In France the vast majority of cars have manual transmission. To my knowledge, most of the cars with automatic transmission are luxury cars. Is it possible to rent a car with automatic transmission in Paris at a decent price (e.g. a price close to cheap rental car with manual transmission)? I plan to drive around 1,200 Km around France for vacation over 5 days in early July (~July 2 to July 6), with 7 people including myself, Paris being the start and end points.
I believe that any large rental company will have automatic transmission cars. Looking at Hertz cars, you can get a class F car (4-5 passenger compact sedan) with automatic transmission for 450-550
EUR for a week. A smaller manual car would cost you 300-400
EUR. Whether this is cheap for you is up to you to decide. See below for a screenshot of a sample booking:
For more options, you can choose "Boite Automatique" as vehicle type when booking:
You could get a Smart Fortwo. It probably counts as an entry-level car and has an automated manual transmission, with no clutch pedal (you do need to press a button on the steering wheel to engage the higher gear). Won't seat 7, though ;-)
Small hybrid cars (like the hybrid version of the Toyota Yaris) could also be an option, although I am not sure whether you could easily rent one of those. No gearbox, whether automatic or manual on that one (same for electric cars obviously).
Otherwise, you can ask for a car with automatic transmission from many rental companies (just checked Avis, Hertz and Europcar). The smallest city cars won't have it but it's available starting with the compact car category (VW Golf), so nothing super-luxurious. You would need two of those for your party.
If you all want to be in the same vehicle, you will need a van. I guess you could get one with automatic transmission too but it's going to cost you in any case. Really, if you are travelling with 7 people and want to drive a lot, the price of the cheapest manual transmission cars is moot because you need a bigger car one way or the other.