Travel between London and France

Old Dec 10th, 2005, 05:49 AM
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Travel between London and France

We have a rental car in England. We are planning to go to Grenoble, France, and then on to Paris and then back to London. (from 12-26 through 12-29) We are needing advice from others who have traveled between England and France. Are we better off turning in the car in England, taking the Eurostar across the channel and then renting a car once we get into France? We also know there's a ferry available, but don't know how much that would cost in comparison to traveling by Eurostar. we can get the Eurostar for $90 per person round trip (3 of us are traveling together)we welcome any advice. Thanks!
Joe_Sandy is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2005, 05:53 AM
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I only rent cars to explore a region once I've got there by train. It (usually) works out to be more economical, but the best part is that it saves time and wear & tear. You might want to compare the costs and timings and evaluate driving vs. trains from that point of view.

In a big city like Paris (and possibly Grenoble), a car is a liability. You can almost always get closer to popular sights by public transport than by car.

Having said that, the ferry operators are mad keen to get traffic (and Eurotunnel is in the competition, too), so you can probably get the car and passengers across for less than $100 each way (google channel ferry.

I would NOT drive a RHD vehicle on the Continent.
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Old Dec 10th, 2005, 06:17 AM
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Some of the car rental companies have UK/France packages where you turn in your first car in Dover/Ashford (depending on whether you take the ferry or train) and pick up another one in France under the same rental agreement. This will usually save you money because you benefit from a longer rental period.

And you really don't want to drive a right hand drive car on the Continent

(I know, I know, - Brits manage it all the time on holiday. For a period I drove a left hand drive car in England so I know it can be done. But it isn't as easy/safe and "wrong side of the car on the right side of the road" is even more confusing than "wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the road")
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Old Dec 10th, 2005, 06:23 AM
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My comments were strictly about how to do the car thing. I actually agree w/ Robespierre (OMG - I can't believe I just said that )

Unless you are touring through France enroute to Grenoble, I'd personally take the train (or you could fly). Especially since this will be in the dead of winter. Driving conditions might be horrible (or not). The train will be much faster and IF you need a car for a day or two you can hire one locally.
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Old Dec 10th, 2005, 09:46 AM
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If you think airfares can be a zoo, wait till you try working out Channel ferry/Channel tunnel prices - which typically vary more by how long you're out of Britain than anythng else (though getting on the ferry or train before 0600 can sometimes offer heavy reductions). Whatever price you find on the Web, keep on looking.

Remember though that all car hire companies charge a premium for taking a car out of mainland Britain, and some migh actually ban it. It's ABSOLUTELY essential you declare this when you hire the car, as you won't otherwise be insured - and check the premium before committing.

Be aware that, apart from the emotional issues around seeing the White Cliffs coming closer to you as France gets further away (the finest view a human being can behold), the car journey between London and Paris is very, very tedious and - even if you take the Tunnel - astonishingly slow. Leaving central London at 0430, allow six hours by Tunnel, and seven by surface ferry to central Paris. Can be a lot longer leaving any other time. Even the plane is quicker.

There really isn't a problem driving an RHD car in France if you stay on motorways, or even in central Paris. It can be tricky on narrow country roads, or on busy two-lane roads in the Paris banlieue, as it requires the passenger to tell the driver when it's safe to overtake. Great test of mutual trust.
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Old Dec 10th, 2005, 11:17 AM
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Many car rental companies will not let you take a UK car to the continent. And if they do there is often a large surcharge or extra insurance requiredd - due to the very high rate of accidents when using a car with wheel/driver on the wrong side.

Also I'm not sure what your dates mean - are you planning on going from London to Grenoble and back in 4 days by car? That would seem to be an exercise in frustration.

are you just going to stay in Grenoble - or see things on the way or??? Just to stay in G for a couple of days I would either train or fly.
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Old Dec 11th, 2005, 03:20 AM
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Hi JS,

>We are planning to go to Grenoble, France, and then on to Paris and then back to London. (from 12-26 through 12-29).

It is a 5:30 hr drive from Paris to Grenoble. You will lose a day each way getting from Grenoble to London.

That leaves you 2 days to visit Grenoble.

Have you considered flying from London LGW to Grenoble/Lyons on for $230 pp RT?

ira is offline  
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