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Compare all the major car hire brands including Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Sixt and Alamo and find the best prices for car hire in France. Car rental in France includes Theft Waiver (TW), Third Party Liability Insurance and Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) as well as unlimited mileage when you hire with us.
Population and language:
Major cities and tourist destinations:
Marseille – This city has a population of about 850,000. Just off the coast, you will find the prison of Chateau d’If that held the fictional Count de Monte Cristo. Also of note are the Centre de la Vieille Charite, which contains two museums inside and the Forts of St. Nicholas and St. Jean, which were built by Louis XIV, but note the guns face toward Marseilles.
The Cathedral at Reims – This is the site where the French kings of years past were all coronated. Its beautiful works of architecture are awe-inspiring.
The Caves of Lascaux – Since its discovery, these caves with their marvelous prehistoric paintings have been a tourist hotspot. To preserve the original paintings, a second replica cave (Lascaux II) was erected that allows people to tour the site without destroying the original. It is one of the more popular sites in France, so go early in the day or you may not get a ticket.
Chenoceau – This is the 16th Century castle that spans a river, which is located in the Loire Valley. In the summer, the castles of the Loire sometimes have special sound and light effects. Chenoceau is known to have one of the nicest displays.
Mont Ste. Michel – Originally, you could only reach the castle when the sea resided. Now, there is a causeway for tourists to pass safely to the retreat without worrying about tides or quicksand. The abbey was begun in 1144 AD. Swing by the beaches in Northern Normandy when you are finished here to see the place where Hitler was pushed back in the D-Day invasions.
Chateau de Comtal – This castle near Carcassonne was built in the 1100s. During the Inquisition, Crusaders marched on the castle to rout Cathars. It and the wall of the medieval Cité of Carcassonne are still much as they were hundreds of years ago.
Abbey de Cluny – This abbey was once the largest and most powerful in all of Europe. Its bishop claimed power equaling that of the pope. Now, it is only in ruins, a monument to how far the great can fall.
Bordeaux – Located in wine country, this city claims around 850,000 inhabitants. Visit the Grand Theatre, but first stop at the tourist office to learn more information about tours of the 1773 building. Place du Parlement has magnificent examples of 18th century architecture. If your interest is in the wine of the region, just outside of town, Mouton-Rothschild is the only vineyard consistently open to the public.
Nice– The city contains around 350,000 people. It has many art museums and the Palais Lascaris, a 1648 palace with interesting Flemish tapestries.
Chateau de Versailles – Louis XIV’s attempt to build his own capital city from scratch is spectacular. Located near Paris, the palace was begun in the 1660s. Today, it still retains a few of its state duties, as well as being a popular travel destination.
Chateau d’Usse – Built in the 1400s, it is famed for being the original castle of Sleeping Beauty.
Oradour sur Glane –On 10 June 1944, the Nazi’s walked into this village and systematically killed the entire town (more than 600 men, women, and children). Many of the soldiers were then killed in the Battle of Normandy. When those of the surviving soldiers were brought to trial, they were not punished severely. As a result, the town left the razed village as it was and moved a little west where it now has a population of around 2,000. The village and a memorial museum stand telling those who visit to “Remember” so that it will not happen again.
Taxi drivers do not believe you came to France to go somewhere. Instead, they think you hired them for a tour. Expect to take the long way with them slowing down at major attractions.
Bus service is extensive but not always safe in some neighborhoods. It is also not easy to carry more than one item of luggage on them. Bus drivers do not like to spend long periods of time waiting for tourists to load things. They are also prone to driving off with your items if you have not informed them in advance of what you are doing. Needless to say, they do almost always run on time.
When using the train, you must validate your ticket before boarding. Be sure to arrive early if you are taking the TGV. This train is not only high speed on the tracks, it will only stop and open its doors for 30 seconds. That means everyone must get off and on during this time. It is best to let everyone get off before trying to board. The regular train system is slow and less modern.
Hiring a car is the nicest way to see the country with its many minor castles and country fortress homes. The roadways are extensive and high quality. To save money, purchase petrol at hypermarches before you get on expressways.
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