The Plaça Reial in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona (photo © Valentin Armianu / dreamstime.com).
By train from Paris to Barcelona
The route we follow here from Paris to Barcelona is a more traditional approach to the Pyrenees and northern Spain, one much favoured by travellers of yesteryear. Prior to the French Revolution this was the route royale from the capital to south-west France. With the coming of the motor car, the old royal road morphed into Route Nationale 20, the principal road artery from the French capital to Spain. The rail journey described here criss-crosses that highway more than a dozen times.
MAP Double click on the map (or double tap on mobile) to zoom in. You can connect onto other routes in places shown in red. Change to a layer showing a more familiar road map view by clicking on the menu at the top right of the map. Get back to the original view by clicking on the house icon shown in the top left menu on the map.
Whether you are making a long grand tour or just planning a couple of weekend breaks, Europe by Rail is the perfect guide. The book describes 50 key routes in detail. Together, they span mainland Europe and the British Isles. Find out more about the guidebook below.