Car rental Marseille
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Why rent a car in Marseille?
Marseille is a great destination to rent a car in. The city is large, interesting, and diverse, and many other fun destinations in Provence are within a driving distance. Having your own ride gives you the freedom to explore them all.
Top ways to enter Marseille
- Marseille Airport: This international airport serves flights to and from many destinations in Europe, as well as North Africa, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the French overseas territories.
- Toulon Airport: About an hour’s drive east of Marseille, Toulon Airport is mainly active during summers and hosts flights to and from Paris, Belgium, Denmark, United Kingdom, Algeria, and other destinations.
- Nice Airport: The third busiest in France, Nice Airport is about two hours drive east of Marseille.
- Avignon-Provence Airport: Just north of Marsille, Avignon-Provence Aiport serves flights from Southhapmton and Birmingham in the U.K.
- By public transportation: If you’re arriving in Marseille by ferry or train, you can conveniently pick up a rental car at the Marseille Port or at the Marseille-Saint-Charles Railway Station.
Useful city facts
- With a metropolitan population of almost 2,000,000 people, Marseille is the capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region and the second largest city in France.
- The main language of the city is French, but there are many other diasporas in Marseille that also speak their own languages such as Arabic, Turkish, Italian, Portuguese, and others. The knowledge of English varies, but many people working in the service industry have at least some knowledge of it.
Top destinations and activities
- Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde. The great church overlooks the rest of the city. Legend says that old fishermen used to drag their boats there to have them blessed in the church.
- Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations. Located in an old castle where footbridges connect two parts of it, this museum explains the fascinating and diverse history of the city and the wider French Mediterranean region.
- Old Harbor (Vieux Port). Still full of fishermen selling a fresh catch, the old Marseille port is one of the most busy parts of town and a great place to feel the local atmosphere and meet the locals. The nearby Pharo Palace, as well as the Canebière Avenue that begins at the port are also interesting to explore.
Traffic and parking tips
- The speed limit in cities is 50 km/h, although in certain areas the speed limit may be reduced to 30 km/h. Unlike with inter-city roads, the urban speed limit is unaffected by weather.
- Outside cities, as of July 2018 the speed limit depends on the type of the road. Highways are limited to 130 km/h, 4-lane expressways to 110 km/h, and 2- or 3- lane roads to 90 km/h. During the rain the limits are respectively lowered to 110 km/h, 100 km/h, and 80 km/h. The general speed limit is lowered to 50 km/h during heavy fog or other cases of bad visibility.
- The insurance and car documentation needs to be in the car whenever you’re driving.
- If you’re the driver, you need to have your passport or ID card with you at all times.
- As of 2018, hands-free mobile phone use is banned in France and the fines are hefty.
- The legal alcohol limit is 0.05% for experienced drivers and 0.02% for novice drivers.
- The emergency number is 112.
Most of the main highways in France (autoroute in French) are toll roads. Their names start with letter A and you can recognize them by a red number sign. The fare for taking a toll road depends on the specific route, the distance length, as well as the type of your vehicle - trailer cars and caravans have to pay more than regular cars. You can pay by a credit card or by cash. You’ll be given a ticket that you have to keep while on the toll road.
Some rental cars are equipped with toll road transporters and can use the automatic toll road payment booths (Télépéage). Ask your rental car provider to find out if they offer cars with toll road transporters.
See the official French toll road website for more information. Use the website's toll road calculator to find out exactly how much you’ll have to pay for using the toll roads on your planned route.
Ideas for a day-trip
- The Calanques fjords. Located right outside Marseille, you can spend the whole day exploring these small, but unique fjords or simply finding a nice place for relaxation.
- Verdon Natural Regional Park. Home to Verdon Gorge river canyon and the turquoise blue Lake of Sainte Croix, Verdon Natural Park can be reached by less than two hour drive. Another green area to visit near Marseille is Alpilles Natural Regional Park.
- Allauch and Plan de Cuques. These two countryside villages located in the hills near Marseille are a great place for leisurely relaxation and offer beautiful views of the nearby city and the Mediterranean Sea.
Most popular rental types and cars
The most popular rental cars in France are the Renault Twingo, the Volkswagen Polo, and the Ford Fiesta. The most popular rental car types are economy, followed by compact and mini.
- French Riviera. Marseille is right next to this beautiful stretch along the Mediterranean and is sometimes considered part of it. City of Nice is the most famous destination, but you shouldn’t overlook the smaller coastal towns and villages, either.
- Lyon and Alps. The highest mountain chain of Europe is just a couple of hours drive north from Marseille. Lyon, France’s third city, is a good starting point to explore the region.
- Paris. It takes about seven hours to reach by car, but that’s a small price to pay to visit one of the world’s most iconic destinations.
How can I save money on my rental car?
You can do a number of things to get a good car rental deal in Marseille:
- Compare rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit on the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Marseille is the cheapest in April when renting a car is about 52% cheaper than the yearly average and whole 65% cheaper than renting a car in July.
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