Categories
France

Avignon

Europe > France > Avignon

See: Why hire a car in Avignon ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Avignon car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Avignon is in car rental price band: 7/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Avignon? 

No. Car rental is expensive by global standards.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Avignon between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 6/10

Non car score:4/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Avignon might be famous for a bridge that is only half there, and as being the former papal seat. The historic city itself, as with many other European historic cities, is naturally very compact and walkable.

In terms of travelling beyond Avignon, then it really depends on how you got here in the first place, and where else you would be most interested in seeing.

For starters, Avignon does have its own small International airport, but it’s generally only used by regional jets and turboprops, with larger aircraft tending to use the relatively nearby Marseille Provence International airport (MRS). Other alternative arrival points in the area include Nimes (FNI) to the west, and then to the south-east Toulon (TLN) and even the French Riviera city of Nice (NCE), which has inbound flights from most major cities in Europe.

The most popular way to reach Avignon from elsewhere in France is to use the city’s ultramodern TGV station, which is situated on the outskirts of Avignon. Avignon TGV also has direct rail services from London, and connections (especially via Paris or Lille) from numerous other cities in northern Europe,

Whether you arrive by plane or by train, easy bus or taxi transfers are available into the centre of Avignon itself.

Why? Visiting Avignon using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Avignon ?


  • For continuing onwards, a hire car is likely to be much more useful. For example, if you wanted to visit the city of Marseille, you could do this perfectly easy by using the TGV, but you be much more likely to go direct to Marseille in the first place, since it has a much wider choice of flights.
  • Heading deep into Provence by public transport is all but a nonstarter – buses are few and far between, and you may well need to go down to Aix first. For a really scenic rail journey deep into Provence, it is much better to start your French holiday in Nice and take the slow train to Digne, although you can connect to Digne by bus from Avignon, and then head home via Nice, or consider a city tour loop back to Avignon that includes various coastal spots along the French Riviera.

Why not? Visiting Avignon without a car

Why don't you need a car in Avignon ?


  • You do not need to hire a car in Avignon if you are just staying in and around the city itself.
  • You can also take a bus from Avignon to the world-famous Pont Du Gard, but services are generally slow and infrequent, so a hire car is much better.

Ratings: How does Avignon compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Avignon? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Avignon, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Avignon? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Avignon (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Avignon? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Avignon airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Avignon car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 6

2019 - 7

2021 - 6

Average score - 6

Notes:

 

So on balance, just because Avignon has a TGV station doesn’t mean this is a part of the world where trains are going to be all that useful for getting around. Any of the more local services use a separate station closer to the city centre, but the two locations are only linked by bus, not by interconnecting trains.

Do you need a car in Avignon? For all of these reasons, our Avignon car hire advice is that this is very much a place where a hire car is going to be extremely useful, and where getting around without one is going to require a lot of planning and organisation, unless you really do just want to stick to the city itself, in which case a car will just be a hindrance.

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Avignon ?

Categories
France

Bastia

Europe > France > Bastia

See: Why hire a car in Bastia ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Bastia car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Bastia is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Bastia? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Bastia between the peak and the off peak season?

6/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 7/10

Non car score:3/10

Balance: 7

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Why? Visiting Bastia using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Bastia ?


Given that rail-based public transport on Corsica is slow, disjointed and dilapidated, a hire car is going to make a lot more sense.

You will only really get around here without a car if you are the kind of traveller who loves using local trains and buses anyway, and who has the patience to wait for a connection.

 

Why not? Visiting Bastia without a car

Why don't you need a car in Bastia ?


  • To follow.

Is it worth taking a taxi tour around Bastia instead of renting a car?

This is aimed at visitors who are considering whether or not it might be worth renting a car in Bastia for one day, and comparing this option with a taxi tour.

Yes – if you are one of the few travellers who has flown in to Bastia for whatever reason and decided not to hire a car, then taking a short taxi tour could be a useful way to see some of the mountainous terrain around the city.

As we’ve already stated above, we think that you really do need a car in Bastia anyway, so only a a relatively small number of visitors here are going to be in a situation where they have a few hours or maybe a full day in the city, and they want to consider taking a short taxi tour.

This is the kind of scenario you might be in if you have been travelling around Corsica by other means, whether that is by train, by scheduled bus, some kind of organised tour around the island, and possibly also including some element by ferry.

There’s no need at all to look at a taxi tour just to see around the city – it is a compact enough place, and it is full of narrow winding streets, with many roads being closed off to through traffic. This makes it a natural place to go around on a walking tour.

Getting a taxi will give you a bit of a chance to see Bastia from above and to go on a short driving loop in any of the spectacular countryside which surrounds the city. You may have already decided that is just not worth hiring a car in Bastia because you don’t like driving on these kind of roads, and if this is the case, then you may well still prefer to take a short taxi tour, because you want having to worry about doing the driving.

