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Toulouse plus ???

R K
Berkeley, California
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615 posts
18 reviews
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Toulouse plus ???

We need to be in Toulouse for several days in early September, and would like to spend a few days somewhere else before that. Ideal situation (I know not always possible):

Fly non-stop from San Francisco (or nearby) to somewhere, spend a few days there, then either train (up to about 4 hours) or not-too-pricy non-stop flight to Toulouse. We know we can't fly non-stop back home, but that's how it is. Not so keen on driving, but I guess that could also be a possibility if it's worth the effort.

We spent a bit over a week split between Toulouse and Barcelona last year, so hoping to do something different this time.

Ideas?

Edited: 7:16 pm, July 10, 2015
Albufeira, Portugal
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for Algarve, Faro, Portugal
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1. Re: Toulouse plus ???

I will suggest Bordeaux, which is a 2 hour train trip from Toulouse. Bordeaux has plenty to see and do, I shall be there myself in 2 weeks, just for a few days and then again in mid-August before and after visiting other places.

I am pretty sure there are no direct flights from San Franciso to Bordeaux (or anywhere else down in those regions) but if you flew into Paris you could either continue to Bordeaux by air (1 hour + however long it takes between flights) or by train, 4 hours direct from Paris CDG airport.

Seats on long distance trains in France must be reserved. If you make a reservation in advance some really cheap prices are available, but be aware that the very cheapest are like air tickets, not refunded or exchanged if you change your minds or don't use them. Use the website www.capitainetrain.com to search times and tickets in English. Tickets are emailed to you for home printing.

R K
Berkeley, California
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615 posts
18 reviews
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2. Re: Toulouse plus ???

Thanks for the suggestion. I've never been to Bordeaux; will definitely check it out. By the way - for trains in France, I just use the SNCF website, which has an English option, (and explains very clearly what the refund/no refund rules are for each fare offered).

Sudbury...
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3. Re: Toulouse plus ???

Hi R K,

I am not sure if there is a non-stop flight to Lyon from SF, but the train trip to Toulouse is 4 hours. Lyon is fantastic with plenty of things to do there for 3-4 days. We came back from Lyon in May which became my favorite city #2 in France with Paris being #1 of course. Not sure if you have been in Lyon or not though.

R K
Berkeley, California
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615 posts
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4. Re: Toulouse plus ???

No, haven't yet been in Lyon, either.

The non-stop flight gets into Paris between 10 and 11 in the morning. To get the best price on train tickets, one has to reserve ahead. How long do you think will be enough time to clear passport control/customs (we usually fly carry-on only, so probably won't have to wait for luggage) and get into Paris to get the train, especially considering the plane could be late, and then what? It's probably safest to just spend a night in Paris, but if the plane is one time, we would have lost a whole day somewhere else (not that paris is a terrible place to spend a day...).

Sudbury...
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5. Re: Toulouse plus ???

Another choice for you is to base yourself in Toulouse and take train day trips from there. We had a car, but trains definitely run from Toulouse to Albi (the Cathedral is a true gem there as well as Museum of Toulouse-Lautrec, if you are interested in art) and to Carcassonne (a middle-aged fortified town and one of the most popular tourist destinations in France).Charming perched village of Cordes-sur-Ciel is very close to Albi; I think there are buses running from Albi to Cordes sur Ciel, but I am not sure about it.

Other posters and destination experts would be able to suggest some more interesting day trips for you: I can only speak about the ones I mentioned: they were fabulous.

R K
Berkeley, California
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615 posts
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6. Re: Toulouse plus ???

My plan is to do some of those day trips during the two days that my husband is busy working in Toulouse (saw the main sites in Toulouse recently), so I'm not sure if we could fill another three or four days, but that dos make things simpler transport-wise. Lots to figure out!

Vancouver, Canada
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7. Re: Toulouse plus ???

Our point of entry into France has been Toulouse which we have become very familiar with and enjoy. But now we are tending towards Bordeaux for variety as we seem to enjoy that city a bit more. It's a toss up and both have so much to offer. It will all depend on the route/itinerary of your planned trip.

R K
Berkeley, California
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615 posts
18 reviews
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8. Re: Toulouse plus ???

Giving more consideration to staying put in Toulouse, maybe near the train station to make it easy to do some day trips; possibly one overnight somewhere before my husband's work days (we will be put up in a hotel they chosse for thsoe last few nights).

In my research, I see that Limoux isn't terribly far; would it be worth an overnight (maybe combined with Carcassone, where we change trains)?

Sudbury...
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9. Re: Toulouse plus ???

First sorry for my funny typo calling Carcassonne "middle-aged fortified town": I meant to say "medieval fortified town"😊. We spent 4 hours or so in Carcassonne and it was enough for the walk on the ramparts, visiting the museum and beautiful Basilica of Saint Nazaire. We grabbed a very quick lunch and did not do any shopping because we had to drive to our base in Provence on that day.

Not sure about the possibility of combining Carcassonne with Limoux - unfortunately, we have not been to Limoux.

Edited: 9:51 pm, July 12, 2015
Long Beach...
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10. Re: Toulouse plus ???

We will be there for the first time in September, so these are not places I have experienced myself...but the advise given to me of must see places around Toulouse from a friend that grew up in the area are: 1. Caracassone, for the reasons mentioned already 2. Foix, has a castle worth seeing. 3. LeMas-d-Azil, hot caverns 4. Mirepoix, has a Monday market that is noteworthy 5. Montsegur 6. Castles south of Carcassonne: Chateau Peyrepertuse and Chateau de Queribus......We will have a car so the advise was based on that, not sure how easy some of these would be able to reach by train, but adds some possibilities for you :) Also, we are flying to LAX from Bordeaux through Paris on KLM....I imagine you could do the same to SF :)

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