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Car rental in Geneva?

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Indianapolis...
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Car rental in Geneva?

Is it worth it? Any extra fees? Any fees for crossing into France or in France?

We'll be in Chamonix for a week, but want to take a day or two to see Geneva and it seems it would be cheaper to rent a car than to go back and forth by shuttle or bus. Just want to make sure that they won't load a ton of extra fees on top of rates/total prices I see online.

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Car rental in Geneva?

The rental company will not even know that you have crossed the France/Switzerland border, and will not care. Check if there is any difference in price depending on whether you rent from the French or Swiss part of Geneva airport.

If you want to drive on a motorway in Switzerland, you will need to buy a vignette windscreen sticker that costs 40 CHF.

Don't forget to get your international Driving Permit from the AAA.

Indianapolis...
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2. Re: Car rental in Geneva?

Thanks for the reply. Will have to look into getting the international driver's permit, though I read online that I can drive temporarily with my US driver's license in both Switzerland and France.

About the vignette sticker, is it necessary to get on the motorway (highway?) to get to/from Chamonix? Is it faster this way? We'd only be staying there for a week, but want to go to Geneva once or twice during our stay in the area.

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Car rental in Geneva?

The vignette is needed only for Swiss motorways. These are divided highways of high standard similar to a US Interstate. In France, they are toll autoroutes. You do not need to use a Swiss motorway to get from Chamonix to Geneva. See www.viamichelin.com

The rules in France were changed earlier this year, and an IDP is now required.

Edited: 7:23 pm, November 09, 2013
Le Bugue, France
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4. Re: Car rental in Geneva?

You cannot "drive temporarily" in France unless you have an IDP. That's a rule that's been in place since May of 2013. You need either an IDP or an official, notarized translation of your US license. And no, the rental companies won't necessarily ask you for it - it's not their business to know if you're in compliance.

Indianapolis...
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5. Re: Car rental in Geneva?

"You need either an IDP or an official, notarized translation of your US license."

That's what I meant by temporarily. At least that's what the French embassy site says:

"If you are on a short visit or short business trip (less than 90 days)

You may drive with a valid U.S. driver’s license if it is accompanied by a notarized translation in French. It is strongly recommended that you carry an International Driving Permit. You must be 18 years of age or older to drive in France."

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: Car rental in Geneva?

The French Embassy site says you need either a notarized translation or an IDP. It is much easier to get an IDP.

Ireland
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7. Re: Car rental in Geneva?

It's definitely cheaper to hire on the French side of Geneva airport. It's tricky finding your way back in so keep a good look out as you leave the airport. If you google route without using motorway you can get different route to avoid having to buy the vignette. It's not really much more bother, we did it last year.

8. Re: Car rental in Geneva?

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Indianapolis...
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9. Re: Car rental in Geneva?

Many thanks for the advice!

"What are you planning to see and do in Geneva?"

Just want to take advantage of our travel plans and see the place. It seems like it would be a missed opportunity to just fly and in out, and not see anything in the city. Definitely gonna do some museums and get a dinner somewhere. Other than that, no firm plans. It will be four or us all in all in early 30's - late 20's, so not really looking for the night life scene, but definitely want to say that we've seen more in Geneva than just the airport.

Indianapolis...
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10. Re: Car rental in Geneva?

Ok, another question or two!

So I looked at the access map, and it seems that I'd have to drive around Geneva if I were to get the car on the French side. Or did I get that wrong and I can just follow google/gps to cross the border at any convenient location? Would following the "pink route" on the map be much of a detour?