Travel France by car for 19 days - any help please!

We are planning on traveling in France for approximately 30 days in April 2013. We will be cycling the Danube in Austria the first week and then traveling from either Vienna or Munich to France to spend approximately 19 days in France. Our plan is to rent a car when we get to eastern France (possibly Lyon), head south, west across the Pyrenees and then up along the coast and then go to Paris to fly home. We are looking for suggestions on itinerary improvements, etc. Our trip is as follows Day 1 go from either Vienna or Munich to France (fly or train??) Days 2-4 in the Nimes area Days 5-8 in the Pau area Days 9-12 in Bordeaux area
Days 13-16 in Perigueux area Days 17 - Brittany Day 20 to Parius and then home Any help is greatly appreciated...we like food, hiking,food,museums,food architecture, wine, art and more food! Thanks

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7956 posts

Consider a leased vehicle. There is no pick up or drop off charges if you do both in France. I think the lease works best for larger cars (where rentals tend to be very expensive). Rental may be cheaper for a small car. AmEx has a good deal on rental CDW insurance that's worth looking into, you can save hundreds - doesn't apply to a lease because CDW is included in the price.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8849 posts

Many leasing contracts are for 21 days or more, and do save you money over regular consider arranging holiday to take advantage of that unless you can find a leasing arrangement for 19 days.

Posted by George
Independence, KS, USA
716 posts

You might check with AutoEurope. We used them for a rental in France and were very pleased with every aspect of the transactions. They are based in Portland Maine so they are quite easy to reach prior to leaving the US. I don't know if they offer leases but you might get a deal for a 19 day rental. We used our AmEX card to get the CDW coverage. You might check with VISA too since some cards do include CDW coverage for overseas rental cars. We bought our own Garmin NUVI GPS with European maps prior to our trip, learned to use it, and saved to favorites the addresses of salient features like beaches with no real street address (find the latitude and longitude using google maps) , the addresses of our B&B, various museums, and some restaurants along the way. We also got a Michelin road map of Normandy and Brittany since the GPS sometimes sends you off the beaten path, when staying on the motorway is the best route. The GPS saved us lots of hassles and were spot on even on confusing roundabouts.

Posted by Jim
Sisters, OR
3 posts

Thanks for the info on leased vehicles and autoeurope...happy trails

Posted by Robert
717 posts

AutoEurope and Kemwel are both owned by the same person (or people), and both offer leases in France (I believe minimum is 18 days, but you really need more days to make it worthwhile). I believe one uses the Peuogot lease program and the other uses the Renault program, or at least that was the cases when we did those. It worked fine both times. And I also have used both companies frequently for ordinary leases. Disclaimer: it has nothing to do with the fact that AutoEurope is headquartered down the street from me. I used them long before I lived in Portland.
You've picked some great areas for food and/or wine. I can give you more info if you wish.

Posted by Adam
2923 posts

It seems a pity to come so close to the Dordogne and Lot valleys but not spend time there. Not sure what to suggest since there is great stuff everywhere! Brittany likely cold and wet that time of year.

Posted by Robert
717 posts

On second thought, I like Adam's suggestions. I sent Jim some info in a private reply, and assumed that "Perigeux" meant he'd stay in the Dordogne. But if not, I'd suggest some time in the Dordogne/Lot, and skip Brittany because of weather and geography, and instead stop in the Loire Valley on the way back to Paris.

Posted by Peter
Medford, Oregon, USA
15 posts

If you like hiking, you might consider a day trip in the Pyrenees near Pau. There are plenty of hiking trails. We spent a day in a little town called Lescun, and did a nice hike. But we were there in July, so you should check out the conditions for April (there may be too much snow). Also, if you like wine, there are some really nice whites that are grown near Pau. I forget the name of the region (might start with a J), but it probably has some wineries you could visit. Peter