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Car Hire France

While some travellers are content to spend their holiday time lying around at poolside, for many of us the ability to explore the length and breadth of our chosen destination is every bit as important as the hotel itself.

This is particularly true when it comes to France, much of whose charm can be found in the outlying countryside. Admittedly, public transport is always there as a fall back option, but nothing can really beat having your own pair of wheels.

Here's our guide on finding a car rental deal that works for you.

Need to knows

In most respects, the process of obtaining and using a rental car in France is exactly the same as it in any other country. Nonetheless, there are a few pointers it's worth bearing in mind if you want to avoid falling into any typical tourist pitfalls.

Avoid airport rentals

This is one of those age old truisms that applies to just about every tourist destination in the world. While it can be tempting to leave things until the last minute, airport kiosks are generally the absolute worst place to rent a car from. The more desperate you are, the more they're going to charge you.

Background checks

As in most of Europe, French rental companies will generally run checks on your driving history to ensure there's nothing untoward going on. This process is fairly simple for you to assist with if you're booking from home, but if you do rent in person then it's worth getting a code from the DVLA which you can give to them should they request it.

Take out your own insurance

This is another piece of advice which essentially boils down to making sure you are prepared in advance of your trip. Rental companies can provide insurance with your vehicle at a push, but the fees are likely to be extortionate. So it is best to check if your own UK car insurance policy covers you outside the UK, and if not ask your insurer to add European cover which usually is for 30 days.

Mind the law

A common mistake made by British holidaymakers is to assume our French neighbours share the same road laws. Things like having the requisite equipment in your boot are easy to overlook - so make sure your rental company has you covered before you part with your cash.

And do not forget to take you valid passport and driving license with you before taking off.

Recommended companies

Here's our pick of the best car rental companies operating in France.


Cars and vans from Enterprise are a familiar sight on UK roads, but they also operate throughout Europe, with a particularly strong presence across the English channel. As well as collection points at most of the major French airports, they're also on hand with helpful service throughout your journey.


Like Enterprise, Europcar pick up and drop off checkpoints are dotted all over France, offering drivers flexibility as they plan their holiday. However, there's also plenty of incentive to stay on the beaten track too, with perks on offer for those who drop their car back at a specific station.


If comfort and style is your priority, then Sixt could be worth a look. As well as standard runarounds, they also have a higher end range replete with stylish convertibles and countryside-ready 4x4s.

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