Wednesday, May 1, 2013

French Property News, May 2013

Under the title 'Spanish connection' my article in this month's issue of French Property News focuses on the effects of the new fast TGV train service that will shortly connect Perpignan with Barcelona in just 50 minutes.  Since writing the piece, the projected date of 1 May has been put back again to some time in the autumn, due to technical difficulties still to be resolved (while the French trains take their electric power from overhead cables, the Spanish trains use the track).

Services from inside France and from the UK and other European countries currently reach Figueras, just over the border in Spain, and passengers have to switch to a Spanish AVE train to complete their journey to Barcelona and beyond.

The new service will be of particular interest to travellers who prefer the train, with a return fare from London to Barcelona already available at 203 pounds sterling, and an SNCF special one-way ticket from Paris to Figueras (via Perpignan) for 49 euros.

On both sides of the border hopes have been raised regarding increased cultural, tourist and commercial links resulting from the new services, and with Barcelona (eventually) just 50 minutes away, it is easy to imagine taking a shopping or business trip by train, as opposed to using the frequently congested A7/E15 motorway (2 to 3 hours depending on the time of year).

Barcelona and Spanish Catalonia are Europe's richest regions, with a GDP some 20% higher than the rest of Europe, due to well established manufacturing industries, culture and tourism - including the Costa Brava.

French Property News is available on subscription and fom newsagents.