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I'm visiting Uzès for about 1 month. Coming from California.
I want to rent a car. Do folks have recommendations on how to get there?

Based on my research, I assume fly into Paris and take a train and then rent a car. Note, I don't particularly want to drive all the way from Paris. I was thinking of taking a train to a nearby city (I can't see trains to Uzès) and renting a car.
Avignon, Nimes, Arles seem close to Uzès. Do folks have experience renting cars in any of those or opinions of the cities themselves (for touring for a day)?
Any tips on trains (which city? which service class? discounts?) would be much appreciated.

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    I would say take a train from Paris and rent a car in Avignon (or if you can find a car rental at another nearby station with TGV service, that would be equally convenient; in my experience, though, Avignon is a good destination with frequent service). You can also fly to Marseilles. You can also consider renting your car at the airport and driving all the way to Uzès; I'd probably do that to avoid stress over catching the train, worrying about the rental office closing, etc., though in my experience car rental agents in Avignon are fairly accommodating.
    – phoog
    Jun 3, 2023 at 15:35

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A car is clearly something you will have a hard time to live without in Uzès.

If you land in Paris CDG airport then the simplest option is to take a TGV (high speed train) from the station which is inside the airport to either Avignon TGV, Nimes Pont du Gard, or Nîmes Centre. It takes about 45 minutes from either of those (Nimes Centre is slightly closer). I’m not familiar with the car rental facilities at either, though.

As usual with plane-to-train connections it’s always a bit difficult to get the right timing, as in the best case you could be on the platform well less than an hour after scheduled arrival, or well over two hours (or more if there are significant issues), depending on a variety of factors like your seat on the plane, the terminal and gate, how long the queue at passport control is, and so on. Either take quite some margin and be ready to wait, or book a ticket which is flexible up to the last minute, but in that case, check in advance for your possible alternatives, service patterns are quite irregular.

Alternatives involve:

  • going to Paris proper and take a train from Gare de Lyon. More options there, but depending on the day and time it can be a hassle, whether by RER regional train (crowded and delayed) or by taxi (traffic jams). At other times it can be a breeze, so it really depends.
  • taking a train to Lyon (airport or Lyon Part-Dieu), as there may be more trains (especially from Gare de Lyon), but then you have a quite bit more road to Uzès (over 2h30).
  • flying directly into Lyon or possibly Montpellier, but as far as I am aware, that will necessarily involve a connection somewhere.
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    @Dave on a Sunday, getting to Gare de Lyon is usually less of a problem: fewer people, no overcrowded trains, fewer chances of delays. The RER station is right next to the TGV station and you have just one change in either Gare du Nord (to RER D) or Châtelet-les-Halles (to RER A) which is just a cross-platform change. But beware, there are a lot of planned works over the summer on RER B, including a few days where the service is stopped for the full day on half of the line.
    – jcaron
    Jun 4, 2023 at 15:36
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    @Dave Re: tickets, on Inoui trains, many tickets are somewhat flexible, there may be a fee if you change your ticket in the last few days (including same day). The cheaper tickets are not changeable at all. The most expensive tickets (Business Premiere) are fully flexible. In all cases you have to change your ticket before boarding, but you can do that either via the app or at the automated kiosks. Ouigo (the low-cost trains) have different rules which I’m not familiar with.
    – jcaron
    Jun 4, 2023 at 15:38
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    @Dave just a warning: there are two train stations for Avignon: the old one in the centre of Avignon (also called Avignon Centre), and the new one on the high-speed line which is outside of the city. Make sure you book your train ticket (and check alternatives, if relevant) and your car rental at the same station!
    – jcaron
    Jun 4, 2023 at 15:42
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    @Dave quite a few trains get fully booked. One big issue with the trains serving CDG is that they are both coming from the North or East and serving both CDG and MLV (Disneyland and Eastern Paris region) and serving CDG and MLV on their way to the South. This makes the CDG-MLV segment extremely busy. I know I looked at the trains for this afternoon earlier today and at least one train was fully booked. Also about half of the trains are Inoui and the other half are Ouigo, which despite being two brands of the same company, do not allow rebooking from one to the other.
    – jcaron
    Jun 4, 2023 at 19:27
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    @Dave you may also want to consider that Montpellier and Marseille are not that much farther from Uzès than is Avignon -- Marseille is about 1h40, Montpellier just over an hour, and Avignon about 40 minutes. While you can't fly directly to either airport from California, the added time and expense of having to change planes somewhere may be less than the time and expense of getting from Paris to Avignon by train. On top of that, if your first flight is delayed, the airline will take the responsibility of getting you to your final destination without having to pay for a ticket change.
    – phoog
    Jun 6, 2023 at 1:25

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