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Another France Change of Plans: Help With Loire and Normandy Appreciated

Another France Change of Plans: Help With Loire and Normandy Appreciated

Old Apr 5th, 2012, 01:59 AM
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I know how to pronounce French, just checking if it was the same place, sheesh
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Old Apr 5th, 2012, 07:38 AM
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It probably is Bigot; I never saw it printed, just heard it and thought it was more likely to be Bigeaux.As in Lake Bigeaux.
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Old Apr 6th, 2012, 02:17 PM
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I spent 10 days in the Loire Valley a few years ago, staying in Tours (mostly to get over jet lag, etc., then Amboise, Chinon and Saumur, ending up in Angers to take train back to Paris. Amboise was my favorite, with Chinon a close second.
My hotel in Amboise, Le Manoir les Minimes was wonderful, right on the river, with a beautiful view of the lit-up chateau at night from the room. It was walking distance to town and restaurants, a classy place but not too expensive.I thought Amboise a perfect base for many of the chateaux.

I loved my hotel in Saumur, Hotel Anne d'Anjou, but Saumur itself not so much - and I don't think the chateau there was even open. As others have said, be sure to see the Abbaye de Fontveraud. The hotel options are few in Chinon, and where I stayed was OK, nothing special, but right in town and inexpensive. I loved wandering around Chinon, though, and the chateau ruins were fascinating. I also loved the Chateau d'Amboise(which many people seem to skip), for it's history.
And I also loved Cheverney (especially the hounds!). I missed Chaumont and Langeais on this trip, but I'm sure I saw all the others in those 10 days. Chambord is a must, I suppose, but I wouldn't go again - too big. But the roof top was amazing. Have a great trip, and enjoy your planning!

I did a trip report, if you click on my name to find, you might find it useful for your planning.
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Old Apr 6th, 2012, 02:33 PM
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CigaleChanta, if you happen to get back in here - you mentioned David in Paris and his apt. in Honfleur. I miss his posts on this Forum, he was very helpful. Do you know why he stopped posting on here?
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Old Apr 10th, 2012, 10:55 AM
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A transportation question: Our trip begins in Paris, and we have to take a train to get near Sarlat, where we start the trip. It looks like the early morning trains to Brive and Limoges (we will pick up a car at either) take about the same time, and the cost difference does not look significant. Is there an advantage in going to either destination? Thanks.

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Old Apr 10th, 2012, 11:18 AM
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Why Limoges and not Périgueux?
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Old Apr 10th, 2012, 11:20 AM
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Brive is much closer to Sarlat. You'll have to drive past Brive if you are coming from Limoges anyway. The other thing might be which of the 2 places has the best cars for rent and the best deals on car rentals.
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Old Apr 10th, 2012, 11:37 AM
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If staying in the Périgord vert, Limoges makes sense; if staying in the Périgord noir, Brive makes more sense.
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Old Apr 10th, 2012, 12:54 PM
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I'm not helping your schedule by also suggesting adding Villandry. The garden is beautiful; the roses will bloom well into autumn. www.chateauvillandry.fr
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Old Apr 24th, 2012, 04:15 PM
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As Sue4 said, Le Manoir les Minimes in Amboise is a very good choice if you plan on using Amboise as a base, like we did some ten years ago. Another base option is Chinon with it's wonderful Hotel Diderot, where we stayed this year for five nights.
In Honfleur, we stayed at the Cheval Blanc many years ago. If you have the time, I would encourage you to stay overnight at Mont Saint Michel, it changes when the crowds are gone.
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 10:12 AM
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For a D-Day tour...we purchased a cd (available in many places there) that gave a very good driving tour of the area..complete with sound effects. It let us go at our own pace and was informative and easy to follow...we only got lost 3 times, which is good for us.

We parked, pressed the play button and the narration started. Very much like the headsets you rent in museums, but much better. Then we got out of the car and hiked around as long as we wanted.

I'd mail you the cd but we stupidly left it the cd player of the rental car...at least someone's enjoying it.

Have a great trip.
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 10:33 AM
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hi maitai,

just found this, so if i duplicate any information you've already had, please forgive me.

