France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Car Rental Agencies - Important Info!
Car rental agencies in France may operate differently from what you're used to. Read this information for a smooth, trouble-free experience.




Car rental/hire agencies in France, like many French retail businesses, may close for lunch, may close on Saturday, Sunday and on holidays (jours fériés), or may have shorter business hours than you expect on any day.

You must check in advance for the hours of the particular agency so you can take delivery of, and return, your car without trouble!

Getting Your Car

If the agency is not open when you arrive to take your car, you will not be able to get the car.

Returning Your Car

When returning a car, some agencies have provisions for after-hours: parking the car in a certain place and depositing the key in a drop-box (dépose clés), then receiving your receipt by email or postal mail. But many agencies, even in major cities, at airports and train stations, have no such provisions. You may not be able to return the car until the agency reopens.

The alternative might be to find another agency, in a different location, that is open at the time you want to return the car, which may not be possible.

One (Bad) Experience...

We have confronted a situation in which we checked the agency hours of operation on the car rental company's website, but when we arrived at the agency at 17:00 (5pm) to surrender the car, we discovered that the agency's hours, as posted on the door, stated that it closed at 13:30 (1:30pm)!

Sitting in a maelstrom of traffic we struggled with noise and speaking French on the phone to the car rental company's reservations agents. The first agent didn't know what to do. We called again. The second agent told us to park the car in a particular place (which we finally found) and drop the key in a drop-box. The entire process took over an hour of frustration and uncertainty, and delayed our journey.

Thus, it's good idea to allow time for mishaps when returning a rental/hire car.

About Car Rental/Hire in France

Cost of A Typical Rental

Driving in France

Fuel & Charging

Priority of the Right!

Paying Highway Tolls

Parking the Car

Transport in France


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