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Basel Rental Car on Saturday

We booked a flight into Basel with plans to rent a car for our trip to Burgundy, France in June. We have reservations to stay in Beaune France on the evening that we land. There is no easy way to take a train and once in Beaune we will need a car anyway so I reserved a rental car for 4pm pick up on a Saturday only to find out that the rental car desk at the airport in Basel closes at 4pm. Our flight is due to land at 3:55pm so there's no way we will make it. I'm curious if others have run into this issue with rental car offices closed on weekend arrivals. Seems crazy at an international airport. Now we are going to lose a night's stay in Beaune and have to pay to stay in Basel which sounds like a lovely place to be trapped but I want to be sure there is no chance of a French side rental car on Sat after 4pm. Anyone else encounter this?

Posted by
6474 posts

I'm not that surprised to be honest, it is a small airport after all. The big question is why you a flying to Basel if your destination it Beaune, that seems very strange.

Posted by
1584 posts

Sixt in Mulhouse is open until 22:30, according to Google. Check it out.

"The big question is why you a flying to Basel if your destination it Beaune, that seems very strange" - Badger, I once flew into Basel to vacation in Riquewihr strictly because I was able to obtain a very cheap flight with BA from Toronto. Maybe for the same reason?

Posted by
20297 posts

And there is a train from St Louis station every hour at 29 past the hour on Saturday and it takes 15 minutes. Also some trains at 45 past the hour taking 24 minutes. They cost 7.40 EUR per person. Get to St Louis station by the No 11 bus outside the exit from the "French" sector of the airport, taking 10 minutes to the station and costing 2.50 EUR. The Sixt location is a 5 minute walk from Mulhouse station.

Posted by
3 posts

I really appreciate the quick input from this forum. I did a quick check on Sixt and its much more expensive than our current rental reservation so will need to weigh that further but good to know we can get back on track with our itinerary with that option. I had looked at taking the train to Colmar or Dijon but all of their rental agencies were closed til Monday so didn't think to check Mulhouse itself. We are flying from Copenhagen so the best choices for a non-stop on the day we planned to fly were Basel or Paris. It would have been a long day of flying to get to Lyon. I'm not aware of any closer airports. I'm curious where most others fly into for Beaune. I guess I should have asked this forum first before booking Basel. At least the ticket was cheap on Easy Jet. Thank you again to all who replied.

Posted by
33004 posts

if you could move quickly and get out of the airport and a fast taxi to Basel SBB station, on Saturdays there is a TGV train to Paris at 16:34 which gets in to Dijon at 17:59, the last reasonable train of the day. Dijon is close to Beaune, just a 27 minute ride on a TER. You could be there before 7pm.

Just need a decent taxi.

Posted by
20297 posts

The same train calls at Mulhouse at 16:57, so if you want to splurge on a taxi, take a taxi to Mulhouse. Considering Swiss taxi rates, the French rate to Mulhouse will probably be not too much more. It is only about 12 or 13 miles to Mulhouse.

Posted by
6957 posts

There might be a solution in Dijon.
There is a TGV at 5:47 PM from Mulhouse to Dijon, you should have no problems catching it. You even stand a chance of getting on the 4:57 PM.
The 5:47 PM gets you to Dijon shortly after 7:00 PM.
In Dijon, you can rent a car at after hours from AVIS by booking through SNCF Connect. SNCF and AVIS have a partnership that lets you pick up a vehicle after hours. I've done it once, a long time ago now so my memory is hazy, but basically station staff will handle the car keys & paperwork.

Posted by
6474 posts

We are flying from Copenhagen so the best choices for a non-stop on
the day we planned to fly were Basel or Paris.

Paris would have been a lot better. Or Geneva.

If the flight is booked there might not be much you can do about it. But yes, asking the forum before you booked the flight would have made the trip a bit easier.

Posted by
20297 posts

There is a TGV at 5:47 PM from Mulhouse to Dijon

This train is not showing up on Saturday, June 22. I wish the OP would have given an exact date instead of "plans to rent a car for our trip to Burgundy, France in June". So maybe it can still happen. It looks like perhaps there is engineering work on the line that Saturday. Very difficult to predict these things far in advance.

And who would have thought that the car rentals at Basel Airport close at 16:00 on Saturday when they are open until 23:00 the other 6 days of the week. For that matter, has the OP checked other car rental agencies? Looks like Hertz is open on the Swiss side of the airport. Might be more expensive because comes with a Swiss vignette and German Environmental sticker.

Even Sixt is open on the Swiss side.

Posted by
6957 posts

This train is not showing up on Saturday, June 22

Must be something special that day because it is showing on 15 June, for example.
In any case, Avis is also present in Mulhouse and would offer the same option of after-hours pickup through SNCF as long as the OP has a valid TGV ticket with arrival in Mulhouse in the previous 24 hours. Just book a Belfort-Mulhouse TGV, and you're good.

But I am indeed surprised that no rental offices on the French side of Basel airport are open on a Saturday afternoon. Renting on the Swiss side is not an acceptable solution due to the high cost of returning the car in France afterwards.

Posted by
3 posts

We are traveling on 22 June so as another here mentioned, the train to Dijon does not appear in my search. Basel is a smaller airport and shorter drive to our destination which is why it was chosen over Paris. Flights to Geneva were a lot more expensive with less convenient times. Sixt wants to charge us $400-500 more for the same car size and 10 days rental (we are US based and have an excellent deal through Costco), We may just overnight it in Basel and enjoy seeing a new city. We aren't going to miss much in Beaune Sunday morning anyway since many businesses are closed. Thank you for all the tips and support!

Posted by
20297 posts

Basel is not the worst place to be stuck overnight. Time to make lemonade from the lemons.