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Familiar with car rentals at Avignon train station?

Familiar with car rentals at Avignon train station?

Jan 27th, 2011, 08:12 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 45
Familiar with car rentals at Avignon train station?

We have reserved a place to stay in the Luberon area of France for a Friday and Saturday nite in July this year. We will take the train in from Paris on a Friday morning to the Avignon TRV station, rent a car, and then will need to return the car on Sunday to take the train back. I do not have exact times yet as the train schedules don't go out that far. Can anyone offer advice that might make the car rental process go smoother, as we have never done this overseas? I just got off the phone with Auto Europe, very nice lady, trying to find out if we would be able to return the car on a Sunday. She said that all the rental places there were closed but that we would be able on Friday to arrange to do a drop off of the car and the keys. Does this sound correct? I had hoped since it was a busy time of year and a fairly large train hub that the rental counters might be open on Sunday.

Also, she said something about needing to get a "zero deductible" when I rented or there would be a very large charge, 1100 Euros or so, held on my card for up to a week. Can anyone clarify this?

Also, I do not have a credit card but will need to do everything while we are in France with either cash or a debit card, would you foresee any problems with the car rental since it will be paid for in advance?

And any other info on driving in general, recommendations for getting the intl. drivers license, coverage to purchase on the car while we are there, etc. etc.?

Thank you!
cbaird is offline  
Jan 27th, 2011, 09:00 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,320
I have used the car rental offices at Avignon TGV regularly, and they are definitely open on Sunday. Perhaps the person was mistaking it with the offices in the city, or else you were requesting a time out of office hours.

You don't necessarily need to purchase the CDW, but it's true that a guarantee of the dedictible amount will be blocked on your car -- apparently 1100€ for the size you are getting (I get small cars and only have a 600€ guarantee).

There is absolutely no need for the International Driving Permit in France and neither the rental agency nor the police will want to see it. They will want to see the real license, which they have been trained to read, and English is not the most difficult language that they have to deal with.
kerouac is offline  
Jan 27th, 2011, 09:27 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 118
I second everything Kerouac said. The car rental agencies at the TGV station are definitely open on Sundays, it's only the downtown ones that close.

An international driver's license has absolutely no legal value, it is merely a translation of your license. Your American license allows you to drive in France as a tourist.
FrenchMystiqueTours2 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2011, 09:52 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,742
Ditto FMT & kerouac.

Maybe someone has the answer to this - but I'm not sure that the rental office can place a 1,100 hold on a DEBIT Card.

If you Debit Card is a brokerage account Visa or MC Gold or higher, you will normally be covered by CDW insurance with 0 deductible - but check with your card issuer.

Upon returning the car, as you enter through the gates, veer to the right & circle around the traiin station. Once you get behind the station, do not get into the left most lane - that's for dropping off passingers & you may get into a mini traffic jam & might have to circle the complex again. Stay to the right to drive into the car return lots. Check this out when you pick up the car.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Jan 27th, 2011, 10:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,427
I've returned cars there a couple times, always to Europcar. Don't own a debit card so can't comment on that point, I only use credit cards for car rentals. I think you could have troubles if you have no credit cards, but am not positive since I have several. Even if a car is prepaid (mine always are), I think there can often be a minor small charge left to pay for some reason, but I haven't always had that, either, but sometimes I have I think. Some road tax or extra tax for an A/T or something like that. It's not a huge amount, but it is a charge. I suppose you could pay it with cash, of course, if you had enough. Be sure to not run short on cash when you are there. YOu may need it at gas stations, for one thing (chipless Credit cards don't work and you will need to find a person).

I think the deposit without a CC could be a problem, sure, as someone else suggests possible. Have you rented this car already from someone? If so, they should answer these questions. I always rent in advance from Autoeurope or Kemwel.

I have used my CC at times for coverage but last trip I purchased a travel insurance policy with a $50K auto rental policy, as I recall, to be on the safe side. It didn't cost that much more than the policy without it, maybe $10.

