Money Saver: How can I get the best longer term car-hire rates in France?

More people are requesting alternatives to standard holiday car hire

Car rental is highly regulated in France

Reader question: We have tried many car rental services but I would ideally like to have a car for two or three months at a cheaper rate that offered by an airport rental. Do you have suggestions? 

Car rental is both highly regulated and very competitive, which is why, if you go to every desk at an airport or a railway station, you will be given estimates which hardly vary in price.

You are not alone in wanting alternatives to standard holiday hire, and large firms such as Avis, Europcar and Hertz are starting to have months’ long hires – but as you say, the discount for a longer rental is small.

Read more: Can I hire a car in France with a UK driving licence?

Longer term car rental options

One ccompany, Sixt, offers cars for hire from one month to one year although this does require an initial subscription fee of around €100 to join the 'Sixt +' service. Monthly prices start at about €500 for a small car to €1,000 for a medium-sized car.

As with many other service industries, internet-based start-ups are also trying to fill the medium-term car rental gap, including Ucar, Drivalia and JustRent. Nearly all ask you to pay a similar subscription before you are able to rent.

Depending where you are in France, and your relationship with your local garage, you could ask them about a two to three-month loan. Sometimes they will be happy to offer this service for clients they know, at a reasonable price, although it may not be a particularly new car.

Another alternative is to check with larger supermarkets. Leclerc and Intermarché have developed car and van hire services at prices lower than the large rental companies.

Each branch runs basically as an independent franchise, so local owners/managers mbe able to offer competitive prices for a hire of two or three months.