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renting a car in Le Harve

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Does anyone have any info on renting a car for the day in Le Harve?

we are in port from 7am to 9pm. on a Saturday in May.

 

Which companies are actually within walking distance of the ship?

Some of the companies I have tried to research seem to close early on Saturday - is there provision to just drop the car even if they are closed?

Unfortunately we do not speak French and they sites I have looked at only seem to be in French - is it easy to book on line if you don't speak or read French - worried we may book the wrong thing! we would want to have quite a bit of kilometers included in the price as will be doing a lot of driving.

 

Thanks for your help/replies

 

Sue

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If you search this blog you will find some older posts I have done on just this subject. But assuming there are no recent changes here is the situation. There is only one rental car company located within the port (they have a desk in the small terminal building) and its called Rent-A-Car. Their web site is rentacar.fr. If you go down to the bottom right hand of their page there is a place where you can change the language from "fr" to "en." This agency is certainly the most convenient, but not always the best for prices.

 

Otherwise you have to leave the port to rent a car. Sixt Rent a Car has a location on the Quai Southampton...which is about a 25-30 min walk from the port. Europcar used to have a location in that same area but I believe they had closed that office. I am not sure if there are any other agencies as close as Sixt/ There are plenty of other agencies in town (several are near the train station) but you would likely need a taxi...and the local taxis do not like to take such short haul fares.

 

As to returning after hours, the norm throughout Europe is that you can return, lock the car, and drop the keys in a drop box or slot. Its best to directly call the rental car company (preferably that local office) or send them an e-mail to verify after hours drop. My only suggestion is that when you return a car after hours, photograph the car from all angles in case you later need proof that there was no exterior damage. In forty years of renting cars we have never had a problem....but its always wise to take some extra precautions.

 

I will give you a VERY IMPORTANT tip about renting in Europe. Many rental cars have manual transmissions (stick shift). If you must have an automatic make sure you book far in advance and make it clear you must have an automatic. Keep in mind that many rental car dealers charge a lot more money for automatics (sometimes nearly double) and some agencies do not even have automatics (especially in smaller cars). Europeans still love to drive a stick (so do I) and its reflected in the rental car availability. In the past decade we have seen more and more automatics, but its still not the norm.

 

Hank

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Just to add to Hank's excellent post ...................

 

There is usually a translation facility on car rental websites (check the top right on most, often in the form of a Union Jack), or via google (check for it on the toolbar.). Sometimes the auto-translations are comical, but normally usable.

- or, if you're stuck use one of the major car rental factors, or big operators like Hertz or Avis. I can't quote you examples cos on my computer they come up with UK websites but on your computer & mine they'll be in English. They are also often cheaper than direct bookings.

The only negative - and this also applies to direct bookings - is that sometimes its impossible to get figures for add-ons such as GPS that are payable locally.

English is the world's second-language & you should have no face-to-face language difficulties either at the rental agency or throughout your road-trip.

 

Usually for regular cars it's unlimited mileage, but the policy will be in the website terms.

Also its usual for the fuel policy for a one-day hire to be collect full/return full, or return with the same fuel level as at the start. I avoid those which are collect full/return empty because they screw you for the fuel that they provide & you're not going to be able to return it empty.

Watch out too for insurance terms. Most come with CDW insurance but with a high excess - €1.000 or more - and for getting the excess down to nil or a sensibly-low figure the premium is often close to as much as the rental fee.

I always look into the add-ons & caveats cos they're more important than a few euros difference in the headline rental.

But if you've rented at home you'll know about those things, & its no different in France.

 

The days of a three-hour lunch-break in France are now history in all but the sleepiest villages, but the French do enjoy their evenings & weekends. For car rentals there's usually after-hours return instructions to park & use a drop-box for the key.

 

BTW it's Le Havre, not Le Harve. Common mistake but correct spelling is sometimes essential on the web.

 

JB :)

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Thanks for your comprehensive replies , and for the tip the change of language can be at bottom of home page . Actually happier with manual as from UK so that's not a,problem and DH has driven quite a bit in Europe. When we lived in Sussex we use to go on day trips to France so know that coast quite well.

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Bit late to this thread, but I can recommend Rent a Car in Le Havre. They have a pickup and drop off point right in the cruise terminal, including facilities for out of hours drop off. We found them to be quite competitively priced as well.

 

I can’t comment on the translation point, as my wife speaks fluent French, so I left her to do the language bit!

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The two times we have used the car renal agency at the port, they were late in opening. So don't expect to be on your way right after the posted opening time.

 

Also, both times they claimed that there was a problem with the internet link and they could not accept credit cards. So be prepared to pay in cash.

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The two times we have used the car renal agency at the port, they were late in opening. So don't expect to be on your way right after the posted opening time.