Angers - didn't stay there, but there is a very splendid chateau/castle with an even more splendid TAPESTRY in the basement -a definite 3 star michelin must see.

nothing like that in Saumur, but we liked it very much as a base, and if you are not committed to accommodation in Angers, can recommend the Hotel Londres.

http://www.lelondres.com/

you should try to see Fontavraud Abbey while you are there, [tombs of the Plantagenets] and the lovely village of candes-st-martin with more Plantagenets in the church.

and Villandry. another vote for Villandry.

enjoy your trip!
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 10:49 AM
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should ou stop in Trouville, my favorite Bistro is there LES VAPEURS. Be sure to try the Calvados much better compared to what's available here.
sue4 I don't know why David isn't here and rarely on ST
He works for the Herald Tribune I hope he didn't get laid off. He also has an apartment in Paris fr rent. Niceguy I had dinner at his apartment along with wife and his tenents.
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 11:46 AM
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I must agree to add Villandry. We were there in Mid Sept. and it was beautiful. So much so that we returned on our 2nd trip to the Loire, also in mid Sept.

Loved Chinon and the castle. A favorite dinner was at "Chapeau Rouge"--right in the main square. Dinner under the trees was lovely. Again mid Sept.

Another interesting dinner was in a cave. I'll look up the info if you are interested.

Abbey Fontvraud was another place we really liked.

And how about Balzac's House in Sache. The fall colors around there were stunning.
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 12:21 PM
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If you visit Villandry try to time it so you can have lunch in the courtyard at Etape Gourmande, a goat cheese farm.

I'd also recommend staying at Le Vieux Manoir in Amboise.
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 01:10 PM
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For all the many, many times I have been in the Loire Valley, and to so very many chateaux, I have never been to Montrésor or Montpoupon. Thank you for this lead - it will be on the top of the list for next month.

PS: I thought the Bayeux Tapestry was fascinating and quite lovely.
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Old Jun 29th, 2012, 01:41 PM
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Thanks to everyone who helped me plan this crazy trip.

Train tickets from Paris - Limoges - Check
Car Rental from Limoges to Paris - Check
Hotels, Apartments and b&bs in Sarlat, Amboise, Angers, Bayeux, Honfleur and Paris - Check
Normandy Tour with Overlord - Check

Now I guess I have to figure out which cave(s) near Sarlat to reserve. I think I will combine Gouffre de Padirac with a day trip to Rocamadour (that works, right?) The other two I am leaning toward are Font de Gaume and Gouffre de Proumeyssac.

Since we get in to Limoges early on the train, I might try to go to Oradour-sur-Glane on that day. Then when we drive toward Amboise from Sarlat, we might stop at Château de Hautefort to get us in the chateau mood.

I have my extensive list of Loire Châteaux at hand (Don't worry, no more than five or six a day for us...take that, Rick Steves!!)

I have my team of doctors on speed dial, and they are working 24/7 to keep me well until we leave (which isn't until Fall). Even if I die, I think I'll have Kim, Mary and Tracy load me on the plane and take me around France like Weekend at Bernies.

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Old Jun 29th, 2012, 01:47 PM
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don't miss Lascaux II. IMHO it's quite extraordinary, and the fact that it's a reproduction makes it more so, not less.

gouffre de Padirac + Rocamadour works fine.

>

hope you have the travel insurance paid up to date!
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Old Jun 29th, 2012, 03:45 PM
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Just a warning .... Do not take the lift from the train station to the parking lot in limoges...had the pleasure of being stuck in said lift for quite a while last year...take the stairs!!
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Old Jun 29th, 2012, 07:30 PM
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throwing a curveball here...

We loved this B&B in Honfleur - Cour Ste. Catherine

http://www.coursaintecatherine.com/GB_maison.htm

We loved walking down to the harbor at night and just wandering, finding a place to eat and just stumbling home. We had a very large room - with a fridge, which was so nice! And we ate breakfast outside in the garden every morning. Our last morning, we were leaving early to make a tour in Bayeux and were checking out as breakfast was starting - she stopped and gave us a bag of croissants and a baguette to take with us.

We didn't pay for parking - we were there in mid-July and were able to get street parking each night pretty easily. Not sure if that is more difficult now?

(btw, I got the recommendation from a fodorite)

I also recommend doing a D-Day tour - it is so much more meaningful when you can sit and listen and someone else is dealing with parking. We took at half day tour with Roel, from Victory Tours.
http://lignerolles.homestead.com/Why-Victory-Tours.html

He was wonderful! Has a small 8-passenger van, so it isn't overwhelming. Also, if you have a family member that landed there, if you let him know company details, he will look it up and find out when and where they landed (if he doesn't already know).

While we only took a 1/2-day tour, we wished we had spent the entire day with him. We are WWII buffs, but still learned a lot.
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