Car rental in Paris for 1 or 2 days.

Old Apr 9th, 1999, 08:02 PM
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Car rental in Paris for 1 or 2 days.

Will be in Paris around the 17th of this month and would like to rent a car for 1 or 2 days. Would appreciate any information as to the best way to proceed. Thanking you in advance for your help. Jim
Old Apr 10th, 1999, 02:32 PM
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Do I understand correctly that you wish to drive in Paris? If so, you may wish to reconsider. Not only is driving terrifying, there's virtually no place to park. Much better to use the metro and buses or take taxis.
Old Apr 10th, 1999, 05:55 PM
wes fowler
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I hope you're thinking of renting a car in order to escape from Paris to Versailles, Fountainbleu, Giverney or some such, rather than driving IN Paris. If that be the case, you'll find rental car companies at the major train stations - not necessarily in them, but in immediate proximity. For example,Budget,Hertz,Autoeurope and Avis are all in an arcade directly opposite and south of the Gare d'Lyon. All of the major rental companies have websites; you should be able to pick up addresses from the sites or your local rental contacts. From experience, I don't think Paris has a rush hour; it's a constant state of chaos, no better at eleven AM than at seven AM. If you rent, make all of your arrangements, reservation, payment, etc. here, not in Paris. You'll save a lot of grief and aggravation committing locally.
Old Apr 10th, 1999, 06:31 PM
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If you are planning to actually drive in Paris please make sure that your will and final arrangements are in order before you leave. I've been to Paris and it's not safe to "walk" across the street there, let alone "drive". Timothy.
Old Apr 11th, 1999, 04:04 AM
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Well, Jim, I guess I am in the minority because I have always driven in Paris. It isn't clear if you plan on driving in Paris or are planning day trips, but I did not find driving in Paris to be especially hazardous. Biggest problem is traffic at times and parking, but not impossible. The only place I consider near to impossible to park is around the St Germain & Place St Michel areas during the evening which are loaded with tourists. However, you can if necessary park outside of these areas and Metro to wherever it is you want to go.

You will find car rentals at either airport as well as within the city limits.

Paris does have rush hours by the way. The Peripherique ringing the city is especially heavy in the mornings from around 7:30AM-9:00AM with people going to work outside of the city. Of course, these same people will be coming back into Paris at the end of the day and traffic will be heavy from around 4:00PM-7:00PM. So plan your trips around these times if that is what you are planning. Leave either early in the morning around 7:00AM or after 9:00AM and return to Paris either early in the afternoon before 4:00PM or after the rush hour around 7:00PM or later. It's always a good idea to ask the hotel for advice.

There are other high traffic times as well depending on the time of the year. For example, Friday afternoons many leave the city heading south for the weekend. Sunday nights these people return to Paris. Holidays are also really bad.

When parking, use the bumper technique. Most drivers in Paris do not use their parking brakes allowing their cars to move a little. Make contact with your front bumper to their rear bumper then backup until your rear bumper contacts the front bumper of the car behind you. Keep doing this until you get your car wedged in so to speak.

Not sure if I should tell you this, but you can pretty much ignore parking tickets. I collected many over the years and never had to pay a fine. Just stay away from tow zones which will be indicated by signs. They will tow you or leave a boot attached to one of your tires preventing you from driving until you pay a pretty hefty fine. I did get towed once. I was in Paris for a month staying at the Hotel Bedford near the Madeline and one morning I came out to go to work and my rental car was gone. I thought it had been stolen. I went back to the hotel and they told me, no, the police probably towed it. They called and found out where had to go and I went there and paid a $100 fine and got the car back. I thought they had caught up with me for all the fines I had never paid and would have to pay thousands of dollars or go to jail, but this was not the case.

My parting advice is that if stopped by the police in Paris for doing something wrong do not speak french to them or in any way indicate that you understand them even in english. I use to make this illegal left turn all of the time. You are suppose to drive straight the intersection to wherever you can and turn around and come back to the intersection and make a right turn which all seem illogical to me and thought of it as just another french idiosynrisy. Well, I got stopped a few times by a police officer directing traffic because at first I really did not know it was illegal. I also did not understand what the officer was raving about and just kept telling him I was an American tourist and didn't understand him and he let me go. Later, as I began to understand french better, I realized he was trying to see if I understood him in which case I would get fined. It use to be pretty funny. He would keep asking me in french if I understood him and he would also say in french that he knew I did and was just playing dumb, etc. I never gave in or indicated that I did understand him. No matter what he said to me I would keep replying that I was an American tourist and did not know what he was talking about unless he talked english. They always waved me on and muttered some unflattering comment about Americans. The last time this happened I was leaving Paris after living there for a year and after he told me to go I said in perfect french, Merci, Messieur, au revoir! In my mirror I could see him waving at me, probably in disgust, but then I saw him smile.
Old Apr 11th, 1999, 12:17 PM
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Thanks for your help. We are not planning on driving in Paris, but take some trips out into the country. Really enjoyed your replies and found the one regarding how to deal with parking tickets, etc. well worth the time I spent posting the message and reply. Thanks to all.....Jim

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