Amboise or Blois as lodging base?

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Feb 23rd, 2001, 05:35 AM
  #1
Judy
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Amboise or Blois as lodging base?

This a question about lodging for one night in order to see Chenonceaux, Chambord, Cheverny. Our idea is to be leisurely. We will train down from Paris and see one or two on day 1, then the other on day 2. Which town would you recommend for a good bus/train base,Amboise or Blois? Any specific lodging you recommend (up to $150 USD)? Thanks.
 
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Feb 23rd, 2001, 06:48 AM
  #2
Randall Smith
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Hi,

I would recomment Blois, unfortunately I don't have any specific recommendations, I believe the last time we visited our hotel was no longer there. The chateau at Blois I think is one of the most historical and interesting, from the archetecture to the murders that took place there as will as the death bed of Catherine de Medici.

Blois is a good central location for visiting the chateaux that you mentioined. I assume that you're planning on renting a car.

Check out the beautiful web site: http://www.leparisien.fr/home/mavill...icleid=5515657

Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

Sincerely,

Randall Smith
 
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Feb 23rd, 2001, 06:51 AM
  #3
Randall Smith
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Sorry, the link that I pasted above came out wrong, try the following:

http://www.univ-orleans.fr/ENVIRONS/blois/a_voir1.html

It is a very nicely done sight showing the chateau at Blois.

R Smith
 
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Feb 23rd, 2001, 06:53 AM
  #4
Gigi
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Hello, Judy!
We stayed in Amboise rather than Blois. I thought it had a bit more charm than Blois. You will get conflicting reports on that, however.

We stayed at Hotel Le Breche in Amboise. It was nice enough and included breakfast and the opportunity to dine in their restaurant. It also has a car park available. It is a smaller inn with very charming hosts.

If you like, Judy, repost and I will find the information on the hotel.
You will love the area! It is very special.
Ciao!
Gigi
 
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Feb 23rd, 2001, 07:00 AM
  #5
carol
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Hi Judy,

I'd recommend Tours as a base. I stayed there for two weeks a few years ago and found that it can be a really charming place if you stay in the right area. We stayed in a very quaint place called the Hotel du Cygne (I'm sure you can find contact info on any Tours website). It's an 18th century house with perhaps 10-12 rooms.
We had Room #4, I think, one flight up and their largest room ($88/night with breakfast). It's off the Rue Colbert, which has about a dozen small restaurants, all serving delicious food. Tours is also a great hub for sightseeing. There's a company called Touraine Evasion (I think), which does mini-van tours to the chateaux. That's how se did our touring. Each tour runs from 1:00-7:00pm and visits 3 chateaux, so you have ample time to wander around each one. The chateau visit is not escorted by the van driver/guide, but some of the chateaux provide their own guided visits. I just loved Tours and the mini-van tours. Many people who just stop overnight by the railroad station there think it's a tacky town with no charm at all. They couldn't be more wrong.
 
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Feb 23rd, 2001, 07:03 AM
  #6
carol
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Sorry to run on so, but I also wanted to tell you that by doing the mini-van tours, you get to see a lot of the countryside, which is just beautiful. The driver/guides speak English and have lots of anecdotes and historical information about the region. I do know that there is another mini-van tour company which is run out of Blois, also a charming town, just not one I know much about.
 
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Feb 23rd, 2001, 09:38 AM
  #7
Judy
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Thanks Randall, Gigi, Carol,
You all are a great help. Sounds like any of those major small towns will work fine.
I'll post a report after we travel, this summer.
 
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Feb 23rd, 2001, 09:39 AM
  #8
StCirq
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I've stayed in both several times, and Amboise is definitely my final answer. MUCH more charm than Blois and more to see and do right there in town. There is a fabulous hotel there called Le Choiseul, if you want to splurge or happen to be wealthy, but there are other very nice, reasonable hotels as well - we like the Lion d'Or, right on the river quai. It's a traditional little hotel with a great restaurant and comfortable, nicely furnished rooms. Last time I was there (1999) I think I paid about $90 for a double room. Tel. no. is (from the USA) 011-33-2-47-57-00-23. Fax is 011-33-2-47-23-22-49.
 
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Feb 23rd, 2001, 10:01 AM
  #9
John
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I agree with Amboise as a base. I thought Tours was awful, and we stayed there for a couple of days. I thought it was dirty and industrial looking. No decent restaurants to speak of. We go there several times a year and always like Amboise. The previous poster was right about staying on the river.
It is so curious how people see things differently.
 
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Feb 23rd, 2001, 10:16 AM
  #10
James
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How about Hotel Le Fleuray in Amboise? Trying to decide between that and Le Blason, also in Amboise.

Thanks for any input!
 