Ratings: How does Bastia compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Bastia? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Bastia, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Bastia? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Bastia (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Bastia? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Bastia airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Bastia car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 7

2019 - 8

2021 - 7

Average score - 7

Notes:

 

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Bastia ?

Categories
France

Bordeaux

Europe > France > Bordeaux

See: Why hire a car in Bordeaux ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Bordeaux car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Bordeaux is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Bordeaux? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Bordeaux between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 8/10

Non car score:6/10

Balance: 3

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Why? Visiting Bordeaux using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Bordeaux ?


Should you hire a car in Bordeaux?

  • Most of the area around Bordeaux is rural. You will need a hire car to see it on your own terms.
  • Bordeaux is the western gateway to the Dordogne region. You can fly directly into Bergerac, but wherever you arrive, a hire car will provide the most flexibility for getting around.
  • Wine tours by car.

Why not? Visiting Bordeaux without a car

Why don't you need a car in Bordeaux ?


  • Bordeaux is most famous for its wine production, and naturally if you want to appreciate any of it, it’s best to leave the driving to someone else.
  • The city has a surprisingly good tram system – making it very easy to get around.
  • Wine tours by coach are readily available from the city.

Ratings: How does Bordeaux compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Bordeaux? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Bordeaux, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Bordeaux? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Bordeaux (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Bordeaux? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Bordeaux airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Bordeaux car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 4

2019 - 6

2021 - 3

Average score - 4

Notes:

 

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Bordeaux ?

Categories
France

Carcassonne

Europe > France > Carcassonne

See: Why hire a car in Carcassonne ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Carcassonne car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Carcassonne is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Carcassonne? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Carcassonne between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 6/10

Non car score:8/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Why? Visiting Carcassonne using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Carcassonne ?


Why not? Visiting Carcassonne without a car

Why don't you need a car in Carcassonne ?


Ratings: How does Carcassonne compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Carcassonne? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Carcassonne, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Carcassonne? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Carcassonne (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Carcassonne? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Carcassonne airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Carcassonne car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 3

2019 - 4

2021 - 6

Average score - 5

Notes:

 

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Carcassonne ?

Categories
France

Dinard

Europe > France > Dinard

See: Why hire a car in Dinard ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Dinard car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Dinard is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Dinard? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Dinard between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 4/10

Non car score:6/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

It would be easy to assume that anyone arriving into this very rural part of France without their own car would automatically want to pick up a hire car from the airport, so is it even worth considering the option of getting around Brittany without a car?

Why? Visiting Dinard using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Dinard ?


  • Flexibility — for all the obvious reasons, Brittany is a very rural region, sitting right on the western edge of mainland France. Getting a hire car means you explore in your own time at your own pace, and don’t have to worry about public transport schedules.
  • Natural beauty — Brittany is full of really high quality beaches which are usually far less crowded than those of Mediterranean resorts. The reason why they are so attractive is because they are out of the way and undeveloped, so you will usually need a car to visit them. However, the beauty of Brittany goes much deeper than her shores, and there is a great deal to see on the interior as well.
  • Bayeux – famous for its tapestry, the Normandy town of Bayeux can be visited by train, with the odd change or three! You’d have to allow over five hours each way – more than enough time to knit your own mini tapestry! The drive in one move will take around two hours, or you could head in that direction via Mont St Michel.
  • Cumbersome connections – in theory, if you want to travel around Brittany by train, you should just be able to take a short hop from St Malo down to Dol-de-Bretagne, which is only 15 minutes way, and then connect onto the main spinal route that runs between Rennes and Brest from there. In reality, train connections to other locations are relatively infrequent, so you have to plan carefully. The line heading east from Dol towards Caen only has one daily train first thing in the morning, with no feeder connections from St Malo. For most people, it will be much easier just to hire a car.
  • Drive to the train – There is also a wonderful rural branch line running up from Guingamp to Paimpol, and from here you can continue onto the Isles De Brehat by ferry. However, to do this journey completely by public transport, you will have to take the train down to Rennes first, and then double back.
  • Offshore islands — there are numerous other small islands off the coast of Brittany which can be explored by boat. Connecting train or bus services are going to take up most of your day – much better to drive and have more time on enjoying the sea air!
  • Poor airport connections — There has previously been a bus meeting Ryanair flights,but this ran to St Malo rather than Dinard. This does not appear to be running at present [June 2015]. Local buses between St Malo and Dinard are infrequent – so if you do not pick up a rental car, you will probably need to rely on taxis.
  • Arriving by car ferry? – a popular way to reach Dinard is by car ferry into neighbouring St Malo, and most passengers bring their own car. However, this Dinard car hire advice page is aimed at people flying into Dinard (Bretagne / Pleurtuit / St Malo) Airport.

Why not? Visiting Dinard without a car

Why don't you need a car in Dinard ?


