Car hire in France | Elena Kazantseva’s Blog

I am writing this article on the basis of my experience in car rental in Provence (or rather, in the town of Aix en Provence), but similarly, car rental can be done in Marseille , Nice and even in Paris . With the only difference being that in large cities (and even more so – at airports) the choice will be much greater.

Documents required for car rental in France

List of documents for hire – standard:

  1. Driver’s license
  2. Passport
  3. Credit card in the name of the main driver (ideally, that the spelling of the name matches the spelling of the name in the passport)
  4. Voucher from the reservation site.

Important car rental terms (France)

Here are some things you should look for when renting a car in France:

  1. Minimum driver age (usually 21-24 years old)
  2. Minimum driving experience (usually from 1 year)
  3. Mileage included in the price (unlimited mileage is not always included in the rental price, sometimes the renter limits the mileage, for example, 200 km per day or 1000-1400 km for rent, all that is needed must be paid extra).
  4. Fuel policy (it’s best to choose “from full to full”, in this case, before you rent a car, you yourself refuel the car at standard prices; another option is when you pay the refueling fee, in this case the price of a liter is 2 times higher, plus an additional refueling fee is charged, about 20-30 euros).
  5. Traveling abroad (even in the European Union it may be paid to travel to other countries, and traveling to some may be completely prohibited, for example, when renting a car in Spain , we were forbidden to travel to Gibraltar)
  6. Franchise (the amount that is not covered by insurance and within which you will pay for damage to the car in the absence of full coverage).
  7. Deposit (the amount that will be “frozen” on your card at the time of receiving the car: the deposit may be less than the deductible, it may be equal to it, or it may be more; with a zero deductible the deposit will be minimal).
  8. Name in documents and credit card. Ideally, the spelling of the name in the passport, rights and credit card match.

Where to see the conditions? Whatever site you book, there is always a link to the detailed booking conditions. For example, rentalcars conditions can be viewed here:

car rental in france

On autoeurope here:

car rental france

How to book a car for rent

I’m not considering the option “we’ll come and decide on the spot”, but in the Internet age this is a bit strange. And when traveling in the high season, you can generally be left without a car, or overpay several times. Therefore, I personally recommend booking in advance. And the sooner the better. Here is where you can book a car:

  • On the distributor’s site (see the sites of large distributors – Europcar, Sixt, Hertz, etc., or google through small local offices)
  • Through aggregators, where you can immediately compare the conditions from most rentals. I use or . For several years I got used to them, and I don’t feel like wasting time looking for something new.

But even when booking through aggregators, I recommend comparing prices on both sites? Recently I showed how prices on two sites for the same car can differ.

For car rental in Aix en Provence, I chose and Sixt distributor. Now I will talk about the nuances.

My review of car rental in France and recommendations for booking.

provence car

Initially, I booked a car 2 months before the trip. Since the rental took place in the highest season (lavender bloom), the choice by that time was small, and the prices were quite high (I looked at prices 4 months before the rental, they were 30 percent lower).

The first car to be booked was the VOLVO V40 (or equivalent) at Budget. Receiving at Aix-en-Provence station, price 268 € for 3 days (90 € per day), including the franchise refund service from

4 days before the rental, I understand that I did not notice 3 letters at the place where I received AIX EN PROVENCE RAIL STETIOM GARE TGV . And TGV is not a station in the city center that I was thinking about, but a high-speed train station 15 km from the city, which can be reached by bus once a day, or by taxi for 50 €.

Naturally, this did not suit me, and I began to urgently seek a replacement. Of course, by that time only expensive options remained, or much inferior to mine (on mechanics and / or with limited mileage). Having calculated the approximate mileage of the route, I decided to sacrifice unlimited mileage and a car class. Instead of VOLVO for 268 € I booked an OPEL ASTRA (or equivalent, according to the act – VW Polo) at SIXT with a 1,000 km mileage limit, for 378 € for 4 days (95 € per day, including the franchise return service from Autoeurope). Franchise about 1400 €, deposit 300 € (debit card worked).

Cancellation and change of reservation through autoeurope is free up to 2 days (48 hours). Surcharge for the new option was debited to me after a day, but the new voucher did not come.

