Rent a car during the Olympic Games

To get around France during the 2024 Olympics, hiring a car may be a good idea. What should you look out for before taking the car? What insurance should you take out? How can you avoid paying extra at the end of the rental period? In this article, you'll find all the information you need to rent a car in France.


Be aware of the conditions and options in the contract, such as :

  • additional costs not included in your booking (e.g. fuel option, return outside opening hours, cleaning costs, etc. ),
  • options such as a child seat, an additional driver, a GPS, etc,
  • the unlimited mileage option,
  • compulsory on-board equipment. In the event of an inspection, it is highly likely that the driver (i.e. you) will be held responsible and fined!

To hire a vehicle, you must :

  • be of the required minimum rental age: between 18 and 21, depending on the vehicle category.
  • hold a driving licence that has been valid for more than 1 year. Depending on the rental company, this required period of validity may be up to 2 years. The licence must be issued by a Member State and be valid, i.e. mutually recognised within the EU.
  • present a means of payment in your full name that is accepted by the rental company.

Third-party liability insurance (which covers personal injury and damage to property caused to third parties) is compulsory. In principle, it is automatically included in the rental price. You will often find it under the acronym "TI" or "TPI" in the general terms and conditions of the contract.

You can take out optional insurance to cover theft or damage to the vehicle (with or without excess). You'll find these under the acronyms "CDW" or "TP" (with excess) and generally "Super Cover" or "SCDW" (reduced or zero excess).

Further acronyms to know to take out an additional insurance can be found in our brochure Car rental in Europe or in the next question.

These are the main acronyms you need to know to take out supplementary insurance:

  • LDW / CDW: insurance against material damage to the vehicle with an excess payable by you
  • TP / TW / TPC: theft insurance with excess
  • SLDW/Super CDW: insurance against damage to the vehicle with a reduced or zero excess
  • PAI /PI / SPAI: insurance for persons transported (in the event of accidental death, bodily injury and medical expenses)
  • PEP / PEC: insurance against theft of personal effects
  • OAC/ FPO: Fuel Purchase Option

Good to know: Before taking out additional insurance, check that it is not already included in your bank card contract. Some top-of-the-range cards (Gold Mastercard or Visa Premier) cover the excess in the event of an accident.


Most rental companies will ask you for a deposit. This is a direct debit authorisation sent to your bank. The amount generally corresponds to the amount of the excess and is intended to cover any damage. The higher the category of vehicle rented, the higher the deposit required.

Be aware that the amount and conditions of return are set freely by the rental companies. However, they must be clearly displayed on the premises and in the general terms and conditions of sale.


Yes, when you collect the vehicle, an inventory should be drawn up, if possible in the presence of an employee of the hire company. If the employee is not present, check that the pre-filled rental contract/schedule of condition accurately indicates any damage (scratches, bumps, etc.) and that the additional options provided (GPS, radio, child seat, etc.) are available. Scrupulously check all the details, especially the most contentious areas (rims, underside of the vehicle/shock absorber, interior of the vehicle and fabrics, presence of the rear parcel shelf and aerial, etc.).

Advice before setting off:

  • Check the fuel level.
  • Take photos or videos of any visible damage.
  • Amend the inventory of fixtures if necessary and immediately send an email to the rental company.

Conseils avant de prendre la route :

  • Vérifiez le niveau de carburant.
  • Prenez des photos ou des vidéos des dommages apparents.
  • Modifiez l’état des lieux si nécessaire et envoyez immédiatement un email au loueur.
  • Return the car to the location originallyspecified in the rental contract.
  • Return the car during the agency's opening hours. Remember that you remain responsible for the vehicle until you hand over the keys in person at the agency. So if the vehicle is damaged during the night for example, the agency will take action against you. However, some rental companies use "key boxes" that allow you to return the vehicle outside opening hours. In this case, remember to take photos of the vehicle to avoid the rental company billing you for any damage.
  • Return the car on time. Depending on the rental company, a tolerance of 30 minutes to one hour may be applied. Please note: car hire companies generally charge an extra day's hire for any delay!
  • Fill up with fuel, unless you have taken out a "fuel option"! If you fill up the tank, keep the receipt and take a photo of the meter in case the rental company disputes the amount of fuel.
  • Carry out an inventory of fixtures, ideally in the presence of an employee of the rental company, and sign the return document as proof. Keep a copy.

In the event of an accident, refer to the rental guide and notify the rental company and the police immediately. Some contracts indicate the procedure to follow, giving an emergency number. An accident report must be drawn up and given to the rental company. Keep a copy as well.

Tip: If repairs are necessary, don't hesitate to ask a garage for an estimate before returning the vehicle to the agency. This will enable you to contest any abnormally high charges with the rental agency.

In the event of theft, you should report the theft to the police, then return the keys and vehicle papers to the rental company. Your liability will be limited to the amount of the excess, but only if you have taken out insurance to cover damage to and/or theft of the vehicle.

  • First, contact the rental company in writing. Retain proof of your correspondence.
  • If this effort proves unsuccessful, proceed as follows:

If you live in France, you can receive assistance from a consumers’ association, whose contact information is available on the DGCCRF’s website. You can also report your problem with the hotel operator or the rental property owner on the SignalConso platform.

- If you live in another EU Member State, Iceland or Norway, the European Consumer Centre for your country can assist you. Visit the ECC Network website for its contact information.

- If you live in a non-EU country, contact the embassy or consulate of your country in France or report your dispute on the, via the complaint form or contact the members of

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.