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Rouen or Rennes to pick up Rental Car

Old Sep 21st, 2017, 06:13 AM
  #1  
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Rouen or Rennes to pick up Rental Car

I'm flying into Paris and will skip dealing with driving in the Paris area and will instead take a train to either Rouen or Rennes and get my car there. I'll be exploring Brittany and Normandy. Which city is easier to navigate with a car? Looks like Rouen, but I thought I'd get some opinions. I'll be driving by myself, so no human navigation assistance.
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Old Sep 21st, 2017, 06:56 AM
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I would choose the city according to its location on the itinerary that you have planned.
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Old Sep 21st, 2017, 07:13 AM
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Either city works with my itinerary.
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Old Sep 21st, 2017, 08:17 AM
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We found that Rennes is easier to get around in than Rouen, which has a multitude of bridges that we found ourselves going over in both directions over and over when trying to get out of the city. However, Rouen is closer; so it depends on where you want to begin your itinerary.
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Old Sep 21st, 2017, 09:01 AM
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My recollections are also that Rennes would be easier for car pick up. Maybe it was the company we chose, but we did not enjoy trying to get our rental car into and out of the Rouen station location.
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Old Sep 21st, 2017, 09:52 AM
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From Paris, Rouen would be quicker and cheaper by train I think than Rennes unless you score a deep discounted TGV ticket to Rennes. Check www.voyages-sncf.com for prices and book ASAP - up to 90 days in advance often I think and take whatever is cheaper. Check www.seat61.com for sage advice on booking your own discounted tickets (though these tickets are non-changeable non-refundable so tricky booking a specific train after landing - there are some TGV trains that go direct CDG-Rennes I believe. For general info on French trains also check www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.

In either case stay the night in Rennes or Rouen and not drive jet-lagged thru unfamiliar urban areas - cities that size in France IME can have horrendous traffic snarls during rush hours especially and also save a day of car rental.

Giverny and Monet's House and Garden are a short drive towards Paris from Rouen.
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Old Sep 21st, 2017, 10:08 AM
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Upon arrival that first day, in either Rennes or Rouen, to check into hotel and spend whatever hours left in the day walking around. The following day, I'll pick up the car and head off to coastal destinations.
Underhill, I can picture myself doing the same thing.
I will study Rennes map.
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Old Sep 21st, 2017, 10:22 AM
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I don't think this is totally an issue of which city but WHERE you rent your car from. If you rent from Sixt in Rouen, you are basically already kind of out of city center and right next to the main highway going to the south/west (N338), so I'm sure it would be easy to drive from there. There are several other companies around that location, also (Hertz, Avix and Thrifty). If you rent from a company right at the main gare, yes, that might be harder. So you might compare the time and train fare cost difference versus the cost of a taxi between those points (which is about 4 km), if that's the issue.

In Rennes, if you rent at the train station, you are still in the center of the city metro area, even if no bridges. So I think the agencies on the outskirts of Rouen would be easier than that. For Hertz, the location I'm referring to is called their downtown office and is at 43 ave de Caen. This may not be an issue for you at all, but for HErtz, if you want an AT, you have to rent from that office, anyway, not at the gare.
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Old Sep 21st, 2017, 10:41 AM
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Thanks, Christina. I will need an AT, that's for sure!
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Old Sep 21st, 2017, 10:43 AM
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www.bahn.de/en shows a direct train CDG -TGV station to Rennes at 12:48 random day I checked - always beats taking RER into Paris and going to Montparnasse or Saint-Lazare for trains to Rennes and Rouen respectively.

When do you land?
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Old Sep 21st, 2017, 11:41 AM
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We have rented cars at the train stations in both cities and did not find it hard to get out of either one - but we had a GPS. In 2004 in Rennes we just hopped in the car and left for Mont Saint-Michel. In 2011 in Rouen we put our luggage in the car, left it in the Avis secure garage (the Avis agent said it was Ok to do that) and walked around the town for a few hours before going back to the car and driving to Etretat. If an AT is a must then wherever you can find the least expensive one will probably be the deciding factor.
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Old Sep 21st, 2017, 12:43 PM
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day of week and time of day could matter - weekends less busy and Sundays somnolent?
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Old Sep 21st, 2017, 03:06 PM
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I'll łand in Paris at 8:35 am on a Monday. If I can do fast train from CDG to Rennes, that would make my decision. I'll pick my car up the following day.
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Old Sep 21st, 2017, 04:05 PM
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We did the reverse and dropped our rental car near the station in Rouen. It was one of the more harrowing driving experiences we've ever had - trying to find the rental car park in a very busy area. When we finally found the right place and found the appropriate parking spot in a large garage, the rental place was closed for a long lunch. We missed our train to Paris as a result. We laugh about it now but we have cautioned many friends about driving in central Rouen. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Just my two cents worth.
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Old Sep 21st, 2017, 05:34 PM
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I had no problem getting into or out of Rouen, but did have difficulty in Rennes. Maybe it depends on time of day / year / exact location?
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Old Sep 22nd, 2017, 03:31 AM
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I'll łand in Paris at 8:35 am on a Monday. If I can do fast train from CDG to Rennes, that would make my decision. I'll pick my car up the following day.>

And you should have plenty of time to catch 12:38 TGV CDG-Rennes and thus be able to comfortably book discounted (non-refundable; non-changeable tickets on it at www.voyages-sncf.com).

Sure beats going into Paris - check schedules for your exact date.
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