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Thread: Self drive around France

  1. #1

    Default Self drive around France

    Hi,

    am joining up with my brother who will be coming to Europe sometime in early July.

    We intend to rent a car in France to drive around and go sight seeing esp in the countryside.

    However, it will only be a 4 -5 day rental.

    Anybody knows of a cheaper car rental place in France? I've searched a couple of rental sites and they are EXTREMELY expensive!

    Another thing is, how long exactly issit to drive from paris to the Riviera? can you guys recommend some of the really nice places in NICE and the riviera that is a MUST see/taste/do? I'd love to go for winetasting in some Chateau....but i'm not as familiar with the French wines (other than the hugely famous Latours, Rothschilds, Petrus, St. Emilions.......etc, which are definitely too costly)

    Also, if possible, issit easy to navigate (with a GPS) to get to the Perigod region? It'll be great if i could go there to have a real go at their famed culinary delights!

    and is there a way to drop off the car in Italy if he wants to fly back from Italy instead? or is that absolutely ridiculous?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Self drive around France

    1stly you can use this website to help you plan your driving route.

    ViaMichelin

    It is pretty comprehensive. Also you can try to get a copy of the Michelin road map which comes in a binded book form which is quite concise.

    I don't think you really need a GPS there in France as it is quite well sign posted. The highways are quite easy to navigate, and when you reach any town or city, look out for the "i" sign which points to the tourism office. In each town, there will usually be a tourism office and you can get local maps, plus info of local hotels and places of interest.

    If you intend to drive direct from Paris to Nice, you will most likely travel through Lyon, which is actually getting further away from the Perigord area. But given that it is only a 4-5 day trip, you may prefer to visit the Provence region before heading to the Riveria.

    As for Nice, the best part is actually the drive along the coast from Nice to Monaco

    Car rental I find Europcar one of better offering in France. There was a budget car website that can get cheaper rates, but I can't search right now as I am still at work.

    God, I really miss driving around Europe. That was the best part of my stay in France
    Last edited by kelccm; 26th April 2009 at 09:44 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Self drive around France

    Ok, I remember the site I used to rent car in France. Find it here

    I think it is ok to drop the car in another location within the same country. Maybe you can rent the car at Paris and drop it off at Nice, and fly back from Nice.
    Canon 80D|Panasonic LX3/LX5
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Self drive around France

    heard of city of Tours in the Loire Valley, the very heart of France where all the greatest king's castles are located? easy access?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Self drive around France

    Quote Originally Posted by dreaming View Post
    heard of city of Tours in the Loire Valley, the very heart of France where all the greatest king's castles are located? easy access?
    Tours is just the beginning of the Loire Valley. If you follow the Loire River, there are chateaus all over, from Blois, to Amboise to Chenonceaux to Chambord all the way to Orleans. But I wouldn't say these are the king's chateau. Versaille will be more worthy of that.
    Canon 80D|Panasonic LX3/LX5
    35f2 IS|50f1.8|85f1.8|12-24f4|18-135f4-5.6 IS|28-75f2.8

  6. #6

    Default Re: Self drive around France

    Hi kel!

    thanx heaps for the tips and advise.

    I'll need to let my brother know that it is abit audacious and expensive to return in another country?

    I tried to look for the car rental agency that allows me to do that, but don't think anyof them does.

    Yes Europcar seems to be very popular here too in Germany...but well.....the pricing is really not cheap....about €240+ for 4-5 days......

    So in your opinion, it wouldn't be advisable to go to Perigord at all? If it is really too far away to say pop by in a day, I'll give it a miss this time, as i can always hop over to France by myself (when i've scringed enough € )

    Looks like the Nice-Monaco route is top on the list!

    My brother, being too ambitious and not Europe oriented, plans to visit paris, Bordeux, nice, Monaco, and then go to Milan...... (WHICH IS OVERLY RIDICULOUS!) and then fly back to Singapore from there.............

    Hence, i'm trying to come up with a better alternative to concentrate in France....and take turns to drive and hopefully we can cover some really nice places along the way.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Self drive around France

    Quote Originally Posted by plsoong View Post
    Hi kel!

    thanx heaps for the tips and advise.

    I'll need to let my brother know that it is abit audacious and expensive to return in another country?

    I tried to look for the car rental agency that allows me to do that, but don't think anyof them does.

    Yes Europcar seems to be very popular here too in Germany...but well.....the pricing is really not cheap....about €240+ for 4-5 days......

    So in your opinion, it wouldn't be advisable to go to Perigord at all? If it is really too far away to say pop by in a day, I'll give it a miss this time, as i can always hop over to France by myself (when i've scringed enough € )

    Looks like the Nice-Monaco route is top on the list!