  • Mont St Michel. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions anywhere in France, and is the one real must-see location. Getting there by public transport bus is a little bit more hassle than driving, but it is still doable. If you aren’t worrying about parking charges mounting up, why not stay in one of the 8 hotels which are inside the site (although their rates might set you back a bit more than the St Malo Ibis).
  • Car parking at Mont St Michel will set you back €12.50 per day (June 2015) – Mont St Michel car parking charges.
    To reach Mont St Michel by public transport, first take the train to Dol (~15 mins), then take the coach (~30 mins), which is designed to connect with the handful of TGV services which stop there. Mont St Michel bus / coach timetable
  • Trains — Brittany may be relatively rural, but regular TGV train services run between St Malo and Paris via Rennes, although they do so using conventional, not dedicated high-speed lines. The slower TER services offer a great way to enjoy the view from the window, although connections via Dol-de-Bretagne are limited.
  • St Malo — you may well fly in to Dinard, but the real gem is just across the estuary in St Malo, a delightful and compact walled city, which is easy to walk around. Unsurprisingly, given its historic setting, St Malo has heavy restrictions on driving in the historic core, although there are plenty of places to park nearby.
  • Walking — there are numerous great opportunities for walking around Dinard, and you won’t always need a car to take you there, as you can use local rural buses. Dinard Airport is also close enough to town that you could walk it if you have just under an hour to spare.
  • Jersey and Guernsey — the Channel Islands are close enough to Dinard that they can make an easy excursion, with or without a car, but a car on the ferry is going to cost a great deal more. Alternatively, given the limited number of flight routes into Dinard, if you are starting from the UK, you will find a far wider range of flights to Jersey (continue by ferry) or Guernsey (continue by air or ferry).
  • Ferries for feet — travellers from the UK can reach Dinard by taking the ferry to St Malo as a foot passenger, and then continuing onwards using a combination of either public transport and/or cycling. Brittany Ferries offer a “cruise ferry” type experience on their routes to St Malo from Portsmouth and Plymouth, and for many people this is as much part of the holiday as anything else.
  • Cycling holidays — because Brittany is so close to southern England, a very easy alternative to the fly drive combination is to bring your own bike by ferry from Portsmouth or Plymouth.
  • Canals and greenways — Brittany has an impressive network of canals and greenways, which includes the “Channel to Ocean” canal, which connects Dinard with Arzal on the Atlantic coast. It’s possible to explore this network using a hired boat, or by bicycle, and it’s easy enough to get to this network from St Malo port.

Ratings: How does Dinard compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Dinard? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Dinard, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Dinard? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Dinard (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Dinard? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Dinard airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Dinard car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 7

2019 - 4

2021 - 6

Average score - 6

Notes:

 

Do you need a car in Dinard? Although a hire car in Dinard will give you the usual extra flexibility, it is far from being as essential as you might think. Given that quite a few other options are available, including amazing journeys by train, by boat or on a bicycle, the option of visiting Dinard without a car is certainly available. Dinard is rare in that it is a destination that can be reached, at least from the UK, by air, rail and ferry. This means that, despite its rural location, a visit to Dinard without a car is well worth considering.

Verdict – no

—–

Notes

Dinard car hire locations

The following locations should be available for hiring a car in and around Dinard, although opening times may vary. The best option for Dinard car hire is directly from the airport, as this is where there is the widest choice of rental agencies.

  • Dinard Airport (Dinard Pleurtuit St Malo Airport).
  • St Malo Gare Maritime (Port).
  • St Malo Railway Station (Gare).
  • St Malo town – although either of the above two options might be better value.

Note that there is no Dinard car hire office in the town centre, although there are offices in St Malo, as per above.Although Dinard and St Malo are situated on different sides of the Rance barrage, which is only 400m long, the actual distance between their centres is 12km by road.

  • St Malo car parking information

St Malo and Dinard Buses

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Dinard ?

Categories
France

Lyon

Europe > France > Lyon

See: Why hire a car in Lyon ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

As is also the case with a city like Toulouse, Lyon airport serves two quite distinct functions — firstly, it caters for passengers who actually want to visit the city of Lyon itself, and secondly it caters for people who want to head east into the Alps, and who have very little interest in the city of Lyon. In terms of car hire, most of our advice concerns people in the first group, or for people who want to visit the Alps in summer, as transfers to and from ski resorts are usually provided as part of a ski holiday package anyway. For looking at anywhere to the east of Lyon, much of this advice is similar to what we would say for people looking at picking up a hire car in Geneva, as there is a great deal of overlap.

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Lyon car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Lyon is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Lyon? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Lyon between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 6/10

Non car score:7/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Why? Visiting Lyon using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Lyon ?


