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Car pickup Gare Montparnasse or Orly

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Apr 30th, 2015, 11:47 AM
  #1
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Car pickup Gare Montparnasse or Orly

Hi all,
Just going back over one final decision in preparation for our upcoming trip to the Loire Valley from Paris---and would love a quick validation or insight into my plan.

We'll be leaving Paris on a Sunday mid-day, and the car rental agencies are all closed at Tours St Pierre, so we're going to just drive from Paris. (Any other day and I would simply take the TGV to Tours.) (We can both drive a manual so the issue isn't about finding an automatic.)

1) Pick up at Orly or Gare Montparnasse?
Right now, our plan (since we're staying the night before in the 7th) is to simply pick up the car at Gare Montparnasse---and save ourselves the hassle of having to schlepp out to Orly. I typically would be a bit timid about driving in Paris, but this will be a Sunday, around noon, so my hope is there will be little or no traffic to contend with? And it seems (from viamichelin) that it's a fairly easy shot out of Paris. Yay or nay?

2) Diesel or not?
We typically rent a diesel in Europe... we always thought they were cleaner and more fuel efficient. But I have seen in all the news about the pollution problems in Paris that diesels will be banned starting in July. Hmm. So there's that wrinkle. We're traveling in May, so theoretically they won't be banned yet, but I'm wondering if Europcar will even have them. (Or if, environmentally speaking, we should even take one.)

3) Odd/Even Driving Days?
Do you think there's a chance that my Sunday pick up could be affected by the odd/even driving days that the Mayor keeps implementing in response to the smog? Would a rental car, leaving Paris, even be subject to those restrictions? I suppose Europcar could always send me to Orly if we weren't allowed to drive that day, but just wondering if that should be a factor in our decision at this point.

Thanks for your help.
skatterfly is offline  
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Apr 30th, 2015, 11:54 AM
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Orly is much much better as it is nearly out of the Paris connurbation and right on the way to the Loire Valley by autoroute - to Blois and Tours.

Montparnasse ain't bad on weekends when traffic is much less but if you have a choice opt for Orly. sundays should be a breezxe driving from Montparnasse though IME.
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Apr 30th, 2015, 12:30 PM
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Montparnasse is much better on a Sunday when there is no traffic anyway, and it is a straight shot out of the city to Porte d'Orléans. It would be ridiculous to pay to go to Orly and drag your baggage with you just to gain 15 km.

Diesel cars will not be banned any time soon. More than 70% of the cars in France are diesel (down from about 75% a few years ago).
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Apr 30th, 2015, 12:31 PM
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Regarding odd/even driving days, there have been a grand total of 2 such days in the last 10 years. (Or possibly I should say "in the last 100 years.")
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Apr 30th, 2015, 03:36 PM
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I totally agree with Kerouac. From Montparnasse out of the city on a Sunday, it's pretty empty of traffic. Just remember there are several organic and flea markets in the area (i.e. Porte de Vanves)that can get a bit crowded.
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Apr 30th, 2015, 04:12 PM
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Seems funy that none of the major car rentals at St-Pierre-des-Corps would be open on a Sunday - did you check them all? Maybe French law says they must close like many stores on Sundays?
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Apr 30th, 2015, 04:16 PM
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http://www.avis.com/car-rental/locat...erre-Des-Corps

https://www.europcar.com/location/fr...erre-des-corps

AVIS is open Sunday late in afternoon - only ones I checked; Europcar till late at night on Sunday - are you sure car rentals at the St Pierre-des-Corps station area are all closed on Sunday?
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Apr 30th, 2015, 05:19 PM
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Thanks folks. Great info. I will most certainly avoid Porte de Vanves.

PalenQ... yes, there is a little asterisk that says the office *can* be open, for an additional charge. I'll call them tomorrow during business hours to get a better idea of what that charge entails. And confirm whether it means they leave the keys to a car for me somewhere in the station, or whether they actually send a human to check a car out to me. Given the way our days are scheduled (small margin for error), neither of those options is super enticing to me.

Then again, with the aid of google maps street view, I can see what the drive from Gare Montparnasse looks like out of Paris. Not sure why it gives me such butterflies. It looks a little like driving in downtown San Francisco/Market Street, only in French. Should be fine as long as there aren't any parades, strikes, or manifs that day.

And I suppose the worst case scenario is that if I chicken out, we can take a taxi to Orly and pick it up there.

Kerouac, very helpful perspective. The US news I've read (sensationalized, no doubt), made it seem like this odd day/even day was creating mass hysteria and frustration among drivers. Glad to hear that's been overplayed.
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May 1st, 2015, 01:01 AM
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Going to Orly simply adds to the cost of getting to the airport to the cost of your rental.

If you are driving only a few days, diesel will not be worthwhile if you pay extra for a diesel rental. That is the case with Autoeurope, but unfortunately the rental site does not indicate what type of fuel the car uses until the agreement is finalized (a diesel rental must have D at the end of its code); a call to Autoeurope would be in order to see which car in any category consumes which fuel.
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May 1st, 2015, 04:45 AM
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Not sure why it gives me such butterflies.>

Well having driven in Paris a lot I can understand why you have apprehensions and if it were a week day they may be warranted - but like kerouac and others say on a Sunday it's a breeze on broad avenues sans much traffic at all. Put angst to rest.
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May 1st, 2015, 06:45 AM
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I'd be curious to know what the extra charges are too - just for general info - if you find out report back. Thanks.
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May 1st, 2015, 08:27 AM
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PalenQ... Well, I just checked and it's even higher than I would have thought. Apparently they charge an extra fee of something on the order of about 200EU + tax (they pay the full wages for someone to come in; they don't just leave keys somewhere in the station.) So that's a deal breaker for picking up on a Sunday.

We'll have the car for a couple of weeks, so the diesel is always nice. We've never had a problem with AutoEurope getting us a diesel; it's usually written into the voucher as a customer request, and they've always been able to accommodate.

Thanks all, for your insight.
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May 1st, 2015, 09:45 AM
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well, I get nervous about driving out of any major megalopolis if I've never been there before. It's normal when you don't know the area. Also, I go to Montparnasse a lot and drive in from the bottom peripherique (or go out), and there was a lot of construction last Fall in one area that mucked things up, but I forget where and that should be done by now, anyway. That's the kind of thing you never can know in advance.

Tours isn't that large a place, that doesn't surprise me that the car rental places are closed on Sunday afternoon. A lot of them close in midday, also, for a while. I think your issue is that you want to pick it up later afternoon, that's all. They are open in the morning there.
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May 1st, 2015, 09:46 AM
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Ouch 200 euro for a Sunday pick up! Ouch!
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