Car Rental In France

Old Feb 28th, 2011, 08:46 AM
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Car Rental In France

Myself and 3 friends are planning a trip to france this summer. We are wanting to rent a car outside of paris to explore Normandy. None of us have rented a car in france before. We would appreciate helpful information on following subjects.


1. Where is the best place to pick up a rental car outside of paris. We were wanting to explore the monet gardens in Givenry. Is Vernon an option? We will be leaving paris via train.
2. We are concerned about size of car and space for 4 adults along with luggage. (2 large suitcases, 2 backpacks and 4 carryon suitcases) Any suggestions?
3. Are there any fine print/ read between the lines type things we should be aware of when renting a car in france.
4. Any other usefull information.
hulio is offline  
Old Feb 28th, 2011, 09:12 AM
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I haven't ever rented a car just outside Paris in Normandy, so can't really say the best spot. They do have a Hertz and Avis in Vernon, but not a Europcar. Neither is right next to the train station, but I think Avis is closer. You may not want to walk to it with all that baggage, anyway, bu it would be a very short taxi ride to either. I've rented a car in France several time and can't think of any fine print things that come to mind. I do read French "fluently" though so can read the contract and know the traffic signs and laws, etc. there are some surcharges to car rentals for certain things you may not expect, but it's nothing to worry about (like an extra charge for an A/T, I forget what it is, maybe 5-10 euro a day). As usual, be sure you know how to operate your car, what kind of gas it takes (or if it must take diesel), etc.
Christina is online now  
Old Feb 28th, 2011, 09:34 AM
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If you are in Paris before going to Normandy, you can rent a car from an agency on the west side of Paris and after the first ten minutes be on a limited access highway. Check into rates from AutoEurope.com and Kemwel.com (they're sister agencies but have different rates). If your credit card will carry the CDW, look at their "basic" rate, and decline the CDW when you pick up the car. Both of these brokers list numerous pick up places in Paris, and you can determine their location with Google map. I think that renting outside Paris from a local rental agency might be more expensive than going through a broker, and I doubt that the ones I mention deal with rental agencies in Vernon.

At least in the Dordogne, picking up a car from an agency that is in proximity of a train station is the equivalent of picking up the car at the train station, which means an extra charge of 35€. If picking up an automatic, you will be charged a pollution tax. The same goes for a large car. These charges are not in the price given by the broker. To get a sense of car size, go to http://www.renaultusa.com/CarModels.asp and then find out which rental is an equivalent if a Renault is not listed in the broker's choice.
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Old Feb 28th, 2011, 09:48 AM
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What is your arrival point? You can rent a car at CDG and leave directly from there to Giverny.
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Old Feb 28th, 2011, 10:00 AM
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Agree with Michael on this - do a search of the forum and you will find pleanty of information on rentals. AutoEurope is great to work with (as is Kenwell). I presume you are in the US?. AE is based out of Maine so you can always call them and ask for clarifications (and a discount).

Remember that cars in France are indeed smaller for the most part and your luggage could become a problem. They get expensive, but I rented an Espace and it had plenty of room or you might get by with a TeePee Partner as well (any of the mini vans should work - seat at least 5 plus a trunk).

Finally, I also think you might be better off to get the car in Paris and drive out (more options on car types and cheaper prices) - its not that difficult to get the freeway and out of town.
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Old Feb 28th, 2011, 10:16 AM
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My sister has used Hertz at Vernon and it wasn't bad at all. I will say, you generally have a better selection of cars when you rent from an airport or train station though. Both CDG and Orly are almost the same distance to Giverny although I think the drive from Orly is a little easier since you are more west. So you you could just go out to either airport if you don't want to drive in Paris. If you want to avoid going so far out, another option to consider would be to rent the car at the train station in Versailles. They will have a bigger agency than Vernon and you won't be going as much out of you way as going to either Orly or CDG. That way you will at least be outside Paris.

