If a trip to France is on your bucket list, one of the questions you may have is…what’s the best mode of transport?

Getting around France is in fact very easy, especially in the cities. To discover France’s renowned quaint villages full of bespoke wines and cheeses, however, the best way to go is to hire a car.

Hiring your own holiday vehicle will give you the freedom to explore at will. There are a few things you will need to consider when comparing rental cars, but car hire is fairly simple. It can even be cheaper than using trains.

All the well-known car rental companies service France, so you will easily find a brand name you trust. These include:

  • Europcar
  • Auto Europe
  • Thrifty
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Alamo

Here are a few tips for easy road travel around beautiful France:

Age Gaps

Be aware that France has its own rules for drivers that are different than your own country. In France, you need to be a minimum of 21 years old to hire a car. Some agencies even require drivers to be 25. You may have to pay an extra fee per day if you are under 25 years. Some companies will require that you have had a driver’s license for at least 12 months.

Also, remember that children 10 and under are not allowed to sit in the front seat of the car.

Money Matters

You need an internationally recognized credit card to book your hire car. Basic car hire works out to about 13 Euros a day.

Fuel and toll fees are quite expensive in France, so make sure you budget for this. You can use Visa, MasterCard, or credit cards at most toll booths, but carry cash too in case. It is also best to go to the toll booths that have an operator who can help you if something goes wrong. There is an assistance button on the self-help booths for you to use.

Insurance

Insurance coverage varies from agency to agency, so just make sure you know where you stand. You can use your credit card insurance, but just confirm you will be doing this before you depart.

Some technicalities to remember:

  • To get the best offer, book your vehicle before arriving in France.
  • There are usually rental companies based at train stations, so combining train and car travel will be a convenient option.
  • Most cars you rent will be manual. Automatic cars are very expensive to hire, and they often are bigger cars which means they will use more fuel.
  • The cheaper hired cars usually have very little boot or trunk space. If you know you will have a lot of luggage on your trip, remember to specify more trunk space when you book your car.
  • Make sure to bring your GPS, or make sure you phone GPS is working!

On the Roads

When driving on multi-lane freeways French drivers keep to the right lane, except when they pass. Just remember not to pass on the right and to use your indicator.

Using roundabouts in France can be a bit of an experience if you’re not used to this at home. They are very busy and loads of streets go off them. Keep calm and follow the arrows through the roundabout. Again, use your indicators to show where you are turning off.

Last Thoughts

Lastly, make the very most of the opportunity to road trip around France. Explore the strange little lanes and avenues, something you would not be able to do if totally relying on rail transport.

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