We will be traveling the first week in April with 2 teenagers. We plan to land at CDG and then rent a car and head to Bayeux for a few days. Is it better to rent at CDG or take a train and rent in another city?
Wife and I were unnerved at the idea of driving in CDG/Paris traffic, and took a train to Caen (since that particular train did not go through to Bayeux) to rent at the Hertz office there. That worked well for us.
Assuming this will be an overnight transatlantic flight, I think it would be the height of folly to immediately attempt the drive all the way to Bayeux on the same day. Driving jet lagged is little different than driving drunk. It's at least a 3 hr drive (in ideal conditions). While it would likely take longer, the safer route would be to take a taxi to the train station In Paris, then pick up a rental in Bayeux (or Caen). But if you are arriving on a shorter intra European flight, and you don't mind the traffic around Paris, then go ahead and rent at CDG.
Kristie after 7 trips to Europe and an 8th one coming up this summer the best way to kill your family is to drive that far after landing. I almost ran off the road the first time we went in 2004. I actually fell asleep for a second and had a dream I was driving. And then the second time we went I drove 100 miles and that was a mistake. Stay by the airport and go the next morning. Or take the train to Caen after landing and rent there.
The Caen train station has several rental agencies nearby. You could stay overnight and pick up the car the next morning. However, to take the train from CdG station will require one (or more) changes. The alternative is to take the RER commuter train to Gare St-Lazare to catch a direct train to Caen.
I agree with the others that driving in a jet lagged state right after a long international flight is not a good idea, a practice that has been likened to impaired driving. Keep in mind that you'll be dealing with an unfamiliar area, different traffic patterns and road signs. The two most sensible options.....
- stay in a hotel near the airport and rent a car the following day.
- if you think you have the stamina to manage the trip after your flight, take a Taxi or other transport to Gare St. Lazare and take a train to Bayeux. That will put you in the desired location and you'll be able to start touring the following day.
One other point to mention, as listed on the Embassy of France website.....
"You may drive with a valid U.S. driver’s license if it is accompanied by a notarized translation in French. It is strongly recommended that you carry an International Driving Permit. You must be 18 years of age or older to drive in France."
A GPS unit or at least a good map is also highly advisable.
The safety issue mentioned by others deserve serious consideration.
All great advice. We will take an uber or taxi to the station that will take us to Caen and then rent from there. Fortunately we will be in first class and should be getting at least 6 hours of sleep. Thanks so much for the input.
We drove from cdg to Chartres last summer. Took about 90 minutes. We flew nonstop from sfo. Got about 5 plus hours sleep. It was mainly highway driving. Still did some sightseeing in Chartres when we arrived. This year flying to Barcelona via Chicago. Staying the night in Barcelona then heading to Nîmes by train and then picking up rental. Happy travels 😍
The station you'll be using for the trip from Paris to Bayeux is Gare Saint Lazare. This website provides some indication of your transport options from CDG to the station - https://www.rome2rio.com/map/Paris-CDG-Airport-CDG/Gare-Saint-Lazare .
Some of the trains are direct to Bayeux in about 2H:10M, and others have one change in Caen. You can check train details using https://www.bahn.com/en/view/index.shtml or the SNCF website. It's easy to buy tickets at the station.