A HIGH-SPEED train-link between Barcelona and Paris is due to open on Sunday, December 15 and tickets are already on sale.
A single to the French capital from Barcelona on the new AVE line is 170 euros, and other routes include Madrid to Marseilles – changing trains in the Catalunya city – which is roughly a seven-hour trek and currently costs 172 euros one-way.
Other routes include Barcelona to Lyon, which takes five hours and costs 114 euros for a single ticket, and Barcelona to Toulouse, costing 77 euros one-way, taking three hours.
But discounted rates are applied to these, potentially bringing the price down to 59 euros one-way for the Barcelona-Paris route and 89 euros for the Madrid-Marseilles connection.
At present, only two daily connections run between Barcelona and the French cities, leaving at around 09.00hrs and 16.00hrs approximately from Sants station and changing in Lyon, then returning from Paris at 07.15hrs and 14.07hrs.
A buffet car offering drinks, light meals and bar snacks, plus bilingual staff, extra assistance for disabled passengers and both tourist-class and first-class tickets are available as part of the service.
This will mean 17 cities in France and Spain will be connected by high-speed rail, thanks to other services in different parts of each country which link up with Barcelona, Madrid, Lyon, Paris, Toulouse, and Marseilles.
The service is operated through a joint-venture agreement between French rail-board SNCF and the Spanish train-travel company RENFE.
About 82 million journeys a year between France and Spain, to and from the cities soon to be linked by rail, are undertaken, and at present 89 per cent of those are in privately-owned cars.
The French and Spanish governments have been working on the rail-link for the past two years and the last few details were fine-tuned during a meeting at the Moncloa, the Spanish government headquarters, on Wednesday between president Mariano Rajoy and French prime minister François Hollande.