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Renting a Car from Paris, visiting London and back to Paris

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Oct 3rd, 2016, 09:26 PM
  #1
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Renting a Car from Paris, visiting London and back to Paris

Hi all,

I have been searching and have only found older information on what our plans are. We are planning to rent a car from CDG, go to Omaha Beach for a couple of nights, then go to the UK for a couple of nights and then back to Belgium, Germany and ending in Paris. I know that when we get into the UK we will need a different car.

Any recommendations for doing this? Any recent experiences either positive or negative? Any pick up/drop off rental locations you can recommend? I've looked and I think I have brain overload or I'm just not finding anything specific enough to answer my questions.

All of you veterans will have the insight I'm looking for, I know it!

Thanks in advance! BTW, we are traveling 1/27/2017-2/7/2017.

~Kari
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Oct 3rd, 2016, 10:34 PM
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You don't need a different car in Britain: the far more important question is whether you need any kind of car in Britain at all.

To get from Normandy to Belgium or Germany, on your apparent plan, requires you to leave a car at a West Channel port, or somewhere around Calais, get to Britain, return to the same spot, then continue the drive.

This is a whole pile of pointless faffing about if all you're really planning is a couple of days in London or anywhere on the railway notwork. Which is just about anywhere most people would want to go to.

The least-aggro option for most itineraries is to drive from Normandy to the Calais-Frethun Eurostar station, get rid of the car, travel the way sensible people do to and around England, then fly to Brussels or wherever.

If your plan in Britain is ONLY to visit the preparation sites in Hampshire and Dorset for the Normandy landings, then it MIGHT be more sensible to take the car onto a ferry to Portsmouth or Weymouth from Normandy, then return to the Continent. But there will probably be a substantial premium to pay thge hire company for taking the car to to Britain - and cross-Channel car ferry prices are astounding.

In this case, it would probably make better financial sense to dump the car in Normandy, for the humans alone to get the ferry to the Dorset area, hire a car locally for that that bit of the trip,then fly from Bournemouth, Southampton or the London area to Brussels or Cologne.

There is on sites like this a neanderthal myth about the difficulty of driving "wrong-sided" cars. This myth had some substance 40 years ago, when cars didn't come with offside mirrors and roads were all two-lane. The world's moved on - as the millions of European trucks and buses on British roads attests, as do the millions of us who happily take our right-hand drive cars to the Continent every year.

What seems not to be a myth is that cars anywhere near London and Americans just don't mix. Our style of relaxed, unemotional driving amid intense congestion seems, if this forum is any guide, to throw most Americans into deep confusion.
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Oct 3rd, 2016, 10:53 PM
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It is a 3 hour drive to Omaha Beach. Are you arriving from an international flight? If so, driving right away with jet lag may not be a good idea.

Do you already have tickets? Book multi-city or multi-destination (not 2 one-way), so you do not have to waste time and money backtracking.

Where are you going in the UK? You are going to the UK for only 2 nights (1 day)? Will you even need a car for only 1 day?

Where in Belgium? Will you actually need a car there?

Where in Germany?

Do you plan to spend any time in Paris?

Is all your travel time within those dates? It will be winter. A lot of your time will be in transit, sitting in the car. Your plan may not be workable.
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Oct 3rd, 2016, 10:59 PM
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Why must you have the UK in the middle of your trip? It would make more sense to have it at the beginning or end of your trip IF you need a car for parts of your trip.

You do realise that it's winter in Europe and some countries - notably Germany have laws governing winter tyres / chains in some parts of the country
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Oct 3rd, 2016, 11:10 PM
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"Veterans" would not do this kind of back and forth routing. Consumes both time and money.

When you say "1/27/2017-2/7/2017", are you indicating home to home?
If that is the case and if you are arriving the next day, this is 10 nights = 9 full day and you are looking at visiting 4 countries in back and forth manner.

I don't know where in Belgium or Germany you are heading to. But with so little time available, you don't have time to "visit quaint villages" on the way, the reason many say why they are renting a car.

If you insist on visiting these four countries, as mentioned above, start from the UK. If that means London, a car is totally useless. Land in London, visit, take Eurostar to Lille or somewhere close to Normandy, rent car, ditch car around Normandy, take fast train to Bergium, take fast train to "Germany," and fly home from Germany.
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Oct 3rd, 2016, 11:16 PM
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You don't need a different car for the UK. Just drive it onto the train in Calais. Unless the rental company doesn't allow you to take the car the the UK??

Get a flexi ticket for the Channel Tunnel train if you can - there can be queues at passport control, and with a flexi ticket you always get onto the first train available. You bypass the queues.

No winter tyres required for France, UK, Belgium.
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Oct 3rd, 2016, 11:18 PM
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Oh, just to add; if you're just visiting London, don't bother with the car in the UK. Fly or take the Eurostar.
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Oct 3rd, 2016, 11:26 PM
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I believe that continental rental cars may not be taken to the British Isles. The insurance would be invalidated.
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Oct 4th, 2016, 04:08 AM
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What Greg says.

