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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.

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    Now someone will come and say "you are not a man unless you drive a manual car"... – Nean Der Thal Apr 25 '15 at 15:15
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    @IKeelYou "you are not a man unless you ride a horse"! :) – Franck Dernoncourt Apr 25 '15 at 15:19
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    @FranckDernoncourt you drove too much in America, you're taking bad habits :) – Vince Apr 25 '15 at 16:03
  • @Vince Some people just prefer the simplicity of an automatic transmission. They're generally easier to drive and don't stall as easy, especially while shifting. – Nzall Apr 25 '15 at 19:48
  • @NateKerkhofs Can they stall at all? Never happened to me… – Relaxed Apr 25 '15 at 22:04
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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 450-550EUR for a week. A smaller manual car would cost you 300-400EUR. Whether this is cheap for you is up to you to decide. See below for a screenshot of a sample booking:

Hertz automatic

For more options, you can choose "Boite Automatique" as vehicle type when booking:

enter image description here

  • Thanks, in the end I rented a Citroën Grand Picasso from Hertz: 650 euros for 4 days (from July 3 to July 6), automatic transmission, 1000 km included, 0.38 euros per extra km, full insurance included in Paris. – Franck Dernoncourt Apr 27 '15 at 21:49
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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.

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    I might be mistaken but I think you can not find 7 seat cars in the cheap category. Manual nor automatic transmission. Renting in France is not that cheap to start with, add the price of gas/petrol, tolls, parking fees and insurance for the car, I think you get into the expensive category even when you have the best offer for the car. – Willeke Apr 25 '15 at 20:25
  • @Willeke Indeed, that's precisely my point ;-) – Relaxed Apr 25 '15 at 20:32
  • This shifting by buttons is so confusing, last time I tried it I felt like I just learned how to drive. – Nean Der Thal Apr 25 '15 at 21:38

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