Hi. I’m nervous about renting a car to see some villages in South east of France (Lourmarin, St. Paul De Vence, Aix, Eze). Does anyone has a recommendation for a car rental agency that offered a less stressful experience to begin my journey. I hope to stay off busier roads. Thanks all.
Lourmarin and Aix (not a village BTW) on one side, Eze and St Paul de Vence on the other side, are not in the same area. For Eze and St Paul, the best base is Nice and you do not need a car.
For Lourmarin and other Luberon villages, you could rent a car in Aix if you base yourself in Aix (or Avignon if that's better for you). I suggest you use Auto Europe (a US-based broker) and see what they offer in the car rental departure city that you choose. The main "bad apples" to avoid are Goldcar and Firefly, both available at Marseille airport (which is near-ish Aix).
Thank you so much for the information. So helpful!!
We picked up a rental at the TGV station in Avignon for our 2 weeks in the south of France last June. No problems at all. I always check several sources and then typically book direct with the rental company. Try Europcar, AutoEurope, Expedia, etc. I rarely book through a third party but used Expedia as there was no upcharge for returning to a different location (picked up in Avignon and returned to Lyon).
We're returning to the area next September, picking up in Avignon again. My first reservation (not prepaid) has now been cancelled as a couple of weeks later with same company, Sixt, the price was a bit lower (still didn't do a prepaid reservation.)
We also rented a car in Avignon at the train station and used it for traveling around Provence. The biggest stress was the huge traffic circles in some of the cities. We used Enterprise and it was easy to pick up and return
See what's available from AutoEurope. And beware that car rentals are not always available in every small town in Europe.
AutoEurope doesn't tell you what brand of car rental you're going to get, but an online cross reference on the pick up address pops up the brand. Then contact the rental company directly to compare pricing.
I use Google Maps just about every day for something. It's great as a planning tool when you put in the two cities you're visiting from/to.
Have a paper map of central Carpentras if driving without a navigation system, the center is notoriously difficult to navigate. Driving south to north, to stay on the main road there’s a 175° right turn you can’t believe is the main way out of town.
Great suggestions. Thank u so much all!
just a note - I never pay for the GPS add-on. It's common standard equipment on rentals, at least in my experience, and greatly helped us throughout our travels in the Provence region (and other countries too). I always get automatic transmission even thought I can drive manual. But since manual is not my usual mode, it's just less stressful. GPS wasn't perfect though. We had a few wrong turns along the way and the GPS voice often told us to "turn left at the roundabout, second (or whichever) exit. Perhaps "she" was in the UK at times. The most challenging part can be setting the language if not set to English, and entering the address correctly. Have all parts handy since there's often more than one city/town/village with similar parts to the address. I have a saved downloaded google map handy as well, with brief notes of the major turns/road numbers.