 

Also, both times they claimed that there was a problem with the internet link and they could not accept credit cards. So be prepared to pay in cash.

 

We have had our own issues with rentacar.fr but know others who were happy with the company. In our case we also ran into the "no credit cards today" scam. We call it a scam because we suspect that they were refusing credit cards to force folks to pay for their expensive daily insurance. Many of us have credit cards that cover much of the rental car insurance. In our case we simply laughed, walked out of the port, and rented elsewhere. But a most cruisers do not want to walk over a mile to a rental car agency (many cruisers won't even walk down one flight of steps)...so rentacar.fr is a good option for them.

 

Hank

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We have had our own issues with rentacar.fr but know others who were happy with the company. In our case we also ran into the "no credit cards today" scam. We call it a scam because we suspect that they were refusing credit cards to force folks to pay for their expensive daily insurance. Many of us have credit cards that cover much of the rental car insurance. In our case we simply laughed, walked out of the port, and rented elsewhere. But a most cruisers do not want to walk over a mile to a rental car agency (many cruisers won't even walk down one flight of steps)...so rentacar.fr is a good option for them.

 

Hank

 

I'm surprised by the comments about Rentacar.Fr. We've used them a couple of times from Le Havre and found it a good service, and no problems at all with credit card payment. I guess we were lucky!

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I'm surprised by the comments about Rentacar.Fr. We've used them a couple of times from Le Havre and found it a good service, and no problems at all with credit card payment. I guess we were lucky!

 

We used Rentacar last June... they were definitely more expensive than the agencies in town but my mom was with us and we decided the little extra was okay in the grand scheme of things. Good service and no issues about paying by CC, though DH got a ticket for driving 7kms/hr over speed limit in Rouen, but that's another story, lol :D

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though DH got a ticket for driving 7kms/hr over speed limit in Rouen, but that's another story, lol :D

Did the ticket have to be paid on the spot and with cash?

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We used Rentacar last June... they were definitely more expensive than the agencies in town but my mom was with us and we decided the little extra was okay in the grand scheme of things. Good service and no issues about paying by CC, though DH got a ticket for driving 7kms/hr over speed limit in Rouen, but that's another story, lol :D

 

A on-the-spot speeding ticket? That would be unusual in Europe, especially for only 7kmh. For us the much bigger issue are the proliferation of speed cameras and annoying ZTLs (in Italy). Speed Cameras are a big revenue-maker in Europe. Many weeks or months after your return home you will notice an extra charge of move than 100€ added to your credit card. Not only does the rental car company pass along the traffic fines, but they generally add their own "administrative fee" for each violation.

 

Hank

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We have had our own issues with rentacar.fr but know others who were happy with the company. In our case we also ran into the "no credit cards today" scam. We call it a scam because we suspect that they were refusing credit cards to force folks to pay for their expensive daily insurance. Many of us have credit cards that cover much of the rental car insurance. In our case we simply laughed, walked out of the port, and rented elsewhere. But a most cruisers do not want to walk over a mile to a rental car agency (many cruisers won't even walk down one flight of steps)...so rentacar.fr is a good option for them.

 

Hank

We were not asked to buy extra insurance because we paid cash. If we had been, I would have told them that my travel insurance covers rental cars. Our regular automobile insurance also covers us in some countries outside the US. All travelers need to be aware of their existing insurance coverage and supplement that as they deem prudent.

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A on-the-spot speeding ticket? That would be unusual in Europe, especially for only 7kmh. For us the much bigger issue are the proliferation of speed cameras and annoying ZTLs (in Italy). Speed Cameras are a big revenue-maker in Europe. Many weeks or months after your return home you will notice an extra charge of move than 100€ added to your credit card. Not only does the rental car company pass along the traffic fines, but they generally add their own "administrative fee" for each violation.

 

Hank

 

No Hank, not an on the spot ticket, neither was our CC debited. Rentacar mailed us the ticket, which we received in October for a trip made early June! I can't remember how much it was about 50-60 euros or so...there was a penalty for late payment which was waived after we told them when we received the ticket. This has never happened to us in over two decades of travel but I guess there's always a first!

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I hired a car from Sixt on Quai Southampton. I found them online and all was perfectly straightforward. I wanted to drive firstly up to Dieppe where I stayed on a French exchange when I was 14 - we took a couple of Canadian passengers with us so we visited the Canadian graveyard in Dieppe from ww2. We then drove in the opposite direction and across the high level bridge over the Seine estuary to visit Honfleur. We had an excellent day and dropped the car back at Sixt's office. WE could see the Eclipse from there we were but I didn't fancy the walk (was a fair way round by the roads and I have osteoarthritis) So we called at a local cafe and the locals helped us ring a taxi firm to take us back to the ship.

No problems at all with the hire, the car or admin.cost etc. However I do speak French so I have an advantage there and have driven abroad for years so that holds no worries for me either.

