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Train travel from France to Spain: Everything you need to know

Fans of overland travel - and anyone keen to avoid airports - will be pleased to learn that there are several train routes between France and Spain, taking in some spectacular views of the Pyrenees. Here's everything you need to know to plan a trip.

Train travel from France to Spain: Everything you need to know
Gare de Cerbere on the line between Perpignan and Barcelona. (Photo by RAYMOND ROIG / AFP)

There are four rail routes that cross the border between Spain and France, scattered from the Mediterranean to the Basque coast, all varying in time and cost.

Let’s start with the major ones. French railway operator SNCF offers services from Paris Gare de Lyon – via Valence, Nîmes, Montpellier, Sète, Agde, Béziers, Narbonne, and Perpignan – to Barcelona, stopping at Figueres and Girona in Spain before reaching the Catalan capital.

There are currently two high-speed trains per day in each direction between Paris and Barcelona.

Meanwhile, Spain’s state-owned rail network Renfe is to begin running high-speed AVE services between France and Spain, according to Spanish Transport Minister Raquel Sánchez. Routes planned to open this summer are Madrid-Marseille and Barcelona-Lyon, while a Madrid-Paris is planned by the end of the year.

Renfe’s high-speed trains will initially run between Madrid and Marseille and between Barcelona and Lyon on alternate days, with six weekly return trips on each route.

As the services ramp up, they will then run twice a day, with Renfe aiming for 28 services a week between the two routes.

Further down the line – see what we did, there? – Italy’s Trenitalia is planning to launch a service that connects Paris and Madrid by the end of 2024 – creating a service between the French capital and Barcelona, and linking with its already existing high-speed service between the Spanish cities.

Most of the remaining routes are via regional trains. 

Cerbère to Port Bou

This route runs along the Mediterranean coastline, between the two small border towns – the travel time between the two stations is just 11 minutes and runs every two hours. Single tickets cost just €1.20.

Local TER services in France connect the border town of Cerbère to Narbonne, Montpellier, Avignon – UK newspaper The Guardian last year waxed lyrical about the four-hour-and-15-minutes, 25-stop journey from Avignon to Spain – and Toulouse.

Single standard tickets for the two-hour 50-minute journey between Toulouse and Cerbère cost around €39.

Latour de Carol to Puigcerdà

This scenic route takes you straight through the Pyrenees, not far from Andorra, from the French village of Latour de Carol, also known as La Tor de Querol-Enveig in Catalan, to the small Catalan town of Puigcerdà.

The total journey time between the two stations takes just 6 minutes and costs €2.15, but it’s more likely that travellers will be coming from Toulouse – or even Paris. 

Toulouse to Latour de Carol takes about three hours, and tickets routinely cost around €28. It’s possible to connect from Paris Austerlitz to Toulouse on this service.

Hendaye to Irún 

The Basque Country crossing offers so many trains per day that it’s often used by commuters and is definitely one of the easiest and most efficient crossings between the two countries.

This is the Euskotren, that runs throughout the Basque Country, part regional train and part metro. This section crosses into Spain from Hendaye to Irún, just outside San Sebastián.

That part of the journey takes just 4 minutes and costs €1.85, but it’s more likely that you’ll be travelling from to or nearby San Sebastián in Spain, or Hendaye in France. Hendaye to San Sebastián takes 23 minutes and costs €2.75, with trains running every 30 minutes.

You can get directly to Hendaye from Biarritz, Bayonne and Bordeaux – and from San Sebastián (itself a popular holiday destination and foodie hotspot) you can head on deeper into Spain via Bilbao, Valladolid and Madrid.

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Nuit Blanche 2023: What’s on and where to go in Paris

During this year's all-nighter event in Paris there will be film screenings and street art exhibits, as well as free museum entry at some of the capital's best art and culture venues. Here is the schedule for the 'Nuit Blanche'.

Nuit Blanche 2023: What's on and where to go in Paris

The annual Nuit Blanche celebration in Paris will take place on Saturday, June 3rd, and the city has plenty of activities to enjoy all night long.

This year, the event was organised by artistic director Kitty Hartl, who also coordinated the 2022 event. With nearly 200 cultural activities and art exhibits running throughout the night, everyone will be able to find something worth staying up for.

You can find the full agenda HERE.

Artistic exhibits

“Artistic posters for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games” – If you are not available on Saturday the 3rd, you can still see a special Nuit Blanche exhibit on Thursday, June 1st from 3pm until 8pm.

