Lodging Normandy/Provence

I'm heading to France with my wife and her mother in September and am running into itinerary planning difficulty. We are arriving in Paris on 9/15 and had planned to take the train to Bayeux and find a B&B in the countryside nearby. The first lesson I learned was, Don't arrive in small town France wanting to rent a car on Sunday. Offices closed. Also you can't get a car in Bayeux and turn it in elsewhere. Plan B, take the train to Caen, get two hotel rooms near the train station and rent from Hertz who will let me turn in the car four days later in Rouen...with a hefty drop off fee. For this part of the trip I'm looking for advice on a safe, clean hotel in Caen at a reasonable price. After that I need a night in Honfleur and another in Rouen. I would appreciate any advice or recommendations anyone would care to offer. Also, If you've had this problem and managed to find someplace in the country I'd love to hear about it. The second problem is finding a B&B or apartment centrally located in Provence to have as a base for 6-7 nights. We will rent and return a car at the Avignon train station before returning to Paris on 9/27. Many thanks.
Jim

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
959 posts

"rent from Hertz who will let me turn in the car four days later in Rouen...with a hefty drop off fee." Not sure what you call a hefty drop fee. I rented from Hertz last summer, p/u-d/o at different locations and fee was add'l $50. If you're talking about more than that I'm not sure why it would be so high. Also, not sure why you couldn't rent in Bayeux and drop off somewhere else but I guess that's possible because Bayeux is small? I'm sure others on here will have better info. I'm not that familiar with car rentals in general, only my own experience based on only two car rentals in France. Hope you get some good advice.

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3198 posts

I've rented a car in Bayeux and turned it in somewhere else and did not pay any extra fee. I rented through AutoEurope. I've also rented many times in Caen, at the station, and dropped off elsewhere and paid no extra fee. I would not want to stay the night in Caen, it's not a charming place. We love Bayeux, have been there many times, and much prefer it as it's a charming small town. It's not that far to drive from Caen to Bayeux, about an hour I think. Why don't you take the train to Caen and rent a car and drive to Bayeux, then on to Rouen. I realize you said they charge extra to drop somewhere else but I'd check with AutoEurope and maybe others before I accepted what Hertz told you. We've stayed in Bayeux at Hotel d'Argouges 6 times and love it there. It's like a manor house with a lovely garden. They have parking as well, free I think. I know you asked about a B&B out in the country but thought I'd mention Hotel d'Argouges just in case you're open to the idea of staying in charming Bayeux where you can walk to many things.

Posted by Bruce
Seattle, WA, USA
25 posts

We are just back from a trip that included a stay in Bayeux. We rented a car in Bayeux from the Hertz location, and dropped it off a week later at the TGV station in St. Pierre Des Corp (didn't want to drive in Paris!). There was a drop off fee, but it wasn't objectionally large, especially in relation to the overall cost of the trip. I would second the recommendation for Hotel d'Argouges. That's where we stayed, we loved it. And yes, no charge for parking there. The Hertz location (located at a Total gas station) is walkable from Hotel d'Argouges. BTW, if you want a GPS unit for your car rental, act as if you don't, and see what happens. I had heard that GPS units weren't available from the Hertz Bayeux car rental location, so was surprised when I was offered one for $15/day. I didn't respond with an immediate "yes" because I was taken by surprise, and the representative quickly made a "special offer" to give us the GPS for $50 for the 6 day rental. Was worth it!

Posted by Kathi
Sterling Heights
5 posts

Check trip advisor for B&B's in Provence - there are many listed and a ton of reviews from people who've stayed as well. I just booked one that gets great reviews there in St. Remy (Les Sources was the name, I think)around the same time you're planning to be there.

Posted by Sharon
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
892 posts

We too rented a car in Bayeux from Hertz to be dropped off in Rouen. My memory is there was not a drop off fee, but perhaps I forget this (since it was 3-4 years ago). Anyway, we ended up not being able to drop it in Rouen and had to drop it close to Honfleur instead. We also stayed at the Hotel d'Argouges and loved it. Free parking. Wonderful home base in Normandy.

Posted by Jim
Slidell, LA
282 posts

I truly appreciate all of your comments and they have been a big help. I managed to book the car in Bayeux with Hertz and to turn it in at Rouen. I compared the cost of turning it in at Bayeux, taking the train to Rouen and then renting a car there. With three travelers it was much less expensive to keep the car, even with a 40 Euro drop charge. We're staying two nights in Bayeux at the Hotel de Argouges which several of you recommended and are now trying to find a reasonable place in Rouen near the train station. Planning to explore there and make day trips to Honfleur and Givirny before heading to Provence. Still nothing in Provence yet, but at least all the car and train reservations are made. Anyone recommend a reasonably priced B&B, short term apartment or hotel for three nights in Paris? Thanks to all. Jim

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3198 posts

Jim, here's names of some good budget hotels in Paris... I've only stayed at this first one: Hotel de l'Avre. We stayed there for 6 wks and were very happy although I do prefer to stay in the 4th-6th arrondissement which the other hotels who's names I'll list are in. Hotel de l'Avre has a wonderful owner and staff, nice clean rooms/bathrooms, a lovely garden and a nice French breakfast. It's a cheerful hotel located in the 15th arrondissement, 3 long blocks from the Eiffel Tower. It's next to a very good Metro station where 3 major lines intersect, an outdoor market and a good Monoprix that has a wonderful grocery store. The other hotels are: Hotel Jeanne d'Arc, Hotel Diana, Hotel Eugenie, Hotel Saint Pierre and Hotel College du France Less budget but not real expensive (it's subjective and I don't know what your budget is): Hotel des Grandes Ecoles (nice garden), Hotel St. Jacques, Hotel du Pantheon, Hotel des Grands Hommes And my favorite hotels of all, in my favorite neighborhood (Ile St. Louis): Hotel Saint Louis en l'Isle, Hotel de Lutece and Hotel des Deux Iles

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3198 posts

I'm so glad you'll be staying at Hotel d'Argouges! You'll be very happy there. Wonderful owner (Mme Ropartz) and staff as well as what I wrote above.

Posted by Brad
Greeley, CO, USA
232 posts

I never disagree with Susan because she is my pal and all seeing and all knowing and I am not being a smart aleck. We stayed here in May. Righty aside of Bayeux. Rene and his wife are absolutely fantastic. We had the whole upper floor of their country home. Rene will make you laugh non stop and knows everything since he grew up in the area and is a retired Air France 747 pilot. http://www.relaisdelaure.fr/home.php.

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3198 posts

Hi Brad, You're too funny... nice of you to say but I'm nowhere close to that, not by a long shot!! Lots of people on the Helpline know way more than I do. I do know Hotel d'Argouges is wonderful but I'm sure your rec is too!