5 days in the Loire Valley???

Old Jul 2nd, 2002, 10:10 AM
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5 days in the Loire Valley???

Please help. I need to make reservations and my husband and I have a difference of opinion. I want 5 days in the Loire Valley... he says 4 are sufficient. Time isn't a factor because we're both retired. Is there enough to do and see if we stay 5 days? Neither of us want to be rushed and we will have a rental car. We've never been before and I'm not certain we'll ever go back to that area again. Thanks for any input.
Old Jul 2nd, 2002, 10:35 AM
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Hi, Sandy, please tell us what it is your husband prefers to do for that additional day, maybe it will affect some responses. Also, maybe you could list what places, chateaux, activities you'd like to cover during your visit - that might help you decide if 4 days or 5 days are needed. For example, I would like to visit at least 2 chateaux, a day-trip to Tours, a walk-about in Amboise and maybe two rounds of golf for hubby. Sounds like a minimum of 4 days for my plan, and maybe I'd add one more just for relaxing. Hope this helps some...
Old Jul 2nd, 2002, 10:49 AM
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There is plenty to see in the Loire Valley. I have been there three times and have not come close to seeing everything.

Be sure to go to Villandry if you like gardens.

Remember the Loire Valley is fairly large, and you will want to spend half a day at most chateaus, etc . that you go to. We stayed at Amboise for three nights and then spent a night at a chateau, a bed and breakfast in the countryside, and most interesting of all, stayed at the monastery where Richard the Lion Hearted was buried.
Old Jul 2nd, 2002, 11:10 AM
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One could easily spend 5 day (or 10) in the Loire valley and only scratch the surface. A steady diet of chateaus does, however, get a bit boring. One year we broke it up with a side trip to the Ile de Re on the Atlantic coast between a couple of 2 day stays. I would also suggest that even for four days you stay two days in one place and two days in another. For one thing, accommodations in the Loire are more interesting than in most places and the opportunity to select two hotels is a bonus not a drawback. Also it makes your day trips shorter and requires you to traverse the same roads far less often. Tell us more about what you want to do/see and we can recommend alternatives.
Old Jul 2nd, 2002, 11:36 AM
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I agree with Julie that there is plenty to do for 5 days, but constant chateaux could get old. There are lots of great wineries to visit, too (don't think Napa -- they are more like being welcomed into someone's home).

If your husband wants to break it up, how about a visit to Chartres? It is between the Loire and Paris and we thoroughly enjoyed our day trip there. The cathedral and its stained glass are out of this world. Be sure to get the Malcolm Miller tour (worth the 10 Euros) -- he has spent a lifetime studying the windows.
Old Jul 2nd, 2002, 07:50 PM
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Thank you all! Your suggestions were terrific. I'm thinking definitely 5 days after reading all your posts. We are focusing in on 2 chateaux... Le Manoir Les Minimes and Chateau de Rochecotte, each for 2 nights. We love wine tasting and I'm an amateur photographer so driving around and stopping here and there will be fine with both of us. A drive to Chartres sound great... about how far is it from the Loire Valley. And, a day to just relax doesn't sound bad either. How am I doing, guys? And, how are the chateaux we've picked... any other suggestions for chateaux? Thank you again. Sandy
Old Jul 2nd, 2002, 10:47 PM
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One of the best chateaus to visit is Valencay. You don't hear too much about it because it is a little off the normal tourist circuit.
Old Jul 2nd, 2002, 11:13 PM
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Sandy - The cathedral at Chartres is magnificent. Chartres is on the road between Paris and Tours so can be visited enroute to the Loire Valley if you are heading to or from Paris.

My husband and I really enjoyed visiting Clos Luce in Amboise, which was Leonardo Da Vinci's home in his later years. It's a fascinating place to visit and includes an exhibit of his many inventions.

Also, the city of Blois is a nice town to visit.

