France car rental. Who or who not to deal with!

Looking to rent a car for 4 people, 4 bags for 5 days in Sept. Recommendations on companies or recommendations on who to avoid and why. Also unfamiliar with car sizes in Europe. Suggestions on cars that would accommodate the 4 of us.
Thanks!!

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4878 posts

I use AutoEurope, a consolidator based in Maine. On their website (autoeurope.com) you can see in each car category how many passengers and how much luggage it will hold. How big will your 4 bags be? Carry one sized or larger?

Posted by Karla
Edgerton
13 posts

Hi, we are each having just a carry-on bag and a purse/backpack. I'm concerned because the descriptions of cars in the US are not always very accurate from the different rental agencies so I figure the same holds true for European rentals.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4878 posts

In my experience (YMMV) when the diagram shows one large case and a few small ones it will hold 3-4 carry on sized cases. I do rent small cars, and I encourage you to rent the smallest car that will be comfortable for your group. There are many narrow streets and small parking places in France. Are all 4 of you adults?

Posted by Karla
Edgerton
13 posts

Yes, we are 4 averaged size women in late 60's to early 70's in age.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

Pay attention to what Andrea said: three OR four. Not four guaranteed. If you find what you reserved won't work, you can march back in and get something larger. I just use kayak and take whoever has the best deal.

Posted by Lisa
Columbia
50 posts

I prefer Europcar. If the car isn't big enough you can get a bigger one. Have fun!

Posted by john
westlake village, ca, usa
10 posts

I used Europe Car last year and the Puegeot was a great car. Get a Navi but MAKE SURE you have the EXACT address for the drop off at the airport. The GPS failed us outside the airport and we finally just dumped the car w/ the keys locked inside and phoned the company after getting home to tell them where the car was. DO NOT TRUST THE GPS to work when you really need it. You're the one w/ the brain so don't trust it.
Also, the GPS only wanted to put us on the highway/toll road and didn't like the back roads. jw

Posted by john
westlake village, ca, usa
10 posts

I used Europe Car last year and the Puegeot was a great car. Get a Navi but MAKE SURE you have the EXACT address for the drop off at the airport. The GPS failed us outside the airport and we finally just dumped the car w/ the keys locked inside and phoned the company after getting home to tell them where the car was. DO NOT TRUST THE GPS to work when you really need it. You're the one w/ the brain so don't trust it.
Also, the GPS only wanted to put us on the highway/toll road and didn't like the back roads. jw

Posted by Pat
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
21 posts

We have used AutoEurope for trips in France, Switzerland, and Italy. All have been positive experiences. In Italy we needed a car for five adults and found the VW wagon an excellent choice held five 22" cases and multiple totes. I would avoid the full size Peugeot sedan back seat passengers have a very limited view and it's difficult to park. AutoEurope is a consolidator. Your car will come from agencies such as EuropeCar or Hertz.

Posted by VS
Palo Alto, CA, United States
556 posts

The size of the trunk could definitely be an issue. We learned on our Apr-May U.K. trip that trunks have gotten smaller on a compact car. We have not had a lot of trouble with really narrow streets in France, but of course it matters where exactly you are going. Figure a 22 inch bag each, better if a couple of them are soft sided just to be safe. We have rented through Autoeurope multiple times, including in France, with good results.

Posted by Paul
Monroeville, PA, USA
7 posts

Travel as a family of four all over France with carry on size suitcases with wheels have had no problem but usually book a mid-sized car. Hertz, Avis, Europecar all pretty much the same. You can go online and see whatever car you reserve but many times they will substitute another altho similar make of car. Get a GPS but before you leave the rental agency lot, ask for one of the attendants to set the display to English and have them put in your first destination including street number. You can set the GPS to avoid toll roads or whatever preference you have, but it may send you down cow paths no wider than your vehicle at times. Big caveat, returning the car to an airport is usually ok, train stations and or city locations,which often have short hours or no weekend hours, have miniscule or no visible signs like in the states. Have your hotel/B&B call the return destination office prior to your drop off day for the exact location of their return lot to save yourself a hassle. I have found NO ONE in the states has this information for you prior to your departure. Avoid driving in Paris but have fun in the countryside.

Posted by Jean-Paul
indianapolis
159 posts

WORD OF EARNED ADVICE; BE SURE TO GET A G.P.S. included in the car. We'll never be without, as so many of the smaller roads are unmarked, or marked differently than the map you're using.... and then if a road or bridge is closed down... or you make a wrong turn... GET A G.P.S.!