  • Scenic drives — it doesn’t matter which direction you head out of Lyon, the scenery is superb. Even if it is perhaps not as well celebrated as some of the more popular tourist areas closer to the Mediterranean coast, there is still much to see.
  • Driving a couple hours east will take you into some excellent walking territory in the Alps, whereas heading west you can visit the stunning volcanic landscape of the Auvergne.
  • Flexibility — Lyon might be France’s second city, but unless you are wanting to travel on one of the few railway routes out of Lyon which are heavily trafficked (mainly the north-south TGV Mediterranean route, but also intercity routes to Chambery, Grenoble and St Etienne), you will find that trained in this part of the world are not actually very frequent, and sometimes torturously slow.
  • Ski car hire — although you can easily take resort transfers from Lyon, hiring a car gives you more flexibility to visit different ski resorts, and naturally, to do so at your own pace.
  • Cycling – Alpe D’Huez is perhaps the most famous climb anywhere in the cycle racing world. It’s just under a 2 hour drive from the centre of Lyon to the start of the climb. So here’s the challenge – if you are already planning a cycling holiday to France, then chances are, you will already have the transport sorted for your bikes. The closest you will be able to get to Alpe D’Huez by train is Grenoble. So what if you’d just like to include a climb of Alpe D’Huez as a single event, in the middle of touring round the French Alps? Well this is where it gets quite difficult. First you’d have to get to Grenoble, then take a local bus to Bourg D’Oisans, then do the same on the way back. It’s by no means impossible, but it’s just going ot be a lot easier to, well, park and ride! However you do it, various bike hire options are available locally.

Why not? Visiting Lyon without a car

Why don't you need a car in Lyon ?


  • City of Lyon — Lyon has plenty to offer, whether you are looking for ancient or modern attractions. The city has a huge Roman quarter, whilst also having extensive northern areas around Part Dieu.
  • Gastronomy — if France is home to the world’s best cuisine, then it is Lyon that is its capital, not Paris. There are numerous fine restaurants all over the city, but no car is needed to get there.
  • Metro — as with other major French regional cities like Marseille, Toulouse and Lille; Lyon is served by an excellent and modern metro system. Four lines spread out from the city centre area, so you’ll have no problem getting around.
  • Other nearby cities — basing yourself in Lyon, you can easily make day trips to nearby St Etienne, Chambery or Grenoble. These are all around an hour by train from Lyon. Alternatively, you can take the much faster TGV link and head as far south as the Papal city of Avignon or even Aix-en-Provence, in a similar amount of time.
  • Le Puy-en-Velay — of the many volcanic rock formations which can be found around the Auvergne, the most impressive must be the volcanic plug at Le Puy-en-Velay. This particular location can easily be visited by train from Lyon with one change in St Etienne.
  • Combine with Paris — by TGV, Lyon is just two hours away from the French capital Paris. This makes it easy to combine two of France’s great cities into one trip, especially as there is a much wider choice of flights to Paris than there is to Lyon.
  • Lyon airport station — the natural inclination when you arrive at any airport is to get out as quickly as you can, and to head straight for your destination, but in the case of Lyon airport, the TGV railway station, designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, really is something quite special. The station is highly worth a visit, even if you do only turn round and go straight back to the car hire lot.
    For many years, you can only board trains heading north or south away from the airport, but in 2010 the “Rhonexpress” tram link was finally opened into the centre of Lyon itself. This journey now takes around 25 minutes, with easy connections into the rest of the Lyon Metro system.
  • Ski transfers — most ski holiday packages will include a coach transfer to your resort, whereas if you are making your own dynamic package, these can easily be added at the time of booking. Alternatively, it is easy to take the train direct from Lyon airport to the cities of Chambery and Grenoble, and continue onwards towards resorts such as Albertville, Aime for La Plagne and Bourg-St-Maurice in the Isere Valley.

Ratings: How does Lyon compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Lyon? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Lyon, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Lyon? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Lyon (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Lyon? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Lyon airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Lyon car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 3

2019 - 3

2021 - 6

Average score - 5

Notes:

 

There is certainly no need to hire a car in Lyon if you are just planning on staying in and around the city itself, but we think that the scenery nearby deserves more attention than it often gets. To get the most out of this, a hire car is strongly recommended.

Note — outside the ski season, the range of flights to Lyon from UK regional airports is quite limited, but you can easily transfer from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport to either Part Dieu or Perrache station in the centre of Lyon in just two hours. In the winter, you can also look at flights to Chambery or Grenoble.

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Lyon ?

Categories
France

Marseille

Europe > France > Marseille

See: Why hire a car in Marseille ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Marseille car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Marseille is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Marseille? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Marseille between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 3/10

Non car score:7/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

“Fifth gear in Provence?”

Marseille is one of those places that is a perfectly interesting destination in its own right, whilst also being a gateway to a number of popular rural areas, the most prominent being of course the region of Provence.

To advise on whether or not to get a hire car in Marseille we would naturally ask whether or not potential car hirers were visiting just the city and surrounding areas, or heading into deeper Provence. Unsurprisingly, the city areas and nearby coastal stretches lean more towards not needing a hire car, whereas one would naturally associate getting around the rolling hills of Provence with having the flexibility of a hire car.

Why? Visiting [table “1” does not have that cell /]
using a hire car

Why do you need a car in [table “1” does not have that cell /]
?


