There are 4 of us traveling in France in September. We want to rent a car for 5-6 days to see Normandy and the Loire Valley. We are flying into Charles de Gaulle airport. Is it better to pick up the car at the airport or take a train it to a nearby location? We want to return the car in the Versailles area as we are staying the last 3-4 days in Paris. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks!
It was easy to pick up the car at CDG and just drive off to Giverny when we did it a few years ago. They will also have a larger selection of cars. We returned the car at one of the train stations and I do not think the fee, if there was one was excessive. We dropped our luggage off at our apartment before returning the car.
If you are able to drive from CDG (no jet lag issues, etc.), then I suggest that you get the car there. It is very easy to drive from CDG to Normandy and it seems like you will waste time that you could spend getting to Normandy going to get a train to go to a car. As to the car rental company, I suggest that you avoid Hertz not because I have any complaints about their service or ion of cars (in fact, I just rented a car from Hertz CDG for a month) but because they charge a drop off fee if the return location is different from the pick up location. Try looking for the car at AutoEurope.com. Where are you staying in Paris? I ask because you may be able to easily drive to an outer district in Paris and take a taxi to where you are staying.
You can drive from the airport to Caen in about two and a half hours. If you leave from the city, you'll save about ten minutes. Taking the RER in takes a bit more than a half hour, plus the metro ride, if required, to everwhere you have to go next. Dropping in Versailles makes sense. Hertz won't be the cheapest by a long shot in any case. Four people plus luggage won't fit in the smallest cars. If you need an automatic, you'll have a better chance of getting one at the airport.
We are staying between the 7 and 15 arrondissements area. We thought if we returned the car at or near Orly, we could train it into the city.
Why? You can ride the RER in from Versailles faster than you can get in from Orly, plus you've got the pain in the butt of getting down there.
We don't need an automatic so that should keep the costs down a bit. Any suggestions on train stations near Versailles that a car could be dropped off? Does anyone know if a "standard" car (listed on car rental for Europe)will accommodate 4 people with 4 pieces of luggage?
There's a Europcar place about a ten-minute walk from Versailles-Chantiers which is an RER C station. You'd probably have to make one line change to get into town - - it'd be at least two changes getting in from Orly. If the bags are carry-on size, and at least two are soft-sided, they'll all easily fit in the trunk of a standard. Four hard-sided probably won't but so much of it is the trunk configuration, it's really hard to tell.