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Car Rental Normandy Roadtrip

I am in planning stage for June 2021. I am planning Normandy roadtrip leaving Versailles on June 13 and ending in Paris about June 17. Possible stops on itinerary are MSM, Bayeux, Deauville, Honfleur and Rouen. Does it make best sense to rent car in Versailles and return it in Paris? We do have Navigo cards if we would return car in Versailles and RER it to Paris. I am open to other options. Thanks in advance.

Posted by
1086 posts

I would return a rental car at the most convenient location, wherever it may be. The easiest way to drive into Paris from Normandy is A13 to A14. There is a toll on A14 which is why it is rarely congested, most people stay on A13 to the périphérique just to avoid the toll. For a tourist who is not driving these roads on a daily basis, a one time toll is probably of a much lesser concern.

Taking A14 will lead you to ave Charles de Gaulle where there are a plethora of rental car offices. This would keep you from driving anywhere in Paris, you'll drop off your rental just outside. To reach your hotel, you could take either the métro from les Sablons, a taxi, or a VTC such as Bolt or Kapten.

If you pickup at Versailles and drop off near Paris, consider using Sixt or Europcar which do not charge extra for one way drop off within France.

Posted by
52 posts

I've picked up a car at La Defense, rented a car in Versailles with a return in Caen, and done a pick up and return from Caen where the car rental agencies are across the sreet from the train station making it really easy to get to & from Paris. I've driven in many European countries, and large centres- I like to drive (about 50,000 kms/yr )but Paris is very busy if you are not use to the traffic, signage, congestion etc. Depending on how the plans for your trip take shape, I would give some thought to a rental in Caen for Normandy/MSM

Posted by
1961 posts

I dropped a car in Rouen and caught the direct train to Paris.

Posted by
4218 posts

I agree with Andrew, but only if your "furthest destination" has good fast train service into Paris. For the places you identified, that might be Rouen, or Rennes which is about an hour from MSM.

Posted by
5320 posts

Before renting, make sure the company you select allows for pickup and return in different locations. Some only have return to pickup office. We had good experiences in Caen.

Posted by
1961 posts

Speaking of Rennes, I flew into Rennes, picked up the rental car there, drove to MSM, then headed to Normandy, then dropped the car in Rouen to catch the train to Paris. I used Europcar.

Posted by
11738 posts

I trained to Rouen from Paris early, walked the center, then picked up a car and went to Etretat/Fecamp. I skipped Honfleur only because I was planning to see less busy port towns in Brittany on the same trip. I then went to Bayeux and from there to MSM before continuing to Brittany.

I most regret missing Caen because of the Norman history there.

I was most interested in older sights so really didn't do much related to WWII. There are great WWII defensive structures along the cliffs at both Etretat and Fecamp. They were abandoned after D-day rather than destroyed in battle, now filled with dirt to keep people out but otherwise intact.