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Drive from France to Italy?

Discussion in 'France' started by Brad C. Hodson, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. Brad C. Hodson

    Brad C. Hodson New Member

    We're planning a trip for the fall and I'm kicking around the idea of starting off in Paris (my wife has never been) and then renting a car to drive into Italy. I know the costs of returning a car in a different country are exorbitant, so I was thinking of dropping the car off on the French side of the border, taking a train to Turin, and then renting another car once we get into Italy.

    Has anyone ever done something like this? Any advice on car rentals?

    One of the reasons I'm wanting to do this is to see a little more of France on the drive. What are the must see places I should hit on the drive? I was thinking Lyon, but some of the villages near Lake Geneva sound interesting as well.

    We'll have two young children with us (5 years and 18 months, both boys). My wife and I are into art and pre-modern history and all four of us are foodies. Well, the kids are as much "foodies" as kids can be...
  2. Ian Sutton

    Ian Sutton Member +

    Hi Brad
    We've driven from UK to Torino before, though took it very slow, aiming for 4-5 hours driving per day. It can of course be done faster, but might get a bit fractious. An alternative mentioned on a recent thread, is the train journey DIRECT from Paris to Torino. Logistically much easier, though it's a long journey so bring entertainment and lots of nice food treats to graze on during the journey. We've not done it, but were very close to booking it ~ 3 years ago, but in the end we chose to go to the north east instead.

    In terms of place en-route, Beaune may be associated with Burgundy wines, but is architecturally interesting and has a very pleasant (and mostly flat) centre to stroll around. I'd avoid Lyon, as driving into any city can be a stress, but the small towns and villages are much easier.

    One place I would recommend is St Gengoux le Nacional, not far away. We stayed in a B&B though the same people have an apartment that would be ideal for a 2+2 family. It's called Etape Robinson (the owners Ken and Sue are from Yorkshire). A charming small town, easy to stroll around and a few modest sights.

    From around there we were able to head over to Aosta (Valle d'Aosta) and this might appeal, though also give some thought to more rural destinations in the valle d'Aosta. Once there you're in striking distance of Torino / Piemonte.

    Mont Blanc tunnel is pricey and really rather dull, though the scenery around there was breathtaking - one of those 'wow' moments, but I believe there is even better if you come in via further north.

    French motorways are very good, clean, safe and not very popular, so make for mostly very easy driving, with plenty of serviced stations en-route. Yes they cost, but in the scheme of things only ~ €70 plus about €45 for the Mont Blanc tunnel. The quality of construction dropped very noticeably on entry into Italy, though their driving skill is (IMO) unrivalled.

    Personally I'd take the train with a family. Logistically much easier.

    Brad C. Hodson likes this.

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