  • Provence — fairly obviously, this beautiful but rural region needs a hire car to do it justice.
  • Coastal regions — you do not have to travel far from Marseille, whether east or west, to find superb coastlines and great beaches. Again, these areas are always easier to explore with a hire car.
  • Public transport limitations — as you will read below, you certainly can travel between the major cities in this region by train, but the system is not very well integrated. For example, there is no railway station at Marseille airport, despite it being one of the busiest in France outside Paris. Instead, you will have to take a shuttle bus and then a slow local train.
    Marseille might be the southern end of France’s trunk TGV route, but this is only really useful if you want to head back towards Paris.
    Even for relatively local journeys such as to Avignon or Aix, the TGV only stops infrequently and it will not take you into the city centres. There are even fewer options for heading inwards to Provence, as the main railway line that serves this region (the Digne line) leaves from Nice, not Marseille.
  • Pont Du Gard — I will admit that I visited the world-famous Roman aqueduct at Pont Du Gard in the summer of 2008, and I did so without a car. I had flown in to Marseille that morning, and was continuing through to Perpignan where I was meeting family. The first stretch of my journey involved a short coach ride and then a brief hop on the TGV between Aix-en-Provence and Avignon. From there, I had to catch a bus into town and then another bus out to Pont Du Gard — so far so good — a little bit of a complicated journey, but it all ran to plan. Having spent a couple of hours at Pont Du Gard, there was no sign of the bus to take me onwards to Nimes. After waiting around half an hour, I called the helpline, and was told it would be along shortly. Eventually, the bus turned up, but it would have been difficult to have known where you stood if you don’t speak workable French. The onward train from Nimes was also heavily delayed. This is all a great deal of hassle to go through, even if the bridge itself is well worth the effort!

Why not? Visiting Marseille without a car

Why don't you need a car in Marseille ?


  • City of Marseille — Marseille is often overlooked by tourists who are heading towards Provence and other areas inland, which conform to the more traditional picture postcard definition of scenic. Instead, Marseille offers a truly lively city with a huge range of different cuisines, as well as some spectacular modern architecture. All of this can easily be done using the excellent public transport that the city has to offer, including a small metro system. By far and away the most important modern building in the city is Le Corbusier’s “Unite D’habitation” — love it or hate it, this is what skyscraping accommodation blocks and streets in the sky were supposed to be like. Another modern classic is the “Big Blue” county hall building, designed by the British architect Will Alsop.
  • Calanques – this superb area of cliff trails is one of the few national parks in the world you can quite literally walk to from within the city limits. Note that this area is closed during the hottest summer months (July and August) due to the fire risk.
  • Multiple city tour — basing yourself in Marseille, you can easily visit the former papal headquarters of Avignon and the Roman city of Nimes by train.
  • Coastline — the railway line between Marseille and Ventimiglia in Italy has some absolutely superb coastal stretches, whilst also taking in world-famous resorts like St Tropez and Cannes before passing through Nice and then Monaco. See our Nice page for more about this.
  • Bike it — there is no doubt that, as mentioned above, the area around Marseille offers some superb opportunities for touring by car, but this is also top-notch cycling territory, and many world-famous cyclists and triathletes train in this area. As many of the roads around here are steep and unforgiving, you will need to either hire a decent road bike or bring your own.
  • Train from London — if you want to head somewhere on the Mediterranean but also would rather get there by train, then Marseille is naturally your first port of call. You can do this journey with a simple change in Lille, or you can travel via Paris and take in a few city sights on the way. Allow around six hours to reach Marseille from London, or just over three hours for the fastest TGV trains from Paris to Marseille. If you are already arriving by train, then you will be near the city centre and you may well want to continue onwards by train.
    However, if you do want to get a hire car, be prepared to pay significantly more in Marseille city centre. In fact, based on price alone, you may well find it cheaper to alight at Avignon or Aix-en-Provence station instead. Note that Eurostar do also offer weekly trains to Avignon during the summer — these arrive in the city centre, not the cathedral like TGV station.
  • Boat trips and ferries – several options are available for taking boat trips from Marseille, including for excellent views of the Calanques. Marseille is also a gateway port for destinations further afield, including Corsica.
  • Cost — car hire in France is relatively expensive when compared with other European countries, especially if you’re used to hiring cars in Spain, and hiring a car in Marseille is no cheaper than anywhere else – in fact, expect to pay around 30% more than for comparable car hire at Nice airport.

Ratings: How does Marseille compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Marseille? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Marseille, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Marseille? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Marseille (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Marseille? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Marseille airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Marseille car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 2

2019 - 3

2021 - 6

Average score - 4

Notes:

 

Do you need a car in Marseille? Conclusion: We started with the expectation that if you are flying into Marseille and then carrying on in to Provence, then there isn’t really much argument to say you could get by in this region without a hire car.

However, that should be reasonably obvious anyway, so it isn’t really worth basing our verdict on that kind of trip.

