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Should I rent a car is Paris, or wait until Marseille - We're staying in the South of France

Should I rent a car is Paris, or wait until Marseille - We're staying in the South of France

Jun 26th, 1998, 07:33 AM
Posts: n/a
Should I rent a car is Paris, or wait until Marseille - We're staying in the South of France

We will be staying in a small town called Ste-Valiere in the South'
of France, and will be renting a car to travel around.
We're landing in Paris and will be staying there for
2 or 3 days and definately don't want to drive there.
We have the option of renting a car in Paris or
Marseille, and aren't sure what to do? Should we
train - it to Marsielle or Montpellier, would that be
very expensive? Or maybe it would be a pleasant
drive and we could see beautiful things?
Jun 26th, 1998, 08:43 AM
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I don't know if it would be pleasant not having
driven it, but I would guess it will be quicker and
easier by train. They don't care where you drop off
the car? If that isn't a consideration, it takes less
than five hrs to get to Marseille by TGV and costs
about $80 a person.
Jun 27th, 1998, 09:59 AM
Posts: n/a
I drove from Paris to Nice last winter. I did not rent the car, but drove a french friend in her car. Gas in france is very very expensive so figure that into your costs. Also, being used to driving in the U.S., there is always a roadside fast food place open in hte U.S. if you get hungry, etc. In france, everyone seems to eat at very specific times. If you stop at a roadside restaraunt and try to buy lunch after the appointed hour, you'll get a look like you've made a ridiculous request. So bring munchies with you if you're driving at an unusual hour. Also, we stopped at several roadside rest stops where there were "turkish toilets" -- basically you straddle and stand over a hole. Also, the speeds are much faster in France. Also, the highways in France get very crowded during the grand vacance in the summer -- probably not the best time to be on the road there. I have taken the TGV and it is excellent -- but expensive.

Jun 27th, 1998, 12:30 PM
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Hi, I live in Belgium and when I go to the South of France I go by car. The highway from Paris to the South, called "Autoroute du soleil" (which means "highway to the sun") is very well kept with lots of gazoline stations and roadside eating places. Most of them are open 24 hours a day and "turkish toilets" (see the report of Jon) are really very rare. I think I saw the last one maybe 10 years ago !
Jon is right regarding speed. Usual speed on European highways is abt. 140 km/h (abt. 90 mph). This specific highway from Paris to the South also is the most crowded in France. There is a tax to be paid on all highways which is abt. 0.07US$/km. From Paris to Marseille this means abt. US$ 45 one-way. Gazoline costs abt. 1,10 US$ per liter (abt. 4.07 US$ per USgallon).
I think that, when you are not used to drive on crowded European highways, you can better take the train (TGV), also considering that you don't cross any interesting or beautiful places.
Jun 29th, 1998, 08:18 PM
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My wife and I finished a cruise in Nice a few weeks ago, then took the high speed train - TGV - up to Paris. The train stopped in Marseille along the way to Paris. The train ride was wonderful, as the TGV puts all American trains to shame. It is fast, very smooth riding, and quite comfortable/spacious in 1st class. It departs from Gare Lyon often each day for Marseille. Given the costs of car travel, including the wear and tear on you, I wouldn't give the auto option another thought.
Jun 29th, 1998, 10:26 PM
jean-francois clay
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You can get time tables and prices of trains in France on www.sncf.fr it is even in english.

My opinion: if you want just to go down, take the train except
if there are many people as the cost by car is fixed,
if you want to go down easy not using motorway

In any case and if possible avoid first days and last days of the months in july and august
Jun 30th, 1998, 03:13 AM
Trina Baughn
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One other thing to consider if you choose to drive, tolls. French toll-booths are all over and can end up costing you a pretty penny. Also, if you do rent a car, I wouldn't recommend driving within Paris--my experience was completely nerve-racking.
Aug 1st, 1998, 04:14 AM
Wes Priest
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I'm sorry I've come so late to this topic. My wife and I recently drove to and from Paris-Provence and wouldn't do it any other way (yes, we've also taken the TGV).

Firstly, the TGV from Paris to Marseille does NOT cost $80 per person, as someone originally posted. Round trip is actually about $300, second class mind you.

By the time we rented our car, paid the tolls and gas prices and drove around the south of France for 6 days, we spent maybe $500. And we got to see France to boot. On the way down we stopped in Beaune, Lyon and Montelimar. Yeah, it took a full day but we loved it.

On the way back we stopped once and it took 6 hours, door-to-door. I gues if you have the financial means to take the train and then rent a car, go for it. Driving down to Marseille saved hundreds of dollars and only cost us a few hours at our destination.

My two cents.

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