I had planned to drive from Lisbon through northern Spain(San Sebatian) and into the Dordogne region of France and then take a train to Paris but the drop fee on a one way rental is between 1500 and 2500 Euros. I now plan to rent a car in Portugal, take a short train from Porto to Vigo in Spain and get another rental. I then plan to drive to San Sebastian and drop that car. I want to take a train into France and get another car. It is about 20 hours on a train to Perpignan or a couple hours on a train to Biarritz. The drive to Toulousse or Cahors looks like it might take a long time. Does anyone know how long? Any suggestions? I really want the car to see the small towns as opposed to taking trains everywhere. Thanks Jeff
Five hours at best. The roads suck unless you go around the long way on the A64 and then swing north toward Toulouse. Try to go in a straight line and it might take you seven.
You can find distances and estimated driving times between any two locations in Europe at http://www.viamichelin.com/. If your trip is going to be longer than 17 days or so, look into leasing. You'll still have drop-off fees, but they won't be nearly as steep. Drawback is that their drop-off locations tend to be limited to major airports. You can find details of Renault's program here: http://www.renaultusa.com/
When you lease a car, if you pick it up or drop it off in France there is no extra charge. I leased a car once, picking it up in Frankfurt and dropping it off in Paris. There was a charge for picking it up in Germany. Do you already have your airline ticket? If not, you might think about flying into France. How long will you be there? They do have a minimum number of days for the leases. I leased through AutoEurope and there was a 17 day minimum. I actually dropped it off after 15 days, as I was not needing or wanting a car in Paris.
I suggest that you rent two cars. For Spain, turn in the car in Barcelona or Figueres. Then, take the train into France and rent one there. We rented our car in Nimes. Figueres Vilifant to Nimes was just a couple of hours on the train. The car rental agencies and the cars were right there in the train station. We drove all through Eastern France (Provence, Burgundy, Chamonix) and turned our car in at the Dijon train station. We then took the train into Paris. No drop off charge in France.
If you're heading to the Dordogne you could do as Larry suggested, but pick up your car in Perpignan, France. It's not too far over the border.
Drop off fees are totally over-the-top. here and everywhere else. Don't pay it. Work and plan your trip so as not to pay them. There's NO way in heck I'd ever get screwed like that nor should you.
We were in San Sebastian and took the bus- but highly recommend the train instead- to Bayonne where we picked up our rental car and drove to Sarlat. Not scenic but easy drive of around five hours. Yes check www.Viamichelen.com. We left the car in Bordeaux and took the TGV back to Paris