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3 weeks in Southern France. Need help with itinerary.

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prescott, arizona
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3 weeks in Southern France. Need help with itinerary.

We have booked a 1 way ticket to Barcelona and have also booked a gite in Ceret for a week in late Sept.

We are hoping to take a bus or train to Ceret. Is this possible? We would like suggestions of other towns we might enjoy.

We could rent a car during the 3 weeks and possibily take a train to Paris for our return flight.

We enjoy hiking, good food, wine, historical sights. We like the idea of self catering but also would appreciate options of restaurants, bakeries, bars, etc.

I am considering a gite in Esparaza but am not sure of the distance to Ceret. How difficult will it be to find lodging in Oct. without reservations?

Thank you very much for any information you care to share.

7 replies to this topic
Perpignan, France
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1. Re: 3 weeks in Southern France. Need help with itinerary.

Getting from Barcelona to Ceret : There is no station in Céret. Either take a train from Barcelona to Perpignan, then a bus to Céret.

Train timetable : www.tgv-europe.com or www.sncf.com

Bus timetable :www.cg66.fr/ (click on " Horaires _ Arles sur Tech/Amélie/Céret/Perpignan - Ligne 300, 340, 341)

Or

take one of the slow regional trains from Barcelona to Perpignan via Port Bou and Cerbere, get off at Argelès and arrange to have a taxi take you to Céret.

TER timetable : ter-sncf.com/Regions/…Default.aspx

Esperaza is not at all in the same area. It is a 2.5 hour drive from Céret.

I would not wait until the last minute to rent a lodging : in October the crowds will be gone but the gite owners may close down after the season.

You will certainly need a car if you want to visit the area. The only public transportation from and to Céret is the bus line mentioned above. Ditto for Esperaza.

Just wondering : why Barcelona? It would be much easier to travel to Céret from Girona airport.

Edited: 1:28 am, March 10, 2013
Toowoomba, Australia
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2. Re: 3 weeks in Southern France. Need help with itinerary.

We spent a week in 2012 in Couiza which is close to Esperaza and found it a good base to explore the Aude region. Easy access to Carcassonne and the Cathar castles. Here is the link to the report I wrote on another forum. It is the second week.

fodors.com/community/europe/our-own-country-…

In 2008 we spent a week in Eus near Prades. You will definitely need a car to get the most out of your stay in both areas.

Happy travels.

prescott, arizona
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3. Re: 3 weeks in Southern France. Need help with itinerary.

Thank you so very much. Your travel blog is so helpful. I am thinking now of the second week in Couisa and the 3rd week in Uze. Would we have any trouble renting a car in Ceret? Would it be best to rent a different car in each location? Just thinking of drop off costs and not really knowing the distances. What do you suggest for a guide book and did you use the Michlin maps?

Thank you again.

Mitzi

prescott, arizona
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4. Re: 3 weeks in Southern France. Need help with itinerary.

Thank you for your response. It is very helpful to know that we can travel by bus or train to Ceret. We chose Barcelona because we have friends there.

We don't mind a few hours drive if it is a different experience.

Renting a car is not a problem but we would prefer if at all possible to travel by bus or train. I am a little apprehensive about driving on the opposite side of the road.

Thank you again. I will probably post again as questions come up.

Toowoomba, Australia
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5. Re: 3 weeks in Southern France. Need help with itinerary.

If you are from the US, you will not be driving on the other side of the road. We are from Australia. We always have a car for the whole time as we like the flexibility it gives us. For distances, look at Michelin . This will give you distances, times, tolls etc.

http://www.viamichelin.com/

We also have the Michelin Road Atlas for France. You can get maps specific to the areas but I cannot help with that. As already stated, Ceret to Couiza/esperaza would only be a few hours.

As far as guide books, I have a few general ones. The Green Michelin guide is often reccommended. Once we have decided on our base in each area, I then google everything in the vicinity - tourism sites for the towns, natural features eg rivers, gorges, etc. and make our own guide. Have a look at these.

http://www.france-voyage.com/en/

www.les-plus-beaux-villages-de-france.org/en

I really think you need a car. You will pay a fee if you drop a car in another country. eg pick up in Spain and drop off in France. But within France you should be OK.

Happy travels.

Perpignan, France
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6. Re: 3 weeks in Southern France. Need help with itinerary.

"Would we have any trouble renting a car in Ceret? "

There is no car rental agency in Céret............ but there are plenty in Perpignan. You can also rent one in Argelès if you decide to take the TER train from Cerbère.

prescott, arizona
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7. Re: 3 weeks in Southern France. Need help with itinerary.

I appreciate your help very much. These links are just what I needed. Also, such a relief to know we will be driving on the same side of the road.

Renting a car in Perpignan sounds like a good plan.

Thank you again. You have been so helpful.

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