We visited all the Chateaux that begin with the letter "C"...Chenenceaux, Chaumont, Chambord, Cheverny, etc., just coincidentally!
Old Jul 3rd, 2002, 06:30 AM
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Ron, glad to hear good things about Valencay. We've got that one our itinerary for September. Sandy, we've stayed at the Rochecotte and loved it--twice. Large rooms, elegantly furnished in modern style with beautiful public rooms that make you feel like you live in the place. Good restaurant. A fantastic 300 year old tree to park under, a forest carpeted in violets to explore and, added since we were there, apparently a pool. Oh, forgot the private chapel on the grounds. It would be a good base to explore the western end of the Loire valley--Villandry, Azay le Rideau, Langeais, Saumur, and even Angers if you decide to go that far.

I don't know your other hotel. I hope it's east of Tours to afford you a base for the castles in that area--Chenonceaux, Amboise, Chaumont, Blois, Cheverny are the biggies. I'd say that Chartres is about 150 km from Tours. If the other hotel is somewhere along that direction, it's probably the stay to use to strike out for your "chateau respite" day trip to the cathedral. If you don't want to go that far, you could do a day trip to Orleans. It has a nice cathedral (though not, of course, anything to rival Chartres), a great market, and a nice "big city" atmosphere for a day away from chateaux.
Old Jul 3rd, 2002, 07:06 AM
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Here's a bid for Chenonceux. We saw a couple and this was by far the favorite. Beautiful gardens and really well kept up home. Each room had a fresh arrangement from the garden. Also, there is a little village next to the chateau called, Chenonceau (no x) which offers a couple of lovely inn's, both of which serve up a wonderful and traditional French meal. We had a three-course lunch for about 14 euros each at Les Rosaries and tried escargots for the first time as it was included in the choice. It was a real highlight.

Also recommend Chartres, but try to go on a Saturday if you can. It's market day and Chartres has a long history as a market town. It's quite close to the Cathedral as well.

And Villandry, the gardens are wonderful and the family who owns it retains 8 full-time gardeners year round. Worth seeing. Have a great time.
Old Jul 3rd, 2002, 07:11 AM
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If you do get as far west as Angers, I would recommend spending some time there. Angers is a beautiful city and the chateau at Angers is also worth seeing.
Old Jul 3rd, 2002, 07:44 AM
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I totally agree with Randy's post on Angers. The tapestries in the castle will blow your mind! Both the great hall "tenture de la Passion" and the portion of the castle only accessible on a guided tour are amazing.

A great place to stay nearby is the Chateau de Noirieux.

My suggestion: check out Angers, sleep over, then drive to Paris through Le Mans (another great gothic cathedral)and Chartres. Or do it the other way around if you're starting out in Paris.

Old Jul 3rd, 2002, 07:51 AM
Mr. Go
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You may want to skip Langeais, it's a bit dreary. Go to Chinon instead. Great old town, topped by a wonderful old ruin of a castle, with lots of vineyards and wineries around.

And I agree with the above comments about the tapestries at Angers and the gardens of Villandry. Chenonceaux is the best, but don't miss Azay-le-Rideau. Oh, and bring your appetite for good food!
Old Jul 3rd, 2002, 08:08 AM
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Funny how different people have different opinions...

I find Chambord the absolute best chateau, especially if you're into architecture. Look at the twin exterior spiral staircases - they could have been designed by Gaudi. The Da Vinci's double revolution grand staircase inside the castle is a masterpiece and the roof will just take your breath away!

IMO Chenonceau is a very nice photo op, nothing more.

Nicest gardens are at Villandry.

Though visually not as astounding as the other castles, Langeais is the most fascinating from a historical point of view (do take the excellent guided tour).

Biggest disappointment was Blois, followed by Clos Luce in Amboise (this could be because it was overcrowded though).

Old Jul 3rd, 2002, 08:59 AM
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My deepest thanks again to all of you who answered my question. Now I will digest all your suggestions and create a game plan. This board has given me a wealth of information since I found it a few months ago. I don't know how I managed without Fodor posters.
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