Please sign in to post.

Help with car rental on a Sunday

We'd hope to rent a car for a few days to see parts of northern Burgundy.

But it looks as though every rental office in the area--Auxerre, Tonnerre, Montbard--is closed on Sunday.

I'm kicking myself because at this point we can't really reschedule anything, and no other day of the week is possible.

Before I just write this part of our itinerary off, though, I thought I would check with the collective wisdom here, to see if there is some angle I am missing.

I should mention that driving from Paris or other location is probably not an option for us, because a back injury limits how much time my wife can spend in a car.

Thinking this is probably hopeless, but very much open to suggestions, thanks!

Posted by
784 posts

Have you checked with a broker such as AutoEurope? What agency are you using? What about EuropeCar? Trying a larger town such as Dinan? Towns with a fairly large train station should have some way of handling car rentals on Sundays.

Posted by
1005 posts

Rent your car on a Saturday instead, or plan to be in a bigger city such as Dijon to pick up the car.

Posted by
8385 posts

You are right, it's hopeless. My in-laws lived in that part of Burgundy for forty years, so I know the drill all too well.

If you are in northern Burgundy, you have to go back up to Paris to get what you need on a weekend. Gare de Lyon rental would be easiest if you take the train up, or Orly airport because that puts you well on your way south. Or, you can put your wife in a train and meet her in Auxerre, Monbard or Tonnerre. It's a 2 hour train ride on a regional train to Tonnerre, so you'll get there by car before she does. Dijon will be closed too, BTW. It's hopeless on a Sunday--or Saturday afternoon for that matter. All the agencies roll down the Shutters.

FWIW, it's the same situation in July and August--these small agencies run out of stock.

Posted by
2889 posts

Adam, If you are taking a train to your first stop in Burgundy and there is an Avis located nearby, you can try using the sncf/Avis service. Here is a link to it: http://www.sncf.com/en/services/book-rent-vehicle. If you rent through SNCF, delivery of your rental car will be coordinated with the arrival of your train even if the rental office is closed. Avis is not my preferred car rental company except for in situations like yours.

Posted by
4125 posts

Thanks to everyone who had advice, and especially to JHK, who may have pull the rabbit from the hat. Auxerre in northern Burgundy participates in this program.

JHK, have you any personal experience with this service?

The choices all seem to include insurance, although I am not sure about this, that still leaves some liability and that would void the insurance from my credit card. Do I have that right?

A bit pricey but as you say perhaps worth it for this service.

Posted by
2889 posts

Yes, used it once. It worked well. A SNCF employee met us with the key and some paperwork. I was worried because I had no phone number to contact the person directly if there was a problem and our train was a couple of minutes late. I envisioned my family of four arriving at an empty train station with no car and no taxis and no place to stay for the night (I'm a bit of a worrier with a cartoon like imagination) but there was no glitch of any kind. My only complaint was the one-way rental fee but I knew about that going into it so it was not a surprise. It was really our only choice because of our itinerary. Have you considered just spending Sunday night at a hotel near the train station and picking up the car on Monday? We would have done that but we had to meet someone to get keys on Sunday who was not going to be available on Monday and we had an event in Paris on Saturday night. Don't know about being able to decline the insurance -- we did not and plus we have automatic insurance through our Amex card so we were doubly covered but I don't know why you would not be allowed to decline.

Posted by
4125 posts

Well thank you very much for the tip. That's what we'll do. Like you, I think, with fingers crossed.

PS We only have 2 nights in Burgundy, so spending one of them in Auxerre is not appealing. Plan is Vezeley then Beaune, then on to Lyon. Might as well stay in Paris, or spend the night in Beaune.

Posted by
784 posts

Oops. For some reason my eyes read Brittany rather than Burgundy. Still getting a car from a larger town such as Dijon might work.

Posted by
8385 posts

Wonderful plan. Hope it works. Please report back because rural France, even capital towns are service deserts on Sundays.

Posted by
3932 posts

We used our Amex card for the rental and declined coverage as Amex offers insurance if you use them to book. We used AutoEurope and the rental was with Europcar. I am the one who makes all the travel plans and bookings, so I used MY card to book. We ended up getting a huge scrape in a parking garage trying to get around a tight corner. Europcar charged about 300 euro or so for the damage. When I went to put my claim in thru Amex, I come to find out that even tho my husband and I are on the same account (but diff card #'s of course) that I should have used my husband's card since he was the driver.

Anyways, in the end, they did come thru for us and we were reimbursed, but my lesson learned was to use hubby's card for car rentals (or whoever will be the primary driver). I think Amex offers extra coverage for a small fee (sort of a 'no questions asked') and I'm def going to look into that next time we rent.

Posted by
4125 posts

I shall certainly let this thread know how it goes. (But goodness, it better work as advertised!)

Posted by
1839 posts

We loved Auxerre but only spent a day there while touring the area. I would love to go back and stay there, so I'm not sure why it doesn't sound appealing to you. However, you are right in the area to stay at our favorite B & B of all time:
http://www.chambre-hote-de-charme-bourgogne.com it is very near to Vezelay. We love that whole area! Wish you had more time :-)

Posted by
4125 posts

Thank you, Susan and Monte. That place looks very nice. The Serien valley is exceptionally lovely, don't you think?

I have visited Auxerre, and it is not without its charms. But the idea of this short swing though Burgundy is to sandwich a taste of rural France between Paris and Lyon.

Posted by
1839 posts

Yes! We love driving around and stopping in small villages. The countryside is wonderful! Have fun!!

Posted by
4125 posts

Reporting back, as promised: It worked like a charm!

Many thanks to JHK for sharing this tip.

Bonus report: Lyon is great.

Posted by
8385 posts

Yeah! Thank you for reporting back. This is very helpful for our family to know.

Posted by
2889 posts

Great. Very pleased to hear that it worked out for you. And, yes Lyon is great.