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FAQ

The key points of a coach or minibus rental in France

There are a number of points worth knowing before committing to a bus hire contract.

What bus hire services do we offer in France?

  • Airport transfers
  • Corporate events
  • General group transportation
  • Ski trips
  • Sightseeing tours
  • Shore excursions
  • University or School trips
  • Sport teams and fans (except football)
  • Weddings transport
  • Wine tours
  • Hens party / Stag do
  • Music festivals
  • Feria
  • Football fans & Professional football teams

Which types of coach can I hire in France?

Coaches are available in all capacities (number of seats) and all levels of comfort. All coaches manufactured today are fitted with safety belts. Although unofficial, the classification generally accepted by coach operators distinguishes between several types of coach.

A VIP minibus is the best choice for small groups attending an event or a conference

A 19-seater VIP minibus

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Luxury coaches and minibuses (vehicules VIP)

VIP vehicles (minibuses and coaches) are in a class of their own because each coach company may require specific equipment: tables, neck rests, leather seats, limited number of seats, etc. There is no exhaustive list.

If you would like to hire a VIP vehicle, be sure to specify this in your request for a quote, as not all our coach partners have VIP minibuses or VIP coaches. As the luxury minibus hire market has a low volume of business, few coach companies invest in this type of very expensive vehicle.

A VIP or luxury vehicle is naturally more expensive than any other type of coach.

A Grand Tourisme coach is very comfortable, it's fully equipped and has a larger space between each row of seats

A 57 seater full executive coach

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Full Executive Coaches (autocars Grand Tourisme)

As their name suggests, "Grand Tourisme" coaches (or Full executive coaches) are suitable for long national or international journeys. They are generally used for journeys lasting several days or excursions totalling several hours. However, these coaches are often supplied for simple transfers or short stays.

Full executive coaches are characterised by the presence of comfort features not necessarily found in other types of bus: reclining seats, well-spaced rows of seats, air conditioning, toilets, a microphone for the driver and guide, a fridge, one or more screens, luggage racks above the passengers, footrests and drop-down individual tables.

A "Grand Tourisme" coach has several luggage compartments.

A Tourisme coach is almost as comfortable as a Grand Tourisme coach, but it has a bit less space between each row of seats

A 57 seater executive coach

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Executive Coaches (autocars de Tourisme)

Executive coaches offer less comfort than "Full executive" coaches. The spacing between the rows of seats is smaller, allowing more rows of seats in a vehicle of the same size.

Another difference may be the absence of toilets in the touring coach, but this is not always the case. Finally, footrests and individual drop-down individual tables are not always present.

In truth, many coach companies make no distinction between a Full Executive coach and an Executive coach because they are often similar in terms of equipment and comfort.

This is undoubtedly the best value for money for groups on a moderate budget.

A Standard coach is less comfortable than a Tourisme Coach. Usually seats are not reclining seats and it has no toilets

A 63 seater standard coach

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Standard coaches (autocars mixtes)

Standard coaches, also known as "autocars mixtes", are less comfortable: the seats are not suitable for trips lasting several days or for journeys that are too long.

A service provided in a standard coach is generally billed less expensively, so it's worth asking for this type of vehicle if you're on a tight budget.

We'll be able to tell you about the comfort features of its standard coach: whether or not it has air conditioning, a microphone, a luggage compartment, etc.

It is accepted that a standard coach does not have toilets, that its seats do not recline and that its rows of seats are fairly narrow.

A school bus is the cheaper and the less comfortable type of bus in France

A 59 seater school bus

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School Buses (cars scolaires)

This is the least comfortable category of vehicle. There are no toilets, luggage compartments or reclining seats. It is therefore impossible to use a school bus when travelling with luggage.

Air conditioning and microphones are also rare in school coaches. However, they are fitted with seatbelts, as required by law.

This is the cheapest type of coach you'll find.

How big are the buses you can hire in France?

Our bus rental services in France are aimed exclusively at groups. Whatever the size of your group, we'll try to find the coach that suits you best.

The buses we hire in France can be minibuses with 15 to 19 seats, small coaches with 20 to 27 seats, or larger coaches with 40, 50 or even 63 seats. 

Travel to France in complete safety

In France, minibuses and coaches are subject to a compulsory technical inspection every six months.
All the vehicles we hire are fitted with safety belts.

What you should know about luggage

If you plan to rent a bus in France with luggage, we can advise you on the right size of vehicle, as not all coaches or minibuses have a large luggage hold.

