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Driving - back to Paris

Hey, I'm tryign to figure out a strategy for getting from Sarlat, back to Paris. I'll have a rent car, but most of the rental places in that part of the country are nowhere near the train stations.
Should I:
Try to drive back to Paris in one day and leave the car, catch the metro to our hotel?

Drive to Chartres and leave the car, catch a train to Paris?
Is there a place more in between that will give us a scenic drive on the way to a train station?

If anyone has any thoughts who's been there, we'd love some insight.

Thanks!

Posted by
8055 posts

If it were me, based on experience, I would drive to Chartres, leave the car, and take a train to Paris. I tried to drive into Paris from Normandy one time and it was a nightmare. I am an excellent driver here, I never get lost, but it is so different there and very confusing. I grew up in Paris, I've lived there as an adult (w/o a car) but for me, driving in, is really difficult. Only slightly easier driving out of Paris. We've taken a train to Chartres and picked up a rental there, so we've done it in reverse. But, the car rental place we used in Chartres was not in walking distance of the station, we had to take a taxi. Maybe there are other companies that are within walking distance, I'd check first if it matters to you. When we go to Normandy we always take a train to Caen and pick a car up there, conveniently that rental place is 10 ft from the station. So much easier, and so much less stressful if you don't have to drive into (or out of) Paris. Bon Voyage!

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you!
Since I'll be arriving on a Sunday and driving back on a Sunday, I've got to make sure hte rental place is open, but...I'll look into training from Paris to Chartres, then picking up the car to drive to Normandy...and on the reverse from Sarlat, driving to Chartres and training into Paris.
Thanks so much,
Stacy

Posted by
9 posts

Well the rental place in Chartres is closed on Sunday, but I could possibly still drop the car there, I just can't pick it up there...so I guess I'll be driving from Paris to Normandy, at least...
It will be fine...it will certainly be an adventure eh?
Stacy

Posted by
4125 posts

On Versailles versus Chartres: I had to laugh because years ago we left our rental car in Versailles for similar reasons (it was a Sunday, too), and the experience with traffic made us wish we had dropped it in Chartres! That said, it wasn't so bad, and I really do not know what would have been better to do.

Posted by
59 posts

Hi Stacy, you might check to see if you could drop your car in Versailles and take the train from there. What car rental agency are you using? AutoEurope has a location in Versailles but I'd check to see if they are open Sunday.
The walk from the drop-off to the train station is not too far. If you use autoEurope, call them and, with a map in hand, ask what locations in line with your route are open at a time that works for you. They have been very nice to me in that regard.

Posted by
9 posts

Excllent Idea...I did just change my reservations, so I leave Sarlat on Monday morning instead of Sunday. It will give us more time to explore the caves and city. This way, I can drive to Chartres or even Versaille and take a train to Paris and connect to the Metro, etc.
Thanks for all the great advice!
Stacy

Posted by
9 posts

Now I'm thinking someplace in between might be better. I don't really want to drive for 5 hours. ; )

Posted by
2 posts

Stacy,

My wife and I were just in France two weeks ago (and wishing we were still there). By now you might have changed your reservations more than you would have cared to, but I've got a suggestion...

If Sarlat is where I think it is, near Bordeaux, I would suggest finding a train station near Sarlat and taking the train. The drive from Sarlat to Chartres or Versailles or even Tours is quite long, especially in one day. Plus, the money you spend in fuel and tolls along the expressway will more than likely cover what you would have paid for a taxi. Plus, other than the taxi, it will be much more relaxing.

About renting a car in Paris to see Normandy. I highly recommend taking a train to Rouen, from Paris, then renting the car there. This is what Rick suggests in the guidebook. It's a breakeven between fuel/tolls of getting out Paris to Normandy, but it's very easy and pretty fast.

I hope you have a wonderful trip.

Posted by
4125 posts

If you don't want to drive, I think the idea of driving to a train station is a good one, but not Bordeaux--perhaps Brive, or Angouleme, or Limoges? You consult the system map at the SNCF or TGV web site.

Posted by
80 posts

I agree with Brive. The rental agencies were easy to find, just follow the train stations signs, and there are even a few hotels nearby which will rent you a room for a few hours to shower, change, etc for cheap if you need it.