Paris Car Rental

A Quick Guide to Enjoy the Top Paris Car Rental Experience

Rent a Car in Paris

Undeniably, Paris public transportation is efficient. Public buses, regional RER trains, trams, and the metro are at your disposal for your Paris rides. However, their downsides are also unquestionable. Trying to plot your course around a new big city such as Paris can be challenging, especially when trying to find the right departure or arrival stops, changing between lines, and navigating to your final destination. As if all this hassle wasn’t enough, passengers not speaking French often feel intimidated during public transfers. Paris citizens aren’t known for their English-speaking skills after all! On the other hand, Paris taxis are comfortable and fast. Nevertheless, during rush hours they are hard to find, while the Paris roads traffic raises their fare formidably. Thus, renting a car solves all those problems, allowing you to plan your trip to the French capital on your own terms and rhythm.

Do you Need a Car when Visiting Paris?

Truth be told, driving your car around Paris isn’t advisable. The traffic levels are often high, the parking options are limited (especially close to the city center and the main attractions), and the navigation around the city with the countless one-way streets can be tricky. Conversely, a car rental will drive you to well-known sights and hidden gems scattered beyond the city limits. From the Parc Astérix to Versailles and from Reims and Provins to Disneyland, a car rental allows you to discover Paris province stress-free. Therefore, do you need a car in Paris or not? The answer varies: if you intend to wander around the Paris city center, stick to the public transfers or the Paris taxis. On the other hand, if you plan on traveling beyond Paris’s inner suburbs, a car rental will be the best ally for your journeys. 

How do I Rent a Car in Paris?

Finding the perfect car rental deal in Paris is a matter of search. Numerous car rental agencies operate in Paris -both global companies and local providers- and, hence, by contrasting their prices and services, you can end up with a top car rental for your journey to Paris. However, how can you be sure that you have come across the best car hire offer? Here are some tips:

  • Book your car rental in advance. Not only will you secure low prices, but you’ll have access to a wider variety of car types.
  • If available, read previous customers’ reviews to get an idea of the car rental agency and the efficiency of the car models.
  • Refill your car before dropping it off. The DIY option will cost you much less than what car rental companies charge for fuel.
  • Car rental companies charge per day. Return your car before the 24-h period of time and save money.
  • It is highly recommended to take some pics of your vehicle before starting your ride. In that way, you’ll capture any existing damages.
  • Don’t pay unnecessary fees. For instance, if you don’t really need an additional driver, don’t add one, whereas if you want to avoid the extra GPS fare, use your phone’s navigation system. 

What do you Need to Rent a Car in Paris?

The necessary documents for renting a car in Paris are the ordinary paperwork required for a car rental. Thus, your French car rental agent will ask you to hand over your driver’s license, your ID/passport, and a valid credit card. Please note that if your license isn’t written with Roman characters, you’ll have to issue an International Driving Permit (IDP). The relevant procedures are usually simple. 

Our tip: Driving licenses issued by countries outside the EU are generally accepted in France, providing that the data is written with Roman characters. Nevertheless, an International Driving Permit can be proven handy for your travel (for instance, if you decide to cross the French borders).

How Old do you Need to Be to Rent a Car in Paris?

Although French citizens can drive from the moment they become 18, the minimum age limit to rent a car in Paris is 21 years. Moreover, at least one year of driving experience is a required condition to be eligible for a car hire agreement in France. On the other hand, some car types (luxury, XXL vehicles, etc.) are available only to drivers who have attained 25 years of age. In any case, drivers younger than 25 are charged an extra fee. 

How Much would it Cost to Rent a Car in Paris?

In general terms, a car rental in Paris costs as much as 27.50€(31$). However, the price is subject to various factors, such as the time of the year, the car hire period, the type of car, etc.

What is the Best Car Rental in Paris?

Travelers to Paris usually opt for an economy or mini car. Those car types are ideal for city rides while being rather affordable. Nevertheless, compact cars are also listed among the top rental choices of Paris visitors. Overall, Fiat 500, Opel Corsa, Citroen C1, and Alfa Romeo Giulietta are a few of the most popular car rental models in Paris.

Where to Rent a Car in Paris?

You’ll find car rental offices scattered all over Paris. Apart from the major transportation hubs (railway stations, bus terminals, airports), the car hire agencies have desks lying in the most popular Paris regions, near its main attractions, or adjacent to areas with hotels and tourist facilities. Please note that if possible, you should pick up your car rental from a location outside airports or train stations, as renting a car from a transportation center is usually costlier.