For example, a 19-seater minibus can only accommodate around 15-16 people with cabin luggage, but only 10-11 people with a large suitcase. So if there are 19 of you with one piece of luggage each, you'll need to hire a 25/30-seater coach to make sure you have enough luggage space.

The 53-seater coaches (which are the most common in France) can accommodate 53 passengers with one suitcase each.

Car seats are not compulsory on buses in France, unless the children cannot stand on their own in their own seat.

About car seats in coaches and minibuses in France

In France, car seats are compulsory in cars and minivans with fewer than 10 seats, for children up to and including the age of 9.
Car seats are not compulsory in minibuses and coaches.

Travelling by minibus or coach with young children? You are free to bring your own car seat. The driver will show you which seats in the vehicle are fitted with 3-point belts so that you can attach your car seat safely. A coach generally has 6 seats fitted with 3-point belts. The other seats have 2-point belts, which are not suitable for car seats.

Important: in a coach or minibus, every passenger (including very young children) must occupy their own seat. Holding a child on your lap is strictly forbidden. If your child (baby or very young child) is unable to sit up unaided, he or she must be placed in a car seat.

Are you travelling in a minivan with fewer than 10 seats and children? If so, please let us know the age of your children. We will ask the company providing your transport if they are able to supply car seats or booster seats.

What equipment would you like in the coach?

Not all coaches have the same equipment. The more upmarket the coach or minibus, the more equipment it has. Coach hire prices also depend on the quality of the coach.

If you're reading this page, it's because you're thinking about renting a coach or minibus in France.

If you are on a tight budget

You're looking for an affordable price first and foremost: in this case, don't ask us for any special equipment. Tell us in your request for a quote that you are on a tight budget. We'll suggest a coach that costs less to run. 

Take a look below at the different types of coach you can hire and tell us what type of coach you would like to hire during your trip to France.

You are looking for comfort above all else

In this case, tell us what equipment is absolutely necessary. Hiring this higher standard coach will cost more, but you'll travel in better conditions.

Here are just some of the equipment that coaches and minibuses can be fitted with.

Tell us which ones are absolutely essential for you.

  • Seats belts (compulsory in France)
  • Reclining seats
  • WC (not available on a minibus)
  • Drop-down individual tables
  • Disabled access
  • WIFI
  • USB sockets on each seat
  • DVD Player
  • Microphone & PA system
  • Reading lights

How can I reach Toursud by phone?

In short, we're available 24/7 in case of emergency. We give our telephone number to everyone to whom we send a bus rental quote.

We'd like to point out that it's more convenient to talk to us by email: it gives us time to analyze the details of your coach booking file and offer you the most suitable response.

However, if you prefer, you're welcome to call us (in English or French) to discuss your coach rental project or booking. We are generally available Monday to Friday from 9am to 7pm (Paris time). You'll speak with Coralie or Arnaud, and we'll be your sole contacts for organizing your coach rental in France.

As the service you've booked approaches, we'll also give you a telephone number reserved for emergency calls at night. So if you need to contact us at night, we'll also be available to answer your call.

How do you estimate the price of a coach rental in France?

It's quite an art! A coach hire quote depends on a number of factors:

  • The size of the coach or minibus: using a minibus generally costs less than a coach, unless it's a luxury minibus of course.
  • The level of comfort required: the cheapest coach is, of course, the school bus. For better quality services, we prefer touring coaches, or even luxury coaches.
  • Mileage: driving 300 kilometres is of course more expensive than driving 50 kilometres. In addition to the price of fuel and wear and tear on the coach, the number of hours worked by the driver also has an impact on the price.
    Note that the kilometres travelled by the coach to pick you up in or return to its depot after your service also have an impact on the final price.
    For example, if you need a coach departing from Paris, to travel 150 kilometres and return the same day to Paris: 
    • It would be better to use a coach company from the Paris area which will travel a total of 300 kilometres. This will reduce the distance covered by the coach.
    • If the company you hire has to travel 100 kilometres to get to , the cost will be much higher because they will charge you 100 kilometres to get to Paris, 300 kilometres with your group and 100 kilometres to get back to their depot, making a total of 500 kilometres.
  • The date: a Sunday (or public holiday) service generally costs more than a weekday service. If the period is busy and the coach companies know that they will hire out all their coaches without a problem, prices will go up.
    • Hiring a coach on a public holiday costs more because the driver is paid more. In France, public holidays are: 1 January, Easter Monday, 1 May, 8 May, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, 14 July, 15 August, 1 November, 11 November and 25 December.
  • The time of day: hiring a coach in the evening costs more than hiring a coach during the day. Having a coach driver work at night is even more expensive.
  • Coach driver pay: some companies pay their drivers more than others. This obviously has an impact on fares, but it is often synonymous with a better quality service. A driver who is paid more will tend to satisfy his customers better.
  • The margin generated by the coach company: this is where the difference between coach companies lies. Prices for the same service can vary enormously from one company to another. Since 2008, we have worked with hundreds of coach companies. So we know exactly who we can trust.

