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picking up car in downtown Barcelona

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We plant to stay in an apartment in Barcelona for a number of nights and then want to rent a vehicle to drive to SW France. We will return a week later to fly out of BCN airport.

How difficult is it to pick up a rental car in central BCN and drive out of the city? ( we will likely be staying near Placa Universidad).

We will drive back from SW France the day before we fly out (mid-afternoon departure). Where should we stay and drop off the vehicle? Should we rent a hotel in central Barcelona, drop off the car from the same spot we took it from and then catch public transit (or a taxi) to the airport the next morning? That way we could enjoy Barcelona for another night.

OR, should we stay at a hotel near the airport and drop the car off at the airport the day of our departure? (airport hotels have never thrilled me!)

OR should we stay the night in Sitges (or somewhere closer) so that we see another town?

TIA!

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