We will be staying in Honfleur next week after renting a car at De Gaulle airport and driving to Normandy. We had planned to drive back to Paris for a few days, but are now wondering if it would be wiser to return the car in Le Havre or Caen and take the train to Paris, to avoid driving in Paris itself. If we do take the train, which town has the best connections? Does it save us any time or hassle to take the train rather than drive back?
CDG is on the northern outskirts of Paris, so you will not be driving into town. Besides, you will be driving out of there, so you will know the way back, n'est pas?
Maybe I wasn't clear. Yes, we will go from the airport to Normandy, actually Honfleur, avoiding driving in Paris itself on the outbound. But we are returning to stay in Paris for a few nights, staying near Notre Dame. So we have to return the car to Avis in 4th arrondissement. That s the part we're trying to avoid. If we take the train to Paris from Le Havre, where does it stop in Paris? Is this a good alternative to driving or does it create new hassles?
There are 13 trains/day that go directly from Le Havre to Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris. The ride takes a little over two hours.
There are 12 trains/day that go directly from Caen to Gare Saint-Lazare. The ride takes around two hours.
If it was me, I'd just return it to CDG. Then, I only need to pay for the 9.75 euro ticket on the RER B into Paris and the St Michel-Notre Dame station. These trains go every 8 minutes. The fare from Le Havre is at least 36 euro for 2, and that is an advance purchase nonrefundable Prems fare. The walk up fare is 69 euro for 2, and the train takes you to St Lazare station where you will need to continue on the Metro (or taxi). Those trains go once an hour at the best.
I think the main benefit of having the car is being able to stop at whatever destinations you want, whereas a direct train to Paris gets you into the city pretty quickly, with no stops. Will dropping the car in Le Havre or Caen allow you to reduce the rental period and cost, or do you still have to drive to that town in the morning?