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Renting a car in Marseille


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We are a family of 4 with daughters who will be 11 and 15 when we are in Marseille at the end of July 2020.  We prefer to DIY whenever we can in ports and we are very active travelers.  We are in port in Marseille from 7:00 - 17:00.  We are having a hard time coming up with activities to do while we are there.  It will be our only French stop on this trip and the girls number one priority is croissants.  Hahahaha.  We love walking around towns, eating good food, and drinking wine!

 

The nearish towns that looks the best to us are Avignon, Aix-En-Provence, Arles, Gordes, and Lourmarin.  Obviously there is no scenario where we can do all of these towns, so we will limit it drastically.  If we stick with the bigger cities, we can do it by train.  However, if we wanted to get to the hill towns or wine areas, we would need to rent a car.   BTW, we came up with that list from a combo of Cruise Critic and this article:  https://theculturetrip.com/europe/france/articles/the-10-most-beautiful-towns-in-provence/  If you think we're missing anywhere that would be better for our family, I'd love to hear it! 

 

I was wondering if anyone had experience with a one day DIY car trip from Marseille and how it went for you.  It'll be a Monday and I've been checking rush hour traffic which there is some, so we would have to account for that.

 

Thank you!

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23 hours ago, christieSF said:

 the girls number one priority is croissants.  Hahahaha. 

 

Wow! I agree!  I also love croissants! and don’t mind good French wine  😊

We will be in Marseille from 7:00 - 17:00 as well, but it will be in mid-April.  We also  prefer to DIY if we can. We obviously want to visit Aix. It’s place #1 for us. Marseille itself is #2. Now I’m thinking about possibility  to rent a car and get to smaller towns and  wine areas. Thank you for the idea and thank you for the link! Very useful!

I’m very much interested in feedback from those who  had rented a car for  one day DIY trip from Marseille.  Thank you in advance!

Jess

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I've been doing more research and it seems like driving in Marseille is a bit of a mess.  So now we are thinking of taking the train to Avignon and then renting the car there.  There is an express train from Marseille to Avignon that only takes 35 minutes.  I'll let you know as I continue to plan.  Good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you so much! I’ve checked trains from Marseille to Avignon and also found the express train (35 min). Not bad but taking in consideration that we have only 9 hours in Marseille I’m afraid to spend too much time in all those trains, train stations, cars and car rentals…  By the way train to Aix takes only 12-13 min. 😊 Any way please let me know if you find something interesting. Thank you! Jess

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On 1/16/2020 at 12:05 PM, christieSF said:

We are a family of 4 with daughters who will be 11 and 15 when we are in Marseille at the end of July 2020.  We prefer to DIY whenever we can in ports and we are very active travelers.  We are in port in Marseille from 7:00 - 17:00.  We are having a hard time coming up with activities to do while we are there.  It will be our only French stop on this trip and the girls number one priority is croissants.  Hahahaha.  We love walking around towns, eating good food, and drinking wine!

 

The nearish towns that looks the best to us are Avignon, Aix-En-Provence, Arles, Gordes, and Lourmarin.  Obviously there is no scenario where we can do all of these towns, so we will limit it drastically.  If we stick with the bigger cities, we can do it by train.  However, if we wanted to get to the hill towns or wine areas, we would need to rent a car.   BTW, we came up with that list from a combo of Cruise Critic and this article:  https://theculturetrip.com/europe/france/articles/the-10-most-beautiful-towns-in-provence/  If you think we're missing anywhere that would be better for our family, I'd love to hear it! 

 

I was wondering if anyone had experience with a one day DIY car trip from Marseille and how it went for you.  It'll be a Monday and I've been checking rush hour traffic which there is some, so we would have to account for that.

 

Thank you!

 

Last Sept we rented a car in Marseille and drove to Cassis for a few hours of kayaking in the Calanques.  If your girls would do that sort of thing, I highly recommend it.  Search for "kayaking Calanques" here and you should find the thread, and I have already given some feedback there about issues encountered.

 

I will reiterate here though, as it has gotten me and I've read dozens of other complaints... Hertz and Sixt all over Europe seem very sketchy and fraudulent, with random ongoing billing after-the-fact and fake claims of damage.  In Marseille, I rented from Alamo (near main train station in Marseille) and had a good experience.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nothing wrong with renting a car in Marseille and there are many advantages if one plans on going to some of the more rural places in the region.  The hassle is that you will need to get a taxi, or use a shuttle bus plus a long walk, to get to one of the local rental car offices which are primarily clustered near the train station.  If one is only planning on going to major cities such as Aix en Provence or Avignon we do think that the train (or possibly a bus to Aix) make more sense.  And beware that many rental car offices are closed on Sundays and Holidays.

 

Hank

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Thank you everyone for the feedback.  Please continue to give some as I know Jess is looking at this option still!  We decided to take the train to Avignon and go on a Wine Tour from there.  Since we want to drink the wine, we decided not to drive ourselves 🙂

 

Thank you again for your valuable advice!

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