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Car Rental Return @ CDG..and Transportation Options After

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Dec 17th, 2013, 12:42 PM
  #1
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Car Rental Return @ CDG..and Transportation Options After

Does anyone have experience returning a car rental to CDG? Was it a headache or relatively easy? Were you able to catch a taxi or public transit somewhat close to the car return or was it a bit of a trek across the airport?

Right now, we plan to rent a car upon our arrival in France and head out to Bayeux for the first leg of our trip. My initial instinct was to return the car in Caen a few days later, and catch the train back to Paris, but that is turning into a bit of headache. I am now thinking of just driving back to CDG, returning the car where I picked it up and grabbing a taxi or public transit to our hotel in Paris.

Any advice/tips would be most appreciated...it will be our first time in France. Thanks!
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Dec 17th, 2013, 01:23 PM
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Returning a car to CDG is easy but rather ridiculous. It would be so much easier and convenient to return a rental car to Gare du Nord or Gare de l'Est. Both are a straight shot into Paris with absolutely no complications.

This would of course be true if you were returning from the north, but you are not (which makes CDG even more ridiculous). Therefore, the most logical place to return a car is Gare Montparnasse.

Once you have been driving around France, you should be less afraid of driving into Paris. And in any case Paris drivers are much more tolerant of "visitors" than the drivers in most provincial cities, where just about everybody is a local. In Paris, we find it totally normal for people not to have the slightest idea where they are going. Jeez, when I am driving in Paris, you cannot imagine the number of people I have seen turning right from the left lane and vice versa. As long as everybody is alert, it isn't a problem, even though it does not really please us.
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Dec 17th, 2013, 02:04 PM
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we plan to rent a car upon our arrival in France

Arrive from where?

The easiest rental pickup/drop off for traveling to Bayeux would be somewhere in the southwest of the city. Montparnasse would be ideal as long as you are not required to pay a location surcharge, typically about 40€.

However, the car rental return at CDG is very easy and all of the signs directing you to the rental return are in English.
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Dec 17th, 2013, 02:05 PM
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kerouac has more experience with driving into Paris than you or I do. I wouldn't expect he would have a problem - but I bet the first time he tried it many moons ago, it was a different story. In the 1980s & 90s we did it about 3-4 times with other "experts" in the car to navigate, or drive while I navigated. We now avoid driving into Paris if we can - which we've been able to do about 1-2 times most years since 1999. I don't like driving into CDG either - but it is better than driving into Paris. We live in/near San Francisco - so driving in cities isn't new to us.

What is the "headache" with returning the car in Bayeux or Caen & taking the train in? That's what I would do - did once this year, & will do twice next year (from places other than Normandy).

Stu Dudley
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Dec 17th, 2013, 02:27 PM
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I'm guessing that the "headache" with your drop-off in Caen is that you plan to drop off the car on Sunday - when the rental office is closed. If so, call your rental company & see if there is a drop-off box where you can put the keys & contract.

The rental office at the Rennes TGV station is open Sunday afternonn(4pm), and also has a drop-off box if it is closed. Driving to Rennes is a lot closer than Paris and the TGV will take you from Rennes into Paris. We've dropped off several cars in Rennes & taken the TGV to Paris or CDG.

Stu Dudley
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Dec 17th, 2013, 02:39 PM
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That would create a big headache for me since money doesn't grow on trees. If it made no difference to me where I drove because the trains in France are completely free of charge to get to my next destination, it would be be delightful. However, that is not yet the case. Why not drop off the car in Rennes or Nantes and then just fly to Paris and take a taxi into the city? Wouldn't that be even more fun?
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Dec 17th, 2013, 03:38 PM
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Nantes is too far away.

1. PREM fares for Rennes to Paris = 20E per person for 2 1/4 hr trip
Gas/tolls Bayeux to Rennes = 23E for 2 1/4 hr trip

2. PREM fares for Bayeux to Paris + 15E per person for 2 hr trip

3. Gas/tolls Bayeux to Paris = 54E for 3 hr trip

Stu Dudley
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Dec 17th, 2013, 03:41 PM
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We did what you are describing, but included a stop in Chartres on our way back to return the car at Orly--which is VERY easy. The taxi stand is just across the street--easy walk. The cab is about 20E to Paris.
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Dec 17th, 2013, 08:37 PM
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Why is it turning into a headache to drop the car in Caen? If it's a Sunday issue, Stu has addressed that. If not, what else? I can't imagine driving from Bayeux to CDG to drop off a car when CDG is all the way on the other side of Paris from Normandy, and then having to get back into the city.
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Dec 18th, 2013, 07:06 AM
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If it's a Sunday, it makes even less sense to drive to CDG.

Pick a spot to return the car convenient to your Paris lodgings. Plan your route on a map... look at critical junctions using Google Streetview if you feel worried about it. Drop your luggage then drop the car. Millions of people drive in Paris. You can too. ;^)

If you want to find offices where you can leave the car... all train stations in Paris will have rental offices/garages. Or use the reservation form at http://www.autoeurope.com and Google maps to find the one most convenient for you.
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Dec 18th, 2013, 09:18 AM
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Assuming you want to avoid driving in Paris, do as Gretchen did. Drop the car at Orly airport (south of Paris) and take a bus or a taxi into Paris.

You can take the train from Caen, Rennes or Nantes but that would involve driving in a town.
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Dec 18th, 2013, 01:20 PM
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Thanks for your advice, everyone. It is most appreciated.

As Stu guessed, I was having a problem returning the car in Caen on Sunday. The drop box option had not occurred to me, and I am hoping that this is an option I can utilize so we can ditch the car and catch the train in Caen to head to Paris. I plan on investigating further and switching car rental companies if needed.
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Dec 18th, 2013, 01:30 PM
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In similar situations, I have returned my rental car at the Paris area metro station with a car return closest to my arrival point into Paris. From there we grab a short metro ride to the hotel

One occassion, I dropped my family off at the hotel w/luggage first and then dropped the car off and walked to the hotel
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Dec 18th, 2013, 02:54 PM
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good luck, I don't think you'll find any open on Sunday in Caen.
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Dec 18th, 2013, 03:15 PM
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If you do find one with a drop-box, be sure to take plenty of pictures of the car before leaving it, inside and out keep your last receipt for filling the tank (to protect yourself from any bogus claims by the oompany, which does sometimes happen), and make sure to put the insurance packet (usually in a green folder) in the drop box along with the keys.
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