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Key facts for hiring a car in Paris
Best time to visit
September will see you avoid the worst of the summer crowds, and generally temperatures are pleasant.
Péage – Toll
Limite de vitesse – Speed limit
Not to be missed
Find the urban vineyard hidden behind the Sacre-Coeur.
GMT + 1
Euro (EUR, €)
Hire a car in Paris
Paris is the most visited city in the world.
A timeless destination, the city of romance is an unforgettable place. People return over and over, and each time uncover something different. Paris is split up into twenty arrondissements (neighbourhoods) each with its own distinctive identity.
There is also an endless list of places to explore by car outside of the city, and with great roads and beautiful landscapes in all directions, having a hire car is a real asset in this part of the world.
Food to try
It may be simple, but the French do it best. It won’t be difficult to track down, but it will be delicious. A crusty, melt-in-the-mouth baguette accompanied with the best ham and cheese Paris has to offer. Look for uneven baguettes without rounded edges – this is a sign that the bread is handmade. Every day, 2 million of these are sold in France, so they must be doing something right!
More bread, cheese and ham, but – if something ain’t broke … France really knows how to do comfort food. You won’t struggle to find a cafe which can produce a pretty spectacular croque-monsieur, and this hearty lunchtime snack is wonderful all year round. So find a friendly looking eatery, dine al fresco and order a gooey toastie. If you want to go back for more, try the croque-madame – an excellent variation on the theme.
L’Eclair de Génie is the place to go if you want a truly French eclair. The desserts that this patisserie create are far too pretty to eat. Who knew eclairs could also be works of art? There are so many colours and flavour concoctions to choose from, you’ll be staring at the counter for hours!
A dessert which originated as part of a celebration feast for a bike race from Paris to Brest in 1910. Acting as a source of fuel for cyclists, this choux pastry snack went viral, and it’s now one of the country’s favourites.
Tips for driving in Paris
Parking can be tricky so look for accommodation with spaces. If this is not possible, find an area where there are multi-storey car parks nearby. There are many underground car parks in the city which are open 24/7. A small car will be less hassle if you are spending lots of time in the city.
Unlike in the UK, when a driver flashes their lights, this probably isn’t a good thing. It’s usually a warning that the driver won’t be giving way, so be wary!
Motorways are called autoroutes, and these as you might expect, these begin with an A. For example, the A4 goes from Paris to Reims. It is worth noting that many of these routes are toll roads. Driving from Paris to Reims using the A4 will cost you around 11 Euros.
Using France’s motorway network is the fastest way of getting from A to B, however that shouldn’t put you off using the more picturesque roads some of the time. Head to the Champagne region where the landscape is covered in vineyards and castles.
Priority to the right rule
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Where to road trip
4 hours east
Known for Quiche Lorraine, the heart of Nancy is Place Stanislas, a huge pedestrian square.
2 hours northwest
Teeming with history, especially that of Joan of Arc, there are an amazing mix of buildings in the capital of Normandy.
2hrs 40 mins south
Medieval city with unusual, landmark cathedral – check out the lovely Orléans en route.
2 hours southwest
Step back in time and see the maison à colombages (half-timbered houses) in this gorgeous, Brittany-based town.
Neighbourhoods to explore
Good for uncovering a quirky art scene
This vibrant district is known for being Edith Piaf’s place of residence before her death, and you’ll find street art peppered all over the area. If you are looking for eccentric coffee shops, then try Le Barbouquin. With second hand books lining the walls and mismatched furniture, it’s a great, eccentric spot for breakfast.
Good for picture-perfect moments
Montmartre is a magical place, albeit very popular with tourists today. This is partly due to its most famous resident, The Sacre-Coeur, and partly due to its village-like charm. Take time to find the quieter back streets and you won’t be disappointed. Battered shutters and ivy cling onto walls, steep staircases host old-fashioned lamp posts – this hilltop maze of cobbled streets is not to be missed.
Good for a day in the life of a Parisian
People love visiting this neighbourhood. There’s a quintessential Parisian atmosphere here, and the streets are filled with chocolatiers, boulangeries boutiques and bistros. Historically a haunt for some renowned writers and painters (Hemingway and Picasso to name a few), you’ll see why frequenting this area inspired them in their quests for greatness.