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Driving plans from paris

A few questions for those who have driven in France. What would be the best place to pick up a car in Paris and avoid city traffic(probably using Europcar)? I plan to drive to Hautefort(4 nights)to Carcassonne(1 night)and Avignon area (1 night). Should I plan to stop in between Paris and Hautefort and stay a night? I will be traveling with a 17yr,14yr,13yr so I will be the only driver. Any input/suggestion would be appreciated as I have not driven in France before nor taken my children with me...(I am doing this area June 7th-13th)

Posted by
3313 posts

I'd suggest picking up your car at Gare du Nord because you can get onto a boulevard that will take you straight to the Peripherique, the freeway that circles Paris. It minimizes the amount of city driving you'll have to do. Use Kent's suggested Viamichelin to map out your route.

Once you're on the Peripherique it's pretty standard freeway driving. You'll have to follow it back around Paris to get to the Autoroute that will take you south towards Hautefort. Follow the signs for Bordeaux.

Here's my best suggestion: No matter where you pick up your rental, the process of renting the car can be a little stressful because of the language barrier. Then the driving takes a little getting used to and then you have to make sure you get the right Autoroute. So - once you're on the right Autoroute, stop at the first rest stop you come to. They're great. Get a cafe au lait and a croissant and relax for ten minutes. Congratulate yourself and resume driving.

Posted by
22 posts

I prefer the Hertz near the Gare St. Lazare. Very friendly and helpful. Easy to get to Peripherique from there. Four hours is enough of a trip - plan to stop about 3-4 hours from Paris. Highways/autoroutes are wonderful. Take the advice given to stop and rest and snack at a big reststop. They have signs indicating emenities prior to exits. My kids found Carcassonne overrated but enjoyed Sarlat and the Lascaux II caves. Traffic in Avignon is tough. I ended up going the wrong way on a one way street after circling the hotel half a dozen times just to get there.