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Where to pickup/drop off rental car in Paris near Rue Cler

Wife and I will be ending our tour at the RS tour hotel near Rue Cler on a Monday morning. We'll be flying back home mid-afternoon the following Saturday from Charles DeGaulle. We want to see Versailles/Normandy and Mont Ste. Michel and anything else you may suggest in between. Where to pickup/drop off rental car? Pick up near hotel, maybe a train station, and return it to the airport or should we return to the original rental location or another location with a good public transport connection to the airport? I'm thinking of using Enterprise because of good service we've received in the US.

Update: I can drive a manual transmission.

Posted by
3122 posts

Depending whether you want a car with an automatic transmission, you may be limited to the major train stations and airports.

For Versailles I would just take the train to & from Paris, not drive.

We rented an automatic from Gare Montparnasse and drove to Chartres as our first destination. It took a LONG time to get out of Paris to the beltway (Autoroute) near Orly Airport and it was stressful trying to cope with city traffic, make sure we were still on our desired streets, not stuck in a right-turn-only lane, not running a red light, etc. Then, the exit from the Autoroute was not numbered as we'd anticipated (based on a careful examination of Google Maps and the Michelin map), so we got going the wrong direction and had to double back. We thought it would take 1 to 1.5 hours to get to Chartres, but instead it took a good 2.5 hours. If I had it to do over, I'd rent the car at Orly or CDG Airport and proceed from there.

Posted by
7407 posts

The best plan would be to take the train to Caen or Rouen and rent the car there, returning it at CDG. I believe Rick's book has special optional instructions about hiding your bags in the car inside the rental garage to see Rouen without luggage. There is non-zero risk, however. Do not drive to Versailles. Can you drive a Standard?

Edit: Of course, when I wrote Caen, I was assuming that you will discover that you want to visit the D-Day beaches. If that doesn't end up on your itinerary, you just have to click on the rental company's Find an Office tool and check the local hours. I mention hours because the office in St. Pierre des Corps (used for some trips to the Loire, which you didn't mention) is closed for two hours of lunch. So we went next door and had lunch after getting off the TGV.

If you want to do extra planning, you could price a CDG-CDG rental to see if it's cheaper because of drop-off fees. Even if you reserve an automatic, you can't be sure they will have one when you pick up. In the US, they frequently give you bigger car than you want, for example.

I once returned a car near Place de l'Etoille, and I spoke from experience! You don't want to drive inside Paris.

Posted by
21 posts

My personal car is a manual but I was thinking of using an automatic to lessen distractions with an unfamiliar car while also having to navigate. But a manual is not a deal breaker.

Posted by
5697 posts

If you're comfortable with manual, that's the way to go -- automatics are expensive AND not available at every rental location, so you might be restricted to airports and major train stations (with added cost for that as well.)

Posted by
7209 posts

Tim is exactly correct in saying don't rent a car while in Paris. Take the train out to Caen and pick up your rental car there AND return it there and train back into Paris. You don't want to be driving in downtown Paris.

Posted by
3941 posts

We rented from Europcar (via AutoEurope). Picked up an automatic at their garage on Ave Foch, right near the Arc de Triomphe. (but without having to go around the Arc to get to the ring road). We got off the metro at the Arc stop and walked to the location in a few min, easy peasy.

**Looking at a metro map, I'm guessing we got off at Charles de Gaulle Etoile (this was 2012, so memory isn't that great).

You could probably return to the airport if you wanted to keep the car until you were flying out. We dropped in Ouistreham as we were taking the ferry to the UK.

Posted by
6582 posts

How about taking the RER to Versailles, renting a car there, putting your bags in it (hidden in trunk), going to see the chateau and all, then driving from there to Normandy and MSM? Return the car to CDG. That option seems most time-efficient, worth exploring.

Or you could use a rental office at Porte Maillot (on the Peripherique) or La Defense (outside it), both reached by Metro and west of central Paris, again returning the car at CDG. With this option, you might want to keep Versailles as a separate round trip by RER.

We did manage to drive from Gare Montparnasse through the streets to Peripherique, and back a couple of weeks later, but it was a bit of an adventure.

One last point -- if you plan to drive into CDG on the same day as your afternoon flight, spend the night before close by, like maybe in the town of Roissy. Don't take the chance of being stuck in traffic, miles away, a few hours (or minutes!) before takeoff.