Tickets for the new direct TGV train service from Paris to Barcelona went on sale yesterday, for travel from December 15.

The new service gives passengers the chance to travel from Paris to Barcelona within 6 hours, 25 minutes, or to Girona within 5 hours and 50 minutes.

The route makes it possible to do these journeys without the need to change in Figueres. Those who start their trip in London St Pancras will be able to leave London at 9.31 and arrive ten hours, 9 minutes later in Barcelona.

The total journey time has been reduced by nearly three-and-a-half hours.

Mark Smith, who runs the website Man in Seat 61, is travelling on one of the first services in December.

“It’s a duplex so it’s good idea to get a seat upstairs for the best views. You’ll be able to fly past pretty French villages and then, at Étang de Thau, there is a causeway across some lakes – you should watch out for pink flamingos in summer.”

He also suggested that anyone stepping off that morning’s Eurostar service from London should eat lunch at Le Train Bleu restaurant, an establishment with “ceilings to rival Versailles” in the Gare du Lyon.

This should leave you just enough time, after your mussels and steak tartare, to catch the TGV at 2.07pm, arriving in Barcelona at 8.40pm. 

Photo Credit: A TGV in Aix-en-Provence, France. The Paris to Barcelona line will use double-decker TGV trains like this. patrick janicek / Flickr