Updated November 2018
BY KERRI MCCONNEL
Campervan hire in France
We’ve been travelling through European countries in a campervan now since 1997. We have a real love for travelling in this way. As you might expect, our experience and knowledge has grown considerably throughout this time.
Another way in which we ensure that our trip is as perfect as we can make it is to use a reputable hiring company. Throughout this time, we have hired from many different companies.
For our campervan hire in France, we now prefer France Motorhome Hire. Here’s our review of our choice of company for renting a campervan in Europe.
Highly professional and well organised
France Motorhome Hire has a team that works all year round. Not being seasonal means that the entire team take pride in their work and the service they provide to their customers. It also means they are up to speed with everything that goes on in the business, ensuring your peace of mind.
They are also on hand during your hire in the event of any emergency or if you need to speak to them about your campervan.
Whether it is by email during the quoting process, or in person upon arrival, the team are efficient and timely in their communications. Whilst I’m happy to try and speak the local language, picking up a campervan in a foreign country can be a bit terrifying, especially if you’ve never done it before. Owner/operators Phill and Hannah hail from the UK, so having English as their native language can be comforting. They also work in their business, so providing the best possible customer experience is important to them.
I’ve also hired campervans from other countries where the operational briefing was a video. All briefings here are done in person and are extremely thorough. Of course, if there is anything you don’t understand, they will also answer all of your questions.
Here’s an example of a situation we found ourselves in on our last trip in 2017.
Over the course of a few days, our house battery (the one that runs all the equipment in the back like the fridge, lights and water pump) had stopped holding a charge. Normally, the battery is charged by the vehicle as it is driving but this didn’t seem to be working either. Gradually, it kept reducing until one night, it completely died.
We cooked by the light of our iPhones that night! As foodies, our fridge is always full of food and wine. The wine obviously isn’t a problem but the copious amounts of cheese, milk, yoghurt and meats certainly were. It was late though, so we didn’t want to bother them.
I sent them an email in the evening, to give them a head start on our issue. First thing in the morning, we rang the office and sent some texts. Before long, they rang us and from there attempted to sort out the issue as quickly as possible. Unbelievably, Phill was actually in the hospital, yet he took the time to talk to us as he had the greater understanding of the mechanical issue.
We drove to a store that had the battery, as advised by the hiring company. Even here, they were of help once more, talking to the shop staff via phone when we were having trouble getting our issue across. At no stage were we worried, frustrated or even annoyed, as we knew the hiring team were doing everything we could to get this situation resolved for us as quickly as possible.
This type of service, the reliability of getting a solution when an issue arises and the speed in which it is done is paramount to a great experience. Stuff happens. We can’t control everything, but it’s great to have support when you need it.
Modern, safe and reliable vehicles in excellent condition
The vehicles are well maintained and serviced and new ones enter the fleet regularly. The vehicle you have ordered is also the one you get. No internet tricks here! They are also perfectly clean upon handover.
They also think about the little things. By this I mean there are many inclusions that you won’t find in other campervans.
- Hair dryer
- Coffee plunger (French press). I’m not a coffee drinker but I know my husband loves having this on board.
- Broom. Might sound a little silly but after spending too much time sweeping down at floor level with a dustpan brush on other trips, I really appreciate this.
- Clothesline and pegs
- Guides for places to stay overnight
- Instruction booklet written in layman’s terms providing clear instructions on how to work (and troubleshoot) elements in your campervan
As I’ve noted in my Beginner’s Guide, this is one of the critical parts of the entire process. It is also one that can be complex and covert. France Motorhome Hire provides a transparent quoting process and they are very clear upfront with what the quote includes. Even better, they include so many items that are extra elsewhere.
Private transfer to the depot
This is one of the best features and again shows that France Motorhome Hire thinks about their customers. The Sens train station is about 7km from their depot. Without the transfer, you would need to get a taxi. This makes the whole exit off the train and to the depot hassle free. Everything is timed to perfection so the moment you get to the depot, your process is underway in order to get you on the road as quickly as possible.
Note – Depending on your hire package private transfers from the train station in Sens may already be included. If not, I would still highly recommend paying for this service.
Now, you may also get a private transfer from any location in Paris. See here for details.
France Motorhome Hire also extends the use of their depot to you in ways that many other companies do not. Because we aren’t light packers and we have huge suitcases that wouldn’t fit in the storage compartment, we leave them at the depot.
If you have driven your vehicle to the depot, arrangements can also be made to leave your vehicle onsite.
If you are also looking to buy a campervan, France Motorhome are often a good place to start. Since they regularly turn over their vehicles, they might have just the one you are looking for.
Where are they located?
France Motorhome Hire is located 125km south of Paris, in the village of Véron.
10 Promenade de l’Ouest, 89510, Veron, France.
GPS coordinates: N 48°7′ 48.34″, E 3° 18′ 20.99″
How do you get there?
If you are driving, it is useful to use the GPS coordinates or put the address into a mapping app.
Or click on the link for more detailed driving instructions.