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Feb 23rd, 2001, 10:17 AM
  #11
StCirq
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Forgot to mention that I, too, abhor Tours. It's just a big dirty traffic jam in the midst of some scenic countryside. Sure, there's a small inner core that's got all the charming French stuff you're longing for, but it's not worth getting there. The smaller towns have considerably more charm and are far easier to maneuver within.
 
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Feb 23rd, 2001, 01:07 PM
  #12
Curt
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I vote for Amboise. We did not stay at Le Blason, but ate in their dining room and it was first rate. We stayed at the Manior Les Minimes, a very plush and well located manor house that is now a hotel. It is 4 star, and cost about $90 dollars back in November 2000. I would highly recommend it. Le Blason has had many good reports and if the hotel is as good as the food it will be good choice as well. While there check out the neat little bar on the island called Le Shaker...great drinks and nice bar food. By the way both of these hotels have web pages so search them out
 
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Feb 23rd, 2001, 03:29 PM
  #13
Christina
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Personally, I would recommend Blois, mainly for convenience as you said you do not have a car. The Amboise train station is rather far from the chateaux and main part of town (about a mile, I think), as I recall. Blois is a much smaller town so it's a short walk to the train station, tourist office, etc. Also, it's well known as a tourism center to see chateaux, so they have good bus tours to see them. As for regular buses, they are not very convenient in the Loire, they meander around a lot and take a lot of time. there may be convenient bus tours from Amboise, also, I did not look into them, but Amboise is a lot bigger than Blois. I didn't like Tours too much, I stayed there, it was just convenient for a base, but I think Blois is really more convenient for the chateaux. Not sure, I know it is very close to Chambord, you can bike from there, and I think it is closer to Cheverny. Chenonceau may be closer to Amboise, I believe. I was sans car, so if you are also, I think Blois is most convenient.
 
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Feb 23rd, 2001, 06:46 PM
  #14
Adelaide
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Amboise. Amboise. Amboise.!!!!No other
city is perfect for being centered perfectly between all you want to see and being a charming destination in itself. I agree with this Cirq woman about Le Choiseul. It is charming and has some unique surprises! Luxurious, reasonable and from my room you could see the Loire river. My husband Nathan
was in heaven having three meals a day at his pick of patiserees.
 
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Feb 23rd, 2001, 06:50 PM
  #15
StCirq
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Actually, I admit to having overlooked the fact that the poster will be traveling by train (not the best idea in the Loire valley, BTW). In that case, I would grudgingly say that Blois would be a better choice, but only because the train station is closer to hotels. Can you not rent a car? It's really the best and cheapest way to see all the sites in the Loire.
 
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Feb 23rd, 2001, 06:57 PM
  #16
LSKahn
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I spent a month in the Loire once and saw 18 chateaux during the month. I can't believe people can see 3 of them in a tour from 1:00pm to 7:00pm. I would not try to do more than 2 in a day (one in the morning, one in the afternoon with lunch in between).

As between Amboise and Blois, I would go for Amboise as have most posters.

I want to say something in defense of Tours. How could anyone say there were no good restaurants? There were plenty of good restaurants--and a lot more than Amboise. I had a home exchange house on the edge of the Old City. There were many restaurants. The trick is to walk out of the main square to some of the side streets in the Old City. One of the entertainments was simply strolling around in the evening and picking one.

My home exchange, which occurred in 1997, I think, was my 3rd or 4th visit to the Loire (depending if you count a day trip from Paris as a "visit"). I have seen most of the major chateaux, but still not Cheverny. You can't see them all--even in a month.

If you are in the Loire the first weekend in August, there is a Gargantua Fair in Chinon topped off by fantastic eating (gargantuan meals--get it) and a parade with gargantuan figures. I missed it the last time, so there has to be a next time.
 
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Feb 25th, 2001, 07:31 PM
  #17
steve
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Given the chateau mentioned, I would favor Blois. I always have stayed in Onzain and enjoyed it, altho I am not sure if the hotel I stayed in (Chateau des tertes) is still in business.

How are you getting to the chateau?
 
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Feb 27th, 2001, 05:20 AM
  #18
Judy
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Thanks for all the help. We've decided on Amboise.
Question: Are there buses or taxis in Amboise that go up to the chateau? We are trying not to rent a car because we just don't want to, if we can still get where we need to.
 
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Feb 27th, 2001, 07:35 AM
  #19
carol
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Amboise is so tiny that you can just walk to the chateau which is right on a little commercial street in the midst of town.
 
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Mar 25th, 2001, 09:48 AM
  #20
John
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Another vote for Amboise. Charming town, well located. We stayed at Le Manoir Les Minimes -- great value/location
 
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