France and Spain have some of the best and most colorful festivals in Europe. And if they’re both on your bucket list, it’s easy to travel between the two countries thanks to the France-Spain High Speed train line. With connections in the most popular cities (Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Marseille, Lyon, Girona, and more) you can visit many of the festivals we list below in one trip!
Here’s a quick overview of the routes, and then read on below for some of our favorite festivals, plus a fun giveaway!
Top France-Spain High Speed Train Routes
Paris to Barcelona: about 6.5 hours
Barcelona to Lyon: about 5 hours
Barcelona to Marseilles: about 4.5 hours
Marseilles to Madrid: about 7 hours
Nimes to Aix en Provence TGV: about 50 minutes
Barcelona to Carcassone: about 2 hours 20 minutes
Most Colorful Festivals & Holidays in France and Spain
Saint Jordi Day
First up, our personal favorite: the Festival of Saint Jordi in Barcelona on April 23. This is basically a second Valentine’s Day, where friends and lovers exchange roses and books with each other. The city comes alive with flower stalls and impromptu book markets, so it’s heaven for anyone who is even slightly romantic, literary, or interested in flowers! We’ve never been more grateful to not have flower allergies.
Paris to Barcelona by train: about 6.5 hours. Book your tickets online up to 120 days in advance
May Day in France. May Day is May 1 and is a national holiday celebrating workers. If you happen to be in France, you’ll notice people exchanging lily of the valley flowers to mark the occasion. It’s beautiful to see them popping up around every corner!
Fetes des Lumieres
Lyon: the Fete des Lumieres. Held every year in mid-December, this festival lasts for a few nights. The monuments around Lyon are lit up with stunning scenes set to music, truly works of art brought to life. Remember to bring your jacket and gloves, it gets cold out!
Barcelona to Lyon: about 5 hours via France-Spain High Speed trains
Semana Santa is Holy Week in Spain, or the week leading up to Easter. Celebrations can be found in all major cities, often with colorful parades, decorations, and celebrations in the streets. If you celebrate Easter, we recommend checking it out in Madrid, Seville, Toledo, or Malaga.
Marseille to Madrid: about 7 hours via the France-Spain High Speed trains
Las Fallas is a massive festival of parades and puppets that takes place every March in Valencia, Spain. And when we say “puppets,” we mean giant, parade-float-sized puppets. These puppets are also often satirical, representing popular public figures, characters, or events. Most of the puppets are burned, though there is a vote to decide which few will be saved and preserved in the Fallas museum in Valencia after the festivities are over.
Madrid to Valencia: about 1 hr 40 mins via high speed AVE trains
And now for the giveaway! Enter for a chance to win round-trip 1st class tickets between any 2 France-Spain High Speed Train destinations, plus a $300 USD gift card to Hotelgift. Open to US residents only. Full terms and conditions here.
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