We always fly into Paris, so for us, it’s so much easier just to get the train. It’s quick, hassle-free and inexpensive. Trains for Sens leave from Gare de Lyon or Gare de Bercy and can take anywhere from 55 – 90 minutes. Tickets can be bought at the station or online.
The most important part is confirming which train you will be arriving on.
Tip: Make sure you have a mobile phone and the contact details of the team at FMH. Sometimes the trains can run late, you can get off at the wrong station, or you might miss the train completely. The team don’t work at the depot on Sundays and aren’t really contactable until Monday morning again. Having a phone could save the day. Of course, it’s also useful for other reasons as well.
Why we choose to use FMH for our campervan rental in Europe
Personally, I will never use another company for our campervan hire in France, or western Europe ever again. I am comfortable with the approach this company takes, and they have always proven themselves to be reliable and customer focussed. Paying deposits and final balances to an unknown company in a foreign country can be quite worrying. With France Motorhome Hire, I know exactly who I am dealing with at all times, and in numerous hires over the years, they have never once let us down. Consistency breeds credibility and the team at FMH have it in spades.
REMEMBER TO MENTION BEER AND CROISSANTS WHEN GETTING YOUR QUOTE FROM FRANCE MOTORHOME HIRE FOR €50 OFF YOUR NEXT HIRE
FAQs campervan and motorhome hire in France
1. How can I check the availability of vehicles?
France Motorhome Hire allows you to check availability for their range of vehicles through a very simple search on their website.
2. How can I book a campervan or motorhome?
All quotes and bookings are done online and a member of the team will be in touch asap.
3. How much does campervan or motorhome hire cost?
The total cost depends on the type of vehicle, the time of hire and the season. The longer the hire period, the lower the cost. High season (during the summer and spring) will attract higher rates.
4. What is included in the cost of the campervan or motorhome hire?
This will vary depending on who you hire with. If you hire with France Motorhome Hire, the cost you are quoted will include the following:
- Fully comprehensive insurance (subject to the conditions of FMH’s policy)
- Unlimited mileage for most hires. For extremely long term hires, a different rate may be negotiated based on expected mileage.
- Roadside Breakdown Assistance
- Bike rack carriers as appropriate for each vehicle
- Outdoor table and chairs
- Bedding, bed linen and towels for all of hiring party
- Crockery, cutlery, glassware, kettle, coffee plunger, cooking equipment and utensils
- One full bottle of propane gas
- Starter pack of toilet chemicals
- Safety equipment including warning triangle, high-vis jacket, fire extinguisher, user manual
- Guide to campsites and Aires de Service in France
- Membership of France Passion offering free places to stay
- Vehicle equipment pack including 1 water hose, 1 electric cord with European adapter, 1 broom, dustpan & brush
- Levelling blocks
5. Can children travel in hired campervans and motorhomes?
They certainly can.
6. Are pets allowed in a hired campervan or motorhome?
Unfortunately, they are not. It would be unusual to find any hire company in Europe who allows pets.
7. Do I need a driving licence?
Yes, and you should make sure that you can drive a vehicle up to 3.5 tonnes. France Motorhome Hire does not require International Driver’s Permits, but you should always check first.
8. Can I hire an automatic motorhome or campervan?
France Motorhome Hire only has left-hand drive, diesel, automatic transmission vehicles. It is possible to find some manual vehicles but they will usually be smaller campers.
9. Are the motorhomes fuel efficient?
France Motorhome Hire uses very new, fuel-efficient vehicles which are always fitted with the latest technology. You should get around 10-11km/litre, but will depend on the type of drving you are doing.
10. Will I need a passport to hire a motorhome?
Yes, a valid passport and driver’s licence will be required.
11. How do I pay for the hire?
You can pay for your deposit by credit card and final balance by cash or credit card. Ensure you leave enough room on your credit card for the bond as well.
12. Is smoking allowed in the vehicles?
13. Can I charge my devices in the motorhome?
If you are connected to 240 volts at campsites this is easy. If not, then you will only have access to USB charging through the points at the front of the vehicle. Take an inverter if you have a greater need for power.
14. Can I take the motorhome outside France?
Yes but you should always check your proposed itinerary with the hiring company.
15. Do I have to clean the motorhome before returning?
Yes, you do although you can arrange a professional clean as part of your hiring package.
You might also like to read these for more detailed motorhome information
Disclaimer. This is NOT a sponsored post. I have used France Motorhome Hire many times before and have always paid our own hire costs. Our hires are usually at least one month, sometimes longer, meaning we spend considerable amounts of money on our campervan hire in France. Converting Euros to AUD also costs us quite a lot more, so hiring a campervan is the most significant cost of our trip. This is why we recommend them personally and for all the reasons noted above. Because of this relationship however, I can now direct referrals through to them at no additional cost to the hirer. Actually, you save money. Refer to the special offer above for €50 off your next hire.
Kerri now travels regularly with her husband, Stirling, where eating great food, drinking quality beer and wine, and cooking international foods are integral to their adventures.