About customer support

Autoeurope has a Russian support service. You can contact by email if the question is not urgent or by phone 8-499-648-15-20 (a call within the Russian Federation is paid according to the terms of your tariff). The first time (regarding the charge off) I got through the first time (the time was about 14:00 Moscow time), the employee offered to wait a little longer. The next day (I called already on the account of receiving a voucher) it was more difficult to get through. Once 3 to 20 minutes I “hung” on the line (call time from about 10 to 12 on MSC), but again about 14 hours MSC called on the first try. In support, they said that, indeed, there was a failure, and the vouchers were sent manually.

Conclusion: support works (a huge plus that the support is Russian-speaking), but getting through is not always easy (life hack: call after 14:00 Moscow time).

About getting a Sixt car rental

At the appointed time, we drove up to the Sixt car rental office and began to draw up documents. And here for the first time for all rental cases I could not get a rental because of the different spelling of the name in the documents!

  • In the passport I am KazantCeva
  • At WU KazantSeva
  • At MVU KazantCeva
  • On credit KazantSeva

The proposal to remove the IDP (after all, our IDU is international) would not solve the problem, since the main name is in the passport and it is technically impossible to accept two other documents with the letter S (everything is executed through the computer program).


The main recommendation: the name on the credit card and in the IDP must match the name in the passport!


I repeat, such a situation arose for the first time: neither in Armenia, nor in Spain or Italy, nor in the Czech Republic.

What to do, I will change the cards. And I advise you.

How could I get a car? Just apply for another person whose passport name, rights and card match. I was always driving (in general, this is not very legal, but they were also unable to enter me as a second driver because of the letter in my credit card, although I actually did not think that my second card also needed my own card).

About the car

car rental france

The car (VW Polo) was new (about 700 km), but very small. For 4 people without luggage, OK, but 2 medium suitcases and 2 small ones did not fit into the trunk.

Getting a car is right here, next to the office.

All the damage was indicated in the act, but I once again examined the car with a rental employee.

Gasoline engine, front and rear parking sensors, rear view camera and parking assistant, climate control and adaptive cruise control.

But 2 times all this electronics malfunctioned: at first the rear “janitor” turned on and did not turn off, and the next day a warning about a breakdown (something with the electrical system) appeared and the warning “for repair” came on. After restarting the engine, the warning disappeared and no longer appeared.

About return the car

Car return was quick, literally in 5 minutes. The girl checked for new damage, looked at the mileage and fuel. In the smartphone, I noted all the necessary checkmarks, asked to put a signature here on the smartphone and sent the documents by email.

Traffic rules, speed limits and toll roads in France

If you plan to rent a car in France, then clarify some points traffic rules will be useful. SDA in France is standard European, I will not describe in detail, google.

Speed ​​mode:

  • 50 km / h – in settlements
  • 80 km / h – outside settlements
  • 110 km / h – on the road (blue sign)
  • 130 km / h – on the autobahn (green sign).

Alcohol : 0.5 ppm permitted. You can drink a glass of wine or beer, but I recommend not to abuse and soberly assess your condition.

Toll roads in France are paid as standard, no troubles (the main thing is not to enter the lane reserved for automatic fare payment): you need to take a ticket at the entrance, pay for it at the exit (or pay for the fare before entering the paid section). The average price is 8 € per 100 km. You can calculate the route at

Also in France there are bridges and tunnels with special payment. In Provence, these were not met. 

Parking in France : street parking is paid through parking meters, in advance (enter the number of the car and until what time the car will be parked, the ticket must be put under the windshield), parking – for the actual parking time (at the entrance you take the ticket, before leaving you pay in a special machine with a card or in cash). Parking is more convenient, but a little expensive.

Also keep in mind that in France parking is very narrow, sometimes you even have to climb out through the passenger door, so do not lean on croissants 🙂

Gasoline in France (prices for August 2019):

  • 95 – 1,51 €
  • 98 – 1,59 €
  • Diesel – 1.44 €

At gas stations , mostly self-service, at some there is not even a “with a person” cash desk. In this case, refueling is performed as follows: first, insert a card in the machine, select the column number, pull out the card (a certain amount is blocked, as much as 200 euros was blocked for me at one refueling!), Refuel the required amount of gasoline, take the check from the machine. After a while (it took me a couple of days), the amount is recalculated, and the remaining amount is unlocked.

The smaller the town and the less gas stations nearby, the more expensive the gasoline (“somewhere in the hinterland” refuel at 1.6 €, in Eksa at 1.5 €).

If the gas station is large, with a store, then first refuel, drive off the column, call the column number at the checkout and pay the required amount.


View prices for car rental in France >>>


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