Car rental Paris
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Why rent a car in Paris?
Paris is a great destination to explore by car. Having your own ride will not only let you visit the famous landmarks inside the city, but, more importantly, will give you the freedom to travel to interesting destinations in the city’s vicinity and further afar.
Top ways to enter Paris
- Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport: One of the busiest airports in Europe, Paris Charles De Gaulle hosts flights to and from all continents of the planet.
- Paris Orly Airport: Located south of the city center, Orly Airport connects Paris to both many exotic destinations and large cities of Europe.
- Beauvais Airport: Although Beauvais Airport is about two hours drive from Paris, it nonetheless offers great way to reach the city as it is popular with many low-cost carriers.
- By public transportation: If you’re arriving to Paris, you can conveniently pick up a rental car at Gare de Lyon Railway Station, Gare du Nord Railway Station, Gare Montparnasse Railway Station, or Gare de l’Est Railway Station.
Useful city facts
- Largest city in the European Union (EU) by urban population, Paris is also among the world’s most visited cities when it comes to international tourists.
- The climate in Paris is maritime, and the city usually has mild, but cool winters and warm summers. There is more precipitation than along the French Mediterranean Coast and rain showers are not uncommon.
Top destinations and activities
- Notre Dame Cathedral. Perhaps the most famous church in the world, this Gothic cathedral is one of the first things that come to mind when most people think of Paris.
- Champs-Élysées. The famous avenue is a great place to go for a long stroll, meet locals and form your first impressions of the city.
- Eiffel Tower. Loved by travelers even more than the locals, the Eiffel Tower is arguably the city’s most famous landmark. Do keep in mind that waiting times to visit the top floor can be up to a couple of hours.
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
- Versailles. Located south of Paris city center, Versailles is the location of the Sun King Louis XIV’s famous palace and gardens. Many other historical buildings in the city are also well worth a visit.
- The Loire Valley. While it takes about two hours drive south to reach it, the famous wine-making area along the river Loire is very much worth a visit thanks to its beautiful chateaus, charming villages, and historically important cities like Blois and Orléans. Burgundy, about two hours east of Paris, is another worthy wine destination.
- Lille. Although probably the coldest and most rainy place in France, this once industrial hub is a great destination to visit thanks to its atmosphere and great culture and arts scene.
Most popular rental types and cars
The most popular rental car in France is the Renault Twingo, followed by the Volkswagen Polo and the Ford Fiesta. The most popular rental car types are economy, compact and mini.
- Belgium. Just a few hours drive north, Belgium can be a surprisingly rewarding travel destination, not only because of Brussels, but also other beautiful cities like Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges, and Liège.
- Brittany. The westernmost part of France is a relaxing and beautiful destination thanks to its medieval cities, pristine nature, and long Atlantic Coast.
- London. It takes about six hours to drive to London, but getting to see this unique culture, arts, and entertainment destination is well worth the effort.
How can I save money on my rental car?
There are things you can do to get a great rental car deal in Paris:
- 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 Paris is the cheapest in January when renting a car is about 40% cheaper than the yearly average and about 57% cheaper than renting a car in July.
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