About France (FR)
France is the world’s top tourist destination, drawing almost 90 million international visitors annually. The beautiful capital city of Paris, also known as the “City of Lights,” has some of world’s most iconic (and romantic) landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris.
In the south of France, you can discover the charming villages and lavender fields of Provence, then head to the beaches of the glamorous French Riviera. In the more central parts of France, you will find the wineries of the Burgundy region, as well as the castles of the Loire Valley. Other top draws in France include the gastronomic delights of Lyon, and two impressive mountain ranges (the Alps and the Pyrenees). Planning a road trip with your car rental in France is the best way to discover this lovely country.
France has, for the most part, excellent roads, with a network of well-maintained—albeit often private (and therefore somewhat expensive)—highways. In some of the historic downtown areas, however, the roads might be narrow and difficult to navigate, as they were not designed for cars. Even small villages generally offer parking outside the historic city center, so you can leave your French car hire and walk.
Choosing your car
In France, car rental companies include Avis, Sixt , Europcar and Hertz. If you are staying in more urban areas, you can go for a cheap rental car such as a compact or a mini, which is easy to navigate and park. Families can go for an SUV or mid-range option, such as from Peugeot or Toyota. Larger groups may want to book a truck, people mover or 7—12 person mini van. For business travelers, a spacious luxury sedan, such as an Audi or Mercedes-Benz, is an excellent choice.
Tips and advice
According to French law, you must have a high-visibility vest (“gilet” in French) and a warning triangle in your vehicle. You must use these if you pull over and step out of the car. While these items are likely included in your rental, double check to make sure.
While on the road, you may see signs for a “village étape,” a village that usually has an attraction, such as a castle or winery. It’s an excellent way to take a break from driving, as well as discover something new.
Note that the speed limits on the roads are automatically lower when it rains. The speed limit on the highway, for example, is normally 130 kilometers per hour; when it rains it is 110 kilometers per hour.
If you are under 21 years old, you will not be able to rent a car. Expect a young driver surcharge for those under 25.
Traffic conditions and information about tolls can be found on the official website of the ASFA (French motorway companies). The link is: www.autoroutes.fr/.
The major highways have rest stops known as “aires,” which are pleasant areas that offer a number of amenities such as restrooms, picnic tables and restaurants.