car vs. rail in france

My husband and I are traveling with our 3 kids (12,14,17)to France this June. We are starting in Paris and taking the TGV to Nice.(our hotel is in Villafranche) From Nice, we will go to Pont-de-Barret. We will then head to Geneva to fly home. We are debating whether to rent a car from Nice to get to Pont-de-Barret or take the train to Valence then rent a car. For the journey home, we will be flying out of Geneva. We will either take the car back to Valence and train to Geneva or drive there. I am trying to figure out which would be cheaper? Also, should I look into rail passes?
Thank you for your help!!

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7960 posts

For the Nice -> Valence leg/s: You're going to rent the car that day anyway, so nothing extra there. The tolls will be about forty bucks each way. It's about 250 miles, maybe. A car to haul that many plus luggage will get around thirty miles per gallon. Gas is running nine or ten bucks per. Eight gallons each way is around eighty dollars. $120 to drive one way, Nice to Valence. For Valence -> Geneva. The tolls are about thirty dollars. Gas about $120. An extra day of car rental. Several hundred dollars for dropping the car in Switzerland that you picked up in France. Use kayak.com to figure out the car price. Make very sure that you have enough luggage capacity - - it's probably going to have to be a small van. I can't estimate trains.

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
1964 posts

There is a way to drop a French car at the Geneva airport without incurring the charge. There is a zone they've designated as being in France. Someone reoorted on it a few months ago on te Helpline.