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Access to car rental companies
The car rental agencies at Lyon-Saint Exupéry airport are located near car park P5. Use the airport's free shuttle bus to get there.
Waiting times for the shuttle bus vary between 10 and 20 minutes depending on the time of day.
Top tips for renting a car in Lyon Airport
- If you plan to stay in the city, you should consider renting the smallest car you can fit your party and luggage in. Parking in the city can be scarce and having a smaller car will make it easier to find a spot.
- You can return the car at a train station or in the center of the city if you plan to travel to your next destination in France by train. Note that you need to book this ahead of time — simply indicate the place you want to drop the car off at when searching.
- If traveling to the Alps in winter, you may need snow chains. Be sure to ask the rental company about them in advance. Also, be sure not to take a road that requires snow chains without them (there are signs indicating when they are necessary).
Drives to Remember
- The Alps. Driving anywhere in the Alps is a drive to remember in and of itself. Going through the tunnel underneath Mt. Blanc is a drive to remember for sure. Be sure that the rental company allows you to take your car to Italy, though.
- Beaujolais. A region just north of Lyon, Beaujolais is famous for its wine including the Beaujolais nouveau. The Gamay is the primary variety of grape grown. The region is lovely to drive around, and of course, a great place to stay and taste the wine.
- Burgundy and Rhône. Slightly farther away, these two infamous wine-growing regions are also worth the drive. Drive and enjoy the scenery and then stay at a chateau and enjoy some of the best food and wine you'll ever dine on.
- The French Riviera. A few hours' drive to the south of Lyon lies the famous French Riviera. Drive up and down the coast enjoying some of the best beaches and nightlife Europe has to offer. Stop in other wonderful places like Avignon or Aix-en-Provence along the way to make one of the trips of a lifetime.
- The Grottes du Cerdon. While the drive there through the valley and vineyards is beautiful, the experience once you get there will be what you remember. The grottes, which means caves in French, are a system of caves just waiting to be explored. You can walk around in the unground caverns and see what was once a refuge. All of this is only an hours' drive away from Lyon.
- Annecy. An hour and a half from Lyon lies one of the picturesque towns in Europe. The town is centered upon a 14th chateau and has small streams and canals running through it. It is like a small version of Venice. Located in the foothills of the Alps, its scenery is simply stunning. A drive to it can't be missed!
- Geneva. Just over the border in Switzerland is the famous city of Geneva. All of its stunning museums and cultural attractions are just waiting to be explored. As is its picturesque location along the lake of the same name. Note that you may not be allowed to cross the border in your rental car; ask in advance. If not, it's possible to park on the French side and take public transportation into the city.
How to get to and from Lyon Airport
Lyon Airport is around 30km from the center of the city. It is only a few kilometers from the A43 that takes you both to the center and, in the other direction, towards the resorts in the Alps. Also, there is a petrol station just outside of the airport, so it's quick and easy to fill up on your way back. There are other stations along the way from both directions, too.
Driving in Lyon
- The speed limit in cities is 50km/h, although in certain areas the speed limit may be reduced to 30km/h. Unlike that of inter-city roads, the urban speed limit is unaffected by the weather.
- Outside cities, the speed limit depends on the type of road. Highways are limited to 130km/h, 4-lane expressways to 110km/h, and 2- or 3- lane roads to 90km/h. When it is raining, the limits are respectively lowered to 110km/h, 100 km/h, and 80km/h. The general speed limit is lowered to 50km/h during periods of heavy fog or other times when visibility is impaired.
- Proof of insurance and the car’s documentation need to be in the car whenever you’re driving.
- If you are driving, you need to have your passport or ID card with you at all times.
- As of 2021, hands-free mobile phone use is banned in France and the fines are hefty.
- Most of the main highways in France (autoroute in French) are toll roads. You pay for the cars and caravans have to pay more than regular cars for the distance traveled, getting a ticket when entering and paying either with a credit card or in cash when exiting.
- Some rental cars are equipped with toll transponders that can be used at the automatic toll road payment booths (Télépéage). Ask your rental car provider to find out if they offer cars with toll road transponders. These may come with an additional charge.
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