I know French so didn't have any particular problem driving, as I can read things and know what a km is, and the few times I had trouble I could stop and ask directions or for help (like one I had a car with a tire indicator light that went on and I wasn't sure it meant, so I could stop by a rural car repair shop I happened to see open and talk about it. They were really nice and checked it out and said it just needed air and there was no charge, but they couldn't speak English, of course, all that converastion was in French). Of course most signs are symbols now, so you might brush up on French road signs, there are a lot of them that are different from the US, for example. Someone posted a long post on here once with a link to a document about French rules and road signs, it was rather helpful if you can find that.
Christina is online now  
Jan 27th, 2011, 10:34 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 306
Be prepared for looooonnng wait picking up your car at Europcar at the Avignon TGV station. I joked with my husband that the car pick up took just 15 minutes less than the ride from Paris! Seems like none of the other car rental companies can compete on price, so everyone is in line at Europcar.
SuzChicago is offline  
Jan 27th, 2011, 10:57 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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>>Be prepared for looooonnng wait picking up your car at Europcar <<

Well - we experienced just the opposite. We were meeting friends coming from Paris by TGV. There was a loooong line at the Avis office, but no line at the EuropCar office.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Jan 27th, 2011, 11:12 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,920
There are ways to shorten your wait at the rental counter. You could join Europcar´s frequent renter plan. Entering your data online can greatly shorten the time you spend at pickup.

In reference to try to rent a car without a credit card, a note that Autoeurope places on their rental vochers might be important:

While you can use a debit card to pay for your reservation through Auto Europe, cash deposits, Maestro, Switch and debit cards are rarely accepted locally

For instance, Autoeurope quotes do not include: pickup surcharges, road taxes, additional driver fees, or environmental fees. These must be paid for locally and can be quite expensive. You might need several hundred euros cash to pay for these charges depending upon the conditions of your rental.

Additionally, without a CC you will not have the CDW insurance which card holders get for free. This is why AE has recommended you pay for the zero deductible insurance. It is not cheap and it comes with very high deductibles. You might want to look into third party insurance such as:

Sarastro is offline  
Jan 27th, 2011, 11:13 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 45
Thank you all, sounds like I will not have a problem with the Sunday dropoff so that is a good thing to know. And I will not bother with the intl. driver license then, one less thing to do.

IDK about the trip without a credit card, I am worried about it but not sure if I can fix it. We had alot of medical bills when my husband was sick and it cratered the credit, probably too soon to try to fix it but I might see. Otherwise I will have to take alot of cash I guess and hide it wisely. Or I wonder if anyone uses travelers checks anymore?

I have not booked the car yet, I need to wait I guess until train schedules are out for July so the car will be available at the right time.

I will definitely look for the post on the French road rules, that is worrying me a bit. My 22 yr old daughter will be with me and has had 6 years of high school and college french so I hope she can help some.
cbaird is offline  
Jan 27th, 2011, 11:20 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,522
No.. don't take cash and don't take travelers checks. The first too easy to have stolen and the second hard to cash nowadays. Your debit card will get you cash at ATMs.

Be sure to notify your bank and increase your daily withdrawal limit if need be. If getting a credit card is a problem at this point, get a pre paid one if nothing else. It will cost money in fees etc but gives you flexibility.
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Jan 28th, 2011, 05:29 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 45
Good ideas, ParisAmsterdam, I will get with my bank and see what my options are so that I have a high limit for purchases and cash withdrawals while I am there. And I had not thought of a prepaid credit card but that might be my best bet. I really don't want or need a credit card long term right now but I think I really will need it for this trip and that way I am in control of the situation. Since our party is splitting for a week I could also get one for my daughter and SIL so that they had their money that week. I will work on that. Thanks!
cbaird is offline  
Jan 28th, 2011, 06:12 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,320
>>For instance, Autoeurope quotes do not include: pickup surcharges, road taxes, additional driver fees, or environmental fees.<<

If you rent through one of the European sites of AutoEurope, everything is usually included in the rates.
kerouac is offline  
Jan 28th, 2011, 06:42 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,920
True kerouac but as the OP states that medical bills have left her and her husband with financial difficulties they must be from the USA. Autoeurope´s USA contracts do NOT include the above charges which must be paid at the drop off location.
Sarastro is offline  
Jan 28th, 2011, 09:37 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,320
They can pay a rental amount in euros online the same as in dollars. The first time I ever used AutoEurope for a local rental in France, I accidentally used the U.S. site and paid in dollars. Not a problem.
kerouac is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 04:52 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 89
bookmarking, thanks
rmw555 is offline  

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