Planning a French Alps Car Rental? Points to Consider

While organised airport transfers are the way to go for general resort-hoppers, there is something to be said for hiring a car during a holiday to the French Alps – even if just for a day or two. There are so may incredible resorts, towns and quaint villages within a few hours drive of the major tourist centres, plus it couldn’t be easier to hop over the border into Italy or Switzerland to give the trip an whole new dynamic.

What’s more, care hire has become cheaper and easier to arrange than ever before and even the most ardent of sceptics across the area agree that driving in the French Alps is something that should be done at least once in life. The scenery is some of the most stunning in the world and the freedom is practically boundless, but like most such endeavours there are two sides to consider.

So, in the spirit of achieving a fair balance and considering all the facts available, here are the main pros and cons of hiring a car either alongside or instead of the usual airport transfer services:

Pros

  • Experience – Driving on pristine alpine roads is something that cannot be put into words, but has to be experienced. Even just a short jaunt with a single day’s car hire can be enough to inspire and build memories for life.
  • Snow – If you’re planning on making the most of whatever Mother Nature decides to serve up, a hired car is the ideal way of chasing the best of the snow wherever it happens to fall – most main resorts are very close by.
  • Explore – Ditch the tourist trail for a day or two and consider swapping Les Arcs for Ste Foy, La Grave or any other of the stunning places you’ll stumble across on your way.
  • Flexible – A hired car gives you the flexibility to meet any deadlines, timeframes or commitments you have to work to.
  • Convenience – If only in the Alps for a day or two, a hired care can shorten transfer/journey times and thus increase time on the slopes.

Cons

  • Costs – Peak season car hire costs a fortune…period!
  • Luggage – Baggage must be kept to a minimum due to limited luggage space, perhaps not even sufficient for skis.
  • Roads – Driving on steep and icy roads in the French Alps is more of an art form than a task, which is very difficult to get the hang of in the space of a few days.
  • Safety – Not all hire cars are cut out for mountain roads and automatics are completely redundant.
  • Liability – Even if another driver skids into you, the repair costs might come from your own pocket.
  • Direction – So many of the roads look identical and it is easy to get thoroughly and utterly lost en-route.
  • Stress – Trying not to fall off a mountain isn’t quite as relaxing as enjoying a coffee on a safe, warm and professional organised transfer.

So there you have it – a remarkably popular idea full of potential, but one not without its ups and downs to consider before making a final decision.