We got great prices for airline tickets & a great AirB&B in Colmar for Dec. 6-13. We plan to rent a car in Frankfurt & drive. Any concerns going between countries or through the pass? Never driven through there before, especially at that time of year. Thanks in advance.
I hope you aren't planning to drive for over 3 hours, nearly 300 km after getting off an international flight. Most of the trip thru Germany would be on the A5, which, depending on the time of day can be very busy.
Why not take the train from the airport to Colmar and rent a car there?
Our other option is to get on the train to
Strasbourg & then get a car & drive to
Colmar. Either is okay, but the plan is to return the car to Frankfurt. And I understand winter tires are required in Germany but not France so another reason we are considering driving.
In that case you could spend a day around Frankfurt and go on the next day.
Be aware of the French Crit'aire environmental vignette stickers required for driving into urban areas of France - a German car will likely not have that sticker. Fines may ensue.
Is the vignette sticker not a known item for rental companies? I don’t want this to be a speed bump in our trip…
This "crit'air" sticker thing will not be a known issue at a German car rental office.
This being said, Crit'air is only mandatory in the Strasbourg metro area. If you cross from Germany into France at Offenburg (L98 / N353), you will not need it.
Unless you drive to Strasbourg, but from Colmar you might as well take the train: frequent (1-2 per hour), fast (30-35 minutes), relatively affordable (14€ one-way, with 5€ tickets available in advance, up until the day before in some cases).
Especially since Strasbourg will be busy with the Xmas market and parking might be tricky.
And by the way, winter tires are now mandatory in French mounatin regions including parts of Alsace, so you should no longer have difficulties finding a car with those in Strasbourg.
Is the vignette sticker not a known item for rental companies?
Maybe, but don't expect a German rental car to be equipped for France. And it's not only about the Crit'air sticker, it is also about having high visibility vests e.g. Taking the train sounds like a much better idea, but there is also the Lufthansa bus between Frankfurt airport and Strasbourg. https://www.lufthansa.com/ee/en/lufthansa-express-bus