Car hire in Paris
Hiring a car in Paris
As the capital of France and the unofficial city of love, many people have great expectations when they visit Paris. The best way to ensure you make the most of this city on the River Seine is to hire a car. That way you’ll be able to explore all of its neighbourhoods, surroundings and even a little further afield with minimal fuss.
From the iconic sights of the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre Coeur to the hidden restaurants serving up some of the world’s best cuisine, Paris will fulfil its promises as a trip to remember. The main airport, Charles de Gaulle (CDG) is just a 45-minute drive from the city centre along the A3. Pick up your car here and you won't even need a transfer to your hotel.
What you need to know
Hiring a car in Paris couldn’t be easier, especially if you use our booking tool to peruse all the deals and find the best one to suit you. The main decision to make is whether to hire your car from one of the airports or a train station. Obviously, this will depend on where you are approaching the City of Light from.
Out of Orly (ORY), Beauvais (BVA) and Charles de Gaulle, the latter has the most choice when it comes to car hire companies and vehicles. There is a dozen hire car companies to choose from at the main airport and they are all rated either excellent or very good by our customers.
Where to pick up your car
The majority of car hire firms at Charles de Gaulle Airport have desks within the terminal building. The minority that don’t, provide a free shuttle bus to their desks, giving you easy access to the pick-up point for your hire car.
If you are opting to collect your vehicle from one of Paris’ train stations, then you’ll find the pick-up locations not far from these transport hubs. You will already be in the city centre and ready to go.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
Any trip to Paris should be a carefully selected mix of sightseeing, shopping, eating and people watching. That’s because the city has so much to offer that it’s possible to be busy the entire time you’re there and forget to stop and take it all in. Find one of Paris’ chic cafes, sip on a coffee and perhaps indulge in one of the city’s world famous confections and watch the world go by.
You’ll definitely want to take some souvenirs home with you and we’re not talking about a key ring with the Eiffel Tower on it. Wander the Champs Elysee and marvel at the incredible window displays, before treating yourself or your loved one to a wonderful memento of your trip. And since this is Paris, it will be wrapped up exquisitely too.
Put your hire car to good use and drive a little outside of Paris. After all, the areas surrounding the city include some fantastic attractions and with your vehicle to hand there’s no need to worry about public transport or timetables.
Just over half an hour’s drive out of Paris along the A13 is the incredible opulence of the Palace of Versailles. From the gardens to the Hall of Mirrors and the King’s Grand Apartments you will be over-awed by the amount of gold gilt, chandeliers and columns on display. It was the seat of political power in France between 1682 and 1789 and the royal family made more that this was impressed upon all visitors.
At the other end of the scale is Chaalis Abbey, which you can arrive at in just under an hour along the N2. The remains of this French Cistercian abbey are still beautiful, but more humble than the Palace of Versailles. Within the grounds is also the home of Nelie Jacquemart-Andre, who was a fervent collector, with works by the likes of Giotto, Houdon, Boucher and Pajou all displayed within the property.
If you want to explore further afield, the whole of France is at your disposal. Why not head to the coast or the mountains for a bit of a change from city life. By travelling along the A13 toll road, you could be in Le Havre in two-and-a-quarter hours. The city is perhaps one of the world’s most unusual UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as it was rebuilt after World War Two in reinforced concrete as per the designs of Belgian architect Auguste Perret.
For something much more classical, head along the A1 toll road for just over two hours to the city of Lille. It is close to the border with Belgium and Flemish influences can be seen in everything from its architecture to its food. The 17th-century old town, complete with cobbled streets and townhouses is quite charming.
Top attractions to visit in Paris
It is not difficult to fill your time in Paris with cultural sights and fascinating things to do. The only problem will be deciding which ones to cram into your itinerary.
The most famous face in the whole of Paris must be the Mona Lisa and Leonardo da Vinci’s small but perfectly formed portrait can be found in the Louvre art gallery. She is in good company, with pieces by Caravaggio, Delacroix and van Dyck.
Arc de Triomphe
Located right in the middle of the Place de Charles de Gaulle, the Arc de Triomphe and honours those who fought and died during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Underneath, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, who was killed in World War One, is situated.
Notre Dame Cathedral
Occupying an imposing position on the banks of the Seine, Paris’ Catholic cathedral is a sight to behold. It was completed in 1345 and has had major renovations in 1845 and 1991, but they have only enhanced the grandeur that was already there. Don’t just see Notre Dame’s famous façade, but step inside to inspect its interior too.
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