    My brother, being too ambitious and not Europe oriented, plans to visit paris, Bordeux, nice, Monaco, and then go to Milan...... (WHICH IS OVERLY RIDICULOUS!) and then fly back to Singapore from there.............

    Hence, i'm trying to come up with a better alternative to concentrate in France....and take turns to drive and hopefully we can cover some really nice places along the way.
    Car Rental, try www.autoeurope.com. Been using them for 15 years, and they do have decent rates. Germany used to be the cheapest in terms of car rental.

    Where in Germany are you? May be better off just driving France? 4-5 days, not much time. In July, Nice/Monaco, be prepared to encounter monumental traffic jam. All of Southern France will be packed. Everyone is there during the summer. That said, Provence is absolutely beautiful, and highly recommended. If you are going, let's talk.

    Do get a GPS. For Europe, Tom Tom is best.
    deadpoet
    my portfolio

  8. #8

    Default Re: Self drive around France

    Quote Originally Posted by Deadpoet View Post
    Car Rental, try www.autoeurope.com. Been using them for 15 years, and they do have decent rates. Germany used to be the cheapest in terms of car rental.

    Where in Germany are you? May be better off just driving France? 4-5 days, not much time. In July, Nice/Monaco, be prepared to encounter monumental traffic jam. All of Southern France will be packed. Everyone is there during the summer. That said, Provence is absolutely beautiful, and highly recommended. If you are going, let's talk.

    Do get a GPS. For Europe, Tom Tom is best.

    Yo DP,

    i'm in Göttingen....central Germany...will fly from Hannover(nearest airport) to Paris to meet up with my brother.

    if we meet up with him on 1st July and leave on 8th July, we'll have 7 days..

    In anycase, is there a intercity train from Nice/Monaco to the Italian Riviera? and then a train to Milan?

    if so, then maybe i can suggest a shorter trip from paris straight to nice (via train or rent car), and then train across to italy and then either train or rent car to go to Milan where he'll take his flight back to SG, while i take my flight back to Hannover.

    haven't seen a company that allows for me to rent in paris and return in milan....

    are u intending to come to Germany to visit me or to bring me some cameras?

    PL

  9. #9

    Default Re: Self drive around France

    Quote Originally Posted by plsoong View Post
    Yo DP,

    i'm in Göttingen....central Germany...will fly from Hannover(nearest airport) to Paris to meet up with my brother.

    if we meet up with him on 1st July and leave on 8th July, we'll have 7 days..

    In anycase, is there a intercity train from Nice/Monaco to the Italian Riviera? and then a train to Milan?

    if so, then maybe i can suggest a shorter trip from paris straight to nice (via train or rent car), and then train across to italy and then either train or rent car to go to Milan where he'll take his flight back to SG, while i take my flight back to Hannover.

    haven't seen a company that allows for me to rent in paris and return in milan....

    are u intending to come to Germany to visit me or to bring me some cameras?

    PL
    You should have asked earlier, was in Germany earlier in the month.

    If you want to do the French Riviera/Provence, I suggest you fly directly to Nice. Both you and your brother can meet in Frankfurt. Lufthansa has 5-6 flights from FRA to NCE daily.

    Milan is very drivable from Nice, the round trip is doable, but, there is nothing much to see in Milan unless you are going there to shop. If you are doing the Riviera, head west to Provence, definitely detour into the Luberon.

    Pars to Nice is jsut short of 1000 KM. Very drivable and if without traffic, can reach in 7+ hours. It's autoroute all the way, however, you will have teh retrurn trip also. Train is goodl, but for 2 people, one way TGV to Nice is about 150 euro each person. Can rental including gas and toll is cheaper.

    Now, alternatively,you have lots to see in and around Paris. I will go to Mont St Michel in Normandy, Versailles, Chartre and Aimes to see 2 of the 3 most famous cathedral in all of France, if you like auto racing, Le Mans is jsut a few hours away and the museum there is worth a visit for racing fans ...
    deadpoet
    my portfolio

  10. #10

    Default Re: Self drive around France

    Quote Originally Posted by Deadpoet View Post
    You should have asked earlier, was in Germany earlier in the month.

    If you want to do the French Riviera/Provence, I suggest you fly directly to Nice. Both you and your brother can meet in Frankfurt. Lufthansa has 5-6 flights from FRA to NCE daily.

    Milan is very drivable from Nice, the round trip is doable, but, there is nothing much to see in Milan unless you are going there to shop. If you are doing the Riviera, head west to Provence, definitely detour into the Luberon.

    Pars to Nice is jsut short of 1000 KM. Very drivable and if without traffic, can reach in 7+ hours. It's autoroute all the way, however, you will have teh retrurn trip also. Train is goodl, but for 2 people, one way TGV to Nice is about 150 euro each person. Can rental including gas and toll is cheaper.

