Paris to Barcelona high speed service on sale

It's official: Spain and France's leaders announced on Wednesday the launch of a direct fast-train service between Barcelona and Paris on December 15th. Tickets went on sale on Thursday with prices for a one-way ticket ranging from €59 to €170.

Paris to Barcelona high speed service on sale
Like the idea of going from Paris to Barcelona by train in six hours and 20 minutes? Tickets are on sale forthe new service. Photo: Travelingeric / KeithLaverac - FLickr

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy revealed the date for the 6-hour and 20-minute railway service after a Madrid summit with French President François Hollande.

The new link will "overcome an historic and geographic barrier", Rajoy said at a joint news conference with the French leader.

Hollande hailed the start of the service as a "great success" but added that "it took 20 years".

The two countries' high-speed networks were linked earlier this year but passengers still had to change trains at Figueres, near the French border, a manoeuvre that added 20 minutes to the journey time.

Previously, rail passengers had to take an overnight train to make the trip.

Spain's RENFE railways operator and France's SNCF will run the line together. 

SNCF said the new daily services comprised two return trips between Paris and Barcelona, one return trip between Lyon and Barcelona and one return trip between Toulouse and Barcelona.

There will also be one daily return trip between Marseille, Barcelona and Madrid, it said.

Tickets go on sale on Thursday via both companies' websites and prices range from €59 ($80) to €170 for a one-way trip between the Catalan and French capitals.

Other 'high-speed' connections will include Madrid to Marseilles in seven hours, with pricing from €89 to €172 one-way and Barcelona–Toulouse in three hours (from €39 to €79).

In addition, a service will link Barcelona and Lyon in just under five hours with prices from €49 to €114 one way.

The new, faster Barcelona to Marseille, meanwhile trip will take four and a quarter hours and cost from €49 and €100 .

Railway authorities in Spain and France approved the use of the double-decker high-speed trains on each nation's tracks at the end of November.

The final goal is to cut the Paris-Barcelona travel time to 5 hours and 35 minutes once the track from Perpignan to Nimes in southern France is upgraded for high-speed travel, not expected until at least 2021.

Spain now boasts 3,000 kilometres of active high-speed lines, the second longest such network in the world. Only China has more.

To visit the SNCF ticket web site, you can CLICK HERE or on the image below.



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French trains ditch plastic water bottles

French national train operator SNCF has announced it will no longer sell water in plastic bottles on its services, saying the move would reduce the waste from roughly two million drinks.

French train bars will no longer be able to see plastic bottles of water.
French train bars will no longer be able to see plastic bottles of water. Photo: BERTRAND LANGLOIS / AFP.

The plastic packaging will be replaced with recyclable cardboard for still water and aluminium for sparkling.

“Plastic is no longer fantastic,” head of consumer travel operations at the SNCF, Alain Krakovitch, wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

France has gradually increased restrictions on single-use packaging to help reduce waste amid growing evidence about the impact of plastic on sea life in particular.

The government announced on Monday that plastic packaging will be banned for nearly all fruit and vegetables from January next year.

The environment ministry said that 37 percent of fruit and vegetables were sold with plastic packaging, and only the most fragile produce such as strawberries will be given an exemption on the ban until 2026.

“We use an outrageous amount of single-use plastic in our daily lives,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that it was working to cut back “the use of throwaway plastic and boost its substitution by other materials or reusable and recyclable packaging.”

Last year, France passed a wide-ranging “circular economy” law to combat waste that forbids retailers from destroying unsold clothes and will ban all single-use plastic containers by 2040.

Paris city authorities announced this week that they were aiming to eliminate all plastic from state day-care centres, canteens and retirement homes by 2026.