Last June I made my first visit to Paris in a few years to visit my sister who had moved there in the fall. Since I had been to Paris before we decided to take a French road trip to the Jura/ Burgundy regions of France with a few of my days there. So in typical form we didn’t do much research other than booking the cutest Airbnb and a rental car. The night before we bought snacks for eating and gathered our stuff for our early-ish departure from Paris.
Our trip of misadventures started the morning that we were to depart. We decided to ride shared bikes from my sister’s place in the Marais to the Gare de Lyon station where we were to pick up the car. To start we couldn’t find two working bikes near her apartment… We grabbed the one that worked and soldiered on walking until another working bike revealed it’s self to us. Once we finally found the bikes and took the 15 minute ride to the station it turned out there was an issue with the docks and only one was even available anyway, my sister had to search for another dock somewhere near by while I got the keys for the car. Picking up the rental car was no problem and we made our way to the car. We set ourselves up in what we quickly will learn is officially the worst car in the world. It was some sort of automatic Pugeot since I can only drive auto being a pretty typical American (I want to learn manual but no one has a car!!). We collectively have no pictures of the car because it wasn’t cute.. ah well.
We are barely on the road and I notice something peculiar in how the car drives. Not only does it automatically turn off when stopped (I guess this is a thing to save gas… I don’t know) but it has the worst automatic transmission ever. For someone who has never driven a manual car I could tell when this car needed to shift gears and would have to punch the gas to get it there. This was a constant annoyance the entire trip as it was such a weird thing to have to constantly do to an automatic car but I got used to it as much as one could.
Our drive takes us to our first randomly decided stop the town of Avallon. After a close call in parking (turns out the gas is punchy and the steering is awkward too) we head out to explore the town and grab lunch. Except one thing, we arrive slightly too late and everything is already closed except one sandwich shop. I manage to sort out something to eat and my sister decides to just eat the food she brought with her. We find a nice park to eat at and then continue on our way.
We make it to our Airbnb in Courlaoux in the early evening. Our host only spoke a very little bit of english and my sister could only speak a little french but it all worked out. Side note, if you are going to the Jura region highly recommend Le Moulin de Nilly. Corine, the host, and her daughter were so lovely even with the large language barrier. The house was perfect for relaxing in and had 2 very comfortable beds! As it was early in the evening we decided to go to a store to buy some food to cook for dinner which of course was quite the adventure. Our first choice in the nearest town was closed off for some event so we managed to find a store that was open to buy stuff at instead.
We spent the next day exploring the towns of Dijon and Dole with thankfully no issues. We grilled a nice meal at our Airbnb and enjoyed a leisurely time. On our way back to Paris we stopped in Lyon for lunch and to see a flea market that was woefully sad on a weekday, it seemed like a place people came to day drink rather than shop on a Thursday. So on we went back to Paris where our road trip troubles continued.
It happened to be a very hot day and we soon learned that our little car that already was a gas guzzler, which for Europe is extra expensive and for the car weird because it was small and supposed to save gas by doing the weird on/off thing, also had the worst AC ever. In normal cars if you are going the speed you would on a highway the AC usually works its best but oh no this car this car it barely worked at those speeds, instead an in traffic 10kmph was its ideal speed. So it was a hot drive back to Paris with the same songs playing over and over no matter which station you picked.
We were excited when we finally arrived at the edge of Paris, we could soon be rid of our weird little rental car but of course had to spend 2 hours in traffic because we got to the city during rush hour, no big deal the music is better in Paris. Once through traffic we head to the gas station to fill up and be done but of course this would be the last curve ball this road trip threw us. The pump my sister usually goes to with her BF as it turns out only takes french debit cards which neither of us have, so we have to find another station. After much ado and embarrassment we find a gas station that the car barely fit in it was so tiny and are able to fill up and then drop the car off. Of course I took it in the wrong parking garage but got it sorted and we were finally free of the most terrible rental car ever.