A Guide To Car Rental in France
If you’d like to venture off the beaten track, or want to explore the countryside and more rural or remote areas, a car in France is essential.
If you’re thinking about hiring a car, here are some tips and advice on what to expect, documentation you’ll need and where to find the best prices for car rental in France.
(Please note, these are very general guidelines only).
Car Rental in France:
Before You Go
- Booking well in advance is highly recommended – especially during the peak season, and if you need extras such as a baby car seat, bicycle rack and so on. With a baby seat, check that the hire company has the type you need for weight and age.
- Just before you leave for your trip, send an email to the car rental company to confirm your booking.
- Before you leave for your holiday, check that you have all the required documentation for car hire in France. The AA Websiteprovides some useful guidelines on this.
- We’ve also put together some tips and information on driving in France which you might find useful- including common road signs you’ll come across, speed limits, and how to save on petrol costs etc.
- Try and get the smallest car that you can manage comfortably. Some of the countryside villages have very narrow roads. It’ll also open up more options for parking!
- On the other hand, make sure you have a car that is big enough to fit all your luggage, kids toys etc – a nd suitable enough for the type of driving that you will be doing while travelling around France (long distances or short trips?)
- Pick up/drop off point. This is something that is worth the time thinking about. If you’re flying into one of the major cities, it can be convenient collecting your car from there. But sometimes the prospect of driving in an unfamiliar place within minutes of getting off the plane (and possibly feeling jetlagged!) may not be appealing…. This might make things a little easier:
- book a hotel in your arrival city and stay a couple of nights to ease into holiday mode and get some rest, then pick up your car; or even better,
- take the train for part of your journey, and choose to collect your hire car from a smaller town (much easier to drive around and with less traffic!) Trains in France are excellent – comfortable and fast (they have some of the fastest trains in the world).
- Although it’s worth shopping for the best price – it’s better to go with a reputable company that doesn’t compromise on quality.
Car Rental in France: Insurance
- Consider your insurance cover carefully. The hire car company often includes insurance as part of the price; but you might need to get separate travel insurance for yourself as well.
- We highly recommend taking out AA’s (or similar) AA Breakdown Cover for your own peace of mind. They provide 24hr english speaking assistance if you break down while in France.
Car Rental in France: When You Arrive
- Car hire outlets in the regional areas can often be closed around lunchtime (12-2pm) so you might need to wait around for a short period until they re-open. Not to worry…it’s a good excuse to go for a coffee!
- You’ll probably have to put a deposit down on the car as security, so make sure you have a credit card that can be used overseas (check with your bank).
- When you collect your car, ask one of the hire staff to come with you and give you a bit of a demo with the car (and for you to ask questions). With foreign cars, its surprising how difficult it can be to figure out how the handbrake or reverse gear works!
- Before you set off, check you have all the required documentation eg vehicle registration document, insurance certificates etc.