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Train travel is quite helpful when touring the Loire Valley, as there is one line that goes up and down the river. True, you may sometimes need to avail yourself of a quick taxi ride from the station to a château door, but compared to renting a car, this adds up to little bother and expense.
As gateways to the region, Tours (70 mins, €53) and Angers (95 mins, €63) are both served by the superfast TGV (Trains à Grande Vitesse) from Paris (Gare Montparnasse); note that the main-line station in Tours is in suburban St-Pierre-des-Corps.
There are also TGV trains from Charles-de-Gaulle Airport direct to the Loire Valley to Angers (2 hrs, 30 mins; €72), and St-Pierre-des-Corps (for Tours, 1 hr, 45 mins; €59). Express trains run every 2 hours from Paris (Gare d'Austerlitz) to Orléans (1 hr, 5 mins; €19.40, usually you must change at nearby Les Aubrais) and Blois (1 hr, 40 mins; €26.90).
The main train line follows the Loire from Orléans to Angers (1 hr, 50 mins; €35.30); there are trains every 2 hours or so, stopping in Blois, Tours, and Saumur; trains stop less frequently in Onzain (for Chaumont), Amboise, and Langeais.
There are branch lines with trains from Tours to Chenonceaux (30 mins, €6.40), Azay-le-Rideau (30 mins, €5.40), and Chinon (50 mins, €9).
Ask the SNCF for the brochure Les Châteaux de la Loire en Train for more detailed information. Helpful train-schedule brochures are available at most stations.
Gare SNCF Angers (Pl. de la Gare, 49000. 02–41–86–41–24.)
Gare SNCF Orléans (ave. de Paris, 45000. 02–38–79–91–64.)
Gare SNCF Tours (Pl. du Général Leclerc, 37000. 02–34–74–72–59.)
SNCF (36–35 [€0.34 per min]. www.voyages-sncf.com.)
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