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Car Hire Amiens, Self drive battlefields tour and beyond.

Brisbane, Australia
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Car Hire Amiens, Self drive battlefields tour and beyond.

Hi. Plan to arrive in Amiens by train from Paris on 8 Nov 2012. Hire a car and drive to Ypres on 9 Nov to commence a 4 day self drive tour of the Western Front. After that we will have about 6 days to tour before flying out to Dublin on possibly 19 November from most likely Paris. We are flexible about departure date and city from France to Dublin at this stage. Will depend on availability and cost.

What would be a convenient place to collect and return a hire car from in Amiens? Whilst I don't mind driving on the right hand side of the road, my concern would be leaving from the centre of a large city with my extremely limited ability to speak French (learning).

I know that the French like to celebrate Remembrance Day (I was a member of the small Australian Armed Forces contingent for the 60th Anniversery at Compienge in 1978), and so should we preplan booking accommodation or just arrive and book as we go. There will be three of us.

Also could you advise on what areas we should visit after our battlefields tour. We would love to see local villages, historical places, take in some French culture and scenery. I realize that this last part is a bit iffy but just trying to gather ideas.

Thank you for any advice.

Macca46

Austin, Texas
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1. Re: Car Hire Amiens, Self drive battlefields tour and beyond.

I would really like to hear from you when you return. We are interesting in going to Amiens in February and are curious to know if it is worth 1 day? 3 days? Men interested in military history. Wives not so much. Would love to hear back about your adventure.

Essex
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2. Re: Car Hire Amiens, Self drive battlefields tour and beyond.

I belive that most of the car rental places in Amiens are to be found near the main station.

For Aussies you definitely should go out to Villers Bretonneux, the Australian Memorial is there and the area is 'central' for the exploits of the Australian troops in WW1, Here is some 'info' -

ww1westernfront.gov.au/villers-bretonneux/

If you google 'ANZACS world war 1' you will find tons of information and suggestions of places you can go that would be specific to the history of your compatriots. In fact the website I have linked to above has loads of other information about Australian troops.

IMO Amiens is a great place to base yourselves. I stayed there a couple of years ago. The Cathedral is beautiful and massive. The Hortillonages are 'floating gardens' that are so tranquil and 'different' to visit. Jules Verne lived in the city, and much history is linked to him. There is plenty of shopping if that is what the ladies would like, a good couple of museums to view and the Saint-Leu area along the canals and quays is great for a wander, so there is plenty for them to do/see while the 'men' go off on their wanderings....

Around the area, other places that you could visit, that are interesting in themselves, but also have WW1 history are, Arras, Compiegne, Bapaume.

Slightly further away but still relevent, consider Soissons, Reims, Verdun, Lens, Mons, Ieper.

England, United...
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3. Re: Car Hire Amiens, Self drive battlefields tour and beyond.

There is a Europcar rental office at Boves, an outer suburb of Amiens from where you are quickly on the main motorway or country roads:

www.europcar.com/car-rental-AMIENS_BOVES.html

I have stayed at Boves at the Novotel hotel (very near the car rental office). The Novotel is ok as a hotel but in a commercial/industrial area which would not be an ideal location for visiting all the sites in Amiens that Essex Wanderer has described very well.

Another good website on WW1 sites which has lots of resources to help you plan, including accommodation, maps, guides, etc.:

www.somme-battlefields.com

Four days isn't very long and you clearly have ambitious plans to visit the battlefields themselves, but if you have time I suggest also visiting the Armistice Clearing near Compiegne. The replica carriage where the armistice was signed is impressive, but I found the adjoining museum even more interesting.

Edited: 11:07 am, September 19, 2012
Brisbane, Australia
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4. Re: Car Hire Amiens, Self drive battlefields tour and beyond.

Thank you Essex Wanderer and Celestina. We will be spending about 6 days doing a self drive Western Front tour going up to Ypres for Remembrance Day, from Amiens then working our way back. We are collecting a car from AVIS at the Amiens Gare SNCF and returning it to there and it looks ok to make our way out of town from there. We will have a couple of nights to fill in elsewhere so are considering of going over to Montreuil for a look around. From looking at Google maps it seems to be fairly straight forward to go fom Amiens to Ypres, Montreuil, Arras, Albert, V-B etc. So the question I have is, would a GPS be required to travel around the batltefields/museums etc or will the maps from the local tourism offices suffice?

KitAustin-Tex. Will let you know when we get back, but we will not be back home until early January. From what I can see, Amiens is more than a 1 day stop.

Essex
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5. Re: Car Hire Amiens, Self drive battlefields tour and beyond.

I have visited that area on my M-bike several times. I did not find the traffic around Ameins too difficult, the roads are well marked.

I do not posess a sat-nav. In fact I prefer maps anyway as I like the challenge of plotting up my own routes and finding my way around, to me that is all part of the 'fun'. Plus a lot of interesting sites are marked up on the French Michelin Maps if you learn how to read them. You can, with the maps, find all sorts of interesting places that are never mentioned in guide books!!

GPS/SatNav might well make life easier for you though, they are often mentioned here as a great help to those who are not so used to driving in France on the 'wrong' side of the road (which is the RIGHT side, unlike in Oz!).

I'd say you'd be alright with maps only, but invest in a good Michelin Map of France as well as the tourist office ones.

If you have a GPS at home, see if you can download maps etc for France and bring it with you, don't hire one here for 'vast sums'!

Brisbane, Australia
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6. Re: Car Hire Amiens, Self drive battlefields tour and beyond.

Hi Macca,

I would be interested to know how you trip went. My husband & I are from Brisbane and are planning to catch a train from Paris to Amiens then pick up a car to drive to the battlefields on the 28th March 2013. Are you able to tell me if the car rentals are around the railway station and if you booked your car hire before you left Australia. Thank you

Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: Car Hire Amiens, Self drive battlefields tour and beyond.

Macca may or may not still be around.

Book your car rental well in advance. It will be much cheaper than walk-up prices. See www.autoeurope.com.au and www.driveaway.com.au

Brisbane, Australia
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8. Re: Car Hire Amiens, Self drive battlefields tour and beyond.

Hello College90.

Still around. We hired AVIS through www.autoeurope.com.au prior to leaving Australia and collected and returned to their city office at 11 Rue St Martin Aux Waides, Amiens. This office is not far from the tourist office that just happens to be quite near the cathedral. It is quite an easy walk from the Amiens Gare SNCF even pulling luggage. We did not arrange a GPS through autoeurope but arranged same directly with the AVIS office when collecting the car. We found that a GPS was essential otherwise we would still be driving around.

We drove directly to Ypres to be there for Rememberence Day and based ourselves there for 5 nights in an outstanding B&B (B&B@Rooms.leper.be) I think is the web address. Check out my reviews. Then we drove to Albert and based ourselves there for 4 nights. Albert is about a 1 hour drive from Amiens so it was an easy morning drive from there to the AVIS office in Amiens to return the car.

We found that we needed all this time to do what we wanted to do, which was a lot without flogging ourselves, even with the shortened days in November.

How long do you intend to tour the battlefields for and do you have any plans yet? There is a lot to see.

Happy planning

Macca46

9. Re: Car Hire Amiens, Self drive battlefields tour and beyond.

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