If you want to travel by train, but need a car when you get there, here is our list of French train stations where you can hire a car.
We know that not everyone can get where they want to go by train, and that for various reasons of accessibility or flexibility they just need to have a car sometimes. In France, there are many train stations with car rental facilities within walking distance of your arrival platform. as you can see from our (ever-growing) list below. You may also enjoy our blog on Car hire at UK train stations. Do remember your driver's licence and, although you don't need to produce it anymore legally, some car rental companies might give you a hard time about not having one, which you don't need after a long journey.
Car hire at Bordeaux train station
There are several car rental companies in and around Bordeaux train station, just 2 hrs on high-speed direct train from Paris, enabling you to explore the coast, chateaus and many other Bordelais beauties. Read our blog, Why we never get bored of the train to Bordeaux.
Car hire at La Rochelle train station
La Rochelle is a stunning 12th century port town, just 2 hrs 30 mins by high-speed direct train from Paris, is at the heart of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. Here you have coast, islands and the Marais Poitevin wetlands to explore, with several car rental companies right outside their (beautiful) station.
Car hire at La Roche sur Yon train station
Just 76km north of La Rochelle is lesser known La Roche sur Yon, in the heart of La Vendée region. With its Atlantic beaches, hire an estate car to fit your surfboard, which you can bring on the train of course. La Roche sur Yon is also part of the larger Pays de la Loire region, and three hours drive from Amboise, ergo chateau central.
Car hire at Lyon train station
Lyon is the capital of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and a top spot for exploring both mountains and coast. There are several car rental offices in and around Gare de Lyon Part Dieu so you can hit the hills quickly and, at just 2 hrs from Paris on a direct, high-speed train, why would anyone want to drive across the country to get there anyway?
Car hire in the Occitanie region
The Occitanie region is the name given to the combined marvels of the Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées regions. Stations where you can hire a car à la gare, to explore everything these southern belles have to offer: Nîmes, Toulouse, Montpellier’s Gare de Saint-Roch and Carcassonne.
Car hire in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
There are several train stations in this stunning region where your other carriage awaits. With every season proffering different delights in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, a car is often called for if you want to extend your stay both time wise and geography wise. Hire one at Avignon, Toulon, Nice and Marseille stations. To explore the Var region of the Cote d'Azur by train, there are also car rental facilities at Saint Raphael Valescure station.
Car hire at Strasbourg train station
There are several car rental companies based at Strasbourg’s main station, so after exploring the cultural highlights of this charming, medieval city you can head further afield. On the border with Germany, make sure your contract covers both countries, to explore natural highlights such as the Vosges Mountains or the Black Forest, the latter only 60km away from Strasbourg.
Car hire at Tours train station and the Loire Valley
Gateway to the Loire Valley, there are two main stations in Tours: Gare de Tours and Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, the latter being the main station for high-speed trains. There are car rental offices at or within a few minutes walking distance of both, so that you can head off into the myriad cultural and natural landscapes that this region is famous for.
Image credits top to bottom: Vineyards in Alsace, France iStock ©Clodio, Car with surfboard iStock ©ILCane, Viaduct in Alps iStock ©SurkovDimitri Lavender fields in Provence iStock © Manel Subirats, road in snowy forest iStock ©Umkehrer
The best train station restaurants
We love trains and we love to eat, so we've gone in search of Europe's finest train station restaurants.
Steve McCurry's epic train photography
Inspiring images from Steve McCurry's journeys on the Indian railways