If on the other hand you want to fly into Marseille and actually base yourself in the city, then there should be more than enough places that you can easily get to without needing a hire car, including some great scenery which is close to the city itself.

For these reasons, our verdict for Marseille itself is a firm no.

Overall verdict – no

Note — despite launching with a big fanfare, the budget “mp2” terminal at Marseille airport has only managed to sustain a limited number of low-cost routes from outside France, so you might also want to consider flights to Avignon or even to nearby Nimes or Montpellier. Alternatively, a much wider choice of flights to Nice is available from most UK regional airports. Nice also offers relatively easy access to the interior, as well as the Cote D’Azur region. See our Nice car hire advice page for more details.

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Marseille ?

Categories
France

Montpelier

Europe > France > Montpellier

See: Why hire a car in Montpellier ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Montpelier is an interesting destination to look at, because it offers a varied mix of an interesting city with large numbers of students and varied nightlife, combined with wide-open beaches and access to the great French interior. It’s also somewhere that can be reached by a range of different means – sunshine worshippers heading out of Paris might make the arduous drive down here using the auto route system, whereas visitors from London and the south-east of England might prefer to come here by train, usually with an easy change in somewhere like Lille. Budget airline passengers might find cheaper flights to somewhere like nearby Marseille (for which we also have a car hire guide that recommends not getting a car), or Nimes, Whereas Montpelier itself tends to be significantly better served by flights from Paris than it is from anywhere else, but you can still get here easy enough in London.

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Montpellier car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Montpellier is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Montpellier? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Montpellier between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 3/10

Non car score:7/10

Balance: 2

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Why? Visiting Montpellier using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Montpellier ?


  • Generally, we don’t advise renting a car for a city break in and around Montpelier.
  • For places further a field, a hire car might be useful, but you will be more likely to fly into other airports such as Marseille in the first place.

Why not? Visiting Montpellier without a car

Why don't you need a car in Montpellier ?


Our assumption therefore is that you are arriving into Montpelier by air and staying somewhere in or near the city, rather than wanting just to pick up a hire car and do a road trip, in which case there is much point in us betting against you doing that!

So when it comes to staying in or near Montpelier, there really is just no need to get a hire car, because the city has an excellent public transport system, based on a wide network of trams and also extensive local buses. By French standards, Montpelier is also exceptionally bicycle friendly city, and it’s easy enough to walk around the centre. There are also regular bus services heading to the beaches around Montpelier, and this coastline offers some excellent walking opportunities using a range of unspoiled paths were motor vehicles aren’t permitted.

Rail services are also useful for carrying on elsewhere, particularly to the much larger city of Marseille nearby, which at the very least warrants a day trip, and also along the stunningly scenic coastal line towards Perpignan.

Ratings: How does Montpellier compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Montpellier? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Montpellier, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Montpellier? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Montpellier (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Montpellier? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Montpellier airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Montpellier car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 3

2019 - 4

2021 - 2

Average score - 3

Notes:

 

On balance our Montpellier car advice is that there isn’t really a huge advantage in getting one, if your main focus is on the city and beaches, rather than going inland and beyond. Trains are also perfectly good for reaching other major cities in the south of France, and the opportunities for walking and cycling are excellent.

Therefore our verdict is – no

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Montpellier ?

Categories
France

Nantes

Europe > France > Nantes

See: Why hire a car in Nantes ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Do I need a car in Nantes? The French city of Nantes is one of those places where visitors come back pleasantly surprised about how much there is to see and do. There’s no doubt that the city itself is perfectly easy to get around using local trams and buses. You can also get around by hiring a bike. Yet for heading anywhere outside the city, public transport options start to wear thin, and a hire car really is a good idea. This is especially so for heading deep within Brittany, or for looking towards the east.

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Nantes car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Nantes is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Nantes? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Nantes between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 6/10

Non car score:4/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Why? Visiting Nantes using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Nantes ?


  • A car is useful for anywhere around Nantes, as the area is very rural.
  • Public transport outside the city is not that good.
  • Drive across the impressive Pont de Saint Nazaire on the Loire’s Atlantic Coast.
  • Use Nantes as an alternative access point for the Loire valley. A hire car is your best bet for this.
  • If you are planning to stay in La Baule, then a car will certainly make sense – a one hour drive will take at least three by public transport.

Why not? Visiting Nantes without a car

Why don't you need a car in Nantes ?


  • The city of Nantes has excellent public transport, including a modern tram network.
  • The city of Nantes is often overlooked – it’s worth spending a bit of time here, and no car is needed.
  • Nantes is very cycle friendly – good by French standards and outstanding by UK or American standards!
  • Fast connections to Tours and then onwards to Paris by TGV take just over 2 hours – with a dedicated fast line east of Tours.
  • Make a day trip to the Loire Valley chateaux by taking the train to Tours first – various options from there (see Tours page).

Nantes v Tours?

