This weekend was full of firsts … to continue on my quest for adventure I rented a car with DRIVY and drove myself, and most of my stuff to Antibes. Okay, explanation …
I am going back to the States for two months at the end of October. After-which I am not sure where I will live (Marseille, Paris, Antibes?!? no idea!). So, after talking to the BF we decided it’s best for our stuff to be in the same place so that if we move together (yeah! together!!) then it’ll all leave from the same place :).
When renting a car in Europe you’ve got to count on driving a manual. Unfortunately for us Americans :-(, majority of whom know exclusively the easy breezy lifestyle of the automatic transmission. If you want an automatic, it’ll cost you. OR you show up to the rental company and they don’t actually have the car they promised — time to kill a clutch…
I have had 3 experiences driving a manual: 1) my friend was intoxicated, I was not, I worked the gas, clutch and break, he shifted. It was a very long 3 mile drive home in the dark. 2) same friend, haha, better experience as I shifted too. This was 6 years ago! 3) April this year, tried on a friend’s car, knowing it is a necessary skill in Europe. Killed it on start up 4 times. Gave up.
So. Instead of stressing about the learning curve and stalling in the middle of an intersection in crazy pants Marseille, I looked on the rental sites for Automatics … not a ton of luck and the prices were outrageous! I heard recently about a site that is P-2-P, meaning (kinda) person-to-person. If you have a car, you can rent it out to other people. So I checked out DRIVY. You can put in the mileage you’ll do (in km, haha), the dates and your options (automatic transmission) and you’re good to go. Other stipulations apply to your license, where you can take the car and how far each day for some cars. You contact the owner through the site and they can accept/reject your offer. I asked a few different owners but this one was great!
So, the car: 2007 Toyota Aygo, 2-door AUTOMATIC!
It’s super cute and fun to drive in the city. A little rough on the highways since it didn’t have cruise control but Marseille – Antibes isn’t super far so it was doable. Plus it kept me very aware of the speed limit changes so I wouldn’t get caught by those pesky radars!
I paid 113 euros for the weekend and 600km. The owner met me when I asked and everything was so easy. You just leave the car in the same condition, same fuel level, etc and it’s all fine. There is insurance that covers you in case of accident, theft, etc. I highly suggest this … so much so that I will be renting the same car again this weekend ! It gave my BF and I the freedom to go when we wanted, get heavy groceries 😉 and I packed 4/5 of my stuff from Marseille to Antibes already ! This weekend we went to: Menton, Roquebrun, Monaco and Cannes for my BFs choir rehearsal (and my 12 mile run!). I’ll write a separate post on those.
Things I learned about driving in France:
- Priorité à droite: the priority is always to the cars on your right, entering the traffic. UNLESS marked otherwise. Which, in most cases these days, it is marked. Though not clearly.
- Rond points: round-a-bouts are France’s favorite. Just keep calm here. If you will exit right away, stay in the right lane. If you take the second (3rd, 4th, etc) exit, stay left (with your left signal on) until you pass the exit just before yours, then get over with your right signal then exit. I now consider myself a tentative-pro. I’ll fill you in after a second weekend driving 😉
- Autoroutes are PRICEY! It cost me 15 euros, both way, JUST for the Aix – Antibes portion. Then every once in a while they’ll charge an extra 1.50 or 1.20. Just have a bunch of change on you. Better yet, your credit card. Makes life faster and easier. Though they may or may not take all credit cards. Visa is safest I believe. Having a chip in your card is even better. But the machines don’t ask for your PIN, fyi.
- 130 km/hr is FAST: This is the max speed on the autoroute. it felt so fast. Don’t be afraid to go slower. Especially in a tiny car like I had. haha
- Go slow if you’re stressed: if you’re like me, having directions clearly stated is key. I get a little (ok, a lot) nervous when I don’t know where I am going. I was scared multiple times that I turned down a one-way or that I passed a red-light. May seem obvious but – overall, if you don’t know where you are going, just go slow. Just take the horn blowing all around you as friends saying, “hi, friend, welcome to our city!” 😉
As I said, I will have another driving adventure this weekend. I will take my friend Ruby to Antibes with me and then we’ll go to a few places again on the cote d’azur! Including Biot for a concert of my BFs choir – Musiques en jeux – Mozart Requiem!
Until next time –