For each Olympic and Paralympic Games, artists are invited to contribute to the collective memory of the event by creating a body of original artwork intended to demonstrate Olympic values, such as inclusivity and innovation. Seven artists were commissioned to come up with Olympic and Paralympic posters, which you will be able to see during the exhibit. The event will be held at the Auai de la Mégisserie in Paris’ 1 arrondissement.

“Nuit Blanche at the Holocaust Memorial” – During Nuit Blanche, the Holocaust (Shoah) Memorial will present works of art related to the Armenian Genocide via the personal story of artist Melik Ohanian in an evening titled “Remember, It was tomorrow”. You can find more information here.

“Breuer.121” – Held at the Hungarian cultural centre, the Institut Liszt Paris, this exhibit will show the works of Marcel Breuer, who graduated from the Bauhaus school in the 1920s, and gained an international reputation for his tubular furniture. On the event of his 120th birthday, the exhibit will show Breuer’s entire body of work and discuss his influence on Hungarian Brutalism. It will run from 7pm until 11pm. More information found here.

“CAPITALE(S), 60 years of urban and street art in Paris” – Nuit Blanche will represent the final day of the “CAPITALE(S)” street art exhibit at Paris’ Hôtel de Ville, which will keep its doors open to the public until midnight during the event. The exhibit shows works from 70 prominent street artists, both French and international. The event will run from 6:30pm until midnight, and though it is free, you will need to reserve a ticket in advance. You can find more information here.


Several museums across the city will offer free entry during Nuit Blanche, and some have special exhibits going on for the night as well.

La Bourse du Commerce – During Nuit Blanche, entry will be free until midnight. There will also be a special event titled “Before the Storm” running from 7pm until midnight at the museum, which will show the works of 15 artists exploring tensions and impacts brought on by climate change. 

Picasso Museum – The Picasso Museum will also open its doors for free, with special events throughout the night. From 9pm until 11pm, there will be a DJ performance by the artist Radio Nova in the courtyard. You can find more information here.

Pompidou Modern Art Museum – The Centre Pompidou will offer immersive installations and performances starting at 6pm at the Piazza in front of the museum. The public will also be granted free entry into Galerie 3, where a light and sound performance by Camille Juthier will take place, as an exploration of the universe.

The Musée d’Orsay – Even though the museum will not allow people to take tours of all its galleries during Nuit Blanche, there will still be an event worth seeing, running from 7pm until 4am – an outdoor showing of the film “Le Fond de la Seine” which gives a portrait of the river using underwater and landscape images to show its history, connection to people and industry and how the water runs out to the ocean.


“The Orchestre Colonne” – one of France’s oldest orchestras, founded in 1873, the Orchestre Colonne will offer a show running from 8pm to 11pm during this year’s Nuit Blanche. The team of over 47 musicians will play Verdi, La Forza del destino (overture) and Brahms’ 2nd symphony. It will be held at 23 quai de Conti, in Paris’ 6th arrondissement. You can find more information HERE.

“Nour Kara & Juliette Capel – Women, Life, Freedom” – this experimental live music show will honour Iranian women’s struggle for freedom. Starring Nour Kara, Iranian electronic music producer, and Juliette Capel, cellist and percussionist, the show will offer a non-classical interpretation of the cello, partnered with electronic and experimental music effects. The event will take place at the Mairie of the 19e arrondissement, going from 9pm until 10:30pm.

“III Julien Signolet & Mathias Durand” – Enjoy an immersive musical experience with live performances by Mathias Durand. This installation will join visual effects, dance and sound. It will take place at the Collège des Bernardins at 20 rue de Poissy, in Paris’ 5th arrondissement, going from 7pm until 2am.

Activities for kids

“109 LOSANGES” – located along the banks of the Seine, the Federico-García-Lorca garden will host several open air art exhibit, with trees and pathways illuminated with lights to create a fun, immersive and colourful experience. It will run from 7pm until 3am, taking place on the Georges-Pompidou pathway in the 4th arrondissement.

“The Europa Experience” – Inspired by the world of gaming, this video event is a collaboration between two artists. In the exhibit, viewers will enjoy a 2D to 3D video as the character walks around video game landscapes and modernist paintings. The event will be held at 28 place de la Madeleine, in the 8th arrondissement. It will run from 7pm until midnight.

“Aiguillage galerie” – From the young comics collective, this multimedia event will allow you to discover comic books, immersive video projections, and fascinating animations. It will be held at 19 rue des Frigos, Building B, in the 13th arrondissement, running from 9pm to 1am.