There are only a relatively limited number of flight options to nearby Tours. Tours is the main gateway to the châteaux of the Loire Valley. Hiring a car in Nantes also might make sense for heading in this direction. However, with a bit of planning, you can visit some of the most impressive castles using a hire bike from Tours. This is one way to beat the summer queues! You can also join guided Loire Valley coach tripsin Tours. These often tend to serve day trip visitors heading out by train from Paris.

So do you need a car in Nantes? It’s far from essential for a city break, but outside the city, transport options start to deteriorate quite rapidly. A city with good local public transport that’s great for commuters isn’t always the same as somewhere that’s great for tourists.

Ratings: How does Nantes compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Nantes? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Nantes, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Nantes? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Nantes (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Nantes? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Nantes airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Nantes car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 4

2019 - 6

2021 - 6

Average score - 6

Notes:

 

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Nantes ?

Categories
France

Nice

Europe > France > Nice

See: Why hire a car in Nice ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

When you hire a car in Nice, the chances are that you’ll be wanting to explore so much more than just the city of Nice itself and its immediate environs, but can you still get around this beautiful part of the world without one?

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Nice car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Nice is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Nice? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Nice between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 10/10

Non car score:9/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 


Why? Visiting Nice using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Nice ?


Do you need a car in Nice?

  • Superlative Scenery — as soon as you hit the roads outside Nice airport, you are in stunningly scenic terrain, whether you head east or west along the Cote d’Azur (Azur blue Coast), north into Provence or even north-east into neighbouring Italy. The cliff-hugging villages in the area immediately behind Nice are a personal favourite.
  • Gorges De Verdon — of all the many wonderful scenic areas you can explore from Nice, the absolute must visit is the truly spectacular Gorges De Verdon, which is France’s answer to the Grand Canyon. You really cannot get there by public transport, so for this area beyond Nice, car hire is the only option.
  • Limited public transport — if you just want to visit the major resorts along the Cote d’Azur, then you should have no problem getting around by train, but your options are much more limited if you want to head inland. We think that no visit to Nice is complete without going inland, and although there is one superb railway line running to Digne-les-Bains, away from this route your mobility is seriously restricted if you don’t have a hire car.
  • Great driving roads — this part of the world doesn’t just offer stunning scenery; the roads themselves are great works of civil engineering, especially the main motorway which runs along the coast, and offers drivers and alternating mix of viaducts and tunnels.
  • Monaco — there are lots of great and glamorous ways of getting to Monaco, but if you really want to feel like Britain’s suavest secret agent, you will at least want to pick up a BMW 302i convertible at Nice airport. Monaco is easy to drive to and around, with its own famous network of winding roads and tunnels, although be prepared to pay heavily for the privilege of parking your car.
  • No direct airport rail link — this might not look like a big deal, but we believe in starting as you mean to go on. Despite Nice airport being the busiest in France outside Paris, and despite the main Marseille to Nice / Monaco / Genoa railway line running right outside the airport perimeter, there is no direct train from either of the Nice airport terminals. As a general rule, if it is easy to get from the airport to the city centre by train, it is usually easier still to travel around the area by train, but in Nice, this is clearly not the case.
    Those who do want to use the train from near Nice Airport should travel light,and allow around 15 minutes to walk to Nice St Augustin suburban train station for onward connections towards Nice or St Laurant Du Var for onward connections towards Marseilles. Once at Nice Ville station, you still have to change again to a different station (Nice CP) to use the line to Digne. Naturally, for train buffs, none of this presents much of a problem, but for anyone who is thinking about whether or not to get a hire car in Nice, this swings the pendulum a little bit more towards doing so.

Why not? Visiting Nice without a car

Why don't you need a car in Nice ?


