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Paris-Barcelona TGVs are go!

Quainton, United...
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Paris-Barcelona TGVs are go!

I was on the 09:20 Barcelona to Paris TGV Duplex the day before yesterday - only its 2nd day of operation. Spanish TV news crews were everywhere...

Very smooth, very fast, and into Paris 3 minutes early.

The easiest place to buy tickets is at www.capitainetrain.com or www.loco2.com (which can also book you through to or from London or any British station) as the official French Railways website has an annoying tendency to divert you to rail Europe, where there's no seating choice. I strongly recommend an upper deck seat for the best views.

Fares start at €59 in 2nd class, €99 in 1st class. You normally simply print your own ticket.

There's no WiFi, but the train has power sockets at all seats, a cafe-bar, toilets & luggage space both upstairs and downstairs. You're free to bring your own food, wine or beer on board, or you can buy from the bar car.

It's quite a scenic run - past snow-capped 2,784m high Mt Canigou at the southern end of the Pyrenees (which was visible from just before Girona all the way to Perpignan), past the 15th century Fort de Salses just east of Perpignan, along the Mediterranean coast, past many étangs (lakes) with colonies of flamingos feeding on one leg in the shallows, over the River Orb then right past Béziers' hilltop cathedral, then up the Rhone Valley past pretty villages and even the odd castle. It was a very clear day on Monday so I could see the high French Alps far to the east as well as the dark ridge of the Massif central to the west.

I then hopped on the 18:13 Eurostar back to London.

Subject to confirmation, they plan to double Paris-Barcelona TGV service to 4 trains a day in each direction from 31 March 2014.

There are also now Spanish AVE high-speed trains linking Barcelona with Toulouse, Carcassone, Marseille, Lyon, these too will be increased, and a Barcelona to Geneva TGV added, from 31 March.

Edited: 18 December 2013, 15:23
London, United...
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for Costa de la Luz
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1. Re: Paris-Barcelona TGVs are go!

I think that booking rail tickets in Europe is still not as easy as one thinks! The Capitainetrain web site will I am sure become a very useful European train web site however not yet.

As a matter of interest I tried to book a seat from Madrid to Paris for the 9 Jan. On Capitaine I was given two options each taking a long long time. 15 hours 42 mins for one and 21 hours for the other.

Now the new Barcelona to Paris train takes 6 hours and something. And the Madrid to Barcelona section can take under 3 hours. So for travellers coming to Europe and hoping to find some joined up easy method to buy European rail tickets it is still not so easy.

Quainton, United...
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2. Re: Paris-Barcelona TGVs are go!

It's easy when you know how. Paris-Barcelona at www.capitainetrain.com, as it connects to the French Railways system. Book Barcelona to Madrid (or Alicante or Seville or Malaga) at the Spanish Railways site www.renfe.com (or www.petrabax.com/renfe or www.raileurope-world.com)

It's just knowing which site to book the full fare range for each train.

London, United...
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3. Re: Paris-Barcelona TGVs are go!

Mark...Of course it is a question of knowing where to book each route and how to bag best prices etc. However my point was that some travelers who are living outside of Europe especially are not aware about the different answers being provided by different web sites and can get into a muddle. For example I have often found that Rail Europe web site you mention gives fewer options and more expensive ones. The Madrid to Paris trip on 9th Jan I mentioned earlier is offered just now for €501 using the 11.30 Madrid to Barcelona then Barcelona- Paris.

On RENFE I can book the Madrid to Barcelona at around €60 and that leaves €440 for a ticket from Barcelona to Paris ! Cannot be right ?

And the Petrabax organisation is just one of many International sales points linked to RENFE and they are based in USA. In the United Status (note spelling on Renfe !) there are others. You can find the list of sales agents who may be able to help on RENFE here

renfe.com/EN/…puntosventa_internacional.html

So for European rail travel it is still very difficult to find the easiest and best options for buying a through rail ticket. Although your web site goes a long way to assist puzzled visitors.

Adelaide, Australia
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4. Re: Paris-Barcelona TGVs are go!

Thanks for the info. I am going to be in the Loire Valley, and then going to Barcelona. Can I join the train en-route, or do I need to go back to Paris?

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Paris-Barcelona TGVs are go!

The new services from Barcelona go to Lyon, Toulouse and Marseille as well as Paris. If you will have a car, you could perhaps drive to Lyon or Toulouse to pick up a train there. If you are travelling by train, you might do best to go back to Paris.

However, it is possible to take a train from St-Pierre-des-Corps (just outside Tours) to Bordeaux and change there for a train to Toulouse.

6. Re: Paris-Barcelona TGVs are go!

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