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RubyTwins Nov 27th, 2018 03:58 PM

Car Rental South of France
 
OK we have our plane tickets: fly into Paris and out of Marseille (got them today on Black Tuesday airline sales. Definitely check them out!). We have apartments rented: Paris, Cassis, and St. Remy. So last big thing is car rental and travel insurance and diabetes. Definitely need insurance with my son being a somewhat newly diagnosed diabetic.

First overview: We land in Paris and spend a few nights there. Then we head to Cassis for two nights so hopefully get decent weather for one day of hiking the Calanques (we are fine with it being chilly); and then we head to St. Remy for 4 nights and leave in the afternoon out of Marseilles.

1. What makes most sense as far as car rental and what train from Paris to the south? Train to _________? Train from Paris to Marseille and rent car from Marseille and drive to Cassis? Or does another city make more sense? I am thinking we would drop the car off at the airport in Marseille for our return flight home.
Is the train station far from the airport? Any advice is appreciated.
2. Travel Insurance. I can research online unless someone has a great idea. I used to just buy the crummy airline policies but found I didn't get reimbursed.
3. My son wears a medical device and I speak NO French (I am trying to learn some). He cannot go through an X-ray machine nor can his glucose monitor supplies go through. He can be scanned or patted down. Will I find English speaking people at the airport security in Marseille (it is a complicated thing to explain in English and I will have letters from our hospital but I am a little worried)?
Really looking forward to exploring, enjoying good food, hiking and seeing wonderful sights. Thanks for all the tips on my earlier post.

ribeirasacra Nov 28th, 2018 03:31 AM

Never drive after a long flight you could well be jet lagged. The two do not mix well.
Dropping and picking car up should be done to suit you. As long as the said company has depots at the locations you will be fine.
You should be ok at the airport security. But to be sue why not write down the issues in French. If you are learning it is very doubtful your pronunciation will be 100%.
I do not think that passengers are x-rayed. They are scanned.

Judy Nov 28th, 2018 03:44 AM

You should be able to pick up a car at the train station and drop at the airport. We use autoeurope, a consolidator, and they'll book you with an agency that has offices in both locations. Train tickets are cheapest 3 months out and get more expensive closer to the date of travel

RubyTwins Nov 28th, 2018 04:56 AM

We will be in Paris for four nights and plan to take a train down south to end up in Cassis for two nights before going to St. Remy. We were thinking to take the train to Marseille and get the car there because we are flying out from there. Does that make sense? Or should we take a train elsewhere?
Take a train from Paris to ______ and pick up the car, drive to Cassis and then St. Remy and drop off car at the end at Marseille airport?

RubyTwins Nov 28th, 2018 06:08 AM

One more thing: we did really well renting a Diesel car in Greece. Is Diesel fuel easy to come by in Southern France?

bilboburgler Nov 28th, 2018 06:08 AM

do use autoeurope for your car hire, don't use "insert here name of famous brand" because 1) they may well not be the same company or 2) they will be a franchise operator in both cases operating under French law, which you do not understand. So do the deal with a prime negotiator in a language you do understand.

are you going to need to fuel up on a Sunday or use a toll road?

https://about-france.com/driving.htm

I guess you know about trains seat61.com if not is the place to start.

Don't fret about not being able to speak the language, but do learn the top 30 phrases, and use them in hotels and shops, when you enter a shop say hello for example or greet reception each morning. France is a more formal place than the US and people expect to "recognise" people. Hand shaking is important too.

https://www.expatica.com/fr/insider-...te_101246.html

bilboburgler Nov 28th, 2018 06:10 AM

yes Diesel is easy to come by, as is petrol without lead, though it is unlikely that you can insist on your car having the fuel of your choice. Note automatics are not generaly available so if you need one get onto autoeurope.

StCirq Nov 28th, 2018 06:21 AM

You call AutoEurope (much better than assuming you can do it all online, which you can, but you'll get better service and can ask questions if you pick up the phone) and rent a car from the Marseilles-St-Charles rail station. You go online at www.trainline.eu 3 months in advance (92 days, actually) and select tickets - 2nd-class is fine, no need for 1st - buy PREMs (the cheapest, but nonrefundable and nonexchangeable, so if you're worried about that select Loisirs fares), and print them out or store the info on a smartphone (I do both) - for Paris to Marseille-St-Charles.