  • Cote D’Azur — there are plenty of trains trundling along the Cote d’Azur, with a mixture of long-distance (usually TGV, but using conventional lines) trains stopping at the major towns and slower regional services which stop everywhere. Not only are services extremely frequent, but the train also hugs some sections of the coast which are much harder to get to in a car. Heading west from Nice you can easily visit Antibes, genteel Cannes (when the film festival has moved on), plush St Tropez (bus connection from Frejus) and Toulon. Heading east from Nice you can visit Monaco and the Italian border town of Ventimiglia.
  • Monaco — if you want to save your car hire money for a flutter in the famous Casino De Monte Carlo, then you can do a lot worse than arriving in Monaco by train, in what is surely one of the world’s nicest underground stations. Train geeks can revel in the novelty factor that Monaco is the only territory in the world with just one (underground) station!
  • Walk It — Nice is one of those few cities where the airport is right on the edge of town, or, quite literally, at the end of the main street.The walk into town from the airport heads past a few of the usual airport commercial units before the Promenade Des Anglais proper starts. To reach the city centre will take around an hour, as the 4 mile / 6 km walk is flat all the way. The city itself is a delight to walk around, with a number of pedestrianised areas, whilst many streets have wide pavements. Beyond the sea front, Nice gets quite hilly, but this landscape can also provide easy access to walking areas just beyond the city. Alternatively, you can use local buses to access nearby villages and go hiking from there.
  • Bike it — this part of the world really does have some of Europe’s finest cycling territory, and this is where Lance Armstrong trained before winning his epic seven Tours De France in a row! To get the best out of these roads you will need a racing bike – Cycle Cote D’Azur in Nice will fix you up with one of these or take you on one of their tours, or you could bring your own. For more relaxed cycling in Nice itself, a public bike hire scheme is available, operating under the appropriate “Velo Blue” name, and having hire stations operating in the centre, and also along the Promenade D’Anglais. There is even a bike hire location right outside the airport, but you will need to find a location that takes card payments first – bizarely, not all terminals do this!
  • Monaco by Helicopter — these days, there might be plenty of budget flights to Nice, but the short run from Nice airport to Monaco heliport is also one of the busiest helicopter routes in the world. You might think this is all expensively glamorous, but as with any service, book well ahead, and you can travel from €110 for a one way flight. Naturally, you will enjoy some stunningly spectacular views as you will fly over the city of Nice and the wonderful Cap Ferrat before landing in Monaco’s dramatic harbour. Seven minutes of pure indulgence! You can hire a car anywhere, but few places offer such wide availability of scheduled helicopter flights. From Monaco, you can easily continue your travels using any of the various means listed above and below.
  • Ferries — Nice is a major ferry port, and an ideal starting point to continue onwards towards Corsica, or even Sardinia below it. This sort of onward journey is much better to do without a hire car, as you then have the flexibility to continue as you please, whereas you would usually have to return a hire car to the same territory from which you picked it up, i.e. mainland France, and not Corsica or Italy.
  • Local boats — another option if you just want to stay local to Nice is to take one of the various boat services which operate around the Cote d’Azur.
  • Marseille — in the rush to hit the beautiful beaches of the Cote d’Azur, many people overlook Marseille, France’s gritty but still fascinating third city. You can easily visit Marseille in a day trip from anywhere on the Cote d’Azur, and going by train is ideal to explore everything the city itself has to offer. Allow around two hours to travel between Nice and Marseille.
    Marseille is of particular interest to architecture pundits, being the home of the groundbreaking Unite D’Habitation development by Le Corbusier — a building which shows that in the right environment and with proper upkeep, brutal concrete structures can still be remarkably appealing! See our Marseille car hire advice page for more suggestions.
  • Digne — if you can work around changing between the different stations in Nice and the relatively infrequent scheduling, then the single track excursion to Digne is highly recommended. This will give you a good introduction to the stunning scenery that this area has to offer, and you may also be able to continue onwards by exploring various hiking trails, or on a bike. However, heading this way may also have you wishing you had picked up a hire car in Nice instead, so you have been warned!
  • Cost — if you are holidaying in Nice for the first time and are more used to hiring cars in places like Malaga, Alicante and Faro, then you will find that hiring a car in Nice will be quite a bit more expensive, so you may want to weigh up the costs against the costs of using other forms of transport. Relative to elsewhere in France, car hire in Nice is generally good value.
  • Slow and fast — there is more than enough mixture of slow-paced beach life all along the Cote d’Azur for which you really won’t need a hire car, or high adrenaline activities further inland, where you can usually expect transport to be provided.
  • Cinque Terre (near Pisa, Italy) — this might initially look like a bit of a long shot from Nice, but if you are planning on travelling around a bit, then we would highly recommend continuing along the coast railway through Genoa and then on as far as Pisa. This will take you through the fantastic Cinque Terre National Park, which features five spectacular clifftop villages, which are virtually inaccessible by road. This is somewhere that is ideal to explore by train, although any journey to these villages might mean travelling to La Spezia first, and then doubling back. The most northerly village is Monterosso, with Riomaggiore being the furthest south. Allow around 6 hours to reach any of these villages, although I would suggest a few hours in historic Geno as well.
  • Fly out of Pisa – You can easily combine an outward flight to Nice with return flight home from Pisa, or vice versa. This would allow you to see some of the best coastal landscapes and cities that France and Italy have to offer. See also our Florence and Pisa car guides.

Ratings: How does Nice compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Nice? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Nice, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Nice? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Nice (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Nice? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Nice airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Nice car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 8

2019 - 7

2021 - 6

Average score - 7

Notes:

 

Do you need a car in Nice?

Of course you don’t – and I did so quite happily on my first visit, but not when I went back with a friend and we wanted to visit more of the interior.

However, the opportunities to explore this area by road are too good to be ignored, whereas public transport just isn’t that good, unless you only really want ahead along the coast. I think that the scenic areas around Nice are already well enough documented, but the interior is much less celebrated – and without picking up a hire car in Nice, your options by rail are really just limited to the one inland line to Digne.

That is where you really should go to get the best out of this part of the world, and in these areas a car is almost essential. An even better option is to take advantage of the wonderful cycling opportunities the area beyond Nice presents, but if that isn’t for you, then a hire car is an acceptable second best!

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Nice ?