How Long does it Take to Return a Rental Car?

Returning a car rental shouldn’t take you more than 5-10 minutes. The agent will inspect the vehicle, checking its state, spotting potential damages, etc. As soon as the rental company’s attendant verifies the vehicle’s good condition, you will be given your receipt and be ready to go. However, if you have an upcoming plane or a train/bus to catch, you should schedule your drop-off wisely, taking into account the potential traffic on the way along with the return procedure’s duration.

Where to Drop off a Rental Car in Paris?

The vast majority of car rental companies have various offices lying around Paris. Thus, you can drop off your car rental at any of them as long as you inform the agency about your decision. If you have a flight or a train to catch, the most convenient drop-off location would naturally be the airport or the train station. In any case, it is advisable to drop off your car rental at the location you’ve collected it, as returning it to another spot can raise an extra cost. That is the case for sure if the drop-off location is in another city or very far from the pick-up area.

Can you Pick up or Drop off the Rental Car if the Car Rental Offices are Closed?

Many car rental companies provide after-hour services upon previous agreements. Thus, if you are arriving in Paris late at night, early in the morning, or during a public holiday, you can still collect your car rental as long as you have made an online reservation and scheduled the pick-up time. Even so, you should be prepared to pay an extra fee for after the closing time services. 

How Much is Car Rental Insurance in Paris? 

The car rental insurance cost depends on the car model and the insurance type. The cost of a car rental usually doesn’t include the insurance fees, which are added just before the final step of the booking process. Hence, you should take it into account when choosing the vehicle type and the renting period. A good hint to save money from your car rental is to check if your credit card offers car renting coverage.

 Can I Rent a Car without Insurance?

At least minimum insurance is required to rent a car in Paris. Hence, car renting without insurance is out of the question. In fact, to enjoy unstressed and safe rides, you should settle on full insurance, including collision, personal injury, and third-party liability.  

How can I Rent a Car without a Credit Card?

In general terms, car rental companies require a valid credit card to reserve a vehicle. However, some of them accept payments via debit cards. In that case, however, they withdraw the entire amount of money from the start -and not only a small sum as a guarantee-.

Where can I Leave my Car in Paris?

Free parking isn’t actually an option in Paris. The complimentary parking spots are minimum, while parking on the street is paid from Monday to Saturday (09:00 am – 08:00 pm). Thus, free parking on the street is possible only during the night, on Sundays, and on public holidays (on holidays a parking spot is indeed free of charge if there is a yellow dot on the parking meter). In any case, parking on the street is allowed for a maximum of 2 to 6 hours, depending on the area. As far as the parking fees are concerned, they depend on the parking area: Paris city center is generally more expensive. On the other hand, you can benefit from the underground parking lots scattered around Paris or park your vehicle in the suburbs and travel to Paris downtown via public transportation.

What Side of the Car is the Steering Wheel in Paris?

Parisians drive on the right side of the street. Thus, the steering wheel is placed on the left side of the vehicle.

More Info about Paris Car Rentals

  • Don’t drink and drive in Paris (actually anywhere). The alcohol limit is 0.5mg/ml (per liter of your blood).
  • You should always respect the French traffic rules. For example, in Paris, priorité â droite is applied, meaning that when not indicated otherwise, vehicles coming from the right have always priority.
  • Wearing a seatbelt is obligatory.
  • The use of mobile phones while driving is prohibited. However, you can speak on your phone using the Bluetooth function.
  • Children under the age of 10 have to be seated in a child seat. 
  • The speed limits differ depending on the weather conditions.
  • It is advisable to avoid driving during rush hours, as the traffic levels are really high.
  • Paris authorities are working on reducing the pollution in the city center. Therefore, only vehicles equipped with a Crit’Air sticker are allowed to circulate Paris. Make sure your car rental has one!
  • Paris is surrounded by a ring road, named “Boulevard Périphérique”.
  • French highways are usually toll-roads.
  • The number to call in case of an emergency is 112.
  • You should always carry with you your personal documents as well as the rental car’s paperwork.
  • If you are used to driving an automatic car, you should keep in mind that most Paris car rentals have manual transmissions. If driving manually isn’t an option, please remember that automatic car rentals are typically costlier.