There is a teeny little train station in Cassis itself, but do not assume you can get a car there. Pick the car up in Marseille at the train station and tell AutoEurope you'll drop it off at the Marseille airport. Normally there would not be an extra charge for this, but ask.

Also check on low-cost airfares from Paris to Marseille - it might be easier and cheaper, though the train is always fun.

ribeirasacra Nov 28th, 2018 08:50 AM


Originally Posted by bilboburgler (Post 16831889)
do use autoeurope for your car hire, don't use "insert here name of famous brand" because 1) they may well not be the same company or 2) they will be a franchise operator in both cases operating under French law, which you do not understand. So do the deal with a prime negotiator in a language you do understand.

are you going to need to fuel up on a Sunday or use a toll road?

https://about-france.com/driving.htm

I guess you know about trains seat61.com if not is the place to start.

Don't fret about not being able to speak the language, but do learn the top 30 phrases, and use them in hotels and shops, when you enter a shop say hello for example or greet reception each morning. France is a more formal place than the US and people expect to "recognise" people. Hand shaking is important too.

https://www.expatica.com/fr/insider-...te_101246.html

The question about speaking English was related to the airport customs/security and the explaining the why "son" cannot go through an x-ray machine.
OP you will not have a choice in engines, you really don't have a choice of make or model when hiring car car. The get out clause is "or similar."

PalenQ Nov 28th, 2018 09:17 AM

Yes take TGV to say Aix-en-Provence - wonderful city close to Cassis and smaller than Marseille and also a really neat city - drive to Cassis. Book train tickets like said about about 90 days in advance to get sweet discounted fares - they exist in first class too and at times may not be much more expensive if allotment of 2nd class discounted tickets sold out. www.oui.sncf is the site to book at - French National Railways - some find www.trainline.eu as St Cirq suggests (she is a frequent train traveler and booker of tickets) but that source is a middleman so if possible book right thru the www.oui.sncf site if possible - but both sites have same fares. As for first class v 2nd class - there is a difference and that's why folks pay more for comfort of first class -on a long ride you'll have fewer seats in same-size train car as 2nd class and thus more room to stow luggage. It is a subjunctive matter and yes most say 2nd class is fine - but first class is always finer and again that's why folks pay more for it. So see what the fare is for each and if not much more go first class. For lots on what to expect on trains like 1st v 2nd class check www.ricksteves.com and BETS-European Rail Experts.

StCirq Nov 28th, 2018 09:32 AM

Diesel fuel is the norm, but you won't likely have a say in whether your get a diesel car or not (though you probably will). If you need an automatic transmission, you'll have to pay extra for that, and it will limit your car selection, which will be limited in any case to a certain category or cars, not a particular one., So be prepared to have to get to know your car when you arrive, as in, drive it around the parking lot and figure out how to get it in reverse, etc.

If you're going to have to explain in French why your son cannot go through an X-ray machine, then yes you are going to have to deal with that. "Mon fils ne peut pas passer par l'appareil de radiographie parce qu'il est diabétique" or something like that will work, but you're going to have to be able to pronounce things well enough to be understood.

PalenQ Nov 28th, 2018 09:55 AM

Well in addition to memorizing carry a piece of paper with it all writ in French on it - no pronunciation problems then.

bilboburgler Nov 28th, 2018 10:04 AM

This is from the UK but the advice is pretty universal
https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to...iabetes/travel

The problems of not speaking French at an airport is as nothing as they may run into once they get into "la france profonde" :-)

Christina Nov 28th, 2018 10:19 AM

Both MRS and the Marseille train station are easy to drive out of, I have rented cars at both. In fact, the main autoroute is about just around the corner from the train station, it was easy to get to (A7). At least to go north, which was what I was doing, going up to Aix. I don't know about going to Cassis. I'd probably just compare car rental costs picking up there or Aix, and choose the cheapest because Aix bieng outside the city would be easy to get on the roads to Cassis, and it isn't that far away really.

