steps and actually getting on the train to deal with) and almost none have porters to help with luggage. Many hotels and hostels don’t have elevators and in two weeks you’ll run into at least one place where the elevator isn’t working.

Check the French and Spanish national rail company websites for the information you want. The links are in a sticky at the top of this forum and under “transportation” on the “travel tips” tab. You can also use the German rail website. Just use the border crossing name as your destination for the French part and your departure on the Spanish part — click “all without ICE” or “only local transportation” to see more local and regional trains on the Spanish part.

anoojibail
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Hi,

Thank u very much 4 ur quick reply! R u telling me that 2 suitcases per family of 3 is too much? I will b traveling with my wife & 8 year old daughter. So, let me know about it! Ok, so shifting 2 another train is not a problem! V almost have decided 2 take up Raileurope train(www.raileurope.com) from Paris to Barcelona, with one stop over somewhere to change the train. One more thing I would like to clarify is that 2nd option of reaching Barcelona from Paris. That is take up a budget airline from Paris to the scenic Valencia,Spain & from there take a train to Barcelona, Spain. Do Budget airliners like Aireuropa or Iberia charge for Check-in luggage , I mean 1 check-in luggage/head?

oldlady
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2 suitcases should work fine for a family of 3 with an 8 year old. Your daughter will be able to get on the train and up any steps at the station or hotel/hostel by herself. Assuming your suitcases aren’t too heavy, the parents should have the necessary 1 free hand to negotiate getting on the train or holding on to the stair rail on steep steeps in train station or hotel. Seriously think about (small) backpacks for your carry-ons and to carry your day gear while sightseeing so you aren’t dealing with having to carry something else in your hands.

I think all low fare airlines and most “regular” carriers charge for ALL checked baggage on intra-Europe flights. The low fare guys are usually fairly strict about enforcing their carry-on requirements, too. The weight allowance can be quite low and overweight fees and extra charges for checking a bag at the airport (as opposed to paying for it when you buy your ticket) can be huge. Read all the fine print about baggage on the airline site (even if you book on a travel agency site, check the airline’s website, too) and pack accordingly — sometimes 2 smaller bags are cheaper than 1 big one that’s over the weight limit. I carry a luggage scale if we’re going to be doing much flying and we redistribute gear between bags during the trip — I can’t carry as much as they guys do, but I’m usually under the weight limit so can put an extra pair of shoes in my bag for the flight. There may be some old posts on the “cheap flights” forum that will help, or you can post your flight questions there.

oldlady
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PS:
RailEurope is a travel agency. There is no such thing as a “raileurope train.” The train will be operated by one of the national rail companies. Seriously check prices before buying any train tickets from ANY travel agency website. They generally charge “global fare” which is about 30% more than you’d pay at the train station and you usually miss out on any on-line or other specials you may be able to book on the individual national rail company websites. Add inflated prices for reservations and shipping and handling fees, you can easily end up paying twice as much as if you walked up to the ticket counter at the train station. Indicate you’re from UK or some European country to avoid being re-routed to RailEurope or another travel agency when you check pricing on the national rail company sites.

augustin25
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This is a good site for looking for flights http://www.skyscanne…
If you decide to fly, note that Ryanair flies from Beauvais outside of Paris, and will require a longer train or bus ride to get there. If Vueling has the cheapest fares for the flight you want, you can book the same flight on Iberia at a slightly higher price, but you won’t pay extra to use a credit card, baggage is included in the ticket price, and you’ll be allowed 23kg of checked baggage per person (pay per bag with Vueling, and maximum per bag is 20kg). If you have any questions about flights and airlines just ask us.

anoojibail
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Ok, thanks a lot for the info. I have understood about the luggage part & also the RailEurope. So, then would u b able to suggest me any particular site where i can book my train online from Paris to Valencia or Barcelona OR would u suggest me 2 buy tickets in the train station? If I am able to buy in the train station, can I believe the train schedules given in Rail Europe website or is there any way of checking the train schedules in Paris in the hotel where we stay or any particular website where i can check? One more thing I would like to ask is in this site under travel tips-transportation where I am able to book train tickets, but the link gets redirected to RailEurope website!! So, what is the authentic website where i can book, the whole journey?

Thanks

anoojibail
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Thanks for the info! So, u r telling me that Iberia is a good flight with regards to luggage/check-in bags. But is the allowed limit is 32kg or 23 kg as u mentioned? I hope I will b able to book Iberia flight from skyscanne site which u have mentioned & I will b able to take Iberia flight from central Paris or the main airport(CDG I believe)

anoojibail
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I am keeping 2 options to reach Barcelona from Paris.

1. Take a budger airline from Paris to Valencia(since i have heard that this is a good place), spend some time preferably & then take a train from Valencia to Barcelona(I am told that this route very much scenic).
2. Take train from Paris to Barcelona(the route which is scenic)

Which one do u suggest?

Thanks!

oldlady
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Use the French national rail company website… www.SNCF.com or www.TGV.com (for the high speed TGV trains) will get you there the. The links in the sticky and under “travel tips” go directly to the English pages. www.renfe.com is the Spanish rail company website. You can easily buy the ticket at any of the major train stations in Paris (including the TGV station at CDG airport) I Wouldn’t be worried about a day train being sold out on this route if you buy the ticket a couple of days in advance.

clevelandbrown
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Climbing onto a train while carrying luggage isn’t the best procedure if there are two of you. One gets on the train. The other hands up the luggage, then gets on the train.

Reverse the procedure for getting off.

Some trains have luggage racks at the end of the car. Some have spaces between the back to back seats for luggage. On a short ride, we sometimes just pile our bags at the side of the entrance/exit platform and stand by them. Some people do that and don’t stand by them, but I’m always concerned about theft.

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