    Now, alternatively,you have lots to see in and around Paris. I will go to Mont St Michel in Normandy, Versailles, Chartre and Aimes to see 2 of the 3 most famous cathedral in all of France, if you like auto racing, Le Mans is jsut a few hours away and the museum there is worth a visit for racing fans ...
    Hey DP, Aiya! should have just PMed me when u're here. but which part of Germany were you in?

    thanx heaps for the plenty of recommendations.

    actually there will be 4 of us travelling together, he and his gf, my wife and me.

    Both my bro and his gf will be on some package tour which ends in Paris, and they intend to extend longer to see more places... and already booked the flight back from Milan (because it is $500 cheaper per pax).

    hence, i'm trying to think, from Paris, either TGV/car rental drive to Nice (hopefully within a day), and then to Monaco and Provence to enjoy the Riviera and crossing over to Italy.

    I have yet to find a car rental company that allows us to pickup the car in Paris/Nice and return the car in Italy?!

    which of the Italian riviera "towns" is a must go for its picturesque scenes and food/wine?
    Does this have a frequent train to go to Milan?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Self drive around France

    After much discussions,

    We've decided to base in Marseille and rent a car to go that region, to Provence as suggested by most of you, Nice, Monaco then ring through to Avignon, and hopefully we can try to get to Nimes, Montpellier to Carcassonne.

    Is there any wine / cheese tours that you guys can recommend in this part?

    We plan to complete this plan in 6 days

    Whatcha u guys think?

  12. #12

    Default Re: Self drive around France

    bro,

    u can try www.ebookers.com. Used it few time when I was in europe. Driving in Marseille city is tough and parking is extreamly hard to find, but is fun! (been there quite a few time due to work, very nice place, beautiful sea and beach!) Aynway if is only 2 of you, then can get a small car, can save on petrol and park easily. For your info max speed over there is 130km/h and prepare some small change for toll as well.

    Please be reminded that from Marseille to Nice is toward the east whereas Nimes, Montpellier are on the other direction (north west). You might want to plan ur trip carefully so that you wont waste any of your time and petrol.

    Enjoy your trip!!

    Regards,
    yk

  13. #13

    Default Re: Self drive around France

    Quote Originally Posted by plsoong View Post
    After much discussions,

    We've decided to base in Marseille and rent a car to go that region, to Provence as suggested by most of you, Nice, Monaco then ring through to Avignon, and hopefully we can try to get to Nimes, Montpellier to Carcassonne.

    Is there any wine / cheese tours that you guys can recommend in this part?

    We plan to complete this plan in 6 days

    Whatcha u guys think?


    Make sure you get a GPS. Please do with Tom Tom, works flawlessly in Europe. The off brands available here do not work.

    Carcassonne is way out of the way. Arles is worth stopping over especially you can wander through Van Gogh's neighborhood.

    Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct is worth a detour.

    Chateauneuf des Papes, well, after all you are in southern Rhone, must tastes the wine.

    When in Marseilles, one must try the bouillabaisse, it's going to be pricey, very pricey, but it's worth every penny. Do be careful, there are lots of places offering it, but most are not that good. My fav is a place call Chez Fon Fon and La Mirama at the old port.

    After Avignon, head up to Mount Ventoux, the highest point in Provence. On a good day, you can see the cost of Africa to the south, the Alps to the north east and the Pyrenees to the south west.

    However, if you wnat ot cover all the way west from Montpellier to Nice/Monaco to the east, for 6 days, you will spend more time driving then sight seeing. Don't forget, this is holiday season, and the traffic in Southern France is legendary.
    deadpoet
    my portfolio

  14. #14

    Default Re: Self drive around France

    WAH! thanx heaps for all that....DAMN, my mouth oredi watering lah....... i wikied bouillabaisse...........sounds REALLY great already! (i'm deprived of fish and shellfish alike here in landlocked Göttingen ....)


    and i will definitely go try the wines.

    I've earmarked some the locations that you've recommended as well as kelcmm and will search for cheap hotels nearby (with internet, so that we can plan again)

    yes, in Germany esp, tom tom is extremely popular and seems really good other than Navisat..... but i'm wondering when i rent the car, will the provided GPS unit be sufficient? or do i need to get a bigger one? one thing though. i wished i had a Garmin set which can then be hooked up to my MacGPS software to let my wife/co-driver do the monitoring. I'm wondering if that can be hooked up to the tomtom or whatever that the rental company is throwing at us.


    hmmmm.....the car rental here have a promotion for Germany.....which means, technically i can rent a car from the sad town here, drive like crazy (taking shifts with my wife and having a break at Geneve) down to Marseille/Nice/Avignon.....do that drive tour (with my wife, my brother and his gf) there....and then make the trip up and return in Goettingen in 8 days.......


    i'll suffer from carlag!

    so when will u be be coming to Bratwurst land again?

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