Do you plan to travel between Paris and Barcelona? If so, there’s a newly launched option for people who want to take the train rather than sitting in airports and in planes. Beginning December 15th, 2013, you’ll be able to travel by a double-decker high speed TGV train between the two cities in just under six-and-a-half hours.
Or, you can stop in Girona, a city in the northeast of Catalonia, in five hours and fifty minutes. Beginning 2017, the trip will be cut by 45 minutes when a new section of the rail line between Nîmes to Montpellier is open.
Clearly, the trip will take longer than if you were to fly, which takes one-and-a-half-hours. But, not so very much longer when you consider having to get to and from the airports, needing to check in at least one hour before the flight’s departure, plus having to deal with security hassles.
This new train departs from Paris’s Gare de Lyon — a fast metro ride from the Louvre and arrives right in center Barcelona rather than at the airport that’s nearly an hour out of town.
Passengers will no longer need to change trains in Figueres or pass through passport control at the border. In addition, the trip no longer requires an overnight.
If you reserve a seat in the upstairs of the duplex, you’ll be able to see some of the most beautiful villages and country anywhere as you fly by. During the summer, you might see pink flamingos in the lakes at Étang de Thau.
UK-based train enthusiasts might want to take the Eurostar from London. That trip, all the way to Barcelona, will take just under ten hours.
The cost of the train varies depending on when you book and the class of service. The introductory price is approximately $80 each way between Paris and Barcelona. If you have a Rail Europe pass, this is an economical way to spend a day and you can have lunch and dinner in two different countries.
Considering the hassles, will you opt for the train or plane if you’re planning a trip to Paris or Barcelona? Personally, I can’t wait to hop on the train.
Karen Fawcett is president of Bonjour Paris.