UK, France, & Spain (London, Valencia, Barcelona, Bordeaux, & Paris) this September. What should we purchase?

Can you give us the best train routes available for this journey along with time and cost involved. Is there a rail pass that would be cost effective? We have heard that overnight is available. However, we wonder if the daytime view is worth spending a day on the train verses sleeping on the overnight train? We could do either. We start our journey in London then Valencia Spain, then Barcelona Spain then Bordeaux France then Paris France. Thank you for your help!
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) July 06, 2015 21:31
    Hello.

    The best option to cover rail travel would be dependent on the specific itinerary itself and various other factors. Are you planning on going straight to Valencia from London? If so, please note that the connection would take about 24 hours in duration and involve 3 train changes en route; once in Paris, once in Perpignan, and then once in Madrid. The segment from Paris to Perpignan would be on an overnight train.

    Also, It is important to note that there is no rail pass that will combine the United Kingdom/England with any other countries on the mainland continent of Europe. However, a rail pass that includes France would enable you to receive a 'Passholder' rate for a ticket on the 'Eurostar' train from London to Paris. The 'Eurostar' is the train that connects the United Kingdom with the European mainland.

    Considering this, you could purchase the 'Eurail France-Spain Pass' in combination with tickets booked at a 'Passholder' rate on the 'Eurostar' train from London to Paris.

    You would purchase the 'Eurail France-Spain Pass' here: http://www.raileurope.com/rail-ticket....

    In addition to the pass and the 'Passholder' tickets on the 'Eurostar', all of the trains you'd be taking would require (passholder) reservations.

    You would purchase these reservations and the 'Passholder' tickets on the 'Eurostar' the same way. To do so, you would click on 'Book your Rail Pass Reservations' on our homepage, enter a route, and indicate the type of rail pass you'll be traveling with (i.e. a Eurail France-Spain Pass).

    On most of the trains that comprise of your itinerary, the 'passholder' reservations can sell out very quickly. Therefore, it would be recommended that the reservations be booked as soon as it becomes possible.

    London to Valencia

    As I alluded to above, a connection from London to Valencia would involve changing trains 3 times en route. When purchasing reservations for such a connection on our site, you would piece it together by doing a separate search for each segment. Therefore, you would do one search for trains from London to Paris (high-speed 'Eurostar' trains), another search to access the overnight train from Paris to Perpignan ('Intercités de Nuit' train), another search for connecting trains from Perpignan to Madrid the following morning ('France-Spain High Speed' trains), and another search for connecting trains from Madrid to Valencia (high-speed 'AVE' or 'Alvia' trains).

    When doing your searches, you will see that trains from London to Paris arrive into the Nord station in Paris, while the night train from Paris to Perpignan departs from the Austerlitz station in Paris. To commute from the Nord station to the Austerlitz station, you would take M5 of the Paris Métro. The ride on the Métro from Nord to Austerlitz would take at least 15 minutes, but you would still want to allow yourself at least 1 full hour between your arrival from London and your departure to Perpignan. You would pay to ride the Métro locally at the turnstiles before boarding.

    When doing passholder search for trains from Madrid to Valencia on our site, it will only quote passholder fares for the first 5 trains following the preferred departure time that you chose when you entered the criteria of your search. To be quoted the passholder fares for any train that departs after the last of those 5 trains, you would just have to adjust your preferred departure time accordingly when you enter the criteria of your search. Therefore, when doing your search, you would choose the specific hour for each set of departures you wish to view (i.e. '4 pm' for trains that depart during the 4 o'clock hour, '05 pm' for trains that depart during the 5 o'clock hour, etc).

    The 'Eurostar' (London to Paris) is unique from other trains in that it can generally be booked 6 to 9 months in advance of a departure, the night train from Paris to Perpignan can generally only be booked within 90 days of an intended date of departure, the direct trains from Perpignan to Madrid can generally be booked up to 120 days in advance of a departure, and the trains from Madrid to Valencia can generally be booked within 60 to 90 days of an intended date of departure.

    Valencia to Barcelona

    From Valencia to Barcelona, there are direct 'EuroMed' trains. Generally, you would be able to follow the usual procedure to book reservations for these trains; however, the passholder reservations for these trains are not able to be booked on our site at this time. Instead, to purchase reservations for a train from Valencia to Barcelona, you would have to call us at 1-800-622-8600.

    Usually, the trains from Valencia to Barcelona would be able to be booked within 60 to 90 days of an intended date of departure, but the rail network of Spain is currently only enabling trains on this route to be booked within 30 days of a departure.

    Barcelona to Bordeaux

    A connection from Barcelona to Bordeaux would take about 6 to 7 hours in duration and involves changing trains once in Narbonne along the way. Therefore, you can purchase the reservations for this connection by doing one search for trains from Barcelona to Narbonne ('France-Spain High Speed' trains) and another search for connecting trains from Narbonne to Bordeaux ('Intercités' trains or high-seed 'TGV' trains).

    Generally, the trains from Barcelona to Narbonne can be booked within 120 days of an intended date of departure, while the trains from Narbonne to Bordeaux can only be booked within 90 days of an intended date of departure.

    Bordeaux to Paris

    To get from Bordeaux back up to Paris, you would take a direct 'TGV' train. Generally, trains from Bordeaux to Paris can only be booked within 90 days of an intended date of departure.
    • Jeff (Official Rep) April 12, 2018 21:21
      IMPORTANT UPDATE

      As of this month (April 2018):

      The following rail passes no longer qualify passengers to receive ‘passholder’ rates for reservations on the Eurostar:

      Any single country Eurail Pass, including:

      • Eurail France Pass
      • Eurail Benelux Pass

      Any 2 country option of Eurail Select Pass, including:

      • Eurail France-Italy Pass
      • Eurail France-Switzerland Pass
      • Eurail France-Germany Pass
      • Eurail Benelux-France Pass
      • Eurail France-Spain Pass
      • Eurail Benelux-Germany Pass

      BritRail Passes and the France-Italy combination of the 2 country Eurail Select Pass continue to not be valid on the Eurostar.

      Passengers traveling with any of these rail passes would need to purchase regular tickets to take the Eurostar.

      Passholder rates will continue to be offered (depending on availability) to any passenger traveling with a Eurail Global Pass, a 3 country Eurail Select Pass (that includes the country of arrival or departure, be it France or the Benelux), or a 4 country Eurail Select Pass (that includes the country of arrival or departure, be it France or the Benelux).
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