Bordeaux International Airport offers a variety of transportation options, including a wide choice of car hire companies. The car rental counters can be found in the arrivals area of the airport’s terminal, which is on the lower floors of the multi-level building. The terminal is designed in an L-shape, and divided into Hall A and Hall B, which are connected by a covered walkway.
Some of the car hire companies available at Bordeaux Airport include Avis, Sixt, National/Citer, Europcar, Hertz, Budget and T.T Service. T.T Service is located in Hall A, while all the other companies are found in the A-B Connecting Wing of the terminal building.
It is easy to reach Bordeaux city from the airport, as it joins the A630 ring road which surrounds the city. The airport is only 10 km (6 miles) from Bordeaux, and is also nearby Mérignac, which is to the east of the airport, Passac and Gradignan, which are to the south-east, and Saint-Jean d’Illac which is situated to the west of Bordeaux Airport.
Having your own rented vehicle is the best way to explore the beautiful areas surrounding Bordeaux. However, if you would simply like to visit the sights in Bordeaux, it may be easier to use the bus services available, as many of the central streets are strictly for pedestrians only. The city center can be heavily congested with traffic at times as well. For exploring the attractions within in the center of Bordeaux it is recommended to use Bordeaux’s tram network, as well as the small electric buses (navette buses), as they can travel within the areas marked only for pedestrians. Parking is also often difficult to find within large and busy cities like Bordeaux. However, there are numerous car parking areas available, including a number of underground parking lots in the very center. Its most economical though to park alongside the tram stations, which are close to the banks of Bordeaux’s River Garonne. Otherwise, driving in the city of Bordeaux is relatively straightforward.
In France, the right-hand side of the road is used for driving, and there are strict road rules when it comes to drunk driving and speed limits. Ensure that you do not exceed the speed limits, which are 50 km/h (30 mph) in urban areas, 90 km/h (55 mph) on the open roads, and 110 km/h (70 mph) on the motorways and highways of Bordeaux. Speed limits may also vary if there are poor visibility conditions or very wet weather conditions. Safety regulations also require that you wear seatbelts at all times, and it may therefore be necessary to hire a baby safety seat or booster seat if you are traveling with young children. Most car hire companies offer the rental of such additional equipment. If you are concerned for directions to reach your destination, you could also hire a GPS unit along with your vehicle. They are available from most companies, and the navigation systems they offer are very sophisticated and easy to operate. They usually have a choice of a variety of languages and have pre-programmed points of interest, such as hotels, restaurants, tourist locations, gas stations etc.
The minimum age for driving in France is 18, but you are required to be at least 21 years old in order to rent a vehicle. Rental rates could also be higher if you are a younger driver (between the ages of 21 and 25), and you may not be able to rent certain specialty or larger sized vehicles. At the time of vehicle collection, you must be able to present a valid drivers license, which has been held by you for at least one year in your country of residence, and a major credit card. Car rentals are usually paid for by credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, Eurocard, Mastercard and Visa. Each car hire company may also require additional documents when collecting the vehicle. In some cases an International Driving Permit may be required.
Ensure that you are comfortable with the workings of the rented vehicle before driving away. Staff of the car hire companies will always be willing to assist you with any details you need. Make sure that the pre-rental inspection report has been correctly completed, as you do not want to be held liable for damages, dents or scratches that you did not cause, and ensure that you know which type of fuel to put into the vehicle.
Vehicles can be reserved from the car hire counters at Bordeaux Airport, or from your chosen company’s website address. Their websites are usually easy to understand, and offer detailed information about the vehicles available to rent, and the procedures and policies that affect the rental agreement.