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Rental car in France - a Sunday issue

Hi, seems I may have shot myself in the foot. I have all the lodging and train arrangements made for two weeks in France, Netherlands, and Belgium. Was starting on the car rental and encountered a problem. We're taking the train from Brussels via Paris to Reims. Planned to rent a car (Friday) to drive to Colmar for two nights. Would drive back to Reims on Sunday, drop the car and take the TGV to Paris for last three nights of trip. I hadn't the slightest idea, and read nothing about this, but, apparently no rental agencies are open on Sunday, and no drop-off is available in Reims - or Colmar, for than matter. Thought of dropping the car in Colmar on Saturday evening, and taking the train to Reims on Sunday morning. This would appear to be more costly as well as inconvenient, but i can't think of too many other options. Any suggestions?

Posted by
9110 posts

1 -- Skip Reims the second time, and drop the car in Paris. 2 -- Go back to Reims the second time if that's necessary, then drop the car in Paris.

Posted by
8678 posts

Are car rental agencies at the airport closed on Sunday? You could return at CDG if necessary.

Posted by
22 posts

Ed - possible, but Reims was just passing thru on Friday to get the car. Also, we have non-refundable tix from Reims to Paris on Sunday evening. Sasha - thanks for the empathy.

Posted by
2818 posts

Not me--that's the Rolling Stones. Just making a joke. But you know what? We've dealt with the same issue in car rentals, and learned you might have to tweak your plans a bit. Sometimes it turns out even better than what you originally planned. I'm sure you'll get some viable suggestions. different car rental company? Do all travel by train? Not sure what as possible in France as we haven't done much there, but we did finds ways around this in Italy.

Posted by
22 posts

Ok, I found that Europcar seems to allow me to pickup in Reims on Friday, AND drop off in Reims on Sunday. Their site indicates there is a "with extra price" charge if the car is either picked up or dropped off in the off hours. However, I couldn't find out how much extra. Does anyone have experience with this additional cost?

Posted by
2818 posts

We had a similar situation withnAutoEurope and the drop fee for am one way rental. Theynsaid the charge would be disclosed with my reservation confirmation, and we would have the chance at that time to decline and cancel the res. It was fine and we kept the res. Maybe that is what EuropeCar does too.

Posted by
22 posts

Thanks, Sasha. I'm willing to pay a reasonable amount for this service. I was just hoping it would be something I could quantify. Also, there seems to be a lot of negative posts out there about Europcar's service. I realize nobody's perfect, but has the general experience from people on this site been reasonably good?

Posted by
2818 posts

You might want to start a new topic about Europcar. I seem to recall there are several companies with similar names and one is good and one maybe not.

Posted by
8678 posts

Last fall I rented a car in France through Auto Europe. They are a consolidator and my car ended up being rented from EuropeCar. I got to the rental office shortly before their lunchtime closure and they didn't have time to go over the car with me, showing me how to use things. While trying to get my bearings and figure out how to get out of the area they kicked us out of the lot that they wanted to lock up for the Time they were closed. I'm sure that if my timing had been different the experience would have been better. I had no problem turning my car into a different location. The car was very nice, and was upgraded from the smallest and cheapest car to a car one level up.

Posted by
8274 posts

We've used EuropeCar via AutoEurope many times. The personnel can be a bit dry, lacking gushing enthusiasm and warmth, but we've never had a problem with the rentals, nor the car except for the Fiat lemon we got once as it was the last car in its class left in the Orly lot.

Posted by
1316 posts

We used Europcar through AutoEurope in France last year. No problems. No drop off fees for a different location (within France), but we did have to pick up and drop off at an airport because we booked an automatic. And we were told there were no fees for dropping the car off when the office was closed. As it happened, the office was open (not sure why, wasn't supposed to be), so I can't confirm that was really true. You could consider dropping the car in Strasbourg and taking the train from there. I think its TGV (but could be wrong). Maybe their location has better hours? EDIT sorry just saw that you have your tickets from Reims already, it might be a stop on the way from Strasbourg but would it be economical to have two tickets? Might be worth looking at.

Posted by
22 posts

Thanks, Andrea and Bets. I'd already made the lodging and train arrangements, figuring I would plug in the car rentals last. I mean, how hard could that be? ;-) My plans for the back end of the trip had us picking up a car in Reims, driving to Verdun, then on to Colmar for Friday and Sat nights. We would then drive back to Reims early Sun, catch a Champagne house, some lunch, a cathedral visit, return the car and catch the 6:43pm TGV to Paris. As they say, sometimes the best laid plans.... But, once again, some sage advice from this board saves the day. Think I'll take a shot with Europecar, as it seems to fit my original itinerary the best.

Posted by
1437 posts

Here's another suggestion: Keep to your original plan and train schedule. Book & pay for the rental car until the Monday morning. Park the car in the lot on Sunday and drop the keys in a drop-box - if that option is available. I have done this before.

Posted by
476 posts

Eric, if you are only staying in Colmar for two nights, why not take the train all the way?

Posted by
18237 posts

My recommendation, exactly. ViaMichelin shows the fastest car route to be about 4½ hours and almost €60 just for gas and tolls, not including the cost of rental. German Rail shows TGV connections taking 3-3½ hours. If you need a car in Colmar, rent one there, but you will probably find local transportation available there if you look.

Posted by
22 posts

Diane, we'd thought of that. But, AutoEurope said there wasn't a drop box at either Reims or Colmar. Anita and Lee, we wanted to stop at Verdun on the way to Colmar, drive the wine road in Alsace, and spend some time in Reims -all w/o dragging our bags along with us. Figured driving was the best option. Solution: I booked through EuropeCar for a Sunday drop off in Reims. Will pay an extra fee (TBD) to have someone there for the return.

Posted by
22 posts

Lee, we did look into renting a car in Colmar. As far as I could tell, nothing was available w/o a 3-day rental. OTOH, I have to admit, I never took the tolls and petrol into account.

Posted by
12940 posts

We have found short rental periods (-2 days) from Hertz when they were not offered by AutoEurope.