3 nights at Loire Valley

Old Mar 8th, 2009, 09:29 AM
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3 nights at Loire Valley

me and my wife will spend 3 nights at the valley next month. our base will be amboise, please comment on our tentative itinerary below:

11 april : arrive at amboise around 11am, spend the rest of the day at Clos Luce
and Chateau Amboise (+ underground tour)

12 april: chaumont, chambord, blois + light and sound show

13 april: mountpoupon, loches, chenonceau + night walk

14 april: spend early morning at tours, catch train to paris around noon.

is it worth it to drive west to langeais or azay-le-rideau?

thanks a lot!
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Old Mar 8th, 2009, 09:57 AM
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Having visited these châteaux countless times, I personally would definably include Azay-le-Rideau.

Of course I would also skip Château Amboise totally as this over-hyped attraction has been fundamentally dismantled and the stone sold by a previous owner. The daVinci tie in makes an interesting story and there are clever model reproductions of his inventions on display in the basement of the Clos Luce but on the whole there are more architecturally and historically significant châteaux to visit, Cheverny for instance - the only fully furnished château in the Loire Valley.

As a general rule, I recommend you visit no more than 2 châteaux a day. There is a tendency of sensory overload when this limit is exceeded.
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Old Mar 8th, 2009, 10:09 AM
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I think seeig 3 chateaux in a day - never mind along with a son et lumiere - is very ambitious. We were in the Loire 6 days and never managed to do 3 per day - there's just too much to see/do, time getting from one to another, having a decent lunch etc. I suppose it you get there the minute it opens and rush all day youmight pull it off.
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Old Mar 8th, 2009, 08:21 PM
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I think your itin is doable, although you might be chateau'ed out by end of your trip. azay-le-rideau is worthwhile. I also really enjoyed Villandry, not for the chateau itself, but for the beautiful gardens, which is somewhat of a change of "scenery". You can choose to visit just the Villandry gardens only without the chateau.
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Old Mar 8th, 2009, 09:17 PM
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Langeais is quite itneresting, as it is still furnished--not all the châteaux are more than bare rooms. Azay-le-Rideau is another good one; the moat is very picturesque, and the son-et-lumière is excellent. Villandry is well worth seeing for the gardens--they are amazing, especially the veggie ones.

Before you make any decisions, check to see which châteaux offer only guided tours. Those can tie you up for more time than you might want.
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Old Mar 9th, 2009, 11:03 PM
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thanks everyone.. will consider your inputs. and expect for a trip report next month!
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Old Mar 12th, 2009, 01:42 PM
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Amboise is a delightful town. It has enough to see and do for a day, especially if you are a fan of Leonardo da Vinci who spent the last 4 years of his life at Clos-Luce, a house given to him by Francis I a few hundred yards from the Chateau d'Amboise. I spent 1 night in September 2005 at the Manoir St.Thomas and found it to be a delightful hotel.

I have visited both Angers and Saumur and found them to be wonderful towns.. Both have enough to do to keep you occupied for a full day. Angers is at the western end of the Loire Valley and strangely most people seem to ignore it. But that is unfortunate because it makes an excellent base from which to see the province of Anjou.

Be that as it may, if you have a car, I would not spend more than 45 minutes driving each way...simply find a town or chateau and do as Balzac suggested... Eat a Mushroom and take in the essential strangeness of the place...(he was referring to Saumur)
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Old Mar 13th, 2009, 02:14 PM
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we'll probably keep Chateau d'Amboise and Clos Luce in the itinerary... just to relax the rest of the day after a 3-4 hr drive from clermont ferrand. next day will be chambord and chenonceau. our last day will be azay-le-rideau and villandry. do you know if these castles have picnic grounds?
or do you guys recommend any good restaurants the chateaus?
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Old Mar 13th, 2009, 02:22 PM
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hi eugene,

i can't remember if you can picnic in the grounds of villandry - the website might tell you - but they do have a restaurant. we thought that it was overpriced for what it was, and walked along the road to one of the little restaurants in the village, which was fine.

Amboise is full of restaurants - I don't remember one at the chateau itself - and clos luce has a tea shop!

I suggest for the others have a look at their websites.

regards, ann
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Old Mar 15th, 2009, 08:59 PM
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I don't think Villandry allows you to picnic inside. There are no picnic tables anyway.

There is a really good restaurant not too far... Here's a link to my report from 2007

We also ate at the restaurant (a creperie) inside Clos Luce.
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Old Mar 16th, 2009, 12:27 PM
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There is a large picnic area in the town of Villandry. If you are coming from Azay le Riday or Chinon, the picnic area is before the chateau. If you are coming from Tours, the picnic area is just past the chateau.

It has picnic tables, toilets, an information kiosk, and lots of parking. I think there are grills if you want to make a fire and cook something. We usually just eat a light lunch. Villandry (the town not the chateau) has a boulangerie where you can purchase bread, croissants, and pastries.

Before you enter the chateau, there is a food stand that sells yummy ice cream; try the violet.

Azay le Rideau does not have a picnic area on the chateau grounds; however, there are lots of benches where you can rest and enjoy a snack. Just outside of Azay le Rideau is a Champion Supermarche if you need to purchase picnic supplies. Gasoline and diesel are cheaper at the supermarches than at fuel stations on the motorway.

We have toured three chateau in a day and did not feel rushed. In Amboise, you can easily visit the chateau, Clos Luce, and Chenenceau. Amboise Chateau may close for an hour or two in the middle of the day but Chenenceau is open without interruption; it opens early and stays open later than most chateaus.

We really enjoy the chateau at Cheverny; it has a lovely picnic area. Chambord also has a picnic area.

If you are returning to Paris after Villandry, the motorway is very accessible and extremely well-marked. We usually make Villandry our last stop and then head towards Paris.
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