As far as travel insurance, just buy a policy with the coverage you want, that's all. I just use insuremytrip.com, I think all the major ones should be decent. I've never had to collect, though. A friend of mine has and used CSA and thought they were great (they are now called Generali Global Assistance). I don't know how it works with your son, but presume the same as the person buying it regarding preexisting conditions. which means you MUST buy that policy ASAP, they have limits on when those are covered from the date of your first travel purchase, and I think it's often within 2 weeks.

Cowboy1968 Nov 28th, 2018 10:25 AM

2 Attachment(s)
With the caveat of having no personal knowledge of this matter, I found this on Google regarding traveling through airports in France (actually any airport in the EU):
Attachment 1533

Assuming but not knowing that the critical "item" your son may have an implanted insulin pump, you can address the security staff and ask for a manual security procedure (padding down).
Just print out the document, highlight the chapter on "POUR LES PORTEURS D’UNE POMPE À INSULINE" on page 2.
Also highlight the second bullet point in that chapter "Si vous souhaitez conserver votre pompe à insuline sur vous, signalez-le à l’agent de sûreté. Lors des contrôles, l’agent vous demandera votre accord pour vous soumettre à une palpation de sûreté."
And show this to the security staff.

In addition, you are supposed to carry a medical statement which covers the different aspects of diabetes-related items your son needs to have with him. The bi-lingual form provided by the French Diabetis Federation can be downloaded here:
Attachment 1534
Your doctor or hospital in the US should mention the model of the pump on the certificate.

Again, this is what I could find on the internet. And while I consider the sources of the information to be both official and trustworthy, it cannot be taken as the gospel.

PalenQ Nov 28th, 2018 10:30 AM

Yes Aix-en-Provence TGV station is nice because it is well out of the city - if landing at Marseille Airport easys to get a train or bus to nearby Aix, to me one of most beautiful cities in France.

Cowboy1968 Nov 28th, 2018 10:39 AM


Originally Posted by Christina (Post 16832028)
Both MRS and the Marseille train station are easy to drive out of, I have rented cars at both. In fact, the main autoroute is about just around the corner from the train station, it was easy to get to (A7). At least to go north, which was what I was doing, going up to Aix. I don't know about going to Cassis. I'd probably just compare car rental costs picking up there or Aix, and choose the cheapest because Aix bieng outside the city would be easy to get on the roads to Cassis, and it isn't that far away really.

Aix TGV station (not the station in Aix, but the one on the highspeed line, in the middle of nowhere between Aix proper and MRS airport) would have also be my first guess for anyone traveling to Marseille on TGV and wanting to avoid to drive in "downtown" Marseille.

historytraveler Nov 28th, 2018 10:40 AM

We picked our car up at Marseille Airport and it was a very easy exit. Dropoed it off at TGV Avignon.

RubyTwins Nov 28th, 2018 04:23 PM

Thank you. Yes I am using Mango now. I always try to learn a few things before I go.

Wow this is a goldmine of really really helpful advice. I LOVE THIS SITE. I will also get our medical excuse translated into French before we go.

I will call and compare prices for picking up a car at Marseille train vs. Aix. And Cowboy 1968 thank you, thank you for your Google skills. Will print that too.

And thank you regarding train tickets. I did not know that site!!

tomboy Nov 28th, 2018 07:47 PM

We've always used Gemut.com for car rental. They're a (Oregon-based) broker, primarily using AutoEurope, but somehow offering equal and sometimes cheaper rates. They've been helpful on the little things re a rental: accident, guaranteeing a diesel guaranteeing a stick etc.

On our trips to Provence, we've avoided Marseille. About 4 years ago we booked the train to Marseille, but got off at Avignon (due to the time of day offered); so we wasted a euro!!! I'd say to strongly consider doing Paris to either Aix or Avignon. If you're flying out of Marseille, no need to travel there before departure. Gemut doesn't charge a drop-fee to pick up the car in Aix and leave it at Marseille.


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