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where to pick up a rental car on the outskirts of Paris en route to Honfleur

We would like to rent a car (automatic) for a week to drive around Normandy and Loire, but are not sure where to try to pick up the car. We are arriving on a Thursday from CDG but have been warned off renting there because of the extra cost and it will be out of the way for drop off (we are spending our last two nights in Paris and want to ditch the car when we get there from Loire). Checking Avis and Hertz but it's hard to know what a good pick up location would be on the western outskirts of Paris. Grateful for suggestions.

Posted by
3741 posts

Most European car rental companies do not charge extra for one-way rentals so unless you insist on renting from Hertz or Avis, you would be able to drop the car off somewhere in France without a drop-off fee. I'd use autoeruope.com instead of looking only at Hertz and Avis. If you pick up from an airport or a train station, it is usually more expensive regardless of the company. You could check for rental locations at La Defense, but really even there, I am not sure that you would get an automatic for sure -- you'd have to check. If the automatic transmission is mission-critical, I say pick it up from the airport. Where are you arriving from? If you are coming off a transatlantic flight, driving is probably not a great idea because of jet lag, though, of course, it affects everyone differently.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you. Automatic is a must (it's been 20 years since I drove a stick and my husband never learned). Honfleur is only two hours (says Google Maps) from CDG so I think we should be able to do this safely our first day (then crash in lovely Honfleur). For our return, I would like to drop the car off on the outskirts of Paris coming back from the Loire. Any suggestions for train stations where there might be a rental office for that?

Posted by
11 posts

Do you mean take a train from CDG/Paris to Rouen to pick up the car and then drive to Honfleur? That's an idea. Thank you.

Posted by
784 posts

Your best bet for getting an automatic is to pick it up at the airport. Smaller towns are not as likely to have one. I have always had good luck getting an automatic at CDG and it isn't hard to drive from there to Honfleur - I've done it, stopping at Givernay on the way. Then, I would drop it off in Rouen and take the train into Paris.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you. We are going to be driving around Normandy, then to the Loire and then Paris. I am now thinking it may be easiest, and best bet for an automatic, to pick up the car at CDG and drop it off at Orly on our way back from Amboise in Loire. Then take the train into Paris. Avoids driving IN Paris!

Posted by
4132 posts

Re return: If avoiding traffic is your goal, look into returning the car in Amboise. Train to Paris from there.

I do not think Orly will save you much hassle at all.

Posted by
11 posts

Amboise to Paris by train sounds great. I will look into it. Thank you.

Posted by
3122 posts

If your rental car company won't accommodate dropoff in Amboise, you might be able to drop it off in Tours or Orleans.

Posted by
98 posts

Your plan sounds similar to what I had planned in August. I too needed an automatic. I found that rentals and returns for this car type could only be made at main rental locations (Caen, Rennes, Tours). In the end we changed our plans and did pick up & return from Caen Train station and saved the Loire for another trip. We stopped in Giverny enroute from Paris/St Lazare and then picked up the car. I found Sixt had very good rates and the drop charge was about 65 euros. In the end just before leaving I got a great rate from AutoEurope and used them instead, picking up from an Enterprise location. The insurance and credit card hold was much less than Sixt. We had a 4 door Fiat, with gps. Apparently gps are built in/included in this car type so there was a savings for not having to rent one and it was great to have for Normandy/Brittany. It is very easy to drive in Normandy.

Posted by
12172 posts

I'm staying in Paris for a few days after I land at CDG. After that I'll catch a train from Saint-Lazare to Rouen. There are direct routes often. I'll see the center of Rouen for a couple of hours, eat lunch, then pick up a car at Hertz to drive to Etretat, about 30 minutes or so past Honfluer (and Le Havre). There are pretty amazing cliffs there, if you have time to see them.

I like using Rouen because it's both easy to reach and has great sights to see. It's the capital of Normandie, so a natural jumping off point.

Posted by
12172 posts

For dropping off, consider Chartres. It's a natural to see on the way back from Loire and you can easily catch a train back into Paris from there.

Posted by
1097 posts

I agree, pick it up at CDG. It will save you a lot of time getting from there to somewhere else, just to fetch a car. Time is money when you're on vacation.
You will likely have built in GPS, even if you don't opt for it. Spend a few minutes in the lot to switch it from French to English and get used to it. It took some time to get the hang of it. I had data on my phone but had a hard time getting google maps to recognize where we were around the airport. The GPS got us out of there after only a couple of laps around when we missed the road. (Did I mention it took a bit to get used to the GPS in the car? Just have a good attitude about it and consider it part of the adventure...)
Be prepared that it will take longer than two hours to get to Honfleur. It took us that long to get to Giverney, with one coffee and bathroom stop along the way. There was a fair amount of traffic getting out of CDG area heading west.
Drop the car at your last destination before you head back to Paris. Wherever that is may determine who you should rent from. We dropped in Bayeux and only Hertz has a drop off there. So you'll need to decide where you're going to be ...

Posted by
165 posts

Clearly everyone has differing opinions about Paris or not for car rental. I'm taking the TGV to Rouen where I'll pick up my car after a few hours in Rouen - drive to Etretat for late afternoon views - then Honfleur. I'll have the car for about 2 weeks and then train back to Paris. I haven't decided where I'll drop the car, but I've had great luck with autoeurope meeting my needs on previous trips - never a charge for dropping off in a different city. Besides I enjoy the train - it's not something I ever do in the states and the French trains are fun. sue