Whether you’re there for business or for pleasure, driving through France can leave you with great memories. Because it offers you the freedom to come and go as you choose, auto rental may be your best option for transportation while you’re there. Here are some tips if you want to rent a car in France.
Booking a Rental Car
Booking your French rental vehicle ahead of time offers significant savings, although this requires you to pay in advance. Most travelers will find that worthwhile nevertheless.
Minimum and Maximum Age Requirements
Some French auto rental agencies require the driver to be 25 years old, while others will rent at 21. Some agencies require the driver to have a driver’s license for at least a year. Check with the agency. Also, remember to bring your auto insurance documentation with you.
There is no maximum age requirement for car rental in France.
Automatic vs. Manual Car
Renting a car with automatic transmission will cost you more than renting a car with manual transmission. Automatics are less readily available as well, so make sure you know what kind your renting and book as quickly as possible if automatic is what you’re after.
The challenge of driving on the “wrong side of the road” may take some getting used to. French police are known to be stringent on road rules. Seatbelts are required for the driver and all passengers. Also, remember French limits for DUI are lower than the limits in the US, so save the vino for when you’re not behind the wheel.
Obey posted speed limits. French police won’t pull you over if you’re caught speeding but will send a bill to your rental agency. Don’t be that renter.
Road Signs in France
When driving in France, you’ll recognize the stop sign and yield sign as they look much like our own. When yielding, it is not necessary to stop is traffic is not coming from either the left or the right. A stickier situation might be the priority signs. Drive France has a great primer on their procedures here.
How to Avoid Ripoffs at the Rental Desk
Best and Worst Car Companies
Sticking with the most well-known car rental agencies in France will up your chances of being satisfied with your entire car rental transaction from reservation to final billing. The best-reviewed agencies include Renault, Sixt, Autoescape. Europcar was named the worst.
Avoiding Hard Selling at the Rental Desk
Watch out for upgrade offers of a larger car when checking in. There’s a reason locals drive small cars: gas is not cheap and a larger car will make a big difference in your final rental cost when gas is included.
Your own insurance is always your best option. Before you leave, make sure you’re covered for foreign car rental. But remember that if you do use your own insurance, the rental agency may still place a hold on your credit card.
Planning well is always your best course of action for a journey overseas. A little mental footwork is the best way to ensure your experience renting an automobile in France is the least memorable part of your jaunt, leaving room in your mind for the priceless souvenir of a great overall experience during your stay.