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Hertz rental return at Gare du Nord

We're returning a car to GdN & will be catching Thalys to Brussels. We'll be coming off of A13 (the N301 exit). Would welcome any insights/tips re logistics: how easy it is to find rental return, how long we should allow to get from there to the Thalys platform, etc. Thanks.

Posted by
2363 posts

The most difficult element will be finding the specific rental return location for whatever company you are using. Use street view google maps to find it (unless you picked up at this location and already know where the office/drop off location is).

Much depends upon the date/time you are returning. Generally you enter the périphérique from A13, orbit northeast to Porte de la Chapelle and descend south on rue de la Chapelle to Gare du Nord. You could take A14 to Porte Maillot to the périphérique and save some time but there is an additional 8€ toll using A14.

If you are trying to do this during rush hour, late afternoon M-F or late Sunday, I would take A14 and drop the rental off somewhere near Porte Maillot, taking either a taxi or the métro to Gare du Nord.

How long anything takes depends upon when you are traveling and how well you know the routes. I would allow plenty of time. None of this is difficult but one traffic accident ahead of you on a busy day you can lose a lot of time.

Note: I have no idea where the N301 exit is.

Posted by
16890 posts

Are picking this car up in Paris? Even if so, you need not return it there. Have you already bought the Thalys tickets? The city of Lille could be easier to navigate and direct TGV or Eurostar trains from there to Brussels take about 45 minutes.

Posted by
5642 posts

If it's on a weekday, I shudder - the Gare du Nord area has some of the worst traffic in Paris. If you have your Thalys ticket, try to switch the dropoff location to Porte Maillot as suggested, or even La Défense, then take metro to Gare du Nord. If you don't have your ticket, try to switch to Lille (it's a good idea!) and take train from there - Normandy to Lille is an easy drive. If you have your ticket and can't switch drop-off, then leave early - there are worse things in life that a lunch or coffee break by Gare du Nord.
If it's at the weekend, you'll be fine (ish).

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks for all of this great info. We're now rethinking our ground transportation plan & are confident it will be much better. Thanks!

Posted by
1971 posts

We returned our Hertz rental car to Gare du Nord on a Sunday afternoon after driving from Loches. Luckily our car had a state of the art navigation system that took us right to the entrance to the garage. Unfortunately, the route was on the road next to the Seine, up through the Place de la Condorde and to the station. They scenery was great, the drive a little crowded.

Once you get to the garage, you spiral down to the basement. At the entrance to the floors for rental cars, you go through a gate and get a ticket which you hand to the agent to handle. You then park your car, walk up the stairs to the garage exit, then go into the station to return the car.

If you are adventurous, like a challenge, are somewhat fearless and have driven in a major metropolitan area, I say go for it. Otherwise, I agree with the advice of looking for a different way to accomplish your goals. I'm glad I did it but now that I've done it, I have no desire to do it again.

Posted by
2363 posts

Unfortunately, the route was on the road next to the Seine, up through the Place de la Condorde and to the station.

If you were driving from Loches, you should have taken A10 to A6 to Porte d´Orléans. From there, probably the best option would be a straight line north on ave du Général Leclerc which turns into ave Denfert Rochereau which becomes blvd St Michel which become blvd Sébastopole. Taking a slight left turn at blvd Magenta passes you directly in front of Gare du Nord. You hardly need to turn the steering wheel and on Sunday, traffic is non-existent until late in the day when people are returning to the city from their weekend getaways.

You should not have needed to take any route along the Seine and certainly not any road near Place de la Concorde (unless you were actually going to Gare St Lazare). GPS´s are fine but there is no replacement for taking a look at a map and understanding the route to your destination.

For Abby413, I have already laid out the Gare du Nord options with a very easy alternative to drop off at the Hertz office near Porte Maillot but everything depends upon when she is reaching Paris.