Hello all, my family of 4, husband and 2 college daughters are taking the train out to Caen and renting a car then traveling to other places just south of Normandy. We hope to end up at Giverny on the 3rd day as we have to catch Eurostar that evening. Should we find car drop off near Giverny or would it be okay to drive to the Gare Nord station? I'm worried about the horrible traffic.
I am thinking that finding an alternate spot to drop the car, getting a train to Paris (probably St Lazare) then cross town transfer (probably by taxi with all luggage), might trump traffic. Give yourself a good cushion, as you need to check in for the Eurostar at least 1 hour ahead of time. Assuming it is a week day, traffic will be leaving Paris, although could be heavy on the Periphique. Also, research exactly the location of the drop off location at Gare du Nord, so you won't be driving in circles. Look over the route on viamichelin.
Make sure when you rent the car, you specify the drop off point. You might also look at a location by Porte Maillot and take a taxi from there.
We returned our car in Vernon (the train station for Giverny). We used Autoeurope, but the company was Hertz. The process was easy. We avoid driving in Paris (or any big city)
The Gare du Nord drop off is a bit difficult to find. So, try to get photos whever you drop off. My husband had to circle a few times before finding the garage entrance—and we had been living in that neighborhood for six months. Luckily, it was a Sunday night.
When I traveled with my husband and two adult children we had no problems taking a taxi at Gare St. Lazarre to transfer to Gare du Nord. We did it in both directions (arriving and departing). We travel with 4 carry-on size suitcases and 4 daypacks.
Thank you all for your advice.