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Sarah Smith

Sarah looks after our email marketing. She loves to travel and is keen to pass on any great ideas to our customers. Watch out for her newsletters for hints on how to make the most of your car hire and tips on making your money go further.

Follow in the Footsteps of Napoleon with Car Hire in France

Take a road trip with your hire car through some of the most beautiful cities in the south of France

Lyon Saint Exupery Airport is well positioned for exploring the Auvergne-Rhone- Alpes area. With your own car you have the freedom to choose where and when you stop and visit on your travels. With Car hire through MoneyMaxim you can take your pick from a number of car hire companies in this location.

Lyon itself is the 3rd largest city in France and is around a 30 minute drive from the airport. Often described as the culinary capital of the world, why not explore one of the many restaurants the city has to offer. It is the ideal starting point for discovering French cuisine.

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This city is largely overlooked by tourists yet has too many attractions to mention. A must see is the beautiful renaissance architecture of Vieux Lyon. In the 15th -17th century the silk trade thrived in this area and many rich merchant families from across Europe came into the area and built opulent homes. Explore the underground passageways of the Traboules which were also once used by silk traders to get around town. Visit the Musee de Beaux-Arts, a fine arts museum, second only to the Louvre in Paris.

Before you journey south to Grenoble you might like to take a slight detour to explore the walled medieval village of Perouges. Grenoble is at the foot of the French Alps and therefore surrounded by stunning scenery. Ride the unique ‘Bubble’ cable car up to La Bastille and enjoy the panorama. Spend time at the Musée des troupes de montagne or surround yourself in culture at Centre d'art Bastille.

Gorges du Verdon

The old town of Grenoble can be explored on foot. Shop for local produce in the many shops or stop for refreshments in the Place Saint-Andre. Grenoble is the start of the Route Napoleon, the opposite direction that Napoleon was said to have taken on his return from Elba in 1815. The route runs from the Alpine region through the hills of Provence and down to the Cote d’Azur.

Along the route is a town called Gap, it is the pretty capital of the Hautes-Alpes region. The historic centre is a delightful place for a wander around including the Place Jean Marcellin or why not visit the Musee Museum departemental des Hautes-Alpes.

Dignes les Bains is next on our list of suggested places to visit. Known as the Lavender capital and with thermal baths, this certainly a relaxing option. Take in the Cathedral of Saint-Jerome in its historic centre, explore the eclectic Gassendi museum or while away time in the peaceful surroundings of the Cordeliers Botanical Gardens.

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Veer away from the Route Napoleon to take in the splendour of the scenery of the Gorges du Verdon, the deepest gorge in France. A haven for climbers, paragliders and white water adventures!

Heading further south east drive on to Nice on the French Riviera! With its wonderful Mediterranean climate you can enjoy all 7km of the beachfront Promenade des Anglais. The Musee Matisse is a must visit for art lovers and contains a large collection of the artist’s work.

Tips for driving in France

  • Car hire excess insurance – Save on the cost of your car hire in France by taking out an independent reimbursement policy for your car hire excess. Compare policies with MoneyMaxim.

  • Crit’Air scheme - Lyon, among other cities in France, is part of the Crit’Air scheme. You will need an emissions sticker for your car – check whether this is provided by your rental company.

  • Toll roads – You may come across a peage or toll road on your trip which can normally be paid for at the kiosk as you drive through by cash or card. Depending on how much you are driving, tolls can add up – get an idea of how much your routewill cost by using a site such as https://www.viamichelin.co.uk/web/Routes

  • One Way Fees - Bear in mind that, if you plan a road trip such as this, you are likely to be charged one-way fees by your car hire provider. Unless, of course, you choose to drive back!

All photos courtesy of Pixabay