Renting a Car in Paris
When it comes to getting around Paris, there is certainly no shortage of choices. From bus, to metro, to train, to taxi, you’ll find plenty of quick and easy ways to get from here to there. Still, with so many public transportation options, some travelers simply prefer the convenience of renting their own vehicle. If you’re one of those people, here are a few tips to help you with renting a car in Paris.
Plan Ahead – It’s always a good idea to rent your car ahead of time, before you leave for your trip. This way there is less of a chance of any surprises once you get there, and you don’t find yourself stranded without the transportation you were anticipating. A good rule of thumb is to book your rental car at least three weeks prior to your trip.
Know Where You’re Headed – There are a lot of options and locations where you can rent a car in Paris, so it helps to have a clear idea of where you plan on spending the majority of your time. For instance, if you plan to use the rental car outside of Paris city, it’s recommended that you rent a vehicle in Versailles, because it is easily accessible, but much less busy.
Come Prepared – The rules of the road apply in France, just as with most countries, and you’ll want to familiarize yourself with them before you hit the road. For example, both U.S. and Canadian driver’s licenses are accepted in France, but you must show proof of said license before you can rent a vehicle. If you think your travels may bring you into Western Europe, however, you will need to get an international driver’s license.
Know What to Expect – Keep in mind that, due to a higher rate of automobile accidents, most U.S. insurance companies won’t insure you while driving in Paris. Expect to pay anywhere from $10-$30 per day for insurance through the rental agency. Also, be aware that most vehicles in France are small, compact and feature stick shifts. Finally, familiarize with the traffic signs and signals before you hit the road to avoid any possible mishaps.
Be Careful – It sort of goes without saying, but if you’re planning on getting behind the wheel of a rental car in Paris, do so with caution. The streets of the city are often quite congested, and traffic is known to move pretty fast. Additionally, finding adequate parking can be a challenge as well. Be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into, and that you’re comfortable driving in a different country before you take the plunge and rent a vehicle.
If you’re planning on spending the majority of your trip in the city, you’re probably better off skipping the rental car and just using the ample public transportation options. On the other hand, if you plan on heading outside the city limits, and exploring the less populated areas, a rental car can be a great tool to help you with your sightseeing adventures. If you do choose to rent a vehicle, just be sure that you understand the risks and are well prepared ahead of time so there aren’t any unexpected mishaps along the way.