You can get French train times and costs, and make bookings, in English at www.tgv-europe.com/en but use Antarctic as the "Ticket collection country" in the first screen to avoid being transferred to RailEurope, which has higher prices and does not list all the trains. For notes on online booking, see www.nickbooth.id.au/Tips/FrenchTrain.htm
For Spanish trains, see www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html
Crossing the border is where it gets a bit tricky. You can take the TGV to Hendaye in France. In Hendaye, you walk across the parking lot to the Spanish Euskotren (local commuter train). This will take you to San Sebastian (Donostia, in Basque). From San Sebastian there is a bus to Bilbao.
Wonderful! Thank you for the advice!!
There will be more details on the San Sebastian & Bilbao forums too.
From Limoges, there are trains via perigueux to Bordeaux - it s an attractive line.
The stop in Limoges is to photograph an abondoned town in the area. Oradour sur Glane is left in preserved reservation and I would like to spend the afternoon photographing it. I am also interested in seeing and photographing some of the other medevil towns that are in the area.
How are you going to get to Oradour-sur-Glane? I've been there several times, but always in a car and get the sense it's not exactly easily reachable by public transport.
To get to Oradour-sur-Glane by public transport means taking the train to Limoges and then either bus or taxi out to Oradour - a journey of about 15 miles
I did think and plan ahead for this and will be renting a car. In additon to Oradour-sur-Glane there is the Chateau Belgnac that I would like to photograph as well. I will make a day of it while I am there.