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Best Place to pick up rental Car in France?

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Best Place to pick up rental Car in France?

Old Oct 2nd, 2013, 08:47 PM
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Best Place to pick up rental Car in France?

I am going to Paris for 9 or so days (next May) then to a Gite for a week in Normandy. (Near Honfleur). My question is where is the best place to pick up my rental car? On the AutoEurope web site it appears that I must pick up and drop off at the same location. If this is correct, then perhaps some other city than Paris would be better for the return - I need to go to Roissy for my last night in France. While picking up the car in a downtown Paris location seems fine to me, returning the car back to downtown Paris does not. Any good advice or experience on this?

Thanks
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Old Oct 2nd, 2013, 09:13 PM
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You can pick up and drop off just about anywhere you'd like. If heading to Normandy, you might want to consider taking the train to someplace in Normandy and picking up the car at the train station. You can also drop it off before returning to Paris.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2013, 10:47 PM
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Pick up your car on the western side of Paris, near the Porte Maillot. It's easier to drive out of Paris than to drive in, so I would consider returning it perhaps in Chartres. Visit the cathedral before taking the train back to Paris.

One way rentals are common with Autoeurope.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2013, 12:41 AM
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WE recently flew to Paris and then went to the Loire Valley. We caught the train to Le Mans and picked the car up there at the station. It meant we did not have to drive in Paris when jetlagged, and our road journey was also considerably shorter on the first jetlagged day. We returned the car to Orly airport where we flew out from. You could consider something similar, choosing a pickup point close to your destination on the train line.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2013, 01:07 AM
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You might train to Rouen on your way to Normandy and pick up a car there. I had a terrible time finding my way from a Paris train station, where I got my rental car, to the peripherique to leave Paris. Dreadful.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2013, 01:14 AM
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I don't see why people think that Paris is a difficult city in which to drive. I just rented a car in Sao Paulo, Brazil last week and returned it yesterday in the center of this city of 16 million. Now THAT was a bit of a challenge and in the end, I managed quite well, and believe me, the signage in Paris is 10 times better than in Sao Paulo (no offense to Sao Paulo which is a fabulous city).
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Old Oct 3rd, 2013, 03:40 AM
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I would always rather have a car than take trains for a drive of this short length. You are much more flexible. If you're been driving around the beautiful countryside near Honfleur for a week, you'll appreciate the chance to take a more scenic route to the airport rather than the autoroute.

To me a car is much more convenient than adding in a train journey or two. You have to devote time to arriving well in advance of your train, buy tickets, drag your luggage around the station looking for your platform, keep an eye on the luggage on the train, and probably change trains in Paris.

It's not that hard to drive the car from Honfleur back to Roissy. (But allow more time than Viamichelin or Google Maps do.) You can drop your luggage off at your hotel before returning the car. Or maybe you'd want to keep the car that night and drive to a nearby town for your last meal in France and return the car the next day.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2013, 04:47 AM
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Your best bet is to phone AutoEurope and discuss your requirements... they have a toll free number.

Pick up the car wherever is most convenient for you... as K2 said, driving in Paris is not the big deal most people would have you believe.

Drop at CDG at the end of your trip.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2013, 07:09 AM
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I agree, call AutoEurope. 1-800-555-2323. You can pick up and drop off anywhere; not sure why you got the impression otherwise. If you don't want to pick up in Paris, take the train somewhere (Rouen is a good suggestion) and pick up there. Drop it off wherever you like (stop in Chartres or somewhere on the way back if you like).
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Old Oct 3rd, 2013, 08:10 AM
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You can incur a one way fee if you use Hertz or Avis, even if you negotiate the rental through Autoeurope. Europcar, Sixt, or Citer will not charge you a one way fee within France.

If you pickup a rental at either a train station or airport, you will also incur a location surcharge of about 40€ or $55, payable at drop off and not included in any quote. I consider this a needless expense easily avoided by picking up your car in Paris. Taking a train to some nearby town just to pickup a rental is a complete waste of money for the train tickets and the location surcharge you´ll pay. Driving out of Paris is very easy.

I might choose a rental office in the southwest portions of the city, something near Porte d´Auteuil, as it is from here where you find the autoroute (A13) to Normandy.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2013, 10:21 AM
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Do you need a car with automatic transmission? If so, your best chance actually to get one is at a large airport.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2013, 11:25 AM
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Thanks everyone. Especially StCirq for the phone number. I am not intimidated about driving out of Paris but was concerned about having to go back there to return the car as it would be a waste of time. Must just be a thing with the "new" AE web site. New to me that is. In the past you could pick up and drop off at different places right on their web site. Not so last night. I will call them as suggested to make sure I get what I want.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2013, 11:41 AM
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Ooops. I forgot to click the box for drop off at a different location. I can do just as Coquelicot suggested. Thanks.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2013, 01:02 PM
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good idea to call them.

Driving in Paris may not be difficult for people who live there, nor for people who routinely drive in big cities. I do, and I have driven through Chicago without knowing it and other cities, and my sister marveled, but I didn't htink it was a big deal -- because I've lived in LA and Washington DC. However, she lives in a small town in Vermont and rarely drives in any place larger than around 25K population. Lots of people aren't used to driving in huge cities like Paris, and then of course, tourists don't know the local language (often) or customary street signs, which is also different from a local. I mention the language because it is on some signs, of course. LIke Cedez.
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Old Oct 4th, 2013, 11:19 PM
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I drive in Chicago and LA frequently with no problem. Central Paris is nothing like driving in either city for me. Roads intersecting from four or five or six directions, buses and bikes sharing a lane, street names posted on the first floor of buildings that are not easy to see, not on signs right at the street corner... I don't speak the language so seeing signs and not having a clue if they say "One Way" or "Closed" or whatever, oh and I haven't slept for the past 20 hours or more and I'm jetlagged. So while it might not be difficult to drive in Paris for some, it can be for others.
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Old Oct 5th, 2013, 03:41 AM
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While it is clear that driving in Paris is just too much for you rubysmomma, in fairness to others who might be willing to embrace the numerous advantages of so doing, I should like to point out that there is absolutely no requirement to speak French to be able to drive in Paris or anywhere else in France. All of the road signs are of the same international format as is used even in the USA. And while I agree that driving when jet lagged should be avoided, JoeCal will be in Paris for a number of days before he picks up a rental car so fatigue will not be an issue.
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Old Oct 5th, 2013, 04:47 AM
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Sarastro, let us be really FAIR and point out that your description of using trains is rather overblown.
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