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Drive or take the train from Provence to Loire Valley

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Hi. My husband and I are planning a two week trip to France next May. I had initially thought that we would fly into Paris and back home to Toronto from Nice. However, then I realized that will put us in Nice during the Grand Prix and film festival... so hotels will be more expensive. I am now looking at flying into Nice in early May, staying there for about three days (taking local transit), taking the train to Provence- Avignon area for about four days. From there we would like to go to the Loire Valley for one night (Amboise?) and then onto Paris for four days.

My question is: Which is more time-efficient- returning the rental car and taking the TGV from Avignon to Paris then from Paris to the Loire (where we would then have to rent a car again just for the two days!) Or driving from Avignon directly to the Loire and turning the car in at the end of the stay there and taking the train to Paris.

Sorry if this is confusing.... I know some people will say to forget about the Loire..... but I really want to see a couple of chateux and it could be many, many years before we are able to return to France!

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