How far in advance should I book the coach in France?

There are no hard and fast rules. The quote we send you is subject to the availability of the coach or minibus requested. This means that the coach company is free to hire out its coach to another group as long as you have not booked it.

But once you've booked, you can rest easy. The coach is reserved for you, and you can prepare for your trip in peace.

Simply put: first come, first served!

If you wait too long to book a coach, be prepared for the coach to become unavailable. And there's no guarantee that we'll be able to find another available company, let alone at the same price.

Every year, many groups contact us just a few weeks before arriving in France (sometimes just a few days before!). They have already booked their plane tickets, hotels, restaurants and shows.... and think that finding a coach will be easy. On the contrary, at Toursud we advise you to book your coach as early as possible, even several months in advance, so as not to find yourself without a coach.

How do I calculate the duration of a coach journey?

Our customers often consult Google Maps to calculate their journey times. It's a good idea, but the same journey takes longer by coach than by car. To put it simply, if a journey by car takes 45 minutes, a coach will take around an hour.

Twenty minutes by car? Thirty minutes by coach. Two hours by car? Two and a half hours by bus.

Beware, these bases are not always exact: rush-hour traffic and traffic jams have an impact on journey times. Rest assured, we can tell you how long your journey will take, although this is not an exact science.

For longer journeys, it's best to ask us, as we have to take into account the compulsory breaks that coach drivers must respect.

Is it possible to change the route of our journey or the timetable?

As long as you have not yet booked the coach, you can change the details of your journeys as you wish. We will update the quote if your changes affect the price of the services you wish to book.

If you wish to make changes once the coach has been booked, we will first have to check with the coach company whether the requested changes are possible. This is because a timetable change on your part may have an impact on services booked by other groups.

If the requested changes are possible, we will check whether this alters the advertised fare: we will refund you part of the amount paid if the service is cheaper or we will charge you a supplement if the service is more expensive.

Is it possible to negotiate the price of coach hire?

Since 2022, the profession of coach driver has become less and less popular. Many drivers decided to change profession after the Covid-19 period. Today, coach companies are almost certain to have enough work for all their drivers every day.

There's nothing to stop you trying to negotiate, but given that the vast majority of coach operators have "too much work", prices are rising steadily and there are very few opportunities for negotiation.

Will there be toilets in the coach I'm hiring?

Only large coaches (with 40 seats or more) are generally equipped with toilets. You should be aware that coach toilets are for emergencies only.

They are not designed to accommodate several people one after the other, for the comfort of the passengers seated near the toilets, but also for that of the driver. Put yourself in the driver's shoes: he'll have to clean the toilets after several gentlemen who had trouble keeping their balance when the bus was moving...

Please note that we cannot guarantee that the coach you are allocated will have toilets. Even if we know that the coach is equipped with toilets, the coach company may need to change the allocation of its coaches at the last minute to meet the needs of its schedule. For this reason, we cannot guarantee that your coach will be equipped with toilets.

It's impossible to guarantee that your coach will have 100% toilet facilities. That would be lying to you.

Finally, depending on the type of coach you need, please note that minibuses, school coaches and standard buses are not equipped with toilets.

Does the bus driver take breaks on long journeys lasting several hours?

Bus drivers usually take a break about every two hours of driving on long journeys. This may vary depending on the schedule or traffic conditions. This allows coach passengers to go to the toilet at freeway service stations or to stretch their legs.

When we send you our quote for coach hire in France, we'll take these stops into account to offer you the timetable best suited to your needs.

Ideally, the group leader should meet with the bus driver at the start of the trip to discuss the desired stops. Of course, if more frequent stops are required, you can let the driver know.

Finally, you should know that European coach legislation requires the driver to take at least 45 minutes break for every 4.5 hours of driving during the day (4 hours at night).