September 2004 - Cycling from Marseille to Barcelona via the Pyrenees
Back in 2004, Patrick and I loved to play Carcassonne, a popular German board game which was named after the French town of the same name. Why not visit the real Carcassonne, especially as it would allow to enjoy a couple of days with French food and wine? On the other hand, we had never done a cycling trip in Spain, always wanted to go to Barcelona to see the work of Gaudi and were ready for some real mountains. Instead of deciding between these alternatives, we combined all of it into a great cycling trip from Arles (near Marseille) to Blanes (near Barcelona) via the Pyrenees with three extra days in Barcelona.
Journey Time & Weather
On September 9th we flew from Bonn to Marseille, cycled in 17 days from Arles to Blanes at the Costa Brava and arrived on September 26th in Barcelona. To allow a bit of sightseeing in Barcelona, our return flight departed on September 29th.
The weather was excellent, usually a lot of sun and a blue sky. Temperatures ranged between 20° and 30°C outside the Pyrenees. In the Pyrenees it was much colder, probably only 10°C. Hence don't forget your gloves and a windproof anorak.
We flew with HLX from Cologne-Bonn Airport into Marseille Airport. From there we cycled to the next railway station (Pas-de-Lanciers) to take a train to Arles. We had cycled in the Provence just one year before and therefore decided to take a train for the first 60 km. In France, most regional trains take bicycles and there are a few operated between Marseille and Arles. You can look up trains carrying bicycles in France and Spain on the web page of Deutsche Bahn. Our return flight departed from Barcelona. As the traffic becomes quite heavy near Barcelona, we ended our cycling trip in Blanes and took again a train for the last 70 km to Barcelona.
In south of France and north of Spain, most people speak French and Spanish while English (and German) is not very helpful outside tourist areas.