Tales on Rail: Day 5 – High-Speed Train Travel From Paris to Barcelona

We checked out of our hotel, the Mecure Paris Gare de Lyon at about 6:30 am this morning. We walked right next door to the Paris Gare de Lyon train station. Aside from its great location, so close to the train station, the hotel was comfortable & clean.

Tales on Rail Paris

Gare de Lyon Train Station in Paris, France

We arrived at the Gare de Lyon train station a little early for our train, which gave us some time to take a little tour. This station was very large and divided into different halls.  The outside of the station intricately detailed with a large clock tower standing beside it. Inside, the ticket offices and printing stations were very easy to locate. The SNCF staff were friendly and attentive, making sure we knew where we were going and willing to answer any questions we might have had.

Taking the France-Spain High Speed Train From Paris to Barcelona

Tales on Rail Paris

France-Spain High Speed Train departing from Paris Gare de Lyon for Barcelona

We took the new France-Spain High Speed train to Barcelona. It is pretty awesome that you can take a train from Paris, all the way to Barcelona in about 6.5 hours. The train was wonderful. It was a duplex train, meaning it had two levels. Our seats were on the top half of the train, in first class. There was ample space in our coach to put luggage, which was really nice since there were 12 of us in our group, none of us had to scramble to find a place for our bags.

I couldn’t wait to get to my seat and feel how comfortable it was. There was so much space in between seats – you certainly did not feel squished, and they even reclined. I no longer have any second thoughts about spending a lengthy amount of time on a high-speed train.

Tales on Rail

Bar car on-board France-Spain TGV from Paris to Barcelona

Because we left the hotel so early this morning, we were unable to have breakfast. We were very happy to learn that the train had a  snack car. They offered a variety of pastries, coffees and juices for breakfast. I opted for coffee and a croissant, which I am happy to say I have had quite a few of on this trip!

When we left Paris it was pitch black out, so it has been nice to see the day brighten up as we travel down to Spain on the train. There were endless fields to gaze at as we traveled through France. Such beautiful scenery all around us, green grassy fields and little houses and churches scattered randomly throughout the landscape. This is the image of France I have been looking forward to seeing.

As the ride went on, it sort of alternated between small city areas and more country-like areas. We made it to a tunnel which we were told we would cross through and officially be in Spain! It may sound unbelievable, but you could instantly see the change in scenery and style of the buildings.

Before we made it to Barcelona, we took a walk through Second Class to see how the accommodations were. To be honest, Second Class was still very spacious and, along with First Class, it had outlets at each seat. Overall I was very impressed with the train and found it both comfortable and relaxing for a long ride.

Our Afternoon in Barcelona, Spain

Tales on Rail Barcelona

Museum Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain

We arrived at the Barcelona Sants Estació and met up with Joana from Barcelona Tourisme. The station was much smaller than the others that we have been in. We got on our bus and began our tour of Barcelona! It is so incredible the way you can travel up the hills through the city. The views are so beautiful. We did a quick loop through the hills and then we went to  TapaTapa Maremagnum for, well, some tapas! We had a huge assortment of food, ranging from guacamole & salmon, to little sliders to chocolate lava cake and sangria, and everything in between! It was all so delicious, I was stuffed.

Tales on Rail Barcelona

Rail Europe staff at TapaTapa for lunch with Barcelona Tourism

After lunch we did some more driving around the city which included a slow drive by La Sagrada Familia, a well known Church in Barcelona. It was breathtaking and it is not even completed. It’s crazy to think that it has been worked on since 1882, and its expected completion date is in 2026. Although we only made a quick stop, we could see much of the detail in its design, and from what we were told, the inside is just as incredible.

As we headed back to Barcelona Sants Estació, we were shown some of the Gaudí buildings. The look of these buildings are quite unique. It really is such a beautiful place. This city is a must in my list of places I want to return to.

Back at the station, we said goodbye to Joana and met Jaime of RENFE. Jamie gave us a tour of the AVE train, which was getting ready to depart from Barcelona to Seville. Before visiting the platform, we had to go through security, this didn’t take much time at all. Once again, I find myself blown away by a train. We had the chance to view three classes of service; Club class, Preferente class and Turista. After seeing the different classes, it’s easy to see that they cater to all travel budgets! The entire train was spotless and looked like a very comfortable way to travel.

AVE High-Speed Train From Barcelona to Narbonne

Tales on Rail Barcelona

RENFE AVE high-speed train from Barcelona to Narbonne

After this, Jamie escorted us to our train, which was an AVE train! We were headed to Narbonne, France. I was very happy to have the chance to travel in the same type of train I was just so impressed by, and it definitely lived up to my original impressions!

Time for Dinner, in Narbonne

We arrived at the Gare de Narbonne station and took a short walk to our hotel, Appart City Narbonne. We checked-in and got ready for dinner. We had dinner at the Brasserie Co, which is roughly a 10 minute walk from our hotel. For dinner, I started with guacamole made with shrimp and a salad on the side. The tomatoes on the salad were so fresh tasting, it was delicious. For my main dish I got baked cod which sat atop a cod purée and hash brown potato. The food was fantastic. I feel like I have eaten so many amazing dishes on my trip, good thing for all of the walking we are doing.

Tales on Rail France

Baked cod with cod purée & hash brown potato for dinner at The Brasserie Co, Narbonne, France

It’s starting to become real that we are nearing the end of our trip. I am really going to miss traveling to new cities every day. But, there are still two full days left to enjoy, so for now I am just looking forward to seeing more of Narbonne and then traveling to Dijon tomorrow!

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