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driving into and out of Paris

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driving into and out of Paris

I'm looking at booking a trip through EuropeanDestinations.com that includes Paris and the Loire Valley. A car comes with the package and is picked up in Paris, driven to the Loire valley, and returned back to Paris. Is

this a horrible idea? We don't speak/read French, but my husband is a good driver and I'm a good map reader :) We are in our 50's and have experienced lots of driving conditions and are good drivers, but the idea of driving in Paris, finding the place to drop off, etc. is a bit daunting.

Val-de-Marne, France
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1. Re: driving into and out of Paris

It sounds like you won't have to drive in Paris anywway, it would be all highway driving so it would be very easy.

Do you know the car pick-up location? The only thing to know is that the périphérique ring road around Paris does not follow highway rules and entering traffic has priority over the cars already on the road. Anywhere else, it'sof course the opposite.

In cities, cars coming from the right at an unregulated intersection (meaning no traffic light nor stop or yield sign or white marking on the road), people coming from the right have priority.

So as long as you are prepared and learn the local rules of the road, there will be no problem. Road signs in France do not require language skills since they are nearly all pictograms, not words.

Paris, France
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2. Re: driving into and out of Paris

I would not recommend landing at CDG from an overnight flight and picking up a rental car to drive to the Loire Valley. Many people take the train and then rent a car there. The train is often less-expensive than the tolls and fuel. You can use www.viamichelin.com to estimate driving times, fuel and tolls.

For trains you can check www.capitainetrain.com The best fares are available 90 days in advance.

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3. Re: driving into and out of Paris

We would be in Paris for 3 nights before getting the car. Then we would be in the Loire Valley for 4 nights, then back to Paris for 2 nights. So there would be some necessary driving in the city.

Le Bugue, France
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4. Re: driving into and out of Paris

Driving out of Paris isn't an issue for anyone who's ever driven out of any large city. But driving to the Loire immediately after landing from an overseas flight is a terrible idea, for you and everyone else on the road. You should be able to get a train to Tours directly from CDG and pick up a car on arrival in the Loire, which would be the option I'd choose.

Le Bugue, France
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5. Re: driving into and out of Paris

Sorry, was posting at the same time as you. I would never opt to have a car in Paris. It would be expensive and time-consuming to find parking, and it certainly isn't a viable way to get around to see the sights.

Paris, France
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6. Re: driving into and out of Paris

I am not clear on the timeline. You pick up a car in Paris exactly when and from where. Where is the car returned.

Generally, driving out of and into Paris is not difficult, but for better advice, you might clarify your plans.

Val-de-Marne, France
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7. Re: driving into and out of Paris

There is no need to drive nor have a car while in Paris. You would only want it for the time spent in the Loire Valley. If the package costs nothing more than it would to take a train to Tours and rent a car from there, then you might want to consider it, but you would have to make sure you are not stuck with the car while in Paris and would not have the burden of paying for storage or parking while in Paris.

Val-de-Marne, France
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8. Re: driving into and out of Paris

Yes, you need to clarify what is included in the package. You do not want the car for the whole 10 days, only the 4-5 days in the Loire Valley. Is that a possibility? And where is the pick up and drop off point?

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9. Re: driving into and out of Paris

Yes, we would pick up the car in Paris on day 4, drive to the Loire Valley and spend 4 nights, then drive it back to Paris and drop it off, spend 2 more nights in Paris. The package does not indicate where pick up and drop off is located. The only use for the car will be to drive to and from the Loire Valley. The car is part of the package deal and cannot be substituted for train instead (which would be my preference).

Chicago, Illinois
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10. Re: driving into and out of Paris

We have driven into and out of Paris many times and it is no different from driving in Chicago or any other large city; there are no ZTLs so you don't have that trap. However, finding a place to drop the car can be very daunting so be sure you are either dropping it where you picked it up (and thus know where it is) or you have very good instructions. My husband once orbited the center of Paris for 2 hours after dropping me and my daughter at an apartment in the Marais looking for the return. He had the address but there was 'nothing there'. He finally had to park on the sidewalk edge and find a store for directions; the return was underground and poorly signed and under a main highway along the river. Knowing that would have made it all so much easier.