My husband and I will be traveling to visit the Normandy D-Day Beaches in August. Since our hotel is close to Bayeux, I'd prefer to take the train from London to Bayeux and not Caen. From my research, the train station is not located with the Hertz Rental Car company, therefore, we'll have to take a cab. From previous posts that are dated in 2008, it said the Hertz Rental Car company doesn't have individuals that speak English. Is this still true? My husband and I don't speak French, so I'm not sure if this would be a good. Has anyone rented a car lately from Bayeux? Did they run into any problems?
As I recall, the Hertz rental outlet in Bayeux is located in a fuel station not far from the city centre. If you want to rent from them, you'll have to take a Taxi from the station. It's been a few years since I rented there, so don't know if any of the staff speak English now. They didn't speak much / any English when I rented, but fortunately everything was arranged by the owner of my hotel, so very little communication was needed.
I think it was about 2 years ago that I did this exact thing. Yes, we rented from the Hertz location in the gas station and yes they had a car for us. We stayed at http://www.tour-louise.com/ in Bayeux and Wil picked us up at the train station and drove us to the B&B. After we checked in he then drove me the very short distance to the Hertz rental location and then waited patiently with me until someone behind the counter actually had time to help me...it IS a gas station so they have customers continually coming and going. Yes, it would have been a problem without Wil there to interpret for me because the attendants spoke very little English.
If you can arrange for your hotel or B&B to take of the details for you, then I highly suggest this very convenient location.
Another anecdote: I had to swap out a car at the Hertz place once. They didn't have a small one like I'd been using so I had to take a freebie upgrade. There wasn't actually much available, maybe three total. I speak French, so can't comment on the language issue.
Facts to consider, use them or not:
Nothing is earmarked with your name when you make a reservation. You show up and have to eat what's on the plate. If there's no automatic transmission, too bad.
It's three or four miles from the Bayeux train station out to the Total station. There's usually taxis at the station. When you turn the car in and call for a taxi to get you back to the station, the meter will start as soon as he receives the dispatch.
Larger places will have more of a selection. Caen has several agencies just out the station door and all are much larger.
If one agency doesn't have what you want and you haven't screwed yourself by prepaying, you can walk over to the other place and get them to match the deal.
About a dozen trains leave Gare Saint Lazare for Caen every day. About half that many go to Bayeux, and about half of those require a change in Caen.
The drive from Caen to Bayeux is thirty minutes -- it's all four lane freeway except the little bits in the city centers.
You can drive from Gare Saint Lazare to Bayeux faster than the train can make it. It's probably about even to Bayeux if the person on the train has to make the change.
Gas and tolls are cheaper than two train tickets, both from Paris. Train tickets are a totally additional expense if you rent a car for the same day.
If you pick up a car from Paris Nord, you have two turns befor you're on four lane, and only a couple of miles until you're on the freeway. Once you leave the peripherique, you follow the same route number all the way to Caen or Bayeux ( I think the A13 changes to the N13 on the Caen bypass somewhere, however). The times aren't much different from those leaving Saint Lazare.
Rented a car from the Bayeux Hertz place last September. The two people we dealt with spoke enough English to easily complete the necessary transactions, and we had no problems.
They also had "exactly" what we reserved. Yes, they have a car earmarked for you...the one you reserve. You don't just show up and take what they have. It doesn't appear they even HAVE any cars unless they are explicitly reserved.
Actually, the gas station at Bayeux is an adjunct outlet of the Caen operation. It's contract, in fact, reflected the Caen location, I'm pretty sure.
They try to bring up what's requested plus a couple of spares plus they have whatever was turned in from somewhere else and hasn't been shuttled south to the mother lode. That's a lot of shuffling for a small outlet and things don't always work out on schedule.
While I was swapping out my oil burner, I wound up translating for a couple of distraught Americans whose choices were to wait several hours for the evening flip-flop or make their way back to Caen with the taxi/bus/train combo.
I drove them down, didn't get a thank you, and was treated to a half-hour of bitching about French business practices and scams.
It's been about 4 years since we rented from the Hertz company in Bayeux. At the time, we took a taxi from the train station to our hotel in Bayeux. It wasn't until the last day we were there that we needed the car. it was about a 20 minute walk from our hotel to Hertz. The car we had reserved was waiting for us. The man there (at that time) spoke some English so we were able to complete the transaction with no problem. We did run into a problem, however, when my husband was hospitalized in Honfleur and we needed to change the drop off location for the car. The man I spoke to on the phone then could not understand what we needed to do. Thank goodness for the lady at the hotel who was able to translate. But, anyway, no problem with picking up the car. Worked well.
Looks like you've got the scoop.