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There are essentially 4 options for renting a car in Le Havre.  Rentacar, which is in the port terminal; Sixt, which is about a 25 minute walk (but the office is actually visible across the water from the ship); Enterprise, which is actually a bit closer than Sixt, but on the same street; and EuropCar, which is a couple of miles away and requires a taxi to reach.  The good thing about EuropCar is that it's on the road you'll be taking if you're headed to the Normandy Beaches, so you won't be wasting any time backtracking.  FYI, the EuropCar agency may be listed as being at the Le Havre airport, but if you check the actual address, it should show up as being on Rue Pierre Semard, which is a small side street off D6015, the main road out of town.

 

Many times you can find the best rates by going through a broker like Expedia or Kayak rather than booking directly.  I found an extraordinary rate that was half what I found elsewhere by going through AutoEurope.co.uk.  Book early and then keep checking to see if you can catch a rate drop.

 

There is a gas (petrol) station on the same road as EuropCar just a couple of blocks from the EuropCar office.  Very convenient to use for refilling your vehicle before you return it, regardless of who you rent from.

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Posted (edited)

We’re going to be in le Havre again next May and will be renting a car to visit Giverny and maybe Etretat. Am debating which rental agency to go with, not really looking forward to the trek into town so it’ll probably be Rentacar again. In the US, actually even in other places in France Enterprise has picked me up when I couldn’t get to their office but won’t bank on their doing this at le Havre. And taxis will refuse the short ride, understandably so perhaps. Still in two minds, need to check with the others...

Edited by prish

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If you rent from rentacar. Buyer beware. Read my comments about this company 

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On 10/6/2019 at 1:37 PM, tcpslp said:

If you rent from rentacar. Buyer beware. Read my comments about this company 

 

That's kinda difficult without a link to your comment :classic_wink:

 

JB :classic_smile: 

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We will be in Le Havre in September and I want to rent a car to get to Deauville. We are in port from 8 am to 7pm. Will this give us plenty of time in Deauville? 

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22 hours ago, NCbmwmom said:

We will be in Le Havre in September and I want to rent a car to get to Deauville. We are in port from 8 am to 7pm. Will this give us plenty of time in Deauville? 

Heavens yes,  In fact, after 1-2 hours you will likely be tired of Deauville, in which case you might want to drive over to Honfleur.  It is easy to visit both those places in a cruise day.  Personally we prefer having lunch in Honfleur (along the harbor) rather then Deauville since we find Honfleur a more "romantic" town.

 

Hank

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Honfleur is well with the stop. Lunch and walking around. The rentacar center doesn’t even open to receive the car back until 5:30. So don’t rush back 

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On 10/16/2019 at 2:21 PM, NCbmwmom said:

We will be in Le Havre in September and I want to rent a car to get to Deauville. We are in port from 8 am to 7pm. Will this give us plenty of time in Deauville? 

 

Yes, no worries :classic_smile:

 

But we prefer the fishing harbour & independent bars & restaurants of Trouville, across the bridge from Deauville.

And I concur with the suggestion of Honfleur - best to go there on the way back, taking the coastal lane through Villerville. This is "proper" Normandy -  hamlets of timber-framed houses & glances across the bay to your ship. 

https://goo.gl/maps/nRDkPHjvaqTu2VKB6

 

JB :classic_smile:

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On 10/17/2019 at 8:01 AM, Hlitner said:

Heavens yes,  In fact, after 1-2 hours you will likely be tired of Deauville, in which case you might want to drive over to Honfleur.  It is easy to visit both those places in a cruise day.  Personally we prefer having lunch in Honfleur (along the harbor) rather then Deauville since we find Honfleur a more "romantic" town.

 

Hank

Awesome! Really all I want in Deauville is to go to Louie Vuitton. Thanks so much for the help! 

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43 minutes ago, NCbmwmom said:

Awesome! Really all I want in Deauville is to go to Louie Vuitton. Thanks so much for the help! 

LOL.  I read to this our in-house "shopping expert" and her suggestion was to price-out stuff online (before you leave home) so you have a basis of comparison.  In recent years we sometimes have difficulty finding bargains in Europe, although the strong dollar should be helpful.  We are on our way to Italy and also plan to do some "comparison shopping"  :).  The other hassle is trying to get a refund of the 20% VAT tax.  Getting VAT refund forms validated has sometimes been frustrating because of long lines at airports and even finding a refund validation desk at ports.

 

Hank

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Oh believe me, I know exactly what I want and how much it is in the states. 😊 the cheaper prices, and refund of the VAT is well worth the extra hassle.  All my previous LVs’ have been bought here, but there’s just something special about buying a LV in France even if it’s not Paris. 😂 which is where my next on will be bought. LMAO 

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