The direct trains between Marseille and Barcelona have been removed from the new rail timetable which will be in place after December 11th and into 2023.
The French national rail company SNCF and the Spanish rail company Renfe have opted to terminate their partnership which jointly managed the service of high speed trains between France and Spain.
As a result the long-standing direct trains between Marseille and Barcelona have been withdrawn, without any adjustment to any other train times to provide an equivalent indirect journey on a similar schedule to what had been available.
It will still be possible to take a journey by train from Marseille to Barcelona, but when looking up this journey be very cautious about taking the combination of trains that typically involves departing from Marseille at around 11:24.
That's because this combination of trains which will typically be sold by the ticket agents, involves making an 11 min connection between trains at Nîmes Centre station.
It couldn't be simpler if the train from Marseille arrives on time, making the connection will simply involve waiting on the same platform for the train on to Barcelona to arrive.
However, making this transfer is very much not guaranteed, if the train from Marseille gets to Nîmes more than 11 mins late, you'll very likely miss the only train of the day from Nîmes Centre station to Barcelona.
It will still be possible to reach Barcelona by the end of the day, but it's a scenario very much best avoided!
1 x optimum connection per day
Book early and save: Yes
Online bookings open: up to 6 months ahead of the travel date
On SNCF Connect enter 'Gare de Lyon (Paris)' in the from box, on Trainline select Paris-Gare-de-Lyon.
Seats will automatically be assigned when booking tickets for this journey, but rail pass users will need to be pay a rail pass reservation fee prior to boarding.
Using rail passes
The removal of the direct trains has expensive consequences of users of InterRail and Eurail passes, because separate rail pass reservation fees will be need to be paid on the Intercités train to Narbonne and the TGV train on to Barcelona.
A cheaper alternative, which is seemingly only available on Saturday/Sunday is to depart Marseille at around 07:22 on an Intercités train to Narbonne and then make connections between regional trains in Narbonne and Port Bou.
This will give an arrival time in Barcelona on around 15:40; which is 55min sooner than when setting off from Marseille just before 11:30 on the combination of Intercités and TGV trains.
The usual alternative, which avoids having to pay any reservation fees, is to take the TER trains to Avignon Centre station which typically depart Marseille at 09:08 on Monday to Friday and at 09:39 at weekends.
With connections in Avignon and at Port Bou station, the arrival into Barcelona should be around 18:40 on Monday to Friday and Sunday, or at around 19:10 on a Saturday.
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Final Destination: Bordeaux or Toulouse
In good weather and IF the train has clean windows, it can be worth taking a seat on the left, when boarding these trains. there are some sporadic coastal views throughout the journey.
Final Destination: Barcelone (Barcelona)
The train on to Barcelona also calls at: Figueres-Vilifant and Girona
South of Narbonne the train threads through the lagoons,
As can be seen in the video above, which was taken on a TGV train, what's unusual and rather fabulous about this part of the journey, is that the 'sea' can be seen from both sides of the train.
Then between Perpignan and Barcelona, the train reverts back to using a high speed line.
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This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.