Home » Paris to Barcelona

… I bet you thought I’d got lost didn’t you? It’s been a while, so without further ado…

Well I dimly remember that in Dieppe to Paris, the last post of my England to Spain travelogue we’d arrived in Paris’ Gare du Nord rail station. We’d travelled in from the port of Dieppe, via the cathedral city of Rouen, on a super swish and very fast TGV train.

Lost suitcase

Everything seemed exciting to me – the transfer to the Gare de Lyon rail station via Paris’ enormous Metro system. Even the short walk to the Holiday Inn Express through the Paris darkness, just a half mile from the station was kind of thrilling. It was made even more exhilarating because my significant other (no… not the dog!) had left her suitcase on the concourse in Gare de Lyon. By mistake. Take your eye off the ball and that’s what can happen after a long train journey.

Suddenly on the busy zebra crossing, through a sea of taxis, my wife channelled Edward Munch’s “The Scream”, did a volte-face (see what I did there?) like a locomotive, back into the station. To our relief the French people hadn’t let us down. Don’t believe what you may have read elsewhere. The missing suitcase hadn’t been stolen or detonated by one of the gendarmerie’s bomb disposal robots.

Holiday Inn, Gare de Lyon

We arrived for our overnight stay in Paris’ Holiday Inn – Gare de Lyon Bastille. It’s a very nice ornate hotel close to the station which we can definitely recommend. Our standard room was very smart and definitely big enough for 3 of us… okay 2 and a bit. We took the continental breakfast which was a bit light on substance but low priced! We each got a croissant, un café and a small pot of jam for €7.50. Well… cheap for Paris!

Cool

The next morning after a visit to a very down-at-heel patch of grass and weeds that passed as his bathroom, our poor little mutt was ready to venture back to the Gare de Lyon and the train to Barcelona Sants. It was very busy in the station. After all Barcelona is the cool destination. Even though it was only 12˚C in the station I was pleased to see it was only 7˚C back home. “Ah schadenfreude my old friend, it’s so good to see you again.”

Paris to Barce at 295 km/h

Snaking through the snow

Eventually when we got the call to board after a lot of people watching we saw our train looking like an immensely long shiny boa constrictor. We tracked our coach down and after the usual struggle to cajole our luggage into place we settled into comfortable seats to enjoy the 10 hour ride South. At times the colour display screen in our carriage proudly announced we were cruising at speeds of around 295 kmph (equivalent to 183 mph).

Cute

Piper, our chihuahua, took all this in his small stride. He slept for quite long periods and then would appear pressing his face through the mesh window of his carrier, looking like a latter day (small) Great Train Robber. It was then that we would be overcome by his cuteness, unzip the window and planted him on a knee, to take in the countryside zooming .past the windows at whirlwind speed. I am amazed and pleased that he didn’t have an attack of projectile vomiting on any of his journeys!

Palm trees

In mid France we saw lots of snow from our warm, comfy seats – well it was mid December. But in the South of France, la neige thawed away, to leave nice sunny palm trees appearing in gardens around Narbonne and Perpignan. Piper nibbled on small kibble dog biscuits and small sips of water from a standard water bottle, during his occasional sorties from the pet carrier.

Thank goodness for his early training.

Next time… Barcelona and Almeria!