France-Spain High Speed trains: Discover the best of both worlds


It’s no secret that Europe is chock-full of amazing trains and routes. One that’s especially notable, is the iconic France-Spain High Speed Train.

France-Spain High Speed train

Until 2013, travellers had restricted options for rail travel between these two countries. They could either visit France or Spain or spend close to 12-hours travelling by train, changing trains at the border. Nowadays, thanks to the partnership between Spanish train operator Renfe and French SNCF, travellers never again need to pick. Today, it’s seamless to go from croissants in the heart of Paris to Barcelona in time for tapas. Book the tickets direct, right here.

Iconic cities worth seeing

France and Spain are known for their fabulous locations — from bustling cosmopolitan cities to smaller towns and villages. In a previous blog post we talked about more familiar locations included on the France-Spain High Speed network like Paris, Lyon, Madrid, Barcelona, for example. But what about some of the charming smaller locations, full of character — these incredible cities deserve a little love, too.

France-Spain High Speed routes from France

Paris to Girona

Girona, Catalonia, Spain

Paris is a city with many faces. There are days worth of sights, activities, museums, and stores to visit. However, it’s easy to escape the hustle of the fast-paced stylish city of lights and head to the medieval city of Girona, Spain, by train.

Once you’ve admired the treasured Eiffel Tower in Paris, take a stroll across the Pont de les Peixateries Velles in Girona. This is the city’s most iconic bridge which spans the Onyar River. Here’s a fun fact — the bridge was constructed by Gustave Eiffel shortly before the Eiffel Tower was built. A day in Girona will be full of history and culture — especially if you take time to visit one of the most well-preserved Jewish quarters in Europe.

Paris to Girona: just under 6 hours via France-Spain High Speed trains

Lyon to Figueres

Lyon city in France

This is the perfect trip for art and food lovers alike. Travel from the often-coined ‘culinary capital of France’ to the birthplace of the infamous artist, Salvador Dalí. You may find yourself getting lost in sightseeing as you tour around Lyon, indulging in delectable cuisine and incredible architecture.

Hop on the train after lunch, so you can arrive in Figueres just in time for dinner. Be sure to visit Teatro Museo Dalí, renovated by Dalí himself. Along with sculptures, drawings, and paintings, this museum is also the final resting place of the famed artist. There is a plethora of museums and attractions throughout the city to keep you busy.

Lyon to Figueres: about 4.5 hours via France-Spain High Speed trains

Marseille to Zaragoza

Cathedral and Ebro river in Zaragoza. Aragon, Spain

As one of France’s most-visited seaside cities, Marseille, does not disappoint. Around every corner are stunning views, incredible seafood dishes, and all that you’d expect a seaside city to have.

Zaragoza is much more than Spain’s fifth-largest city. Here, you can embrace unique cuisine, cathedrals, art, monuments, museums, and more – or should we say ‘Moor’? Outside of Andalucia, the largest collection of Moorish architecture is housed in Zaragoza. Do yourself a favor, don’t skip this underrated city on your next journey abroad.

Marseille to Zaragoza: about 6 hours via France-Spain High Speed trains

France-Spain High Speed routes from Spain:

Barcelona to Narbonne

Cathedral in Narbonne, France

To see and do everything in Barcelona could easily take a week or longer. From the Olympic stadium to the epic works of Antoni Gaudí, things to do run the full spectrum in this eclectic city. However, you can enjoy an amazing city tour to immerse yourself in the highlights of the city.

Take a journey by train to Narbonne France and experience the entryway to the French countryside. Narbonne has everything from canals, beautiful tree-lined streets, and indescribable architecture. A trip from Barcelona to Narbonne makes for a perfectly balanced itinerary, incorporating busy city-life with a day in the country.

Barcelona to Narbonne: about 2 hours via France-Spain High Speed trains

Tarragona to Perpignan

Beach of Salou near to Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain

Tarragona is an easy trip by train from both Madrid and Barcelona. Here you’ll find almost a mini-Barcelona (minus the crowds) Roman ruins, beaches, Gothic architecture, museums, cathedrals, and even an amphitheater. Take a tour to unlock a few hidden gems in the city.

Perpignan welcomes its visitors with open arms. With its closeness to Spain, and being the former capital of Majorca, it’s not surprising to find a bit of Spanish culture in the city. The lobby of the train station in the city is where Dali declared that Perpignan is the ‘center of the world’. As a result of his admiration for the city, you’ll find a plaza outside the station in honor of the late artist.

Tarragona to Perpignan: 2 hours 20 minutes via France-Spain High Speed trains

Madrid to Montpellier

Place de la Comédie, Montpellier, France

The capital city of Madrid is busting at the seams with culture and life. So much so that an entire blog post could be dedicated to all the things to see and do here. Our favorite thing is to sit in the famed Plaza Mayor and just take in the sights. But, if you’re short on time, hit all the touristy things to do with a hop-on hop-off city tour.

When you’re ready to bid farewell to Madrid, travel by high-speed train to Montpellier — the capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Just six miles (9.7 kilometers) from the Mediterranean coast, this is a city not to be missed. Culture, history, great food, and spectacular nightlife make Montpellier a great bucket-list addition.

Madrid to Montpellier: about 6.5 hours via France-Spain High Speed trains

Style. Comfort. Views.

First class seating on board France-Spain High Speed trai

There are many reasons to travel by France-Spain High Speed trains. For starters, these trains weave together the culture, food, and history of two powerhouse countries. In addition, they provide superior comfort and amenities onboard, making travel more than just a means of getting from one city to the next, it makes them part of the experience.
First and Second class seating is available, to accommodate both the travel needs, and budgets of all travellers.

Upgrading to First class will allow you to:

  • Enjoy access to business lounges in Spain
  • Larger, more spacious seating
  • Ample legroom on the train

Travellers in all classes will appreciate:

  • Reclining seats
  • Free Wi-Fi access
  • Power sockets to keep your mobile devices charged
  • Bar buffet car offering snacks and beverages for purchase

For those taking a train between Lyon and Barcelona, Marseille and Madrid, or Toulouse and Barcelona, additional services such as audio systems and in-car video entertainment can be enjoyed.

Happy couple enjoying their journey on the France-Spain High Speed train

To sum up, a France-Spain High Speed train journey is amazing any time. But, if you have the chance, take advantage of off-peak fares and, see the sights without the crowds. Create memories to last a lifetime without breaking the bank.

Discover more about the France-Spain High Speed train or book your tickets today.

Photo credits: iStock and © Renfe-SNCF en Coopération

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France-Spain High Speed: Discover the best of both worlds
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