Most parents contemplating a trip to Europe sooner or later mull the cost and convenience of car rental vs. train travel.
Looking strictly at cost: if you have only one child, or if your kids are so young they still travel on trains for free, then train travel -- using one of many types of rail passes-- might be your choice. (Typically, kids under 4 travel free, and kids 4 to 11 pay 50%.)
With a larger family, however, or with older kids, the figures tilt toward car rental. Another factor is the huge, gigantic, and might I add, enormous, convenience of having your own vehicle.
But speaking of convenience -- why not travel with everything including the kitchen sink, and rent a motorhome? Certainly it's convenient to carry your own lodgings along, especially when deluxe campgrounds are available with pools, playgrounds, pizza parlours, and even hair salons. (These 4-star "tourist villages" are found in France, Spain, and Italy -- see Eurocamp.
On the other hand, however, motorhomes are expensive to rent, and cumbersome to drive: many streets in European towns were built centuries ago and are scarcely wide enough for cars.
Most of us mere mortals find that simply driving a car in Europe is enough of a challenge. Car rental is of course easily accomplished but there are a few peculiarities... For example, in Italy you are required to pay for Collision Damage insurance even if, normally, your credit card would cover this.
Another option, available from two French auto manufacturers, is the "short-term lease", which combines good pricing with outstanding convenience.
Continue to p. 2: Short-term car leasing-- mais oui!