You are getting a lot of very good advice here, and I hope you take it.

In sum:

You don't have very much time. With travel, you have about 1 1/2 days in each country.

You are planning to spend much of your time looking out the window of a car at mostly industrial scenery. You are planning to pay to park your car while you pop over to England.

Veterans travel in straight lines.
Veterans cover ground as fast as possible -- usually -- in order to have time at their point of interest.

Normandy, Picardie, the Pas de Calais are going to be cold, windy and wet at that time of year. The days will be shorter than you can imagine. Not enjoyable or even safe to drive.
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Oct 4th, 2016, 04:36 AM
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"I believe that continental rental cars may not be taken to the British Isles."

I am reading a recent Enterprise contract. At least this company clearly states that driving in UK is allowed, but you should advise them beforehand. I could not say for other companies.
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Oct 4th, 2016, 05:39 AM
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I take my personal car to UK
It is a lot cheaper for me to go via Calais with the car - we pay about 100 euros round trip and are 5 or 6 in the car.
Then finding a cheap parking in Londin is another matter but stil ...
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Oct 4th, 2016, 06:23 AM
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There is usually a list of countries that you can take your rental car to. Be sure to inform the rental company of your plans to take the car to the UK/Belgium/Germany from France and you intend to take the rental car on the ferry or Eurotunnel. You might need to pay some additional fees such as insurance. The only issue I can see is whether you are comfortable driving a LHD car in a RHD country.
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Oct 4th, 2016, 07:08 AM
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What an absolutely crazy idea, especially in the middle of winter! Just ditch this idea and start over - it's all wrong. Veterans don't plan trips like this.

It's going to be cold and wet and possibly miserable everywhere you plan to go. The sun will set around 4:30-5:00 pm, giving you very short days to "sightsee."

You shouldn't drive to Normandy upon arrival in Paris. Just plain dumb.

You don't need a car in the UK.

Where are you going in Germany and Belgium? Any reason the very efficient rail networks won't work for you?

The last thing you need at this point is a recommendation for car rental pickup/dropoff, though I always recommend AutoEurope.
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Oct 4th, 2016, 07:48 AM
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We need more info to help you with this.

There are ferry ports (Caen and Cherbourg) very close to the D-Day beaches. Note the schedules are reduced in winter. Only do this with a car if you are planning to tour Hampshire or elsewhere in England. You can take a rental to the UK, no need to switch cars.

If London is your only UK destination, forget all that and proceed as Flanner suggests, dropping the car and picking up Eurostar. I am one American who is neither afraid nor confused to drive in and out of London but it is time-consuming, polluting, a waste of money and an inconvenience.

BUT, then you're adding two more countries? In 10 days, the above would be a decent trip. Can't get my head around two more countries but if you are determined to do this, try to re-order your itinerary.
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Oct 4th, 2016, 07:50 AM
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Oh wow, just realized you're throwing Paris in the mix as well! Do you plan to sleep?
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Oct 4th, 2016, 08:13 AM
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Other than the usual anti-American idiocy, flanner is basically correct (relaxed driving in the UK? Bullsh-t. The Brits drive like Europeans).

Your cross-Channel plan is daft. There's no need for a car in the UK generally if you're going to visit places that are accessible by rail and there is NO sense in having a car in the UK if your purpose is to visit London.

I'm guessing you've bought your flight tickets already and made the mistake of not going open jaw. Maybe it'll also make you rethink all the bouncing about - you can easily do Normandy-London-Paris (although insufficient time for the two cities, but take what you can get) on your dates, but not Normandy-London-Brussels-some bloody area of Germany-Paris. European countries may be small compared to the US, but it's not traveling from Boston-New York and hitting four states small.
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Oct 4th, 2016, 08:23 AM
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In any case, visiting northern France during the colder season is a brilliant idea. The sites to visit (Omaha Beach...) are completely deserted and perfect for contemplation and the northern cities (Lille, Valenciennes, Bruges, Ypres or whatever) come alive at that time of year to compensate for the not always optimum weather. It is my favorite part of France/Belgium and my favorite time of year to see it. Just seeing the frost on the empty fields is magical.
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Oct 4th, 2016, 08:42 AM
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<>

We visited the Norman WWII landing sites in early June. There was a stiff cold wind blowing off the sea and it rained intermittently. I don't think it's any better in the winter. Maybe I'm a wuss but I didn't feel very contemplative. Just eager to get indoors.
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Oct 4th, 2016, 09:29 AM
  #19
 
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I think driving in the UK is more relaxed than driving in Belgium. I much prefer driving in London to Brussel....

And people drive from France to the UK all the time, also in winter. It's no big deal.

Wether it's the best use of your limited time is something else entirely.

PS: WoinParis; try Westfield Shepherds Bush for parking.
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