In terms of other things the main thing to really consider is your insurance, i.e. whether you will pay for full coverage or whether you have some sort of good coverage by using your own "national" credit card and what the limitations on that coverage are.
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Old Feb 28th, 2011, 11:04 AM
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Rent at CDG and begin your trip there. You're even on the "right" side of Paris for getting to the north. it is easy at CDG.
How old are you--or over 25 at least. That may make a difference.
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Old Feb 28th, 2011, 11:08 AM
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Several years ago, we took a train from Paris to Tours & rented a car there in order to visit Mt St Michel & the Normandy beaches. If you are only going to the Normandy beach area then I would take a train to Cannes & rent the car there. If you can drive a stick shift I'd go with that & forget the automatic. Make sure that all the luggage will be hidden from view when the car is parked because visible baggage is an invitation to theft. There is also a surcharge for any driver under 25 or 26.
Giverny is very accessible by train. You might want to visit there & then take a train to a large town close to your ultimate destination where you rent the car. I'd also suggest that you take less luggage, as the bigger the car the more expensive. Good luck.
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Old Feb 28th, 2011, 11:55 AM
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I would take a train to Cannes & rent the car there

not Cannes, but Caen.
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Old Feb 28th, 2011, 08:38 PM
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BOOK TONIGHT, if you haven't already! Just check Holiday Autos, Kenwell & Auto Europe, and AE was the winner, hands down. All 3 are advertising "specials" that end on Feb. 28 Over $100 a week less than Kenwell, which was considerably cheaper than Holiday. We're picking up at the train station in Avignon & dropping at the airport in Nice. If you haven't booked, call them in the morning & ask if they will extend their special for you.
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Old Mar 1st, 2011, 07:57 AM
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You are correct =- that was a different trip - sorry.
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Old Mar 1st, 2011, 08:15 AM
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So where do you want to go in Normandy? And where are you going afterwards? You could take a train to a location like Caen, rent a car there, travel around Normandy, and see Giverny on your way back to Paris/CDG.
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Old Mar 1st, 2011, 10:24 AM
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Our plan was to head out of Paris and stop in Givenry to explore Monet's garden, then onto Rouen ending up in Bayeux. And then make our way to Mt. St. Michele. Our concern was that driving in Paris would be overwhelming. That is when we thought it would be better to take the train out of paris and rent a car there. What would traffic be like leaving from one of the airports? There are lots of car rental companies out of Vernon, however you are right there is limited selection for vehicles. We might have to drop Givenry and go straight to Rouen or Caen.
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Old Mar 1st, 2011, 10:26 AM
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I forgot to say that after Mt. St. Michele we were going to drop the car off in either Caen or Rouen and take the train all the way south to avignon and avoid having to stop and stay in paris.
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Old Mar 1st, 2011, 10:37 AM
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Have a look at the Renault Scenic. It holds 4 people comfortably (and up high, useful for sightseeing) and a fair amount of luggage.
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Old Mar 1st, 2011, 10:57 AM
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With 4 people and the luggage you describe things may be tight. Chances are you're going to need a Passat sized wagon or a minivan. Try to have as much soft luggage as possible as it can be stuffed in more easily. This site has pictures of car trunks to help you figure out what you may need.... http://www.parkers.co.uk

I really don't see the point of taking a train to Vernon. It's going to cost you about 50 euros for 4 people and you'll end up with less choice of vehicles in a smaller town. Do a dry run booking with http://www.autoeurope.com You'll soon come to a choice of many locations to pick up in Paris... use Google Maps to see which is a handy location from where you are staying.

Going to rent at an airport makes no sense to me either... a long journey from central Paris and you'll pay an extra 35 euros for the privilege (plus your cost to get to the airport).

Simply use Google Maps to plan a route out of Paris. Contrary to what you've likely heard driving out of Paris is not the nightmare people would have you believe. Avoid rush hours and holiday weekends and you'll be fine.
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Old Mar 1st, 2011, 11:46 AM
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GET A DIESEL engine -- its about 12-15 eurocents less per liter for diesel in France and a 15 gallon fill-up is 57 liters -- that adds up. We had a Mercedes A180 (minivan-type thing) that got 38 mpg on diesel = big savings in France.
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