Geneva Airport car hire offers you probably the biggest range of options in Europe. You can get cheap car hire from the French sector at Geneva Airport, or (normally) more expensive car rental from the Swiss side of Geneva - but Swiss car rentals include winterised tyres between November and April (check this as you book your car rental company as some companies package the cost of these in whilst others charge extra) and the Swiss vignette - necessary for travel on the Swiss motorway network. This article concentrates on car hires from the French sector of Geneva - to access information on the Swiss sector visit our Swiss sector pages.
Firstly you will need to find the French side of Geneva Airport car hire desks - If you enter through the international (Swiss side) of the airport enter Switzerland via passport control, pick up your baggage, and enter the Swiss side arrivals hall. Then turn left, and left again up the escalator (which will take your luggage trolley) to the departures level. Turn right at the top, and go right along to the end of the arrivals hall, following signs for FRANCE. You pass through another passport control and you are back in 'France', where you will find the French check-ins and car hire counters. Represented on the French side of Geneva Airport are:
Depart the car hire car park through a road tunnel which is technically in France. When you reach the main road, turn hard RIGHT into the Custom / Douanes back into Switzerland and through a second tunnel. Follow signs for Geneve Centre and the Lac until you reach the Lac (Lake Geneva). Then follow the north side of the Lac and turn left over the first bridge. Move into the middle lane on this bridge, and then bear left again on the south side, getting into the right lane for Chamonix and the Mont Blanc Tunnel or the left hand lane for Evian.
If you are heading for Chamonix be aware that as you follow the road out towards Chamonix (which is a a long drag up through the suburbs of Geneva) you will find the road flattens out and just after this keep your eyes peeled for signs again. You need to turn right at a pretty nondescript junction (signposted Chamonix and France), and 300m later, left again. This then takes you down via the Swiss/French customs to the Autoroute (A411 spur to A40), where you follow signs for Chamonix/Mont Blanc again. There you will need change for the Autoroute, although there are normally manned gates if you don't have change.
The most important point to remember is that after following all signs for A40 and Geneve and reaching the Geneve Vallard junction you DO NOT FOLLOW any further signs for Geneve Airport.
Leave the motorway at the Geneve Vallard junction - go down a long hill, past a large Migros shopping centre on the right, move into the left hand lane, and then go straight on as the motorway turns hard right. Go through customs and keep going straight on until you are close to Geneva City Centre.
Now watch out for signs for Parking Mont Blanc - you will reach a road junction which has traffic lights and five exits which you go straight across on for about 200m and then turn right. After crossing a couple of roads turn right again, go over another couple of junctions and turn left. All this time you are continuing to follow those signs for "P Mont Blanc".
After you have passed the entrance to P Mont Blanc, cross the bridge, and turn right on the N side of it. Stay next to the lake for about half a kilometre and then as the road rounds to left and goes up a hill you follow signs for Ferney Voltaire. Keep following these signs (and France) for around 2km and as you go over the top of a hill you will see two petrol stations - (petrol tends to be cheaper in Switerland, diesel is cheaper in France).
At the roundabout carry on ignoring the airport signs and follow those for Ferney Voltaire and France. Turn right, go through a tunnel and through the Customs / Douane. There is another petrol station if you need diesel, which you can reach by going past Customs about 200m.
Otherwise turn left immediately after Customs / Douane, along a small road (SP Aeroport, Secteur Francaise) which goes through a tunnel, and at the end you will find the car hire return. It is best to go to the unloading bay at the end, then turn back into the car park to find the drop off area for your car hire company.
After dropping your car off in the French sector it's normally easiest (unless someone else has already convinced your airline to open its desk in the French sector - they take ages to arrive!) to go back through to the Swiss sector and check in there.
Our Top Geneva Airport Car Hire Tip - If money is at a premium consider using the French Sector of Geneva Airport car hire stations - we normally find they are cheaper, even allowing for snow chains - the downside is that the winterised tyres are not normally fitted. These are recommended in Switzerland and are easier to cope with after a moderate snowfall which doesn't need snow chains to be fitted.
This content was last reviewed on 26/11/2018
Image courtesy of: Claudia Meyer / stock.xchng