|Subject: Re: Driving in France and Italy|
I'd say the key question is whether you're just going to big cities,
as people on their first trip often do, or want to visit some rural
areas. A car is a hassle in the cities but can be useful if you want
to stay in the country or go around hill towns. It might be
advisable to rent a car just for the part of the trip where it's most
useful; you might see different driving habits than you're used to
but you should get the hang of it.